You just agreed to being the Maid of Honor; a cherished and some would say enviable position. However, think deep before you leap…. many relationships have become strained due to miscommunication and misconceptions.
Before the Wedding…..
In the months leading up to the wedding, the bride will often call on her maid of honor for help, whether that means shopping for accessories, deciding on décor, or simply lending an open ear during times of stress. These are normal best friend duties that will likely come naturally for most maids of honor, but sometimes there are more challenging obligations as well. Here’s what you might expect:
- Wedding Dress Shopping. Some brides know exactly what they want in a wedding gown. Others will embark on a months-long process to find the perfect fit. Either way, you should expect to be at her side, sipping champagne as she tries on dress after dress — and accessories, of course. Be honest but kind to help her find the dress that will make her look and feel her most beautiful.
- Bridesmaid Dress Shopping. Rejoice! As the maid of honor, you will most likely have more of a say in what you’ll be wearing on your friend’s wedding day. Help her choose a frock that will be comfortable and flattering for you and the other bridesmaids. Co-ordinate the fittings with the other attendants.
- DIY Assistance. Depending on how crafty the bride is, she may be undertaking some DIY projects in the days leading up to the wedding, whether that means making favors, hand-lettering envelopes, or creating centerpieces. Volunteer to help her get those projects done with as little stress as possible.
- Hosting Bachelorette Party and/or Bridal Shower. Although sometimes the hosting duties for these events fall to other people or are shared by the bridesmaids, oftentimes the responsibility falls to the maid of honor. You may need to be prepared to arrange both, but don’t be afraid to turn to other bridesmaids for help if you need it. Keep a record of the gifts.
- Moral Support. The months leading up to a wedding are stressful for any bride, and simply being available to chat can do wonders. Call your friend periodically to check in and make sure that everything’s progressing according to plan, and always ask if there’s anything you can do to help
The Day of….
The wedding day means go time for the maid of honor, as you step up to help the bride navigate the busy hours leading up to the ceremony. Whether the bride is cool as a cucumber or experiences extreme jitters, it’s your job to keep things running smoothly.
- Know Your Stuff. Everyone will have questions about the wedding day — when and where are portraits taking place? What time is the cake-cutting? What’s the rain plan? It will help the bride immensely if she isn’t the only one with the answers.
- Stay Within Arm’s Reach. When the bride needs something — a tissue, a bobby pin, a glass of champagne — you should be by her side anticipating her request. You should never be out of reach. She’ll be comforted by your presence.
- Corral the Bridesmaids. Whether there are two bridesmaids or 12, make sure everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing throughout the day.
- Enforce Sobriety Control. Champagne can certainly help calm the nerves, but no one should overindulge — at least not before the ceremony.
- Run Interference. Everyone wants to see the bride before the wedding — but she may not return the sentiment. If there’s anyone who might run the risk of stressing the bride out, do your best to keep them away from her until she’s ready to see them. She may also appreciate it if you take control of her phone for the day — but that really depends on personal preference.
- Play Timekeeper. The bride shouldn’t be worried about the schedule. That’s your job!
- Witness and Sign the Marriage Certificate. Make it official!
- Hold the Bride’s Bouquet and the Groom’s Ring During the Vows
After the Vows….Reception time.
Once the ceremony is over, it’s time to celebrate — but your job isn’t over yet! That said, a lot of the pressure is lifted, and you should enjoy yourself. Just don’t forget to wrap up your final maid of honor duties.
- Bustle Up. Help the bride prepare her dress for the reception — and touch up her makeup, if need be.
- Toast the Happy Couple. It can be short and sweet, funny, or heartfelt. Just be yourself and say something sweet to the bride and groom! Be yourself and be gracious. Humor is appreciated, but off color jokes or comments sometimes are not well received. And, above all, no expletives!
- Be a Dancing Queen. Is the dance floor empty? Encourage guests to shake their booties by setting an example.
- Collect the Goods. For those guests who bring gifts to the wedding, ensure that they’re all collected in one place and brought home at the end of the night.
- Feed the Bride and Groom. Many couples never taste a bit of food during their receptions, but do your best to make sure the bride gets something in her belly before the toasts begin. Prep her a little plate and give her a few minutes to enjoy it.
- Corral the Guests. When it’s time for the cake-cutting, bouquet toss, etc., help corral everyone where they need to be.
- Prepare for Takeoff. When the party’s over, help the bride change into her going-away clothes (if she’s changing), and collect her gown and accessories to take home.