The Complete Guide to Maid of Honor Duties

You’ve been chosen as the bride’s go-to person to be by her side on one of the biggest days of her life! But what exactly are the maid of honor duties you’ll have to carry out? It’s an exciting privilege to be given this special role, and your bestie won’t have given it to just anyone! You’ll be a shoulder to cry on, leading the rest of the bridal party, helping the bride make important decisions, helping the bride get ready, making sure that everything runs smoothly… the list goes on! So make it easy for yourself by following a checklist of responsibilities.

If you’re not sure what’s expected of you, don’t worry! Keep reading our complete guide of maid of honor duties with everything you need to know to be the best right-hand woman!

Before the Wedding

1. Be a Helping Hand

You’ll be the bride’s second in command! This means listening to them talk about any wedding prep such as who to send invitations to, where best to seat friends during the reception, which dresses to choose for bridesmaids and more. It’s likely the bride will ask you for your opinion, so make sure you’re ready to give out your best advice. Sometimes it can be tricky to navigate how much support to give and how often you should check in with her. So, our tip is to be open and ask the bride from the start how involved she wants you to be.

2. Lead the Bridesmaids

Sometimes you’ll be lucky in that all of the bridesmaids will know each other. But usually, at least one or two won’t, so it’s great to send an email, or open a WhatsApp group chat to introduce yourself and make sure that everyone has each other’s contact details. You can even arrange a meet up in person or virtually as an icebreaker! As the head bridesmaid, you’ll have to make sure that all of the bridesmaids know what they should be doing before and during the wedding, including fittings and pre-wedding events. It will also fall on you to keep the peace if any problems arise between the bridesmaids! Being a leader can be tricky, especially if you have some of your best friends within the group. So the best way to manage problems is to remind everyone what’s important and why you’re all there.

3. Wedding Dress Shopping & Fittings

One of your maid of honor duties will be to accompany the bride to dress appointments. You’ll have to help her find that one special dress. So be ready to give supportive and honest feedback. If the bride has chosen you it’s because she values your opinion. If you’re not sure about a dress then you should politely say that, but make sure that you’re thinking of what she likes and what suits her. Our tip is to let her say how she feels first and then give your advice. Also, take lots of photos to help her decide. Your main aim for this duty is to build up the bride’s confidence and make her feel beautiful!

4. Go-to Contact for Guests

As a maid of honor, you’ll have to keep the bride as stress-free as possible. This involves being a contact for guests, as she might be too busy to answer messages. You’ll find that guests will have a lot of questions, from venue address to registry times. So learn as much as you can about what the bride wants and what the couple is planning. This way you can answer any questions other guests ask you.

5. Host the Bridal Shower

One of the most exciting parts of being a maid of honor will be hosting events. This includes the bridal shower. You’ll have to create a guest list and make sure invitations are sent out on time. Usually, this will be 6 to 8 weeks before the shower. In most cases the bridal party will pay for the bridal shower, so make sure that your budget suits everyone. When it comes to a location, think of one that most people can get to. On the day, you’ll have to organize any catering, favors, set up and help with clean up. It’s also a good idea to take note of the presents that people give the bride, so she can thank them later.

bride and bridesmaids getting ready
Photography: Daniel Chafer

6. Plan the bachelorette party

Similarly, you’ll have to throw an unforgettable bachelorette party! You’ll be in charge of coordinating everything from the venue, catering, activities, decor, itinerary, and budget. As there will be quite a few things to do, we recommend delegating to the other bridesmaids. When you think of ideas, keep in mind what the bride wants. Whether it’s a wild night out, a glamorous trip, or a cosy weekend away, ask yourself if the bride will enjoy it. Also, it can be hard to select a day with a group of people. So, to make it easier, put forward a few dates so that everyone can select between those. Definitely make sure the bride can attend! As the bridesmaids will be paying for most of this one too, make sure your budget works with everyone. Once the evening or weekend arrives, make sure everyone knows any important info and most importantly, has fun!

7. Attend Pre-Wedding Events

During the lead up to the wedding, there might be a few important pre-wedding events that you’ll need to attend. This includes an engagement party and a rehearsal dinner. Find out about any of these events before the big day. The bride will probably need your support, so clear your calendar and make sure you’re free to be there with her.

8. Prepare a Survival Kit

One of the maid of honor duties is to prepare for anything that the bride might need on her special day. A survival kit is one of these. Your bride will definitely appreciate having a survival kit on hand filled with any essential items. The most common items include tissues, hairpins, deodorant, band-aids, mints, pain relief, clothing tape and a sewing kit.

9. Support the Bride Emotionally

As well as offering help with any important tasks, you also have to give emotional support. It’s no secret that brides can get very stressed during the lead up to their wedding. They’ll need a positive and dependable person to vent to. Our tip is to plan relaxing days as the wedding gets closer, for example, a spa day, a movie night, or a cocktail evening. Also, make sure that the bride and groom set some time aside for date nights before the wedding, and that they get some alone time along during the wedding day. Help them find a moment to take a step back and take in the beautiful celebration with their loved ones.

10. Visit Any Vendors

Some brides will want their maid of honor to be with them throughout the whole planning process, which includes selecting vendors. Whereas some brides will take care of this with their partner or wedding planner. In either case, be ready to make decisions with any vendors, check out venues, provide suggestions, pick bridesmaids’ dresses and even choose cake flavors.

bride and maid of honor
Photography: Jordan Voth

On the Wedding Day

1. Get Ready With the Bride

The day is here! Start off by confirming that the bride has everything she needs, which might mean running some last-minute errands. As everyone is getting ready, keep an eye on what’s happening and that it’s all running like clockwork. The bride can be late, but no one else can be! So check hair and make up times, deliveries and that everyone leaves on time. Look out for any details, including the veil and accessories, and make sure that anyone who shouldn’t be in the bridal suite isn’t.

2. Support the Bride

Most brides will probably forget to eat and hydrate during the day. That’s where you come in! Make sure that the bride has had a good breakfast, and that her favorite snacks are at hand. This will help with any pre-wedding nerves too. It’s likely the bride will be nervous so help her keep calm, relaxed and make her laugh. Our tip is to create a playlist with her favorite songs to set the tone and keep things upbeat.

3. Messenger During the Day

You need to be the unofficial spokesperson for the bride during the day. This involves answering calls, texts, and last-minute questions. So make sure that you have a copy of the wedding day timeline and any important contact details. The bride might ask you to send her partner notes during the morning too. Be prepared with an extra pair of comfy shoes in case there’s some running around. Also, make sure to check in on other important guests such as the mother of the bride or mother-in-law.

4. Walk down the aisle

This is one of the most important moments of the day. It’ll be your responsibility to fix the bride’s train, and bustle the bride’s dress. Make sure she looks spectacular! Once you’ve done any final touches, arranged her train and fluffed her dress to perfection, the bride is ready to go. When you reach the altar, you’ll have to hold the bride’s bouquet, then hand it to her before she walks back down the aisle.

maid of honor duties
Photography: Adriana Klas

Ceremony

If the couple has chosen a receiving line, you’ll stand next to the groom. Then you’ll walk down the aisle after the bridesmaids, flower girl and ring bearer. After the ceremony, the officiant and couple will sign the marriage license, they’ll need two witnesses and usually that’ll be the maid of honor and best man. When it’s time to walk into the reception it’s tradition for you to be accompanied by the best man.

1. Photos and Social Media

Make sure that this unforgettable day is remembered by capturing beautiful moments. Although there will probably be a professional photographer, it’s always fun to look back at those casual behind the scenes shots of toasts, tears and dancing. The bride will thank you later! This also means rounding everyone up for their professional photos. Don’t forget to remind guests of the wedding hashtag too, so that everyone can share their perspective of the special day.

2. Look After Important Items

As one of the key people in the bridal party, the bride probably chose you because of your reliability. So one of your maid of honor duties will be looking after important items, and having them nearby for the bride. For example, ring boxes, phones, lipstick, any important medication, and any of the special ‘somethings’.

3. Give a Speech

Now this is a duty that you might be really looking forward to, or that you might feel a little intimated by. If it’s the latter, don’t worry! Your maid of honor toast is a memorable special moment for you to give a heartfelt speech about your best friend. Talk about your friendship, how you met the groom, or a favorite memory. It doesn’t have to be long, just a minute or two. Leave plenty of time to write your speech and practice. Make sure it’s funny, but not embarrassing, charming and sincere.

maid of honor duties
Photography: Lauren Kendall

Be There for the Bride During the Reception

The bride will also need you during the reception. Especially for any bathroom breaks. Her dress will be very delicate so heading to the lady’s room might be a two-person job. Also be there for any beauty help such as make up touch-ups or fixing flyaways.

1. Help With Any Post-Wedding Arrangements

Be prepared to help out after the wedding too. This might be cleaning up, collecting gifts and storing them, printing photos, distributing vendor tips, or helping to return items. The bride might also need your help with honeymoon prep, taking her and the groom to the airport, or picking them up from the airport after the honeymoon.

2. Have Fun!

Cherish this rewarding and unique experience that your best friend has chosen you for. One part of having fun will be letting loose on the dance floor. The happy couple might be worried that guests won’t enjoy the celebration, so be the cheerleader for the event, and be the first to show off your dance moves. It helps to request people’s favorite songs if you see guests looking scared of approaching. If others see you having fun, they will too! Don’t forget to grab a drink or an extra slice of cake too, you’ve deserve it!

bride and bridesmaids
Photography: The Bold Americana

Now that you’ve read our top tips for being the best maid of honor, check out more tips for other important members of the bridal party such as How To Choose Your Bridesmaids. Over at WedBoard you’ll also find helpful information for different parts of the wedding planning process including What to Expect From Your Day of Wedding Coordinator, What To Do The Week Before Your Wedding and What Your Bridal Party Should Pay For.

Featured image: Courtesy of Show Me Your Mumu

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