The responsibilities assigned to the maid of honour aren’t quite what they used to be.
If you hadn’t noticed, weddings are a lot different from when our mothers were young.
Your maid of honour should be many things: part worker bee, part emotional lifeboat, part ball of energy.
It sounds like a lot of pressure, right? It’s not so bad –it can be a ton of fun –– but it’s also essential for your maid of honour to know what she’s getting into and exactly what you expect from her.
Go back much further, and bridesmaids served as decoys for the bride in case of an attempted kidnapping!
Since most bridesmaids now are more girl squad than ransom bait, serving as the bride’s No. 1 means you’ll be on your toes in a very different way. Looking for the best Wedding Photographer in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list here.
What’s so special about a maid of honour? People may have a preconceived notion that a maid of honour can be a demanding and bossy bridesmaid.
What Is a Maid of honour?
The maid of honour is the bride’s chief support before, during, and after the wedding. The maid of honour typically holds several special duties in addition to some unique benefits.
The maid of honour is in charge of the bachelorette party and bridal shower and leads the rest of the bridesmaids throughout the planning process and on the wedding day.
A bride will typically appoint a sister, female relative, or best friend as the maid of honour.
Ahead, you’ll find a list of all the maid of honour responsibilities a bride may expect of you before the wedding and during it.
Take a peek below, and get ready for the experience of a lifetime.
Maid of honour Duties Before the Wedding Day
Lend a Helping Hand (and Ear) to the Bride
Some brides will ask a lot of their maids of honour during the wedding planning process, from helping them put together their invitations to choosing cake flavours to talk through potential colour schemes (psst, here are the trendy wedding colours and palettes you need to know).
Other brides may want to handle the bulk of pre-wedding responsibilities themselves—or hire a wedding planner who will take care of most of it for them.
Whatever the case, the main maid of honour responsibility is to assist the bride with any tasks she needs help with — or listen to ideas and provide suggestions and advice.
Attend Wedding Dress Shopping and Fittings
The bride may or may not ask the maid of honour to accompany her wedding dress shopping and dress fittings, but many brides like to have the maid of honour present for this outing.
Lead the Bridal Party
There’s a lot that goes into being a bridesmaid, too.
The maid of honour serves as the point person for any bridesmaid-related questions or concerns—usually starting and leading the email thread on which the bridal party discusses all of the wedding-related details.
Be the Bridesmaid Dress and Style Guru
The maid of honour assists the bride with choosing the bridesmaid dresses and should make sure that all of the ‘maids order their dresses and accessories in a timely fashion.
Other tasks related to leading the bridal party may include confirming hair and makeup appointments, helping to coordinate travel and accommodations for the crew, and more.
Be a Point Person for Guests
Wedding guests tend to have lots of questions. Where’s the couple registered? What’s the address of the venue? Is there a post-wedding brunch?
Most of this information should be listed on the couple’s wedding website, but some guests aren’t computer-savvy and may need additional assistance.
As the maid of honour, you can answer guests’ questions and provide essential information as needed.
Host or Co-Host the Bridal Shower
One of the most important maids of honour duties is hosting the bridal shower with help from the bridesmaids.
From picking a venue to choosing décor, sending invitations to ordering food, planning a bridal shower can be a big job, so don’t be afraid to delegate some of the responsibility to the rest of the bridal party. At the actual bridal party, the maid of honour writes down all of the gifts received so that the bride can quickly write thank-you notes.
Plan the Bachelorette Party
The maid of honour should work with the rest of the bridesmaids to put together a bachelorette party that the bride will never forget.
Whether you’re planning a destination bachelorette party or something closer to home, keep the bride’s personality in mind to create a memorable event.
Attend Pre-Wedding Events
While the maid of honour doesn’t usually plan the engagement party, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner, she is generally in attendance at these events.
Maid of honour Duties on the Wedding Day: Pre-Ceremony
Get Dressed With the Bridal Party and Bride
Time to get ready! The maid of honour usually gets prepared with the bride and the rest of the bridal party in the bridal suite and can play a significant role in helping the bride get dressed and making sure everyone looks picture-perfect on the big day.
Serve as Messenger Between the Couple
If the almost-married couple is exchanging love notes or gifts the morning of the wedding, a maid of honour’s responsibility could serve as the go-between, along with the best man.
The maid of honour visits the bride’s future spouse and hands over the note and gift—and of course, report back on the reaction!
Prepare and Bring an Emergency Kit for the Bride
Many mini-emergencies can occur before the wedding, and it’s essential to be prepared!
The maid of honour should create a wedding-day emergency kit filled with items that may come in handy—from safety pins to fashion tape, bandaids to pain relievers.
Have All Vendors’ Contact Information Nearby
The bride’s goal should be to relax and enjoy the morning of her wedding—not stress over last-minute details!
The maid of honour can help communicate with wedding vendors if need be, though the wedding planner or venue coordinator is usually on top of wedding-related issues as well.
Keep the Bride Calm
If the bride starts to seem a bit stressed, it’s one of the maids of honour duties to keep the mood light.
Play music, tell a funny story, watch silly cat videos, whatever it takes to keep the crew happy and laughing! At Brighton Savoy, we have compiled a list of the Best Photobooth Hires in Melbourne to help you choose who captures your magical day.
Help Keep Things on Schedule
The maid of honour should ensure the bride or wedding planner provides you with a complete wedding timeline and keep your eye on the clock!
If the bridesmaids are focusing more on chatting than getting ready (especially if they’ve had some champagne or other drinks throughout the day!), gently remind them that the limo will be leaving for the ceremony in ten minutes.
Try to make sure that everyone is where they need to be on time.
Maid of honour Duties on the Wedding Day: Ceremony
Walk Down the Aisle
It’s time for the maid of honour’s big moment in the spotlight! You’ll likely walk down the aisle after all bridesmaids and before the flower girl and ring bearer and bride.
Arrange the Bride’s Train and Veil Upon Her Arrival to the Altar
Once the bride arrives at the altar, make sure that her dress and veil look great and make any needed adjustments before the ceremony begins.
Hold the Bride’s Bouquet
The maid of honour should be responsible for holding both her own and the bride’s bouquets during the ceremony—particularly during the exchange of the rings.
The bridal bouquet can be pretty heavy, so enlist a fellow bridesmaid if you need to take a break from holding the smell during the ceremony.
Hold the Groom’s Ring
If there is no ring bearer in an opposite-sex wedding, the best man will hold the bride’s wedding band, and the maid of honour has the groom’s band until the rings are exchanged.
Sign the Marriage License as Witness
Right after the ceremony, the officiant and the newlyweds will sign the marriage license. Two witnesses are also required, and usually, the maid of honour and best man take on the role of witness.
Maid of honour Duties on the Wedding Day: Reception
Stand Next to the Groom in the Receiving Line (optional)
Many couples choose not to receive lines these days, but if there is one, the maid of honour stands next to the groom and greets guests as they enter the reception.
Enter the Reception With the Best Man
If the emcee introduces the wedding party members as they enter the reception, the maid of honour usually enters with the best man.
Whether or not you choose to do a silly dance as you enter is your call!
Help Bustle the Bride’s Train—and Use the Restroom!
Before the wedding, it’s a good idea to learn how to bustle the bride’s gown—her bridal salon or seamstress can give a quick tutorial if you’re able to attend a dress fitting.
Bustling the bride’s gown will help keep her dress’ train clean and make her dress more comfortable to dance in.
If the bride’s gown is particularly cumbersome, you might be enlisted to help the bride use the restroom. That’s what friends (and maids of honour) are for.
As before the wedding, guests will likely have questions during the event. Where’s the guest book? When’s the cake cutting? Where do I sit? Where can I put my gift?
Part of the maid of honour’s role is to help answer questions and direct guests.
And while guests are supposed to give their gifts directly to the newlyweds or place them on the gift table, you may be entrusted with a contribution or two.
Make sure any gifts are appropriately placed in a safe location.
Dance With the Best Man
One of the most important maids of honour duties is to have a great time and spend a lot of time on the dance floor.
To help kick things off, the maid of honour traditionally dances with the best man for the song immediately following the first dance.
Suppose this seems a bit too formal or isn’t your style, no worries! Just be sure to be one of the first people on the dance floor, and encourage others to dance too!
Make Sure the Bride Stays Stress-Free
If any mini-crises occur during the reception, don’t let on to the bride and groom.
They should focus on enjoying the reception, not that the bride’s cousin got sick in the bathroom or the cake almost toppled over.
Give a Toast After the Best Man
The maid of honour usually gives a speech after the best man.
The maid of honour speech is usually relatively short, relaying about the bride’s love and respect for the couple.
As long as the speech comes from the heart, it’s sure to be a hit.
Make Sure the Bride Eats and Drinks
The last thing anyone wants to encounter is a hangry bride. So make sure that the bride eats and refreshes her water glass throughout the night to keep her hydrated.
Collect Wedding Gifts If Necessary
Before the wedding, find out where the couple would like their gifts to be transported after the reception.
Ensure that the couple’s gifts end up in the right hands and the correct location when the reception is over.
Tie up Any Other Loose Ends
From ensuring the bride’s wedding gown is stored correctly to ensuring that the top tier of the wedding cake ends up in a freezer, talk to the couple about any end-of-the-night duties. They’d like the maid of honour to help complete.
Help the Couple During and Post-Honeymoon
As the couple heads off on their honeymoon, see if there are any ways you can assist them—mainly if you live nearby.
Perhaps you can check in on their house once in a while, the dog sits, or bring over groceries before they head home.
By helping the newlyweds out after the wedding, you’re showing that you’ll be there for them for life.
Selecting Your Maid of honour
Choosing your maid of honour is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Though traditionally, a bride’s sister or closest female friend is selected for the role, etiquette is changing.
In the 21st century, your mom, cousin, or even your male best friend can proudly wear the title as a badge of honour.
Your maid of honour can be anyone you’d like – be sure they’re up for the maid of honour duties.
When making your decision, consider the maid of honour responsibilities.
While you might expect your friends to rise to the occasion, your sister, with a questionable track record of reliability, may not necessarily be the best person for the job.
Take a close look at what’s expected of the maid of honour and choose based on who you believe will best fulfil the role.
Of course, your maid of honour doesn’t have to do all – or any – of the duties listed above.
You can spread the maid of honour duties amongst your wedding party equally. If you choose to select a maid of honour with an eye on tradition, explain your choice to the other bridesmaids.
As tradition evolves, so do the roles of each member of the wedding party.
The role can even be shared – this is especially helpful when you’ve got two best friends or sisters and don’t want to favour one person over the other.
Who Should Be Chosen?
Traditionally, a bride asks her sister or her closest female friend to be the maid of honour.
If this is not possible, the bride may choose someone she trusts to be the maid of honour, who will help her during the wedding planning process.
In choosing your maid of honour, consider the responsibility and ensure they can meet these expectations.
You may want to take a closer look at who will do the job best, keeping the family in mind and ultimately going with a pressure-free, gut instinct.
Can a Man Fill the Role?
Yes, a man can be a maid of honour at a wedding.
When a woman’s closest friend is a man, it makes sense that he is the person she relies on for her wedding planning and wants to honour that responsibility.
However, you may want to consider how this will change any traditionally-gendered events, such as the bridal shower or bachelorette party.
It is up to the bride and maid of honour to decide which events may need to be inclusive of all genders.
Does the Person Have to Be Called a Maid of honour?
Whether you have a female or male best friend, sometimes the term “maid of honour” feels strange.
Instead of the term “maid of honour”, this role can be called “bride’s honour attendant”, or even whimsically, “the bride’s sidekick.”
If a married woman is chosen, she is traditionally called “the matron of honour.” However, feel free to find the term that best fits the description of your maid of honour.
Be There for the Bride
The maid of honour should walk a fine line of being supportive, not overwhelming.
As the maid of honour, you know your friend, the bride, better than anyone else. Therefore, after being asked, the maid of honour should initiate a conversation with the bride to discuss how best to support her during the wedding-planning process.
Be open about personalities and decide if the bride will delegate and ask for help or if the maid of honour should periodically check-in and offer support without being prompted.
Discuss the level of involvement and support upfront and be mindful of relationships the bride may need to navigate with family.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun.
While your primary responsibility to the bride is to lend an extra set of hands, don’t forget to pencil in some fun, too.
From an afternoon spent getting mani-pedis to a full-blown girls’ night out, the bride is first and foremost your best friend, and that’s the role you should take most seriously during the planning process. Looking for a Wedding Photo Location? Look no further. Brighton Savoy has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo locations to help you choose.
The most important thing to remember is that you are tasked with supporting and loving your friend unconditionally as the maid of honour.