Reserved typically for a close sibling or very close friend, the maid of honor is more than a title. It comes with expectations, a slew of duties, and certain rules of etiquette.
While the maid of honor shares a lot of these duties with her fellow bridesmaids, it’s essentially up to her to step up and go the extra mile, so to speak, to make sure the wedding day, and all the events leading up to it run smoothly.
But exactly what does the maid of honor do? To make sure you’re up for the task, read on for our quick guide on what to expect, and when.
Accepting the Offer
This is no more complicated than it sounds, so don’t make it be. After expressing gratitude for being asked, though, it’s important to discuss with the bride-to-be her expectations and general plans not only for the wedding day, but any festivities before or after. A good idea? Arrange to meet with the bride, or, the couple, if they’re planning together. As a maid of honor, you may not know every single detail…but you do need to have a basic idea of the timeline so you can personally plan accordingly. Being prepared and available at just the right times is what makes for an All-Star MOH. Consider getting the number/email of their wedding planner, if applicable, and introducing yourself as someone who can be easily depended upon for small tasks.
Attend and help out with Fittings
It’s not just the bride who needs to look great on the wedding day. All bridesmaids are expected to attend fittings, but the maid of honor also needs to take charge in helping to ensure everyone is on the same page. To help out more, it’s good to familiarize yourself and others with what to wear to a bridal fitting to make sure everyone gets the best fit possible.
Act as go-to Communicator
It helps to have a central figure in scheduling fittings, events, or even exchanging concerns. While certainly the bride might be a go-to choice, the maid of honor is actually the one tasked with making sure all the women show up to the appropriate events, fittings, and know exactly where they need to be and when. Instead of using a confusing email chain, or even more irritating text threads, a central message board like Guestboard can make your life a lot easier when planning bachelorette parties (#4 below), and other festivities. Updates are posted and emailed automatically, too, so it’s a lot more hands-off.
Pre Wedding Festivities!
Yes, you’ll also act a party planner. Both a bridal shower and a bachelorette party are the most common things you’ll need to plan for. Typically, a bridal shower will involve friends, family, and some games to help everyone get to know one another, as well as some light food. Keep it simple by using this checklist. A bachelorette party takes even more planning–using a central message board will be key, especially as a way to communicate secretly with bridesmaids to keep it a surprise! Also keep the bride in mind: some might want the typical wild night out, but others might appreciate go to a quiet restaurant just as much. The Knot suggests you start planning up to three months out, to make it a memorable and successful night.
Calm those Nerves Before the Ceremony
Chances are, you’ll be nervous the day of the wedding. Chances are, the bride will be even more so. Make her day as easy as possible by arriving to the venue early, and even consider bringing an emergency kit, complete with everything from extra makeup to eye drops. You may need to be prepared to act as an emotional support buddy, too. Make sure everything is as planned by checking the wedding timeline, and checking in with the wedding planner if there is one.
Your task is simple and also very important. As the maid of honor, you’ll lead the way down the aisle last, so make a good impression with a natural smile and proper presentation. Once the bride makes her way to the altar, you’ll also need to step in if anything, like her veil or train, needs to be adjusted. During the exchanging of rings, you will have to hold both your bouquet and the bride’s. In many cases, you will have to act as one of two witnesses for the signing of the marriage license.
If nothing else: have fun. But not too much fun. As the maid of honor, you’ll want to enjoy, but also maintain a level of decorum. You’ll be expected to give a toast after the best man, help the bride bustle her gown, and even dance with the best man. If you and the bride decide ahead of time you won’t dance with the best man, you’ll still play a key role in leading, and encouraging, dancing throughout the night. Additional possible duties include collecting or organizing guests, and helping out with any cleanup that professionals are not in charge of after the couple has left the reception.
Overall, being a great maid of honor takes time, a little bit of money, and a lot of heart. Whether you’re the maid of honor or a guest or even the bride herself, Guestboard can help make everything run smoothly and provide a better experience for your guests, whether it’s for just your wedding party or the entire guest list!