Last Updated: Jan 30, 2018
Being chosen as a bride’s maid of honor is a mark of true friendship and trust. Not only is she highlighting you as one of her closest friends, but she’s counting on you to support her throughout the engagement process, swapping of “I Dos” and beyond. While it may seem like a lot of pressure, don’t doubt your abilities just yet.
Remember, the bride selected you because she trusts you, so take a cue from her and have confidence in yourself. You’ve got a lot of work ahead of you, but if you know what you’re in for, the process will be simple and smooth. And rather than worrying about everything you’re responsible for, focus on keeping the bride happy as she prepares for this major milestone.
A maid of honor’s duties vary depending on the bride’s individual expectations, so it’s a good idea to make a date with your friend early on to review what’s expected of you. Will you be hosting bridal luncheons and helping with invitations? Or, will she do these things herself? Whatever the case, it’s crucial that you both agree on your role so that there is no confusion as the wedding approaches.
Now, let’s look at some traditional maid of honor responsibilities and break them down into manageable sections: Before the wedding, during the wedding, and after the vows.
Before the Wedding Duties: Easing the Way to “I Do”
In the months leading up to the wedding, the bride will often call on her maid of honor for help. Whether that means shopping for accessories, deciding on decor or lending an ear during times of stress, make sure you’re available. These are normal best friend duties that will come naturally for most maids of honor, but sometimes there are more challenging obligations as well. Here’s what you can expect:
- Wedding Dress Shopping. Some brides know exactly what they want in a wedding gown. Others embark on a months-long process to find the perfect fit. Either way, expect to be at her side, sipping champagne as she tries on dress after dress—and accessories, of course. Be honest but kind to help her find the dress that will make her look and feel her most beautiful.
- Bridesmaid Dress Shopping. Rejoice! As the maid of honor you’ll have a say in what you wear on your friend’s wedding day. Help her choose a frock that will be comfortable and flattering for you and the other bridesmaids.
- DIY Assistance. Depending on how crafty the bride is, she may undertake some DIY projects in the days leading up to the wedding. Whether that means making favors, hand-lettering envelopes or creating centerpieces, volunteer to help get these projects done with as little stress as possible.
- Hosting a Bachelorette Party and/or Bridal Shower. While the hosting duties for these events can fall to other people, you should still be prepared to take them on. You may need to arrange both, but don’t be afraid to turn to other bridesmaids for help if you need it. Be sure to browse our stylish selection of bridal shower invitations and read our bridal shower ideas.
- Moral Support. The months leading up to a wedding are stressful for any bride, and simply being available to chat can do wonders. Call your friend periodically to check in and make sure that everything’s progressing according to plan. You’ll earn extra brownie points by asking if there’s anything you can do to help.
Wedding Day Duties: Pre-Vows
The wedding day is go time for the maid of honor. Whether the bride is cool as a cucumber or experiences extreme jitters, it’s your job to keep things running smoothly.
- Know Your Stuff. Everyone will have questions about the wedding day—when and where are portraits taking place? What time is the cake-cutting? What’s the rain plan? It will help the bride immensely if she isn’t the only one with the answers.
- Stay Within Arm’s Reach. When the bride needs something—a tissue, a bobby pin or a glass of champagne—be by her side anticipating her request. You should never be out of reach. She’ll be comforted by your presence.
- Corral the Bridesmaids. Whether there are two bridesmaids or 12, make sure everyone knows where they should be and what they should be doing throughout the day.
- Enforce Sobriety Control. Champagne can certainly help calm the nerves, but no one should overindulge—at least not before the ceremony.
- Run Interference. Everyone wants to see the bride before the wedding—but she may not return the sentiment. If there’s anyone who might run the risk of stressing the bride out, do your best to keep them away from her until she’s ready to see them. She may also appreciate if you take control of her phone for the day—but that really depends on personal preference.
- Play Timekeeper. The bride shouldn’t be worried about the schedule. That’s your job!
- Witness and Sign the Marriage Certificate. Make it official!
- Hold the Bride’s Bouquet and the Groom’s Ring During the Vows.
After the Vows: Party Time
Once the ceremony is over, it’s time to celebrate—but your job isn’t over yet! That said, a lot of the pressure is lifted, and you should enjoy yourself. Just don’t forget to wrap up your final maid of honor duties.
- Bustle Up. Help the bride prepare her dress for the reception—and touch up her makeup, if need be.
- Toast the Happy Couple. It can be short and sweet, funny, or heartfelt. Just be yourself and say something sweet to the bride and groom!
- Be a Dancing Queen. Is the dance floor empty? Encourage guests to shake their booties by setting an example.
- Collect the Goods. For those guests who bring gifts to the wedding, ensure that they’re all collected in one place and brought home at the end of the night.
- Feed the Bride and Groom. Many couples never taste a bit of food during their receptions, but do your best to make sure the bride gets something in her belly before the toasts begin. Offer her a plate and give her a few minutes to enjoy it.
- Corral the Guests. When it’s time for the cake-cutting, bouquet toss and other activities, help corral the guests and get them where they need to be.
- Prepare for Takeoff. When the party’s over, help the bride change into her going-away dress and collect her gown and accessories to take home.
No matter what your maid of honor duties entail, it’s important to remember one essential rule: Have fun! You’ve been chosen to help a friend navigate one of the most special days of her life, and it’s an experience that will bring you closer than ever before. Embrace it and enjoy it, because your friend will be a Mrs. before you know it. You can help her remember this special day by gifting her with a personalized gift that both she and the groom will cherish!