Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to be the maid of honour for the bride-to-be. If this is your first time in this role, you may feel overwhelmed and stressed. You’ll have many responsibilities, but it can also be incredibly fun to assist the bride with her wedding plans. So the complete guide we’re giving you is designed to help you both get the best out of this experience.
Below you’ll find a list of what’s expected of you as a maid of honour and how to plan accordingly. There are tips on how to help the bride before, during and after the ceremony. Thanks to you, their special day – and the weeks and months leading up to it – will be all they dream of.
Keep reading the complete guide to being a maid of honour from heaven, for best wedding outcomes – even if you’re helping a bridezilla!
What is a Maid of Honour?
A maid of honour is part of the bridal party. She’s expected to be the head of the bridesmaids and plan events leading up to the wedding day. Traditionally, the maid of honour is either a sister, close relative or friend of the bride.
The maid of honour concept may have originated from ancient Roman law. During the ceremony, it was expected to have 10 witnesses to ward off evil spirits. The maid of honour’s duty was to protect the bride from these evil entities. She would disguise herself as the bride to confound the spirits.
Fortunately, these days you don’t have to put your life on the line for the bridal party. The bride’s maids and maid of honour simply have to plan events and ensure everything runs smoothly before, during and after the ceremony.
What to Expect as a Maid of Honour
In a perfect world, everything would go according to plan. However, you may experience some difficulties when planning events and helping the bride. This task WILL take some sacrifice, but it’s worth it! As the maid of honour, you have to free up some of your time and you may have to spend money. If you’re lucky you’ll have up to a year to save and plan your events.
It’s important to prepare yourself mentally as well because supporting a bride can be emotionally draining. This is especially true if you have a stressed bride on your hands. You and the bridesmaids can keep the bride calm by:
- Scheduling appointments on her behalf and accompanying her
- Advising on décor and attire while allowing her to soundboard her ideas
- Taking her out to lunch or spa days, so she can unwind and not feel overwhelmed
- Communicating with the event planner and confirming with the bride that all is on track
Don’t expect it will only be stressful though. Everyone can have fun when planning a wedding and this will be the perfect time to bond with your female friends and family.
Duties of a Maid of Honour – The Complete Guide
In the complete guide below, you’ll find a summary of all you need to add to your schedule in the weeks or months ahead.
Before the Big Day
You’re in charge of planning the bachelorette party and bridal shower. The two parties are planned months in advance and usually take place two to three weeks before the wedding.
The bachelorette party is to help the bride relax, enjoy and celebrate her pre-married life, while also giving her advice for her new role of being a wife.
For this event, you can plan a spa day for the bride and her maidens. Slumber parties are also popular because you can organise activities in the comfort of your home, such as:
- Wine tasting
- Pedicures, manicures and other beauty grooming
- A rom-com movie marathon
Make sure everyone is comfortable and decorate the room according to a theme to create a fun atmosphere. Have ample snacks and drinks on hand as well.
The bridal shower is a more formal event that requires all the bride’s female friends and relatives to attend. You may need to hire a venue or consult an event planner for the day. Then send out invitations well in advance to all guests.
You should arrive first to assist with setting up or communicating with the bride’s guests. Make the day fun for everyone by planning games they can particpate in. Remember to ask someone to take photos because for the bride these events all form part of her wedding experience.
Dress Shopping with the Bride-To-Be
The bride may need help finding her perfect dress from leading designers like Maggie Sottero. These designers cater for all tastes so there’s a wide range to pick from. A bride can feel overwhelmed so she may need your opinion on colour, fabrics and style. Give her your honest opinion but also allow the bride to choose the dress she loves.
Assist with Pre-Wedding Tasks
Help the bride with any pre-wedding tasks such as:
- Settling on a wedding theme
- Choosing a menu for the wedding reception
- Wedding cake tasting
- Making and sending out invitations
- Arts and crafts for centrepieces or decorations
- Hiring photographers
Go the extra mile! You can even attend fitness classes with the bride if she wants to get in shape before her wedding day.
The complete guide makes one thing clear: it’s your main duty to make the planning process easy for the bride.
Keep Track of Wedding Gifts
You will also have some administrative tasks like keeping track of all the wedding gifts—even the gifts from the bachelorette party—and who sent them, so you can send out thank you notes. These need to be personalised and contain a mention of the specific gift along with a brief note thanking him or her for their generosity.
On the Wedding Day
On the day of the wedding make sure everything stays on schedule. Hair and makeup shouldn’t be rushed but remind everyone of the timeline, so it’s all done timeously. You don’t want the bride to be late! Help the bride get dressed and ensure she’s picture-perfect when she arrives at the ceremony.
During the Ceremony
Your responsibility during the ceremony can include:
- Holding the bride’s bouquet while the couple exchanges vows.
- You may have to hold the groom’s ring if the couple doesn’t have a ring bearer.
- Often, a maid of honour also signs the marriage certificate as a witness.
After the Ceremony
During the wedding reception, you must be an excellent hostess. Help the guests by:
- Showing them where to sit
- Inviting them to sign the guestbook
- Showing them where the restrooms are
- Collecting gifts
You’re also expected to give a speech and make a toast to the happy couple.
Important tip: make sure that the bride eats something—you don’t want her fainting—, that her glass stays full and that she’s relaxed.
Being asked to be a maid of honour is a testament to the bond you have with the bride. She trusts you to be with her every step of the way. Just know, you’ll be counted on for support and your advice, so refer to the complete guide so you can be prepared for what’s expected of you.
And girls, cherish the experience because it’s one of the most memorable times of your lives! Use the tips in the complete guide above to make it special for everyone involved!