How to Be the Ultimate Maid of Honor
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's look at the big picture. The maid of honor's primary purpose falls under three major categories: support the bride, manage the bridesmaids, and be available. Good organizational and communication skills are a plus, but a positive attitude is a must!
Supporting the bride means keeping her as stress free as possible and helping with the wedding planning in whatever capacity she needs it. (If she has a planner, you'll have less to take on, but the following duties include all that you might have to help with.) This also means emotional support. You need to be a good listener when she's having a meltdown about the planning process or cold feet about the marriage. You need to be honest and offer positive feedback when she asks for your opinions, but you also need to support whatever decisions she makes that you don't agree with.
Managing the bridesmaids includes making sure there is constant communication about where they need to be and when and what's expected of them. Most importantly, it's about being the go-between person for them and the bride, so that if they have issues about the cost of the bridesmaids' dresses, for example, you can help solve the issue without stressing out the bride.
Being available means making sure you can attend all the prewedding festivities — such as any bridal showers or bachelorette parties you may need to plan and host — as well as being available for guests to ask you questions and to take on last-minute DIY projects. Now let's look at the specific maid of honor responsibilities. And download the printable checklist here!
Before the Wedding
- Attend bridal fairs with the bride.
- Help the bride create Pinterest inspiration boards.
- Go wedding dress shopping with the bride, and coordinate the bridesmaids to attend if the bride wants them there.
- Attend dress fittings, and learn how to bustle the dress. You'll need to help with that on the wedding day.
- Go shopping with the bridesmaids and help select their dresses, shoes, and accessories.
- Offer to pay for your entire outfit.
- Assist the bride with wedding planning as needed. Examples include choosing the venue, picking out invitations, deciding color/theme of the wedding, and putting together the seating chart.
- Attend vendor meetings (florist, caterer, etc.) or cake tastings with the bride if she asks you to join her.
- Take on any DIY projects or mundane tasks the bride asks you to do, such as assembling and addressing the invitations or packing the favors. Delegate jobs to bridesmaids.
- Plan and host the bridal shower.
- Keep a record of prewedding gifts for thank-you cards.
- Collect the bows and ribbons from the bridal shower gifts, and create a "bow-quet" for the rehearsal.
- Serve as the bridesmaid ringleader. Keep them in the loop on parties and activities, and make sure they stay on task.
- Plan the bachelorette party if the bride wants one. Coordinate travel, splitting the costs, activities, and invitations.
- Attend rehearsals and other prewedding parties.
- Make your contact information available to help guests with questions about the wedding. Make sure they all know what the wedding website is and where the bride and groom are registered.
- Be available the day before the wedding in case there are any last-minute mishaps.
On the Wedding Day
- Create and bring an emergency kit (like this one) that includes any potential disaster necessities. It should contain clear nail polish, a miniature sewing kit, bobby pins, acetaminophen, lotion, tissues, a copy of her vows, mints, stain remover, mascara, face wipes, oil blotters, lipstick, fabric tape, antacids, floss, and deodorant.
- Keep a running checklist of all the things that need to be completed before and during the event. You don't want the bride to be running around trying to keep track of everything.
- Pick up the flowers, any last-minute decor, the cake, etc. if needed.
- Help the planner with decorations and setup as needed.
- Assist the bride in getting into her dress and veil.
- Act as a go-between for the bride, the groom, and any of the wedding vendors. This may involve confiscating her phone so you can text people directions and answering whatever questions they have.
- Be an emotional support for the bride. Keep her smiling, laughing, and enjoying the day.
- Be the contact person for the bridesmaids so they know where to be and what to bring.
- Make sure the bride and the bridesmaids are ready on time.
- If you're getting ready in the bridal suite, have it all cleaned up for when the newlyweds return!
- Hang on to the groom's ring during the ceremony until requested. If you have nowhere else to put it, wear it on your thumb.
- Hand out the bouquets, boutonnieres, ring pillow, rose petals, and corsages to the wedding party.
- Play hostess by helping direct and welcome guests at the ceremony and the reception.
- Be sure to encourage guests to sign the guest book.
- Keep an eye on her dress during the ceremony, and make sure to fluff and straighten her train if necessary.
- Hold the bride's bouquet while vows are exchanged.
- Take part in any prayers or readings at the bride's request.
- Stand by the bride at the altar.
- Sign the marriage license as a witness.
- Round up the wedding party for photos.
- Stand in the receiving line if there is one.
- Bustle the bride's dress for dancing.
- Dance with the best man.
- Make a toast or speech at the reception.
- Gather up bridesmaids for the bouquet toss, photos, and dancing.
- Make sure the bride eats and stays hydrated throughout the wedding. Help her reapply/fix makeup and hair. Help her pee in her dress.
- Take part in all the traditions.
- Be on the dance floor and encourage others to do the same.
- Round up guests for cake cutting.
- Assist the bride with any wardrobe changes, including her getaway outfit.
- Help decorate the getaway car, and put her necessities, honeymoon bag, etc. in it.
- Make sure all the bride's belongings make it safely to her home.
- Don't let guests leave without favors and table arrangements.
- Thank guests for attending.
- At the end of the reception, help the bride and groom's families load up the gifts and any other memorabilia. Do a final walk through the venue to make sure that nothing has been left behind.