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How Can I Be an Effective Long Distance Maid of Honor?

This post comes from Group Therapy in our TrèsSugar Community. Feel free to add your advice in the comments!

My best friend just informed me that she is getting married and that she wants me to be her maid of honor. Naturally I was thrilled and excited, but now reality has set in. How am I supposed to effectively fulfill all the responsibilities of being her maid of honor when I live in California now and she's in Hawaii?

This is my first time being in a wedding, so I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I obviously want to help her out as much as I can, especially with planning a bridal shower/bachelorette party, but it's difficult for me to get away from work, especially since airfares aren't cheap. I'm just worried that my lack of presence due to high travel costs will be seen as me being cheap and not 100 percent committed to my best friend's needs.

Has anyone else ever been in this position? Should I just bite the bullet and throw down to fly to Hawaii a few times leading up to the wedding? Any advice or tips on how to be the best long distance maid of honor would be greatly appreciated!

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Source: Flickr User PrincessAshley

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ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Sure Tara. I agree with others. As long as you can talk up-front about what you'll be able to do and help with long distance, and she is okay with that. You'll be fine. Honestly, on the most important day, you'll be there to support her, and that's really the most important part.. Us brides have expectations, but when it comes down to it.. where your bachelorette party is, or who attended, isn't the important thing.Best of luck! And bonus on getting to visit Hawaii, as many times as you will get to!
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Sure Tara. I agree with others. As long as you can talk up-front about what you'll be able to do and help with long distance, and she is okay with that. You'll be fine. Honestly, on the most important day, you'll be there to support her, and that's really the most important part.. Us brides have expectations, but when it comes down to it.. where your bachelorette party is, or who attended, isn't the important thing. Best of luck! And bonus on getting to visit Hawaii, as many times as you will get to!
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 6 years
Thanks everyone for all your help and advice!! I've been freaking out a little about how to be upfront with her about my concerns since I know she's stressed enough as it is. You guys have brought me back down to reality and I know she'll be understanding. I just need to be upfront :-)ella- I'm sorry things aren't turning out quite as expected. Hopefully as they won't be there for the shower / bachelorette party, they'll put in 110% on your wedding day. I really value your perspective as the bride-to-be and hope everything goes well on your big day!
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 6 years
Thanks everyone for all your help and advice!! I've been freaking out a little about how to be upfront with her about my concerns since I know she's stressed enough as it is. You guys have brought me back down to reality and I know she'll be understanding. I just need to be upfront :-) ella- I'm sorry things aren't turning out quite as expected. Hopefully as they won't be there for the shower / bachelorette party, they'll put in 110% on your wedding day. I really value your perspective as the bride-to-be and hope everything goes well on your big day!
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Skigurl - thank you. I didn't think I was asking too much. Problem is that all the girls are financially strapped for very different reasons. My sister is in law school with 100K in school loansMy second maid not only has the three kids, but her husband just got his first job in YEARS.My third maid just got a new job as a policewoman - so really no time off.. she actually made the statement to me about a month ago that "she hoped they'd give her time off for the wedding!!!" Talk about stress.The one that is 12 hours away, probably isn't even COMING to the shower. And that same maid and my sister will most likely not be at my bachelorrette either... so yeah, it's a bit of a bummer for me. It's isn't the experience that I expected.
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
Skigurl - thank you. I didn't think I was asking too much. Problem is that all the girls are financially strapped for very different reasons. My sister is in law school with 100K in school loans My second maid not only has the three kids, but her husband just got his first job in YEARS. My third maid just got a new job as a policewoman - so really no time off.. she actually made the statement to me about a month ago that "she hoped they'd give her time off for the wedding!!!" Talk about stress. The one that is 12 hours away, probably isn't even COMING to the shower. And that same maid and my sister will most likely not be at my bachelorrette either... so yeah, it's a bit of a bummer for me. It's isn't the experience that I expected.
CupcakeGal10 CupcakeGal10 6 years
You can absolutely do this! My best friend was proposed to, and married, in California...and I live on the East Coast. Reflecting upon my maid of honor experience, I think the most important thing is to discuss each other's expectations ahead of time, before the detailed planning really gets started. First, make sure that you can commit to her wedding weekend/date- I would try to fly to CA a few days ahead of her wedding day, as she will probably be nervous, stressed, and overjoyed to see her best friend. :) Committing to such a big role in a wedding, and then not being able to show up, is not an option- clear the date with your boss, with everyone in your scheduling book. Your best friend and her wedding needs to be your #1 priority that month.Second, explain to your best friend that you're on a limited budget- she will (at least, she should) understand that flying back and forth for wedding prep, an engagement shower, brunch, etc. is not always going to be possible. Be there for her as much as you can, but don't dedicate yourself to the role so much that you're sacrificing your finances and common sense. :) I had to skip my friend's engagement party, but I did plan her bachelorette party from my hometown. I researched the hot night clubs/venues in a travel guide (dorky, but effective), sent questions about fun party places to other friends who lived in the area, got a list of who the bride wanted to invite and sent out invitations ahead of time...Really, all it takes for you to be an awesome long-distance maid of honor is 1) GREAt organization and planning-ahead techniques, and 2) simply being there for her, be it by phone or in person, when she needs you. If she's like most brides I know, she *will* be stressed up until the moment she's taking her vows. :)And remember when things start to seem like a lot of work...she's probably going to be your best woman when you tie the knot. Set a good precedent. And have FUN!!!! :)
CupcakeGal10 CupcakeGal10 6 years
You can absolutely do this! My best friend was proposed to, and married, in California...and I live on the East Coast. Reflecting upon my maid of honor experience, I think the most important thing is to discuss each other's expectations ahead of time, before the detailed planning really gets started. First, make sure that you can commit to her wedding weekend/date- I would try to fly to CA a few days ahead of her wedding day, as she will probably be nervous, stressed, and overjoyed to see her best friend. :) Committing to such a big role in a wedding, and then not being able to show up, is not an option- clear the date with your boss, with everyone in your scheduling book. Your best friend and her wedding needs to be your #1 priority that month. Second, explain to your best friend that you're on a limited budget- she will (at least, she should) understand that flying back and forth for wedding prep, an engagement shower, brunch, etc. is not always going to be possible. Be there for her as much as you can, but don't dedicate yourself to the role so much that you're sacrificing your finances and common sense. :) I had to skip my friend's engagement party, but I did plan her bachelorette party from my hometown. I researched the hot night clubs/venues in a travel guide (dorky, but effective), sent questions about fun party places to other friends who lived in the area, got a list of who the bride wanted to invite and sent out invitations ahead of time... Really, all it takes for you to be an awesome long-distance maid of honor is 1) GREAt organization and planning-ahead techniques, and 2) simply being there for her, be it by phone or in person, when she needs you. If she's like most brides I know, she *will* be stressed up until the moment she's taking her vows. :) And remember when things start to seem like a lot of work...she's probably going to be your best woman when you tie the knot. Set a good precedent. And have FUN!!!! :)
skigurl skigurl 6 years
ella, i feel bad that your girls aren't even helping with the shower (or maybe not attending it) and not hosting you a bachelorette party...lame...i think that if you are giong to be a long distance member of the wedding party you still have to make EFFORT and even if the bachelorette is 2 days before the wedding when you all travel for the big day, it's somethingi was just in a wedding for someone who lives a couple hours away and i still made it for the bachelorette and offered to help in any way i could whenever i could
skigurl skigurl 6 years
ella, i feel bad that your girls aren't even helping with the shower (or maybe not attending it) and not hosting you a bachelorette party...lame...i think that if you are giong to be a long distance member of the wedding party you still have to make EFFORT and even if the bachelorette is 2 days before the wedding when you all travel for the big day, it's something i was just in a wedding for someone who lives a couple hours away and i still made it for the bachelorette and offered to help in any way i could whenever i could
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
My maid of honor is my sister, who lives 4 hours away, my second bridesmaid is my best friend who lives an hour away and has 3 young kids and my third bridesmaid lives about 12 hours away.It's been hard, but my mother has been such a great help to me. I guess I feel a little slighted.. they aren't putting together my shower, or a bachelorette party, but those are the girls that I wanted next to me on my day... so I'm dealing with it. I knew going in that they wouldn't be there for everything, that's not why I asked them to be. If she asked you, it's probably because you are super important to her, and she wants you next to her on her most important day. You can discuss how everything else goes together...
ella1978 ella1978 6 years
My maid of honor is my sister, who lives 4 hours away, my second bridesmaid is my best friend who lives an hour away and has 3 young kids and my third bridesmaid lives about 12 hours away. It's been hard, but my mother has been such a great help to me. I guess I feel a little slighted.. they aren't putting together my shower, or a bachelorette party, but those are the girls that I wanted next to me on my day... so I'm dealing with it. I knew going in that they wouldn't be there for everything, that's not why I asked them to be. If she asked you, it's probably because you are super important to her, and she wants you next to her on her most important day. You can discuss how everything else goes together...
lms lms 6 years
I think the fact that she picked you as her maid of honor shows that she cares for you a great amount. She clearly knows that you don't live close by and will be limited in what you can do. Assuming that she is not the "its all about me" type that expects to be "served", you should be fine via long distance.When I got married, my best friend was going through issues, but I still wanted her to be my maid of honor. I fully understood her limitations. She helped out when she could and I had no problem with it. However, I was/am also the type that is very specific in what I want and I don't leave it up to other people to do(whether it is a time or money issue). I think it will work out fine for you as long as you convey your interest to her.
lms lms 6 years
I think the fact that she picked you as her maid of honor shows that she cares for you a great amount. She clearly knows that you don't live close by and will be limited in what you can do. Assuming that she is not the "its all about me" type that expects to be "served", you should be fine via long distance. When I got married, my best friend was going through issues, but I still wanted her to be my maid of honor. I fully understood her limitations. She helped out when she could and I had no problem with it. However, I was/am also the type that is very specific in what I want and I don't leave it up to other people to do(whether it is a time or money issue). I think it will work out fine for you as long as you convey your interest to her.
janneth janneth 6 years
No win $ituation. Sorry.
janneth janneth 6 years
No win $ituation. Sorry.
skigurl skigurl 6 years
(ugh i mean you don't have to share the title but you can share the duties/responsibilities)
skigurl skigurl 6 years
oh and also, if she needs someone on the ground to help, if she has another friend who lives actually in hawaii, there's no harm in having that person do a bit of that legwork (if she's okay with it)...you don't have to share the duties, but sharing the responsibilities would be okay if she has another trusted and reliable friend around don't stress too much about it, and keep your cell phone on!
skigurl skigurl 6 years
oh and also, if she needs someone on the ground to help, if she has another friend who lives actually in hawaii, there's no harm in having that person do a bit of that legwork (if she's okay with it)...you don't have to share the duties, but sharing the responsibilities would be okay if she has another trusted and reliable friend arounddon't stress too much about it, and keep your cell phone on!
skigurl skigurl 6 years
i would be clear with her and it's nice that you're even thinking about throwing down for plane tickets, so talk to her and tell her the truth about your worries and discuss TOGETHER what level of involvement (which includes flights) is necessary and just keep the communication open - let her know to ask you when she needs something and keep priorities in check (ie: don't cry wolf on something less important but to be honest when there's a code red issue that you need to be there for)
lizkiernan lizkiernan 6 years
I was my sister's maid of honor, I lived in Boston and she was in DC. I felt the same way, on top of that, I was also designing her wedding invitations, place settings, save the date cards, etc.I talked with her about how I was concerned about the distance, but she was very understanding. I did the same things that Sarelpt suggested, keeping in touch with lots of e-mails and texts and phone calls. It's easy to bounce ideas back and forth through e-mail. Also, I'd say half of being a maid of honor is just being there for the bride-to-be when she's freaking out about something, so make sure you always have your phone handy and let her know to call you whenever she needs to! I also got a list of the other bridesmaids phone numbers and e-mails so I could talk with them directly instead of having to go through my sister and give her another thing to worry about. With the help of her other bridesmaids, we were easily able to plan an awesome bachelorette party. And probably the groom's e-mail and anyone else in the wedding party. You never know when you might need to call them up with a question about something, especially once the wedding gets closer. Best of luck!!
lizkiernan lizkiernan 6 years
I was my sister's maid of honor, I lived in Boston and she was in DC. I felt the same way, on top of that, I was also designing her wedding invitations, place settings, save the date cards, etc. I talked with her about how I was concerned about the distance, but she was very understanding. I did the same things that Sarelpt suggested, keeping in touch with lots of e-mails and texts and phone calls. It's easy to bounce ideas back and forth through e-mail. Also, I'd say half of being a maid of honor is just being there for the bride-to-be when she's freaking out about something, so make sure you always have your phone handy and let her know to call you whenever she needs to! I also got a list of the other bridesmaids phone numbers and e-mails so I could talk with them directly instead of having to go through my sister and give her another thing to worry about. With the help of her other bridesmaids, we were easily able to plan an awesome bachelorette party. And probably the groom's e-mail and anyone else in the wedding party. You never know when you might need to call them up with a question about something, especially once the wedding gets closer. Best of luck!!
postmodernsleaze postmodernsleaze 6 years
I agree with Sarelpt. In this day and age, there are plenty of technologies that will help keep you two connected. Text, e-mail, & phone calls will need to be amped up. But your friend asked you knowing that you live in another state, so I'm sure she's already aware of this as well. Why not shoot her an e-mail or call? Let her know that although you're across the Pacific in another state, you want to be the best maid of honor you can be under the circumstances. Let her know you'd like to be a part of the process and ask her to send pictures and keep you updated on any details or decisions she's unsure of.
Sarelpt Sarelpt 6 years
I think your friend will understand that Hawaii is not just around the corner. Hopefully, she'd thought that over and even with your absence she still wants you as a maid of honor. Try being there over the phone or internet. Have her send you pictures of flowers, dresses, cakes etc via phone so you can text your imput right back. Or ask if she can send you digital pictures of some of the things she's looking into and you can email your opinion. It is kinda impersonal but at the same time you're using all that's available to get connected. But I do think at some point, save up for a plane ticket, even if it's just a few days. Look for internet deals on flights too. Try booking a plane at non-peak hours (like 2am) inconvenient but you'll save and sleep on the plane!
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