The responsibilities assigned to the maid of honor aren’t quite what they used to be. In case you hadn’t noticed, weddings are a lot different than they were when our mothers were young. Go back much further and bridesmaids served as decoys for the bride in case of an attempted kidnapping! Since most bridesmaids now are more girl squad than ransom bait, serving as the bride’s No. 1 means you’ll be on your toes in a very different way.
Who Is the Maid of Honor?
The maid of honor is in charge of the bachelorette party and bridal shower as well as leading the rest of the bridesmaids throughout the planning process and on the day of the wedding. A bride will typically appoint a sister, female relative, or best friend as the maid of honor.
Ahead, you’ll find a list of all the maid of honor responsibilities a bride may expect of you before the wedding and during it. Take a peek below, and get ready for the experience of a lifetime.
Before the Wedding
Maid of honor is a big job, and it starts long before the wedding day—pretty much the minute you’re asked. Here’s what you need to do in the months leading up to the main event.
Be There for the Bride
As the maid of honor, you know your friend, the bride, better than anyone else. After being asked, the maid of honor should initiate a conversation with the bride to discuss how best she can support her during the wedding-planning process. Be open about personalities and decide if the bride will delegate and ask for help or if the maid of honor should periodically check in and offer support without being prompted.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
While your primary responsibility to the bride is to lend an extra set of hands, don’t forget to pencil in some fun, too. From an afternoon spent getting mani-pedis to a full-blown girls’ night out, the bride is first and foremost your best friend, and that’s the role you should take most seriously during the planning process
Review the Budget
Before kicking off any planning for the bachelorette party or bridal shower, have a chat with the other bridesmaids to see how much they can afford to spend on these events.
Go Wedding Dress Shopping
Ah, wedding dress shopping perhaps the most anticipated event aside from the ceremony itself. Help the bride say “yes” to the dress by accompanying her to dress fittings and providing her with your honest opinion.
Order Your Dress on Time
The last thing you want is to find out your dress won’t arrive by the wedding day. Be sure to order it as soon as you can so that it arrives early for alterations and quality time in your closet.
Send an Intro Email to the Bridesmaids
Connect all the other bridesmaids with an email icebreaker that introduces each of you and includes everyone’s contact information. That way, everyone can get a taste of who’s who before the bachelorette party comes around.
Mediate Conflict Among the Bridal Party
As the maid of honor, you’ll be in charge of maintaining peace among the bridal party. On top of that, you’ll be assigning tasks concerning any pre-wedding events and answering any questions the bridesmaids may have regarding the wedding-day itinerary. Let the bridesmaids know they can come to you directly with any questions, comments, or concerns, and then you can jot them down, filter the ones you can answer out, and bring the rest to the bride when she has less on her plate.
Plan the Bachelorette Party
Get ready to lead the charge when it comes to planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party. From reaching out to family members and bridesmaids to helping with the nitty-gritty of planning and keeping everyone’s budgets in mind, you’ll quickly become the bonafide expert party planner during the wedding process.
Prepare a Speech for the Reception
Some brides opt to have only family members give speeches at their receptions. Others forgo speeches entirely. As the maid of honor, you should always be game to deliver speech—and not embarrass her during it. Start jotting down ideas months before the wedding and then spend a few weeks before the big day finessing it and putting everything together.
Day of the Wedding
This is the big day, and the maid of honor’s role is an all-day job. Here’s what to do the day-of.
Keep the Bride Hydrated
As the maid of honor, you’ll want to keep the bride hydrated from morning until the last dance. Be sure to check with the bride for her preference—sparkling or still—and remind her to take a few sips of H2O throughout the day. Doing so will keep her energy up and ward off any hangovers that could interfere with the morning-after brunch.
Take Care of the Bouquet
Once the bride walks down the aisle, help her out by volunteering to hold her bundle of blooms. After she says “I do,” you can give the bouquet back for her to hold as she walks up the aisle.
Help the Bride Get Dressed
It’s no small task to assist the bride as she gets into possibly the most expensive and elaborate gown she’ll ever wear in her life. You’ll want to be certain everything is laid out in advance, from undergarments to shoes to jewelry, so there’s no last-minute scrambling to find those heirloom earrings or an extra pair of hose.
Keep the Bridal Suite Spick and Span
Once all the bridesmaids are done getting ready, it’s your job to make sure they clear their belongings out of the bridal suite, so that the newlyweds don’t return to a messy room at the end of the night.
Make Sure the Bride Remembers to Eat
Throughout the day–and certainly, before she leaves the bridal suite—you should check in periodically to see if the bride needs something to nibble on. While she may be too excited to think about food, a protein-rich snack will help fend off hunger pains.
Be on Drink Patrol
If the bridesmaids plan on sipping some bubbly with the bride while they get glam, it’s the maid of honor’s duty to make sure everyone enjoys the moment but doesn’t overindulge. Make sure there’s water and snacks readily available, too.
Dance With the Bride
You’ve made it to the reception when hopefully all the planning stress has melted away. Now it’s time to celebrate on the ballroom floor—grab the bride, your OG dance partner, for plenty of boogying to your favorite jams. Selfies welcome.