One of my dearest friends recently got married and in her infinite wisdom she chose the one person who has never been married, will most likely never be married and who knows practically nothing about weddings to be her maid of honor – me!
As flattering as that was I hit panic mode because like I said, until this point I had absolutely no experience with weddings. So that night, I spent hours trying to find out what exactly I was supposed to do as MOH.
And then I was terrified! By the time I was done I had worked out that a while a wedding is all the dreams a bride has ever had about her big day finally coming true, it is up to the MOH to turn them into reality! Now if that’s not stress, then I don’t know what is! So if you you’re as clueless about your MOH responsibilities as I was – here’s what I learned from my experience…
Have a meeting with the bride before the planning starts
The maid of honor’s duties will completely depend on what the bride wants, so that means you need to get together so you can discuss what she expects from you. Does she want you to be a traditional MOH who helps with the hosting of all the pre-wedding celebrations such as the bridal shower, will you need to help with the cake tasting, dress selections and fittings as well as everything else wedding related?
Or does she have other people handling those things and you’re only meant to show up on her big day, trying to look pretty in whatever dress has been chosen for you? Whatever the case may be, it is essential that you have both agreed on your role so that there are no last minute surprises and hurt feelings as the big day approaches.
What you’ll be doing before the wedding
The MOH is the brides right hand woman, her sidekick in the wedding war (trust me – it is a war!) and the person that she will depend on the most in the days leading up to the day, on the day of and even after the day!
The bride will be asking for your help with everything from shopping for the wedding party’s outfits to helping with the décor, and sometimes just listening to her vent about everything that’s going wrong with the wedding plans!
So be prepared for almost every spare minute of time you have from this moment until the wedding is over to be booked with wedding related activities, start becoming an expert on weddings and make sure you know every trick to calm your bride down when necessary! If the money becomes a problem, try checking out coupons. There’s plenty of them online nowadays, on such sites as Discountrue or RetailMeNot, so you can choose out of many different stores. JCPenney, Neiman Marcus – you name it, it’s there!
Choosing the dresses
Some brides have been dreaming about their wedding dress forever, and know exactly what they want. Others have only the vaguest idea and spend months looking for the perfect one. And you are going to need to be at her side the whole time, helping her find the dress that makes her look and feel as beautiful as possible!
Your honesty is crucial here, because brides can be pretty insecure about what they look good in, and they can get over excited about a REALLY bad choice!
As the MOH you probably have more say in the bridesmaid’s dresses, which is fantastic news for you. But if your bride is has several bridesmaids, then remember you’re not the only one standing at her side on the special day.
So be kind, avoid potential unhappiness among the bridal entourage and help the bride choose dresses that will be comfortable for and flattering to all the bridesmaids. Also, the MOH traditionally pays for her own dress, shoes and jewelry (as well as any wedding related beauty treatments).
Hosting the pre-wedding parties
Have I mentioned that being a maid of honor can be pretty costly? You already know that you are probably going to be paying for your own dress and accessories, but the MOH is also normally responsible for the bachelorette party and the bridal shower.
And if you are hosting a party of any kind that means you are going to be responsible for at least some, if not all of the costs related to it. So before you agree to be a maid of honor, make sure you are upfront with the bride about what you can and can’t afford!
Sometimes the hosting of these parties falls to other people, but make sure you’re ready to arrange both of them – just in case! And if you find yourself drowning under this responsibility then don’t try to be a superwoman, ask your fellow bridesmaids for help!
Know as much about the whole wedding as the bride does
No matter how simple your bride wants her wedding to be, it is one of the most involved and complex events there are. There are dozens of little details and everyone is going to have questions, which means you need to be able to provide the answers.
You are the brides’ sidekick, and she has tons on her plate so it is understandable that she might forget things. So you need to know the wedding planning schedule – who is responsible for what, when important appointments are happening and when things need to be ready by.
You’ll also need to know answers to the questions the guests may ask which includes everything about the registry (where it is, what’s on it), events leading up to the wedding and specifics about the itinerary for the day of the main event.
Make sure all the guests have your contact details so they can get hold of you if they need to – your social media details, your email address and your phone number. By making sure you’re available to answer any and all questions you’ll reduce a lot of the bride’s stress!
Be the ultimate sidekick
The MOH needs to be there for the bride as much as much as possible, but especially on her big day. Whenever she needs something – whether it is a tissue, assistance when going to the loo, someone to run interference or a calming influence you need to be within arm’s reach!
The bride will probably be pretty emotional on her wedding day, so you will need to do everything in your power to reduce her stress. That means you’ll need to handle the vendors if there are any questions or problems, have backup plans for backup plans and manage the bridesmaids.
You are also going to have the honor of witnessing and signing the marriage certificate, and then be on hand to help the bride while the post ceremony photography is happening. That means touching up her makeup, and finding the guests who are supposed to be present for the photographs!
By this time a lot of the pressure is off, but you are still going to need to know how to bustle your brides dress for the reception which can be a lot more complicated than it seems! It is also up to you to make sure the bride actually eats something or she may just pass out before the reception is over!
It is not always compulsory, but have a maid of honor speech ready if your bride has asked for one. Pull out a few personal stories, but don’t embarrass her in any way! And lastly, get the bride ready to leave by helping her change if necessary and collecting any gifts that guests brought to the wedding.
Our closing thoughts
No matter how many or how few duties your bride has asked you to perform, at the end of the day there is just one thing you need to remember – and that is to have as much fun as possible! Help your bride laugh at any disasters that happen, instead of falling to pieces.
She chose you to help her get through one of the most important days of her life, and it is something that both of you will remember for the rest of your lives. By the end of it, your friend will be Mrs. Prince Charming and that is something precious – so embrace and enjoy it and help her do the same!