Congrats are in order, your best gal has asked you to be her MOH and you said yes! Now it’s time for you to answer another question, just what does a maid of honor do? Whether it’s your first time being a right-hand woman or you’ve had the title before, the role of maid or matron of honor comes with its own unique share of responsibility. Lucky for you, we’ve got the breakdown on all you need to know leading up to and during the big day. Cross everything off this maid of honor duties checklist and you’ll go down as the GMOHOAT (greatest MOH of all time).
1. Support System- We All Need Somebody to Lean On
Your BFF may have a new rock on her finger, but it’s your number one duty as maid of honor to be her Dwayne Johnson during the wedding planning process. Yes, this includes listening to endless talk of invitations, centerpieces and monster-in-laws. While some brides prefer to make the big decisions on their own, they generally look to their second in command for differing ideas and opinions. Be sure to keep in mind that this day is not about you, so don’t take offense if your advice is not always taken.
2. Leader of the Bridal Party- H.B.I.C.
Being a best friend to your best friend? Piece of cake. Being the boss of a bunch of bridesmaids? A bit more complicated. As we all know, each bridal party is different than the next. Some are made up of a close knit group of friends while others can include complete strangers. No matter your situation, it’s one of your duties as maid of honor to keep all the girls up to date and on the same page regarding everything wedding related. A great way to keep the lines of communication open is to start a group message through text or email. Remember- the bride is up to her eyeballs in wedding planning, so your role as middle(wo)man between her and her gals takes a lot off her already full plate.
3. Wedding Dress Shopping and Fittings- Build a Bride
One of the most exciting duties of a maid of honor is helping pick out the dress. Not only do you get front row seats to a private fashion show, you get to watch your bestie fulfill her childhood dream of becoming Cinderella. Whether it takes trying on 1 or 100 dresses, seeing her eyes light up as she sees herself in “the one” will be an experience you’ll cherish forever. Once she’s said yes to the dress, it’s your responsibility as maid of honor to attend all the following fittings. Throughout this process, you will also assist the bride in shopping for her wedding day accessories- shoes, jewelry, veil, etc.
4. Bridesmaid Dress Shopping and Alterations- Shop in the Name of Love
Now it’s your turn to channel your inner child with an adult version of dress-up. Depending on the bride, she may have already picked out the style of bridesmaids’ dresses you’ll be wearing. If that’s the case, then all you have to do is find your right size. On the other hand, some brides allow for the bridesmaids to pick their own style of dress. In this case, it’s up to you to choose which style and cut are most flattering and comfortable to you. As maid of honor, it’s your responsibility to make this process as smooth and stress-free as possible AKA keep the other girls in line. Also, you are in charge of paying for any alterations that must be made as well as making sure the rest of the bridal party does the same.
5. Go-To Girl For Guests- What’s the 4-1-1?
This is one of those maid of honor duties that may not end up applying to you, but just in case it does, you should always be prepared to answer any and all guest questions. Although all information relating to the wedding can be found on both the invitation and on the couples’ website, there may be some guests who need further assistance. Again, your BFF is busy planning the wedding of her dreams, so anything you can do to alleviate some stress will be greatly appreciated.
6. Plan and Host the Bridal Shower- Let the Games Begin
One of the most rewarding duties of being a maid of honor is throwing your bestie a fabulous bridal shower. For many brides, they remember this get-together of family and friends as the first time they said to themselves “holy crap, this is really happening!” Needless to say, it’s your duty to knock it out of the park. Before you panic, remember that you’ll have the help of your fellow bridesmaids to share responsibility and split costs. Our advice? Delegate a task or two to each bridesmaid, whether it be bringing a shareable dish or providing the plates, cups and utensils. Pro tip- Don’t be afraid to ask both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom to assist in any way they can, they love being involved in the process! Once the shower is in full swing you’ll have three main jobs- keep food and drinks full, encourage guests to participate in all shower games, and compile a list of all presents received and who each are from.
7. Plan and Book the Bachelorette Party- Girls Gone Wild!
Let’s be honest, this is the event we’ve all been waiting for- a grown-up, girls-only weekend getaway! As the maid of honor, it’s your time to shine. Nowadays, it’s most common for brides to have a destination bachelorette party, in which case you have some serious planning to do. On the other hand, some brides choose to stay closer to home, which means the travel and stay may already be figured out. Either way, it’s one of your maid of honor duties to assist the bride in choosing the location and lodging that fits her personality. Once these major details are decided, you’ll want to do some digging to discover the best restaurants, bars and activities that your destination has to offer. Having a basic itinerary of must-sees and dos will guarantee that you make the most of your trip. To go above and beyond, you can put together care packages for the bride and bridesmaids that include all the essentials for a bachelorette bash!
1. Take Care of the Bride- Momma MOH
The role a maid of honor must assume on wedding day is much like that of a mother looking after her child. Like a child, brides often must be coddled, soothed, and force-fed their meals. Their tears must be dried and noses must be wiped, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself helping your BFF to use the bathroom. Like a mom and her diaper bag, many maids of honor find it helpful to pack a day of emergency kit in case of any minor or major “uh-ohs”. We also suggest putting together a getting-ready playlist to keep the bride’s mood upbeat and her mind off of her wedding day jitters.
2. Stick to the Schedule- Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That
As we mentioned above, wedding day makes a nervous wreck out of any bride, so it’s on of your duties as maid of honor to make sure that you and the rest of the bridal party are paying attention to the clock. With all the excitement of getting dressed up and sipping on pre-ceremony bubbly, it’s easy to lose track of time and get behind. A simple way to keep everyone moving is to have a pre-set schedule of the order in which all the girls will be getting their hair and makeup done, that way there is no confusion or time lost. As the clock starts winding down to go time, make periodical announcements to the girls so they know how much time they have left to get themselves dressed and picture perfect.
3. Fluff the Train and Hold the Bouquet- Bend and Snap
Hallelujah! You’ve successfully made it down the aisle without falling on your face, now you finally get the honor of standing by your bestie’s side as she says “I Do” to the man on her dreams. And it’s your duty to make sure she does so while looking absolutely breathtaking. As soon as the bride takes her spot next to her future hubby, your job as maid of honor is to adjust the train of her dress so it spreads behind her for all to admire. If she is wearing a veil you may need to make adjustments on that as well. Once you’ve fluffled and flowed to perfection, you’ll be in charge of holding the bride’s bouquet throughout the remainder of the ceremony, handing it back to her as she prepares her exit down the aisle.
4. Bustle the Train and Any Other Adjustments- Do the Bustle!
You thought fluffing the train was hard? Just wait til you see the bustle! Trust us, no matter how many times you’ve practiced during fittings, executing it flawlessly on wedding day is a whole other story. Both your and the bride’s adrenaline will be through the roof, so remember to stay calm and follow the seams. It’s better to take the time to get it right than to rush a sloppy finish, ensuring that the bride is able to walk and dance comfortably throughout the reception. During this time you will want to help your BFF with any other wardrobe or makeup adjustments so she goes into the cocktail hour looking and feeling her best. Hint- this is a great time to help your bride use the bathroom!
5. Feed the Bride- Momma MOH Part 2
Remember what we said about force-feeding? We weren’t playing around. So many brides often skip their own dinners due to overwhelming nerves and excitement. It’s one of your responsibilities as maid of honor to make sure your bestie is full of the yummy food she spent lots of time and money on selecting. While you’re at it, be a good friend and make sure her new hubby eats as well. There’s a long night ahead of drinking and dancing, the last thing anyone wants it for the bride and groom to lose steam halfway through. Pro tip- As you see the bride’s drink getting low, slip a glass of water in her hand (now that’s what I call high-quality H2O)
6. Deliver a Speech- Toastin’ and Roastin’
To be given the privilege of celebrating the happy couple with your very own words is what truly puts the H in MOH, which is why many find this to be both the greatest and most terrifying duty of them all. Whether you have the public speaking skills of a well-polished politician or the thought of speaking in front of a room full of people sends you running for the hills, you are obligated to do the very best you can. We promise you that the bride and groom’s only wish is that you speak from the heart… and don’t embarrass them too badly in front of their new in-laws. If you’ve never given a maid of honor speech before or simply need a refresher, we’ve got you covered. Oh, and one more thing, a little touch of liquid courage never hurt anyone, just be careful you don’t over-do it.
7. Be the Life of the Party- Don’t Just Stand There, Bust a Move
It’s every bride’s biggest fear that her guests will leave the reception having not had a great time or that her wedding will be remembered as being just “ok”. It is your role as maid of honor to make sure neither of those two happen. How, you ask? DANCE! If you have to be the first one on the dance floor then so be it, because it is your duty to get everyone up and shaking their booty. If you see any guests looking bored or tired, ask them if there’s a certain song they’d like to hear and make a request to the DJ. Speaking of the DJ, it’s your responsibility to report any issues or changes the bride and groom may have or want with the music. Most importantly, make sure your BFF spends as much time on the dance floor as she does mingling with guests- receptions tend to fly by and you don’t want her missing out on all the fun!
8. Clean Up- Everybody Do Your Share
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, the wedding being one of them. As exhausted as you may be from a long and emotional day, it’s your job to make sure that the bridal suite and reception area are cleared of all personal belongings. This goes for the rest of the bridal party as well. Before anyone heads back to the hotel or out for an after party, have them do a sweep of the area to ensure they aren’t leaving anything behind. The last thing you’ll want to have to do is return in the morning to pick up any forgotten items. When saying your final goodbyes, don’t forget to thank both the parents of the bride and groom for all of their contributions.