#WeddingWednesday: Being the Maid of Honor
You have been selected to be the Maid of Honor! It is incredible to be selected in this honorable role but what exactly does it entail? There are numerous jobs that you will have to do from the time you are chosen up until after the wedding. Here is a timeline of what you can expect to do during the wedding planning process, the ceremony and the reception.
Prior to the Wedding
Prior to the wedding you should ensure that you first ask the bride exactly which tasks will be assigned to you. Tradition can be thrown to the wayside depending on the bride and what she would prefer. Traditionally the bride’s relatives would not throw the bridal shower so that the family does not come across as greedy in trying to get more gifts for the bride. Today, it is completely acceptable for a relative to host the shower. If the mother of the bride would like to host the shower then your role as the maid of honor may be to assist with gathering decorations for the event or securing invitations and RSVPs instead. You may also want to ask if you should be fully in charge of planning the bachelorette party. Sometimes the job of planning the party may be shared by the bridesmaids instead of exclusively being planned by the maid of honor. Be sure that you are on the same page so that everything is communicated effectively and nothing is misunderstood.
If you do get assigned the role of throwing the bachelorette party you will be responsible for booking any reservations and coordinating everything with the bridal party. You will collect any money that the bridesmaids need to contribute to the party. If the party will be out of town you will need to speak with the bride before setting any plans especially if the pooled funds do not cover the entirety of the trip. Coordinate all travel and lodging logistics with the bridal party in advance so the bride can just enjoy herself.
As the maid of honor you should accompany the bride to any wedding appointments that you can make. If she does not ask you to come you can offer the extra help but do not insist on going. The maid of honor may choose to attend décor and event rentals, venue visits and dress fittings. The bride may also want you to help them pick out bridesmaid dresses and help coordinate with the groomsmen. If you cannot make these appointments do not fret, the bride should understand that you are trying your best to be there for her as much as you can.
During wedding dress shopping you should be at the bride’s side through it all no matter if it’s a one day process or a months-long process. Be honest, be kind and help her find the dress that will make her feel her best. One of the best parts of being the maid of honors is that you’ll have more of a say in what you will be wearing on the big day. Help choose a dress that is comfortable and flattering so all will be happy.
If the bride is trying to save money on her wedding she may choose to do some do-it-yourself (DIY) decorations. Many of these DIY items will be created in the days leading up to the wedding. These may include making favors, centerpieces, signage, etc. As the maid of honor you should volunteer to help her get these projects done if she has not already asked you.
As the maid of honor, you are the one who is responsible for getting the bridesmaids together to help engage bonding and create new friendships. The bridesmaids may not have a lot in common and they may have trouble getting acquainted at first if they have not previously met. You should take them for a spa day or brunch just to foster bridal-party bonding and get everyone excited for the upcoming months. If there are bridesmaids who live far away you should try to get everyone together when everyone is in town for the bridal shower. Another great way to get the bridal party involved is by including them in the planning of the bridal shower or bachelorette party if the bride has asked you to host one or both of the two. Play on their strengths. If one of the ladies is good at crafts then they can help create centerpieces for the day. If one of the ladies is incredibly creative, put her in charge of the bridal shower games.
Also, you should manage all of the details of the bridal party. Schedule all of the dress fittings, ensuring that each bridesmaid makes it and will be ready for the big day. Help everyone plan their hair and makeup appointments and make sure everyone has the correct shoes, nail polish, jewelry, etc. All of these details may seem small but they are important. This will ensure that the bride does not have to sweat the small things and can be confident that everything will be as she envisioned it. You will also manage all correspondence between the bride and the bridal party about the timeline, pre-wedding parties and any general responsibilities the girls may have. The bride will not be the only one with all the answers which will make her planning period much less stressful.
Even if you live far away and can’t physically be there for the bride, you should always make yourself available to her and check up on her and her planning process regularly. You may not be able to make a majority of the appointments but you can always Skype or Face time during some of the appointments to add in your thoughts and help the bride make the best choice. You should also call once or twice a week to ask about wedding stuff, see where she is in the process and add any thoughts that you may have. Always ask if there’s anything you can do to help and be there for moral support throughout it all.
Not only should you help the bride during her wedding planning process but you need to help her forget all of the things she needs to get done for the wedding and just let loose and have fun. Have a girl’s night with her where all talk of wedding planning is left at the door. Watch a rom com and reminisce about the amazing memories that you have together. Go out for a spa day. Just help her relax and enjoy herself. Don’t let her stress out and get swept away by the planning process.
The Day of the Wedding
Prior to the ceremony you will need to ensure that you know anything and everything that people may have questions about. If you are able to answer any and all questions that may arise that will save the bride with having to answer all of the questions. She will be able to focus on enjoying her day instead of answering questions that guests or vendors may have. Also, if the bride does not have a day of coordinator you should step it up and ensure the event remains on schedule and that everything is in place prior to the event.
Make sure that the bride eats something before the ceremony. She may be full of nerves but she definitely needs to eat in order to fuel herself up for the long and exciting day that she will have. She will also need to remain hydrated throughout the event. Yes, she will be drinking alcohol but she will need water to keep herself hydrated, happy and well.
Even if you are trying to ensure that everything runs smoothly you should try to remain in arm’s reach of the bride just in case she needs something. She could need a tissue, a bobby pin, a glass of champagne, etc. She will be comforted by your presence and will be less stressed as long as you are prepared. Throughout the event you will want to be the bride’s one-woman glam team. She is going to be the center of attention and all cameras will be focused on her and her husband during the entirety of the event. You should do periodic teeth and hair checks to ensure there’s nothing stuck in her teeth and her hair remains in place. Have toothpicks and mints on you if needed.
Also, make sure the bridesmaids know where they should be and what they should be doing at all times so that no one is in the wrong spot during the day. Another thing you should be taking control of is sobriety control. Make sure that no one overindulges during the night especially not prior to the ceremony. Alcohol may help calm the nerves but it can create chaos.
You may also make sure that anyone who the bride doesn’t want to see before the wedding does not see the bride before the wedding. This will ensure she remains less stressed. She could also have you take control of her phone for the day so that she is solely focused on her wedding day but, of course, that is up to her.
One of your most important roles comes during the ceremony as you witness and sign the marriage certificate. Also, during the vows you will hold the bride’s bouquet and the groom’s ring until they are needed.
Make sure that she is comfortable throughout the event as well. If she is cold, have the location turn up the heat or bring her a jacket if she has one. If she is hot, fan her throughout the night or have the location turn up the air conditioning.
Another very important task that you will have during the event is to ensure that the newlyweds spend some time alone to take in their beautiful day full of love. Have them stand on the outskirts of their wedding in an area away from the party just to cherish the moment.
After the vows it’s party time! Before the newlyweds get introduced as Mr. and Mrs. to all of their family and friends you, as the maid of honor must help the bride prepare for the reception by bustling her dress and touching up her makeup if needed.
Then, comes your shining moment following the introductions and first dance. You will toast the bride and groom. This speech can be short and sweet, funny or heartfelt. Don’t wing this speech even if you think you can pull it off. This speech should have a great deal of thought and at the very least you should write down key notes to refer to during the speech to stay on topic. You can talk about the love the newlyweds share and their individual qualities that make them the amazing couple that they are. Try to leave out any jokes that may embarrass the bride and don’t share any secrets the two of you share. It is not the time or the place for it. To calm your nerves have a glass or two of champagne but don’t have too much. You don’t want to be remembered as the drunk maid of honor who gave a chaotic speech.
Also, make sure that the bride and groom eat during their reception. It is a sad fact that many couples never taste their food during the reception. Give them a couple minutes to eat so that they can enjoy their meal.
During the reception you will want to corral the guests to wherever they need to be when it is time for cake cutting, the bouquet toss, the garter toss, etc.
When the dance floor opens you should be an example for the guests and encourage them to get out on the dance floor and bust a move.
When the Party Ends
At the end of the night ensure that all of the wedding gifts are brought home so that the bride and groom can get to them later on.
When the party ends you will want to help the bride change out of her wedding dress if she chooses to do so and get all of her accessories and her gown to take home.
During the whole process you should always be in the bride’s corner. Agree with her, stand by her side on the wedding day and ensure that everything goes the way that she had planned. If things don’t go as planned then ensure her that it will not put a damper on her day and work your way around it to make her happy and enjoy the day that she will remember and cherish forever. Make sure she knows you’re in for the long haul. Be by her side from the very first day that she asks you to be her maid of honor until your assistance is no longer required in regard to the wedding. She will be much happier knowing that the planning process will not fall exclusively to her.
You have been given an extremely important role. Show the bride that you are worth it and that you will be by her side through thick and thin.
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