So, you've been chosen to be a Maid of Honor! Woohooo! You've been day one besties since college (or highschool, or literally birth). You've experienced so much life together; prom night, that first big heartbreak where all you could do was hold each other and cry, job offers, family drama, you've sat through her karaoke version of "Gangstas Paradise" more times than you wish to count. She's your girl, your right hand, your go-to for anything. And she's finally found "the one" she confessed to you after her second date with him two years ago. That prediction finally came to fruition on their trip to St. Thomas where he got down on one knee and held up that gorgeous diamond (that you obviously already knew about cause duh...like he wasn't going to ask your ring advice.) And now she's asked you to stand beside her on the biggest day of her life as Maid of Honor. You couldn't be more excited.
But what are you really signing up for? How much does Maid of Honor entail? What does your bff expect from you? Well, we've cleared some of that up for you, below!
First of all, relax. The bride picked you as her right hand through this time because she trusts you to do a great job, and you will. Your duties and how much she expects from you will differ depending on how much or little the bride wants to be involved in certain projects. For example I told my Maid of Honor (hollerrrrr Elena!) that I wanted her to take full control of the bachelorette party and divide that particular duty amongst my bridesmaids herself, so that I could focus on planning the wedding. And even though the bachelorette party is a pretty big task, considering we went away to Charleston for the weekend (that's quite a bit of planning with flights, lodging and activities) I didn't ask her to sit through three days of my dress shopping nor did I have her help me with any actual wedding planning or decorating or day after inventory collection....so you can see that it all depends on what your bride's preferences are.
But regardless of how involved the bride wants you to be, here are some duties to expect as Maid of Honor:
1. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
This is probably the most important job as Maid of Honor. Planning a wedding can be stressful (although hiring a wedding planner can take 99% of that stress away, ladies. Sorry I just had to say it.) It's a time of huge transition in a bride's life. Be there for her to vent to. Offer to come over and make you both margaritas when she's had a long day of planning. Empathize with her when her great Aunt Suzie starts trying to dictate seating arrangements. Just be a best friend...it's how you got the role as MOH after all!
2. BACHELORETTE PLANNING
Ask your bride if she wants a bachelorette. If she does, find out from her how much or little she wants to be involved in planning. If she says she wants to be hands-free...delegate tasks for the party amongst yourself and her bridesmaids. This involves activities, lodging and travel if it isn't local, meals and decorations. We find that having a good balance between planned meals and activities and down time during the bachelorette party is key. Yes, bachelorette parties can be expensive. Talk to the bridesmaids to find out everyone's budget...the bride should not be putting in any money...and then plan according to everyone's budget. **Tip: Using an app like Venmo makes it easy for everyone to pay each other what they owe. And make sure everyone knows what they're paying for and how much they're paying before or after the event...talking about how much everyone owes or spent in front of the bride is tacky and can make her feel uncomfortable.
3. BRIDAL SHOWER/JACK AND JILL PLANNING (OR CO-PLANNING)
Does your bride want a bridal shower? Or are her and her fiance planning to have a Jack and Jill (or Stag and Doe, depending where you're from)? Some brides may even do both. Find out how much involvement her mother, or mother-in-law, or any other family members, will have in helping to plan...then get to work! Planning this involves picking a venue to host the event, finding catering if the venue does not offer it themselves, writing out and sending the invitations, managing the RSVP's, decorating, buying and providing favors for the guests, planning games, and keeping a list of what gifts came from which guests. Again, this WILL cost money. Decorations, favors, venue and catering will need to be paid for, and not by the bride. How much you will have to pay will depend on how much the family will also be contributing. It is also expected that you get a little gift for the bride, although because of how much you've spent on the event itself, you don't need to go crazy.
4. DRESS SHOPPING: BRIDES AND BRIDESMAIDS
Offer to go with the bride when she shops for her wedding gown. This is more as a supportive role and less to be critical of her choice of dresses. Her taste in gowns may not match your own but if she loves a dress and feels beautiful in it, support her! She may also want you to help her pick out the bridemaid dresses. Since she asked you to help you are welcome to offer your opinion, including on the budget, since she asked you to help, but ultimately the decision is hers as to what you wear. It's her day, after all. And unless the bride specifically offers to pay for your dress, you will be expected to purchase it, including shoes.
photog cred :: Brigham & Co. // Floral Design :: Haworth's Flowers // Planning & Design :: Double G Events
5. ASSISTANCE WITH WEDDING PLANNING DETAILS
She may or may not need any help, but offering is always appreciated. This includes, but is not limited to, registry shopping, addressing invites, cake tasting, searching for wedding vendors (photographers, cinematographers, venues, entertainment, transportation, lodging, etc) and sourcing decor. Offer up your services in helping with these tasks whether or not you think she'll need it. It will make her feel loved and it will give you serious MOH brownie points ;)
6. BRIDESMAID LOGISTICS
Make sure each bridesmaid gets her outfit and accessories correct and on time. Make sure they each know all of the details for the wedding weekend including lodging, transportation, hair and makeup, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner location and time, and the wedding timeline. This will make the bride's life much easier during the chaotic wedding weekend.
7. PREPARE AND GIVE A TOAST
It is generally expected for the Maid of Honor to give a toast. Make sure you spend time BEFORE the wedding weekend writing this. AND HAVE IT IN WRITING. "Winging it" when you're in front of a crowd, with a couple drinks in you....usually makes for a bland speech in which most people are redundant and don't know when to stop talking. Keep your toast a balance of light and funny (not at the expense of the bride or groom and NEVER mentioning any ex's) and heartfelt and genuine.
8. DAY-OF DUTIES
Know the timeline of events and help keep everything on schedule so that the bride doesn't have to worry. Keep the bride laughing...the day is a celebration after all! Run interference for anything that the bride doesn't absolutely need to be involved in. Make sure there isn't TOO much partaking in libations...no one wants a messy bridal party. Have tissues on hand for the bride during the ceremony if needed. Hold the bride's bouquet during the ceremony. Play hype man during the reception to get the guests up and on their feet dancing and having a great time. Make sure the bride and groom get a bite to eat in during the reception. Help gather anything the bride needs to take with her at the end of the night including personal items and gifts and cards.
This may seem like a lot, but spread out over the months leading up to the wedding it won't be and your bride will truly appreciate each and every thoughtful thing you did for her to make her big day, and all of the celebrations leading up to that day, as seamless, smooth, and stress-free as possible! Remember to have fun and enjoy each and every moment!