So you’re the Maid of Honor?! Lucky you! Yes, this means taking on a ton of responsibility for the bride’s wedding day, but it also means she truly values your relationship and wants you there every step of the way. So what exactly does being the MOH mean? We’ve tackled that question for you and prepared a handy list of all of the major Maid of Honor duties, below. Follow this and you’ll be a first-class Maid of Honor, helping the bride with wedding planning every step of the way.
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First Things First…What is a Maid of Honor?
If the bride decides to have bridesmaids (remember, it’s completely optional!) it’s tradition for one of them to be chosen as Maid of Honor (or Matron of Honor if they are married). Similar to the role of best man, the MOH is the “chief” bridesmaid. For instance in the United Kingdom, the term was originally reserved for the Queen’s female attendant. In the past, a Maid of Honor was usually thought of as the bride’s right hand woman, helping as much or as little as the bride prefers. However, over time this role has evolved (more on that, below)
Who Should the Maid of Honor Be?
If you’re the bride reading this, you might be struggling with WHO should take top honor on your big day? Once you choose your wedding party, you might opt to have your best friend or sister fill the role (or maybe even your Aunt or Grandma!). However, a more modern approach might mean making your best guy friend or even your brother the Man of Honor. For gender neutral options, you might instead use Person of Honor or Honor Attendant.
So, What Should the Maid of Honor Actually Do?
What a Maid of Honor actually does is completely up to to the bride. While we’ll outline nine of the best ways a MOH can be supportive throughout the wedding-planning process, below, the best thing a bride can do is figure out where she needs the most help (and where she feels comfortable relinquishing a bit of control). Some of our favorite ways for Maid of Honors to get involved include:
- Plan your bachelorette/engagement party
- Putting together your wedding emergency kit (with essentials like safety pins, band-aids, fashion tape, and more)
- Wedding day assistance with your veil and makeup (and even going to the restroom if you have a heavy dress!)
- Keeping your bridesmaids on schedule
- Holding your bouquet once you get to the altar
- Being one of your witnesses when signing your marriage license (not all states require this).
- Give an amazing toast at the reception or even better, the rehearsal dinner (the latest trend).
The Maid of Honor Duties Checklist
Whether you’re the bride or MOH, use this checklist to help you get started.
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1. Be the Leader
Being appointed MOH means you’re basically the leader of all bridesmaids. This means you’re taking the lead on all the plans – from the dress appointments to the bachelorette party. And you’re pretty much in charge of all those secretive email chains (imperative to any planning process). Just remember to listen to all of the bridesmaids when they express concerns, so that no one is truly unhappy being a bridesmaid – like wearing a bridesmaid dress they hate.
2. Support Her During Wedding Dress Shopping
Speaking of dresses – the bride may opt to have her bridal party accompany her (or perhaps just her MOH) to salon appointments as she searches for her perfect dress. This is where you come prepared with honesty (but not too honest). Also, bring some tissues. You’ll likely need them. Once she chooses the dress, make sure to find out if you will you be bustling her dress after the ceremony. The salon will need to show you how, as every bustle is different depending on the dress.
3. Assist with Planning the Shower
Though tradition mainly has the bride’s mother or mother-in-law throwing the bridal shower, the Maid of Honor duties here include helping the host with whatever she may need. You’ll be the right-hand-woman for invitations, décor, and games. And since you’re super-close to the bride, you’ll know what she’ll love.
4. Take Charge of Planning the Bachelorette Party
Being the MOH also means you’re in charge of planning the bachelorette party. Just remember, this is the bride’s party – not yours. That being said, we suggest choosing a location that really fits the bride’s personality. If she’s low-key, opt for a spa weekend, or if she’s all about that last rage, skip out of town to a city like Miami or New York. In any case, just make sure you’re being fair to all bridesmaids regarding cost and location. You don’t want to make the girls stretch themselves thin trying to pay for the party. WGM Note: The bridesmaids usually cover the cost of the bride’s trip. Lavish expenditures are still her responsibility, however.
5. Be Her Right-Hand Woman
From DIY projects like crafting wedding favors or stuffing welcome bags for guests, she’ll undoubtedly call you when she needs an extra hand. This also includes emotional support, like keeping her sane when it’s all about to get to be too much. Our secret? Always have a bottle of wine at-the-ready.
6. Be There for All Her Pre-Wedding Needs
From packing for the weekend’s events (a handy checklist of necessary items is key) or the honeymoon, the bride might be a little scatterbrained. It’ll likely be a hectic few days for her, and this is your time to shine. Be there to help her with packing if she needs it, and you should also take this opportunity to discuss any other needs for the reception. For example, is she preserving her wedding bouquet? Are you in charge of taking her bouquet to the florist to get it freeze dried? If there are any other personal requests from the bride, you should discuss them now so you don’t need to bother her with these questions at the reception.
7. Be the Reception MVP
Your wedding day Maid of Honor duties include things like managing the getting ready process to make sure all bridesmaids are on time for wedding pictures. You’ll also be in charge of holding the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony. Someone in need of a snack during photos? You’re their girl. Bride need help holding her wedding gown when she inevitably has to use the restroom? Yep, that’s you too. You’re quite invaluable, MOH.
WGM Says: As the MOH, make sure that you get a copy of the wedding timeline, and that other bridesmaids have a copy as well so they know where they need to be and when.
8. Make a Stellar Wedding Speech
Even if you’re seriously afraid of public speaking, you’ve got to shove it all aside for your bride. One of your Maid of Honor duties is to give a seriously awesome Maid of Honor speech at the wedding reception (or rehearsal dinner). Whether you’re sentimental, funny, or sweet…just be you and reflect on your amazing friend and her awesome partner for life. And no! You can’t mention any exes or embarrassing moments.
9. Help as the Party Unwinds
As the party eventually ends and the bride’s on the dance floor not quite ready to go home, it’s time for you to close out the party. You’ll make sure there are no gifts left at the venue, that everyone’s belongings have made it home with them and that all the loose ends are tied up. Though this doesn’t only fall on your shoulders, it’ll be nice for the bride’s parents and in-laws to have an extra hand should they need it.
So no matter how little or how much help a bride might need, the most important Maid of Honor duties are the ones that make sure the bride is calm, cool, and happy!
Maid of Honor Duties FAQ
As a MOH, your main focus should be finding ways to help the bride. This can mean volunteering your time or just being a friend to vent to. What you should always try to avoid is making the bride more stressed than she might already be! That could involve overstepping boundaries, being too picky when it comes to the color of the bridesmaid dresses, etc. Overall, just try to be easy-breezy and not a pain in the you know what!
Absolutely not! Generally, it is the Maid of Honor’s job to collect funds for the party from other bridesmaids and friends/family members attending. It is not your job to pay for any part of the bachelorette party or other pre-wedding events on your own unless it’s by choice.
Of course you can. The key is to let the bride down gently. Be sure to communicate openly and honestly with the bride and tell her why you do not feel comfortable taking on this role right now. And if you choose, offer other ways you might be able to participate in the wedding without the official title. However whether or not you do that is completely up to you.
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