If you've been tapped by a sister, cousin, bestie, or any other important babe in your life to be her maid of honor, you might be feeling, well, honored ... but also a little overwhelmed. That's understandable, since it's a role that comes with a good amount of responsibility. But, you can stress less — we're here to talk you through everything you need to know about your maid of honor duties.
So what exactly is a maid of honor (or matron of honor)? Basically she's the right-hand woman to the bride, providing emotional support and help with various logistics throughout the wedding-planning process. MOHs tend to be the point person, conveying the bride's instructions or requests to the rest of the bridesmaids.
Once you've accepted MOH duty, it's a good idea to have a conversation about how much help the bride will want. This will ensure you're on the same page as far as her expectations go. Some brides are comfortable handling most things themselves, while others rely heavily on their wedding party to tackle their wedding to-dos.
Here's a rundown of the tasks you can expect as a maid of honor.
Pre-Wedding Event Responsibilities
Once that ring is on your best friend's finger, the chain of events is set in motion. There are typically several celebrations leading up to the big day, and as maid of honor your involvement in each may vary.
You'll find that engagement parties are usually thrown by the bride's parents, but other family members or friends can also step in. While the maid of honor isn't expected to host, you should plan on being there to help kick off the wedding excitement.
Planning the BACH bash is one of the most important maid of honor duties. Check in with the bride about what she's envisioning and suggest party ideas, especially if you need to consider a particular budget for the group. This is a good time to poll the other bridesmaids about their availability, what they’re willing to spend, and their thoughts on the plans.
Then, take the lead on researching options, booking accommodations and activities, coordinating with all the bridesmaids and BFFs, brainstorming hashtag ideas, and all of the other bachelorette must-dos. Just be sure to get the bride’s blessing before making any final decisions.
This is another situation where a mother, other relative, or family friend may offer to host. However, in many cases, the maid of honor organizes this event as well. If that's the case, you might be able to rely on the bride's close friends to help you with the heavy lifting. Either way, you should be in attendance and keep track of the list of gifts so the bride will be able to send thank-you notes.
Generally taking place the evening before the wedding, this final fête is traditionally hosted by the groom's parents or family. You're off the hook for the plans on this one, but as a member of the wedding party you'll be expected to attend.
How to Help During the Wedding Planning Process
What does a maid of honor do when it comes to assisting the bride during all of the nuptial prep? Wedding planning comes with a big to-do list, and the bride might call on you to check off a variety of tasks.
Be prepared to help your bestie find the gown of her dreams by going to bridal shop appointments with her — there might be some champagne and cake in it for you too! Wedding dress shopping is a big moment, and she'll be looking to you for input. Just be careful of being too critical. Let the bride share her opinion on each selection before weighing in to avoid any hurt feelings.
Once the bride babe says yes to the dress, she'll need to have it fitted to her measurements. Accompanying her to dress fittings is a great way to provide support, and you can learn from the alterations person how to bustle the dress (which will come in handy on the big day).
Bridesmaids dresses are another big thing to tackle during this time. Whether you and the bride look for them together or bring the whole squad, this is an important item to weigh in on since it's your look for the wedding. You might be asked to pass along the details of the chosen dress to other bridesmaids or help facilitate ordering.
As the wedding day approaches, don't be surprised if you're enlisted to help with things like addressing and mailing wedding invitations or working on DIY items, including name cards, favors, programs, or other decor. If the bride seems stressed but hasn't delegated anything to you, be sure to ask if there's something you can take off her plate — suggesting a wine night while you get your craft on is a fun way to bond.
You can also volunteer to be the point of contact to answer questions from family members, guests, and members of the wedding party. This will ensure the bride isn't bombarded and everyone has all the logistical details.
When the week of the wedding arrives, it's crunch time. Help the bride wrap up final odds and ends, like creating playlists or wrapping gifts for parents or the groom. Give her (and yourself!) a much-needed chance to relax by going to get a mani-pedi a day or two before the wedding.
This is also the time to put together an emergency kit of essentials that you might need during the wedding day — think band aids, tissues, Advil, mints, safety pins, fashion tape, a stain-removal pen, bobby pins, hairspray, a lint roller, a comb, and anything else that could come in handy.
Lastly, the bride might also need help packing for the honeymoon, especially if the couple is departing shortly after the nuptials. Overall, the most important thing is that you're staying in communication with her and offering help however you can.
Maid of Honor Duties on the Day of the Wedding
Alright, you've made it to the home stretch! The biggest order of the day is to ensure it's as stress-free for the bride as possible. Maid of honor responsibilities will revolve around what the bride needs spontaneously, as well as a more concrete list of things to do.
If the bride's posse is hanging out in the bridal suite, it's a good idea to have some snacks and a little bubbly on hand. It's easy for a bride to forget to eat on such a busy day, so encourage her to nosh when she can.
As the bridesmaids and the rest of the bridal party are getting glammed up, you can help organize everyone and make sure the process is going according to schedule — especially if the group is enlisting professional hair styling or makeup.
Check in with the wedding planner to see if there are any last-minute details that need to be attended to, like ceremony or reception set-up. And if the bride wants to send a message or gift to the groom, offer to be the go-between or find someone who can.
The moment has arrived to walk down the aisle. Of course you'll be part of the ceremony, and you might need to hold onto the groom's ring until the happy couple officially exchanges vows.
Once the bride gets up to the altar, arrange her veil and the train of her wedding gown to make sure it's picture-perfect. You'll also hold her bouquet while she says "I do" so her hands are free to slip the ring on her hubby's finger.
The newlyweds will likely sign the marriage license right after the ceremony, and the maid of honor and best man are often asked to be witnesses and sign it as well.
Then, it's time for photos, and you may need to help corral family members and the wedding party for group shots.
We mentioned it before, but wedding dresses with a long train aren't ideal for the party portion of the day, so it will need to be bustled before heading into the reception. Figuring out how to bustle a dress isn't always the easiest, which is why we recommend getting a tutorial from the tailor at a fitting.
Next up? It's time for your maid of honor speech, a chance to pay tribute to your best gal and raise a glass to her and the groom. While it's okay to infuse a little humor, the best toasts are heartfelt and sincere. This is another big moment in your maid of honor duties, so give it some forethought and practice.
As the celebration kicks into high gear, encourage everyone to hit the dance floor and let loose. And even though it's a little awkward, the bride might also need your help going to the bathroom throughout the celebration, especially if she's wearing a poofy ball gown. Hey, what are friends for?
At the end of the reception, plan to make sure everything important is gathered up, including wedding gifts, the guest book, the top tier of the cake, and anything else the bride wants to keep. If there's a wedding coordinator to handle the clean-up, that's great, but having a MOH as backup will give any bride peace of mind.
The MOH Is MVP of the Bridal Party
Being someone's maid of honor is a big job, and hopefully one you're happy to do for someone you love. As the bride's right-hand woman, you'll be an important person to lean on from the engagement to the end of the reception, so it's good to be prepared for the whole process.
One of the most exciting parts of the timeline is planning the bachelorette party, and it doesn't hurt to have some help. The BACH app will help you create an itinerary, take polls from the crew, book experiences, and more. While you're busy supporting the bride, the BACH gives you the assist you need to plan an amazing celebration.