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What does a Maid of Honor Do?

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So, you’ve been asked a very important question. Your best friend is getting married! She wants you to be right up there with her as her Maid of Honor. It’s a big responsibility with a lot of work, but it’s also a real honor.

bride with bridesmaids

What is the maid of honor?

In the royal courts, a maid of honor is the junior attendant of the queen. In the wedding scene, the maid of honor is the bride’s right-hand woman. She plays one of the most important roles in the lead-up and day of the wedding. She provides emotional support in the wedding planning process, helps with organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party, and attends all the pre-wedding events such as the rehearsal dinner, dress fitting, etc.

Does the maid of honor need to be married?

The term for married maids of honor is matrons of honor.

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Important Maid Of Honor duties checklist

If you’re not married and haven’t been to a lot of weddings, it can be tricky to know what the Maids of Honor do.

Of course, all weddings and all brides are different, so the easiest way to clear up any confusion is to ask the bride. As her what she is expecting from you and what level of involvement you should have. Lend a listening ear and see where the bride needs help. Here are some maid of honor responsibilities.

The bachelorette party

  • Take the lead in organizing the hen’s night/bachelorette party (with the help and input of the other bridesmaids.)
  • Discuss what the bride-to-be wants (and doesn’t want!) out of her hen’s night. This means contributing your time and energy but also probably contributing financially. At the very least, you would be splitting the cost of the bride’s bridal shower and bachelorette activities with the rest of the bridal party. Ask the other bridesmaids about their budget restrictions and work within those parameters.
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The lead-up to the big day

  • Wedding dress shopping with the bride and dress fittings.
  • Help her find the perfect dress. If the wedding gown is tricky to put on, go along to her final fitting(s) and get instructions from the dressmaker on how to lace up the back/get her in the dress properly (this takes a TON of stress off you on the day, as you’ll be rushing and won’t want to fuss around trying to work it out). Get tips on bustling the skirt of her wedding dress and putting on her veil.
  • Put together a DIY Emergency Kit in case things go wrong on the day. This includes handy items such as safety pins, double-sided tape for dresses, and appropriate colored thread for wardrobe malfunctions.

On the wedding day?

  • Helps the bride look perfect. Help put on her veil and flare out her train so it’s perfectly flared for the pictures. Bustle her skirt out before the reception
  • Make sure the bride eats and drinks water throughout the day! Keep some snacks that are easy to eat without making a mess on hand (ex. almonds, cheese cubes, grapes).
  • Help the bride get in and out of the car and keep her skirt off the ground where possible

During the wedding ceremony

  • During the ceremony, you’re the one she hands her flowers to
  • Gets out on the dance floor early and gets it pumping!

Maid of honor speech

Does the maid of honor have to give a speech? Hopefully, you are a fan of public speaking because traditionally the maid of honor does give a speech or a toast at the wedding reception.

Other duties that they don’t tell you about…

  • If the bride is wearing a dress with a tulle train or floor-length veil it may as well be a broom. It will catch everything that it touches on the floor. Try and get the worst of it away
  • And on a similar note, if it’s hot and muggy, tulle seems to attract bugs – keep the bug spray handy or you’ll be picking bits of them out between layers of tulle.
  • Bathroom breaks. It’s already one thing when you’re trying to use a bathroom in a normal dress, but with a bride, the entire bridal party may end up with her in the handicap stall lifting her skirt up, pulling down underwear… it’s all glamourous baby

Standard duties expected of all bridal party members (the Maid of Honor and bridesmaids)

  • Be a loving and supportive friend to the bride and lend moral support! Remember that this day is about HER, and it’s your responsibility to help her enjoy the day!
  • Have the correct dress, shoes, accessories, etc. for the wedding day. Make sure you fully understand what the bride expects you to have, communicate with the bride about your budget, and know which expenses you are responsible for. Make sure the dress is ordered in time.
  • Ask for a general schedule. If you/the wedding is out of town – does the bride want you to fly in a couple of days early to attend a rehearsal dinner or lend an extra set of hands with last-minute details? This will also give you time to budget for your accommodation and travel expenses.
  • This definitely isn’t a “requirement,” but some couples depend upon their wedding party to handle a lot of the setup and takedown for the event. Figure out what their expectations are in advance.

What is the maid of honor responsible for paying for?

The maid of honor along with the bridesmaids are usually expected to cover all the costs related to what they are wearing on the day of the wedding. This includes the dresses, the shoes, and the jewelry worn on the day. Extra expenses such as professional hair and makeup can also be covered by the bridal party. In some cases though as this is a bit of extra luxury, this is covered by the bride. 

It is a wonderful honor to be a part of someone’s wedding, but being a Maid of Honor can be very expensive. Talk to the bride sooner rather than later if this is an issue. There are ways to change things and cut costs but time is of the essence when planning a wedding.

Being Maid of Honor it implies that you are hopefully the closest friend of the bride-to-be, in which case a little honesty can go a long way. 

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What does the maid of honor wear? 

Traditionally the MOH will wear something that has her stand out from her fellow bridesmaid. This could be done by giving the MOH a different bouquet to those of the bridesmaid or a different dress (either in color or style.)

The Maid of honor doesn’t have to stand out or be dressed differently from the bridesmaids but it is nice when the bride pays a little extra attention to the MOH in acknowledgment of all the work and support she gives the bride. 

Sometimes the bride-to-be will gift something a little bit special to the Maid of honor such as a necklace or a pair of earrings, to say thank you. These can be worn by the Maid of honor on the day.

Additional duties that will cement your status as the “ best maid of honor ever”

While none of these is dictated by etiquette, if you genuinely want to help, and you’re a bit more Type-A to a Type-B Bride (NOT type-b for bridezilla haha) then these are some tasks that’ll help take the mental load of wedding planning off, and further cement your status as the best darn Maid of Honour that ever lived:

  • Channel your inner Wedding Planner and offer to help with wedding planning research, decisions, shopping and even keeping track of the wedding budget and RSVPs.
  • Track down contact information for all the other bridesmaids and make contact as soon as you can to start planning the hen’s night. Set the date early so there is a better chance of all her BFFs being able to make it. Happy bride = happy MOH.
  • Talk to the bride in advance about what potential issues/questions she wants to deal with personally and which ones she would be willing to let someone else take care of on the day of the wedding. Be the gatekeeper and delegate the things she told you she didn’t want to handle.