You’ve been chosen to be the maid of honor. Congrats! Many brides ask you to be their maid of honor for a reason – either because you are their closest friend, the most organized of your friend group, or the most supportive person to help her the reach the end of the aisle. They trust you, so expect to be there for anything and everything the bride may need. There are various maid of honor duties you will have to fulfill to help the bride plan her wedding.
This is a super special time for you and the bride to bond and for you to act as the right-hand woman for everything the bride may need. Although the sheer amount of tasks you have to do may seem daunting, take a deep breath! The bride is going to have a much less stressful wedding experience with the help of her beloved maid of honor.
What is a Maid of Honor?
For those without much wedding experience, the maid of honor is essentially the bride’s number one bridesmaid. The maid of honor is the bride’s equivalent of the groom’s best man. You may see or hear many refer to the maid of honor as the “MOH” for short.
More than the other bridesmaids, the maid of honor is responsible for helping the bride make it to the big day. We’ll break down all of the maid of honor duties you should expect if you are chosen for this role below!
Maid of Honor vs. Matron of Honor
You may have heard the less common term “matron of honor” before as well. The matron of honor is the same as the maid of honor – it’s just a different name for the role. Typically, the difference between maid vs. matron comes down to marital status. If the MOH is married, she is considered a matron of honor. If she isn’t married, she is called the maid of honor.
What Does the Maid of Honor Do?
- Support the Bride
- Attend Fittings and Shopping Trips
- Lead the Bridal Party
- Plan the Bridal Shower
- Plan the Bachelorette Party
- Answer Guests’ Questions
- Prepare a Toast
- Help with Wedding Planning
- Help the Bride Get Ready
- Assist the Mother of the Bride
- Act as Messenger for the Bride and Groom
- Keep the Bride Calm
- Make Sure the Bride Eats
- Sign the Marriage Certificate as a Witness
- Assist with Bathroom Trips
- Collect the Gifts
- Have Fun!
Pre-Wedding Maid of Honor Duties
Before the wedding day, there’s plenty of planning to do! Prepare for these pre-wedding maid of honor duties.
Support the Bride
First and foremost, the maid of honor is responsible for supporting the bride. Whether this means running errands, helping her decide on vendors, or just lending a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen when the bride is stressed.
Some brides may ask a lot out of the maid of honor. This could include attending cake and menu tastings (yum), helping to make invitations, making homemade decor or wedding favors, or helping choose the color scheme. In other cases, the bride may hire a wedding planner, which would take a lot off your plate. No matter the case, be sure to help out with anything the bride may need. It’s a commitment for sure, but your help will not go unappreciated.
If you’re not sure how much help your bride will need, ask early! Make sure she knows that you want to help as much as possible, and that you are ready to make room in your schedule for whatever she needs.
If you’re worried about the time commitment required, express this to your bride early on. Being the maid of honor is a lot of work, but it’s also rewarding and a great way to give back to your friend. Try to make it work if you’ve been chosen – create shared calendars or spreadsheets to stay on track so that you can support your friend.
Attend Fittings and Shopping Trips
This may be a fun and exciting part of the job (but don’t think of this as a job). Typically, the bride wants you to accompany her for wedding dress shopping trips and also may need your opinion on bridesmaid dresses.
Make sure your schedule is open for shopping trips and dress fittings. Your bride may also want your help with non-fashion related shopping trips, like checking out venues, vendors, or buying supplies for DIY decorations.
Lead the Bridal Party
As the maid of honor, you may also be considered the leader of the bridesmaids. Prepare to answer many questions and concerns from other bridesmaids and make sure everyone is on the same page with details like planning the bachelorette party and buying/altering dresses.
If you don’t know all of the bridesmaids well, try to send out an introduction email or text early on to get all of their contact information and to get the ball rolling. You may even consider getting the group together before the nitty gritty planning begins so that you can get comfortable spending time together. If you have the time and the inclination, schedule a girls night out (or in) to get to know one another.
Leading the bridal party also means keeping the peace. Ideally, everyone will get along splendidly, but this isn’t always the case. If the bride’s high school friends are clashing with her BFF from college, try to mediate and shut down any drama before it reaches the bride. The bridesmaids should be helping the bride feel less stressed, not adding to her plate by fighting amongst one another. As maid of honor, try to shield the bride from any issues within her bridal party and encourage the girls to get along for their friend’s sake!
Plan the Bridal Shower
This is one of the most important roles of being a maid of honor. Planning the bridal shower may take a lot of your time, too, depending on if you need to choose a venue, order food, make decorations, or send out invitations. You may also need to come up with bridal shower games if you are in charge of planning.
The bride’s mother may also help plan the bridal shower – be sure to consult her, as she may want to be included in the decisions. The other bridesmaids should also assist you, but remember that you are running point. Working as a team is fine, but its’ the maid of honor’s responsibility to take the lead and make sure everything runs smoothly.
The bride herself may also want a say in her bridal shower. Ask the bride early on whether she wants to be involved with planning her bridal shower, or if she wants it to be a total surprise. This is also a good time to get her availability for other events so that you know her schedule for planning any surprises.
Plan the Bachelorette Party
The bachelorette party is also very important, and this falls on the maid of honor to plan. There will be more or less planning to do for a bachelorette party, depending on if you’re traveling far for a bachelorette weekend, or keeping it local and low-key.
Ask the bride what she wants in a bachelorette party – there are plenty of fun bachelorette party ideas to choose from, but some brides are more particular than others. Make sure that you plan a bachelorette party that appeals to the bride, not the bridesmaids. It’s her party, so you should choose activities that would be fun for her primarily.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other bridesmaids, because you most likely have a lot of other stuff on your shoulders. Bridesmaids are not just a part of the bridal party to look pretty, they can offer you a ton of help if needed. This is also a time for you to enjoy yourself and have fun! After all, you’re planning a party. Don’t forget to come up with a fun bachelorette hashtag for the weekend as well!
Answer Guests’ Questions
Wedding guests usually come with a ton of questions. To avoid overwhelming the bride, this may also be your job. Make sure you know all the wedding details like the back of your hand. It’s important that all guests know of all the wedding details.
Prepare a Toast
During the reception, you and the best man will be expected to make a wedding toast to the newlyweds. These toasts are usually filled with heartfelt memories, funny stories, and maybe some embarrassing moments you both have shared, so it’s best that you don’t prepare the toast the night before; you’ll probably be too busy anyway.
Begin planning your toast early on so that you feel prepared and confident on the big day! With extra time, you can practice giving the speech, or workshop it in front of your fellow bridesmaids to get their feedback.
Help with Wedding Planning
Finally, help the bride with any aspect of wedding planning that she may need. Planning a wedding takes a lot of work, and it’s your job as MOH to be there for her. Ask what help she needs early on in the planning process, but continue to check in to see what more you can do. She may not think she needs help at first, so be sure to keep checking in so that she doesn’t get overwhelmed.
Wedding Day Maid of Honor Duties
The big day has arrived! Show up early and ready to go so that you can keep things running and help the bride on her wedding day.
Help the Bride Get Ready
One the big day, the bridesmaids and the bride all get ready together. As the maid of honor, try to be ready extra early so that you can help the bride and the other bridesmaids get ready as well. This might include pouring champagne, running to meet vendors when the bride is indisposed, or simply kicking back with the bride for some fun before she walks down the aisle.
Make sure the bridal suite has everything you’ll need: champagne and snacks, bobby pins and makeup brushes, and anything else that comes up. Keep music playing so that everyone can have fun while they get ready, and make sure everyone is hydrating! While champagne is a fun pre-wedding tradition, you don’t want any bridesmaids stumbling down the aisle.
When the time comes for the bride to put on her beautiful wedding dress, you’ll be there to assist with zippers, dress adjustments, veils, shoes, jewelry, or anything else the bride needs assistance with.
As maid of honor, it’s important to make sure everything goes according to plan. It’s the bride’s big day; she’s probably nervous, and you don’t want anything else to stress her out. It’s your duty to make sure things go smoothly and on time. Offer to fill in wherever needed while she gets ready.
Assist the Mother of the Bride
It’s an emotional day for the mother of the bride as well. She will likely be in the bridal suite helping her daughter get ready, getting ready herself, and helping with other planning aspects. Offer your help to her however possible – whether it’s zipping up her dress, finding the in-laws, or listening while she talks about her little girl growing up.
Some brides may need a bit of space from their mother on the big day. While the mother of the bride surely means well, she may be hovering a bit, asking the bride too many questions, or stressing her out otherwise. Run interference if needed to give the bride some space without hurting her mom’s feelings. If needed, give the mother of the bride some tasks to keep her busy so that the bride can get ready stress-free.
Act as Messenger for the Bride and Groom
It’s the big day and it’s going to be hectic. If the couple sticks to the traditional rules of not seeing each other before they say their I do’s, you should help them stay separated. They planned the wedding together, however, so they may need to relay some information to one another.
Offer to play messenger of them so that they can wait to see one another but still stay in contact. Pack comfortable shoes for before the wedding, as you may find yourself running back and forth between the bridal suite and the groom’s chambers!
Keep the Bride Calm
The day of the wedding, prepare for the worst. The bride could be a nervous wreck, stressed, or even get cold feet. It’s your job as the trusted maid of honor to calm her down, assure her everything is going to be ok, and be a shoulder to lean on. Come prepared with her favorite snacks, a playlist of her favorite songs, and anything else you may need to calm her nerves.
Make Sure the Bride Eats
Both the bride and groom will be so busy getting married, they’ll forget to eat. Especially if drinks are flowing, sit the bride down with a plate of food and make sure she gets some of the expensive food she paid for. While she may not want to eat much before the ceremony, she should definitely eat at the reception to keep her energy up. Run interference with chatty wedding guests so that she can enjoy a few minutes to eat.
Sign the Marriage Certificate as a Witness
As the maid of honor, you’ll be required to be a witness for the bride and grooms wedding marriage license. That means being physically present for the signing to legally sign the marriage certificate. Don’t forget this minor, but extremely important, responsibility!
Assist with Bathroom Trips
It’s not the most glamorous job, but someone has to do it. It’s not easy to use the bathroom in a wedding gown, so the bride may need some help holding her dress off the floor and readjusting everything once she’s finished. Make yourself available for bathroom trips, and use this private time to ask if there’s anything else she needs help with at the reception!
If this is a big wedding, chances are, the newlyweds are getting a ton of cards and wedding gifts. Another job of yours is to make sure they are safe and sound. Whether that be routinely checking on them to make sure no one is stealing anything, or storing the gifts in a separate room once everyone has given their gift. You can also help load all the gifts into the appropriate car after the wedding so that nothing is left behind.
Finally, don’t forget to have fun! Being the maid of honor can be a lot of work, but it’s also extremely fun to be a wedding VIP. Have fun throughout the whole process, and especially on the big day. Enjoy the food that you helped the bride pick out, tear up the dance floor with your friends and fellow bridesmaids, and enjoy mingling with other guests.
If this list has you rethinking the whole maid of honor thing, don’t’ sweat it. Your amount of work may vary depending on what the bride actually needs from you. Your responsibilities will become second nature. Thanks to you, the bride will have the wedding of her dreams!
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