by Rachel Harris
Your friend is getting married and has asked you to be her maid of honor. Congratulations! As the maid of honor, you will have many important duties and responsibilities. You will play a special role in the life of the bride from now, through the wedding day. You’re the bride’s right-hand-woman. You’re the bride’s shoulder to cry on, her confidante, her helper, and her advisor. The maid of honor is also the leader of the other bridesmaids. You will set the example and make important decisions. You need patience to mediate conflicts and organizational skills to keep things running smoothly.
One of the most important roles of a maid of honor is support. Support the bride through the planning and preparation of her wedding. The bride will face countless stressors and she will look to you to keep her calm. She will feel a range of emotions; you can offer her comfort. Prepare yourself in advance by discussing with the bride her expectations of you. Get clear on how you can best support her and what she will want you to do.
You’re the head bridesmaid. You will set the example for the other bridesmaids. Chances are, the bridesmaids will not all know one another before the wedding. They may be sisters of the bride, childhood friends, college roommates, or current coworkers. Reach out and introduce yourself to the others. Consider starting a group text to open-up lines of communication. Your first impression should be one of kindness, teamwork, and focus on the bride.
Wedding planning, the ceremony, and the reception, all come with a good deal of stress. Stress brings out the worst in people. Be prepared to mediate in conflict. Don’t take sides, but listen carefully to find common ground.
Before the Wedding Day
Bachelorette party & Bridal Shower
You have the fun responsibility of planning and hosting the bachelorette party and the bridal shower. Talk to the bride ahead of time to get her vision for these events. Then coordinate with the other bridesmaids. Set the budgets, set dates, and start planning!
Help the bride say “Yes!” to her dream dress. This part of wedding planning is fun, but also stressful. The bride wants to look her best as she walks down the aisle. Give her your honest opinion with a healthy dose of kindness. She’ll appreciate your objective eye. You will also be an important voice in deciding the dresses for the bridesmaids. Take a careful inventory of body shapes, the theme of the wedding, and the bride’s wishes.
Most brides will DIY parts of the wedding. You will be on hand to help spray paint decor, arrange flowers, and assemble centerpieces. This is a beautiful opportunity to deepen your relationship with the bride as you work side by side.
Know the bride’s vision and plan for the wedding day
Stay in regular contact with the bride during the planning phase. Don’t wait for her to reach out to you. Check in on her to see how she’s doing, if she needs your help, or if she needs a lunch date to decompress. It’s important for you to know her vision and wishes for her perfect wedding. This keeps you prepared for your responsibilities on the wedding day.
Wedding Day: Pre-Ceremony
Keep the bride comfortable and her stress levels low by creating a calm environment in the bridal suite. Set it up with flowers, candles, and music. When it’s in use, be sure to keep it tidy. Don’t feel like you have to do this all yourself! Enlist the help of bridesmaids.
Assemble an emergency kit of items to help save the day. If you don’t have time to assemble one yourself, purchase a pre-assembled kit on Amazon. Here’s a list of suggested items to include in the kit:
- Fashion tape for poorly fitted garments.
- A stain remover pen and lint roller.
- A sewing kit with safety pins.
- Hairspray and bobby pins.
- Anti-blister cream and anti-chafe cream.
Snacks and water
The wedding day can get hectic. Many brides are so distracted by excitement, they forget to eat or drink water. Help your bride out by having her favorite snacks and some water handy. She doesn’t want to get sick or dehydrated on her wedding day!
Keep bridal party on schedule
Make sure to have the itinerary of the day printed and handed out to the bridal party. They need the information to stay on schedule. Also, guests will have a lot of questions and they’ll expect the bridal party to have answers. Guests want to know how long the cocktail hour lasts, when dinner will be served, etc. You and the bride don’t want to spend all day fielding questions. Be proactive and get the rest of the bridal party to help.
Assist wedding coordinator and vendors
If the bride has hired a wedding planner or coordinator, that person will be the primary contact for vendors. But the wedding coordinator may still have last minute questions. Your close proximity to the bride makes you a great source of information. Be prepared to answer questions so the bride and groom don’t have to. If there is no wedding planner, vendors need to reach out to you, not the bride. Her focus should be on the joy of her wedding day.
Behind the scenes candid photos
Yes, there will be a talented photographer on hand, but the bride and groom will always appreciate personal, behind the scenes shots. Don’t be afraid to snap some pics.
The mother of the bride or the mother of the groom may be a challenge for the bride on the wedding day. Have an honest conversation with the bride ahead of time so you’re clear on how much involvement she wants from the moms.
Keep the ring safe
Traditionally, the maid of honor holds onto the groom’s ring and the best man holds onto the bride’s ring. Take this responsibility very, very seriously!
Wedding Day: Ceremony
Walk down the aisle
Typically, the maid of honor and best man walk down the aisle together after the rest of the bridal party and before the flower girl and ring bearer. Obviously, the bride and groom may have their own take on this piece of the ceremony. Don’t forget to smile!
Hold bouquet during vows
When the bride arrives to take her place next to the groom, she will hand you her bouquet. This is a good time to check that her dress and train are positioned neatly as she says her vows. Remember to stand up straight and smile. You’ll appear in many photos. After the ceremony, you’ll hand the bride her bouquet as she prepares to walk down the aisle with her new husband. Check her train once more before she walks to be sure it’s tidy.
Wedding licenses typically need two witnesses. The best man and maid of honor are often selected for this responsibility.
Wedding Day: Reception
Enter with best man
After the ceremony and pictures, the bridal party enters the reception area. They’re often introduced by the DJ or appointed emcee. The maid of honor and best man typically enter together.
Make sure the bride eats
Now it’s time to celebrate! Guests will want to say hi to the bride and groom, champagne may be served, and dancing will commence. In the flurry of activity, the bride and groom may get distracted and forget to eat. Keep an eye on them and bring them food as necessary.
Sometimes people get shy about hitting the dance floor. A lot of consideration has gone into the band, DJ, or playlist. Don’t let it go to waste. Grab a partner and hit the dance floor. Your excitement will be contagious.
Be the hostess
You may find yourself playing hostess during the reception. Help the bride by keeping an eye on food service, taking the pulse of the room, and helping where needed.
The maid of honor and best man are usually asked to give a speech during the reception. Be considerate of the bride and groom. A wedding is not an appropriate time to share dark secrets or make embarrassing confessions. Keep it short and sweet.
This all sounds like a lot. And to some degree it is. It’s an honor to be the maid of honor, hence the name. The bride and groom are planning their dream wedding. They can’t be successful without the help of trusted friends and family. The bride picked you because she knew you’d be up to the task. There’s no one else she’d rather have by her side. Have fun with it! Find an amazing wedding planner from our New Braunfels Wedding Guide vendor’s list to ease your mental and emotional load. We also have blogs on helping the bride pick her color palette, planning and hosting a bridal shower, and ideas to make the wedding day unique.