Yes, there are a few legitimate excuses for refusing the most important role in her wedding party, but chances are the bride isn't going to be too happy with any of them. These are all perfectly valid excuses, but regardless of your reason, she's still going to be hurt, upset and sans a maid of honor. Consider yourself warned.
- Reason: You're saving the date for something else.Why It (Might) Work: This is only acceptable in extreme cases. For instance, your husband is returning from war that day, or it's within a few days of your due date.
- Reason: You have an equally important ceremony to which you're already obligated.Why It (Might) Work: You're getting married that day or your sister is -- that's about it.
- Reason: You're in love with the groom.Why It Works: Do we really need to explain this one? We didn't think so.
- Reason: You're really, truly broke.Why It Works: We're talking about squatting at a friend's house, haven't worked in a year broke. Paying for a dress, a bridal shower and a bachelorette party isn't just a hardship -- it's not possible. Not with cash, not with credit.
- Reason: She's Bridezilla.Why It Works: Every bride can be picky, but if she started shooting down your wedding-related suggestions before you agreed to the position or suggested you take a sabbatical to help plan her nuptials, there's a good chance your friendship won't make it to the big day anyway, so you can just say "no" now and avoid all the drama.
Whatever the reason for your refusal, you need to decline her offer respectfully and let her know where you're coming from. Tell her the truth: If she thought enough of you to make you her maid of honor, she deserves to know why you're refusing the position.
Oh, and if you're getting hitched anytime in the near future, you can invite her, but don't expect her to head -- or even join -- your wedding party.