Whether the bride is your sister, your cousin, or your bestie, if you’re the Maid of Honor, there’s actually more to it than the honor part. There are actual Maid of Honor duties, but don’t let them get you down. We break them down so you’re prepared to be the support system you never knew she needed. (Keep in mind, every bride and situation is different, so some of the below might not pertain to you, but these Maid of Honor duties give you an overall sense of responsibilities that might be thrown your way.)
GO GOWN SHOPPING
If you’re lucky enough to be asked to go gown shopping, consider this one an honor. First, if you’re not married, it gives you a preview of what the whole process is like. Second, if the bride asked you to come, she’s most likely looking for your help and honest opinion. Unlike mom or grandma, you’re probably closer to the bride’s age and know how she wants to look, so use your voice (in a respectful way of course) and share your views of how dress styles, fabrics, and details look on your bestie. (and if you feel bad being candid, remember that if she’s asking you to be there, she wants that honesty there too.)
THROW THE SHOWER & BACHELORETTE PARTIES
Whether you’re fully financially responsible or not, every bridal shower needs a quarterback and that’s you. Gathering names for the invite list, scouting venues, décor ideas, and getting creative with the bachelorette theme/activities are all Maid of Honor duties, most of the time. Make sure that those financially involved are also kept abreast of decisions, should they choose to be. Of course, if Aunt Edna just wants to write a check and be named on the invite as host and doesn’t care to know where the napkins are from or what the shower theme is, so be it. Take your creativity and run with it. But if she does want to know why you chose a certain theme, be open and let those also hosting in on your decision process.
Another task at the shower is to keep track of gifts when the bride opens them. She’ll thank you later, as well as know who to thank for the Cuisinart.
When it comes to a bachelorette party, which is usually a smaller group and most likely a smaller age range of guests, keep it fun and remember to keep the bride’s interests in mind. If she’s a party girl, consider a bar crawl, but if she’s more of a stay-at-home type of bride, consider a spa night. If she’s into fitness, do a workout class! The more personalized, the happier she (and everyone attending) will be.
SQUEEZE IN SOME BONDING TIME
If planning the above-mentioned events isn’t your thing, just remember who and what this is all about. It’s to celebrate the fact that your best friend found the person she’ll spend the rest of her life with, so celebrate that. If there’s a long engagement, use the extra time to get together to go out and have fun in small ways. Unlike the shower or bachelorette, getting your nails done together or going to lunch can be a nice distraction from all of the big events and will bring you back to some quality time and is a reminder of why you’re the MOH to begin with.
HELP KEEP BRIDESMAIDS HAPPY
You might not think this is a real responsibility of the MOH, but how stressful would it be for the bride if she knew some of the maids weren’t getting along? Ensure they are with some quick bonding activities. We suggest some fun ones here.
KEEP THINGS ON TRACK ON THE WEDDING DAY
If there’s not a wedding planner keeping everything on schedule, this duty might fall on you. Various tasks like hair, make-up, getting dressed and making sure the bride has eaten and had plenty of water are all necessary to ensure the wedding goes off without a hitch.
Wedding Guys Wisdom: request the timeline ahead of time to avoid stress and conflict come wedding day.
HOLD HER BOUQUET
As for Maid of Honor duties during the ceremony, it might be your job to hold the bouquet after the Bride walks down the aisle. Just remember to give it back to her for her walk back down post-ceremony.
MAKE A SPEECH
Your moment to shine on the big day is if you’re making a toast. No matter what, keep embarrassing stories to a minimum, and remind everyone why you’re MOH. Remember nobody wants to sit there and hear every memory you’ve shared since nursery school, but a few funny anecdotes are fine. Keep it succinct, and bring it back to the couple and you’ll be fine.
Along with answering guests’ questions at the wedding, and possibly spreading the word on your hashtag for the evening, there are other tasks you and the bridesmaids will be responsible for. For more general bridesmaid responsibilities beyond Maid of Honor duties, check out our Bridesmaid Etiquette story, here.