If you have been asked by your best friend to be the maid of honor, you might be wondering what the maid of honor has to do. The role of the maid of honor is a privilege, as it means you get to play a lead role in your friend’s special day.
From planning the wedding and staying on top of the latest trends, to finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses, the maid of honor comes with a lot of responsibilities. Not everyone knows how to be a maid of honor, as it is something that typically only comes around once, so there is a lot to learn.
To help you on your journey, here is a checklist of all the important maid of honor duties that you need to know, so you can learn how to be an effective maid of honor and help your best friend enjoy the most important day of their life.
What Is a Maid of Honor?
Tradition states that the maid of honor is chosen by the bride-to-be, as they are a close and trusted friend. Being named the maid of honor provides you with an important role in the wedding, which is to be the right-hand woman of the bride. This means providing moral support, as well as support with the practical tasks of the wedding. The role of a maid of honor dates back to the Ancient Roman times, who were sourced by brides to protect them from evil spirits.
Maids of honor are traditionally unmarried females. If the chosen maid of honor is married, they are referred to as “matrons of honor”. Maid of honor is usually fulfilled by one person, but modern-day weddings have taken a twist to this and some have more than one or have a male friend as their maid of honor.
The Maid of Honor Duties
There is a standard checklist of maid of honor duties that you can follow, but the specific tasks will depend on your bride, their needs, the size of the wedding, the type of party that is being planned, and if there are any other maids of honor to work with. It is always a good idea to have a conversation so you know what is expected of you right from the start. This will ensure you fulfill your duty before, during, and after the wedding. Use the checklist in this article as a foundation to devise your own.
What a Maid of Honor Should Do Before the wedding
Before the wedding, the maid of honor has a variety of duties to complete.
Organize an Engagement and Bachelorette Party
This will likely be your first task on the list. Once you have been selected as the maid of honor, your duties will begin with throwing celebrations for the happy couple and their anticipated wedding day in the form of an engagement party and a bachelorette party. This will be a great opportunity to put your maid of honor hat on and organize a fun celebration to remember. To get started, you may seek support and inspiration from social media and a party planner so you can create the perfect luxury celebration. Make sure you consider:
- The timing of these parties in relation to the wedding day (the rule of thumb for bachelor parties is that they should not be organized less than 3 months in advance, especially if they involve drinking)
- The location of friends and family members who may wish to attend
- An elegant theme and upholds the integrity of the bride and groom
- A budget that is friendly for all anticipated guests
Be a Good Support and Friend
One of the most important duties that you will be expected to uphold as a friend, as well as maid of honor, is to provide emotional support to the bride. Planning a wedding has been reported as one of the most stressful things a person will go through, as well as one of the most expensive. Make sure you take a hands-on approach with your bride and be the unofficial consultant. Be there to help with any task, no matter how big or small. Some of these may include:
- Listening to the ideas that the bride has
- Helping to plan fun ideas for the wedding weekend
- Reassuring the bride when they need it
- Helping the bride make important decisions
- Attending appointments for a second opinion
- Getting involved in the day-to-day wedding activities
- Helping to design and scribe wedding invitations
- Sorting through RSVPs
- Assembling wedding favors
- Organizing the seating arrangements
- Picking up items from vendors
The wedding dress is one of the most important elements of the wedding, so your bride is going to count on you to help them find the perfect elegant wedding dress that compliments their big day. Your maid of honor duties will start by finding local wedding dress stores, liaising with wedding dress designers, planning days out to try on dresses, and providing your honest opinion. Whether the bride wants a unique, designer dress or an elegant and timeless ball gown, choosing the right wedding dress is a long and meticulous process that you need to assist with.
Coordinate the Bridal Party
From the type of dresses to the order they walk down the aisle, as maid of honor, you will need to coordinate the bridesmaids. You can think of yourself as the chief bridesmaid.
In addition to helping the bride find their perfect wedding day dress, it will also be your responsibility to find elegant bridesmaids dresses for the rest of the party. The bridesmaid dresses must uphold an essence of elegance while complementing the individual bridesmaid and the wedding theme.
Bridesmaid dresses cannot be chosen on a whim, and instead, require a lot of care and thought. You will need to look at the different types of bridesmaid dresses available, coordinate colors and fabrics, and help the bride make the important final decisions.
Your dress as the maid of honor can be the same as the rest of the bridal party, or the bride may choose to dress you in something else, so your role is clear. There are many options when it comes to bridesmaid dresses which you can help your bride choose from. For example, you may choose the mismatched trend, where the bridesmaids wear different colored dresses in the same style, the same colored dresses in different styles, or a complete combination of the two. Alternatively, the bride may choose the traditional route, with timeless bridesmaid dresses that have the same fit and color throughout the party.
The coordination of the bridesmaids may not be limited to choosing the right attire. It may also include:
- Representing the bridesmaids and their needs
- Organizing shopping trips to try on dresses
- Helping bridesmaids find the right fitted dress and alterations where needed
- Keeping the bridal party organized
Your role as maid of honor is to be present and support the bride. Pulling together important elements like this can be extremely stressful and anxiety provoking. Your support in coordinating the bridal party can help to take some of the burden off the bride’s shoulders.
Prepare a Speech
It is not tradition for the maid of honor to give a speech, but in recent years, it has become the norm. If your bride-to-be asks you to give a speech, then it might be something you add to your to-do list before the wedding day. Some people like to speak from the heart. Others need time to think and prepare. Remember this is an important day for the bride and groom, so taking some time to devise the perfect speech can go a long way. It will also give you time to customize it for the bride, who is likely your best friend with whom you have fond memories that help create a more meaningful speech.
What a Maid of Honor Should Do During the Wedding
Help the Bride Get Ready
The maid of honor has the privilege of being by the bride’s side all day long. You should attend to the bride first thing in the morning, and be there to help with whatever they need. This might be assisting with the bride’s hair and makeup, putting on the dress, and ensuring they eat a proper meal before all the activities begin. As you make your way to the ceremony, you may be with the bride, or with the bridesmaids. This will depend on the preferences of the couple.
Be a Part of the Ceremony
The maid of honor will play a small role in the ceremony. This will be to walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids and accompany the bride to the altar. You may be asked to hold the bride’s bouquet during the vows, be a witness to the signing of the marriage registration and give a speech.
Beyond this, you will also have a maid of honor duties behind the scenes. These may include:
- Helping wedding guests navigate around the party
- Organizing the gifts
- Sitting at the top table
- Providing emotional support for the bride
What a Maid of Honor Should Do After the Wedding
Your maid of honor duties may extend beyond the big day. This might include helping clean up and tidy the venue, transporting items and gifts from the venue, returning any rental clothing and items, and writing thank-you notes.
As you can see, the maid of honor has a variety of important duties before, during and after the wedding. It is a big role to take on, but it will help your best friend plan their perfect wedding day.