In previous centuries bridesmaids were part of the wedding party to help prevent kidnappings and confuse evil spirits. Weddings have changed a lot since those days, and you probably won’t need to worry about anything like that. However, a Maid of Honor has plenty of other duties to manage. If you’ve been tapped for this truly honorable position, you should do everything to help the bride and ensure the wedding goes on as planned with no severe problems or unwanted delays.
A good Maid of Honor helps shop for dresses, organizes a couple of smaller events, and keeps the other bridesmaids in line. A great MoH carries emergency supplies, tissues, champaign, and some of the weight of planning without making it about herself. The best Maids of Honor are like the perfect wedding venue, they make everything look better and run more smoothly, but they’re never what people talk about at the end of the day. This is the ultimate supporting role, playing second to a busy bride.
Who Is the Maid of Honor?
The Maid of Honor is typically a bride’s best friend or another trusted woman like a female relative. The duty of the Maid of Honor is to plan the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Additionally, an MoH is responsible for wrangling and organizing the other bridesmaids during the pre-wedding events, wedding, and reception. Brides-to-be should consider the choice carefully because the responsibilities of the role and her relationship with the woman she chooses need to balance out. In short, picking an irresponsible Maid of Honor can result in problems with the entire event.
What Is a Maid-of-Honor Checklist?
There are a lot of duties for a Maid of Honor. The Maid-of-Honor checklist is the perfect way to keep track of everything you need to handle so you can do your part without missing a beat. Your bride-to-be has a lot of things already on her plate, and as the MoH, it’s your job to help bring the fun, lighten the load, wrangle the bridesmaids, and help in any way you can without stepping on her toes (or veil).
The Ultimate Maid-of-Honor Checklist
The Ultimate Maid-of-Honor Checklist has everything you need to accomplish starting well before the big day up to the evening of the wedding. You’ll find it broken down into four easy categories based on the timeframe. There’s a lot to do, but you should have no problem staying on track if you follow the list.
Before The Wedding Day
Some brides start planning and dress shopping several years in advance. However, most will wait until closer to their proposed wedding day to begin the process. Likewise, there are nervous brides, bridezillas, giggly happy brides, and many other types. Knowing your bride and what she needs most is the primary duty of a Maid of Honor. This is one of the most important days in her life, and you can help make it perfect with good pre-planning.
- Be a good friend. This comes first because planning a wedding is an arduous, if rewarding, task. The bride probably feels overwhelmed by how much planning there is to do and the emotion that goes with it. Simply being there when she needs you is a considerable contribution.
- Offer, but never insist on helping. If she wants to go dress shopping or find a caterer when her future spouse isn’t available, or she doesn’t quite know who to hire for planning, let her know you’re there to help if she needs you.
- Lead by example. Get the bridesmaids introduced and organized.
- Mediate any disputes that arise among the bridesmaids.
- Help answer wedding guest questions. Offer to let the couple direct queries to you and learn the vital details like where they’re registered.
- Get all the bridesmaids to their dress shopping and fittings.
- Plan and host the bridal shower.
- Keep a list of the gifts and who gave each one for easy thank you notes later.
- Plan the bachelorette party. It’s essential to find out what everyone’s budget is for this tactfully, so you don’t go overboard or leave one of the bridesmaids out.
- Make sure everyone gets home safe after the bachelorette party.
- Attend rehearsals and other pre-wedding events if invited.
- Meet the Best Man and coordinate with him.
- Learn to bustle a bridal gown so you can help the bride if she needs to use the restroom.
Before The Wedding (Day Of)
It’s a good idea to get up early and have a healthy breakfast. No doubt there’s a long day ahead, and the Maid of Honor needs her wits about her to handle all the minutia and unexpected surprises. If you are a tea or coffee person, this is a good day for a stronger than usual cup, but don’t have so much caffeine it makes you jittery.
- Help the bride get ready.
- Take pictures.
- Assist the mother of the bride.
- Make sure the bridesmaids are all dressed and ready.
- Handle any minor issues that may arise, like sewing a small tear or handing someone a hair tie if they need it.
- Keep your bride hydrated and make sure she eats something.
- Prevent the bride’s side of the wedding party from overindulging if there’s champagne or drinks early in the day.
- Arrange snacks and water.
- Make sure you are ready.
- Check-in with the Best Man discreetly to help keep booth sides coordinated.
- Be prepared to hold a ring if necessary. Sometimes the MoH ends p safekeeping the groom’s ring until the ceremony.
- Mediate conflict and run interference.
- Be ready with kind words of encouragement if the bride has concerns.
- Make sure everyone takes a bathroom break before heading to the ceremony, or at least suggest it.
- Drop off any last-minute reception items.
- Have vendor contact information on hand.
- Help the bride into the car. Wedding dresses tend to be unwieldy.
During The Ceremony
Most of the ceremony will consist of you standing there in a nice outfit, listening attentively, and smiling, so the pictures and videos look nice. However, there are a few things you will need to do to help out.
- Keep everyone on schedule.
- Help line up the bridal party outside the ceremony room.
- Do a last-minute veil and dress check for the bride.
- Hold the bouquet during the ceremony.
- Be a witness for the marriage license if asked or needed.
After The Wedding (Reception and Beyond)
Once the vows are over and it’s official, the day isn’t over. The next part should be a lot of fun, but the Maid of Honor still has miles to go before she sleeps. A traditional wedding may have a cocktail hour, dinner, receiving line, and reception, and there are always things to do at the end of the night.
- Help the bride and bridesmaids get changed into their evening wear.
- Snacks may be necessary, especially if the bride didn’t eat breakfast.
- Make sure the bridal suite is clean and prepared.
- Attend the cocktail hour.
- Keep the bride hydrated and calm.
- Run interference if necessary.
- Coordinate with the Best Man.
- Make sure the bouquet gets to the reception.
- Stand beside the groom if there is a receiving line.
- Organize the wedding party entrance to the dinner and reception. The MoH usually enters on the arm of the Best Man.
- Help host.
- Attend the dinner and make a speech if necessary.
- Remind everyone to sign the guest book.
- Coordinate a video for people to say something to the happy couple.
- Help direct people.
- Dance with the Best Man.
- Round people up for photos.
- Dance and encourage others to dance.
- Handle any minor incidents so the newlyweds can enjoy their evening.
- Stick around at the end of the event to make sure the loose ends are all tied up after the newlyweds leave. This can include storing the top tier of the cake, making sure presents are packed and delivered to the correct location, and helping people to their vehicles, among other things.
If you’ve never been a Maid of Honor, then there’s a lot to learn in a very short time. Doubtless, you have more questions, and even the checklist above can’t answer them all. Here are a few more helpful tips to get you through your duties more efficiently.
The Maid of Honor traditionally pays for three essential things. First, like all bridesmaids, she is expected to buy her own dress, shoes, and jewelry for the wedding. Secondly, she pays for the bachelorette party, and lastly, she hosts and pays for the bridal shower. However, bridal shower gifts are the responsibility of the individual givers.
There are a lot of things a Maid of Honor is responsible for. However, there are plenty of things she should not do as well. Foremost, an MoH should never complain about her responsibilities since the position is voluntary. Below is a quick list of other things to avoid.
ᐅ Don’t forget that this day is all about the bride. A good Maid of Honor takes a backseat and lets the woman of the hour shine.
ᐅ Don’t forget to take care of the bridesmaids. A wedding isn’t about the bridesmaids, but an MoH is expected to coordinate them and make sure everything runs smoothly.
ᐅ Don’t embarrass the bride. Make your toast quick and meaningful.
ᐅ Don’t leave early. A responsible MoH (along with the Best Man) needs to hang around until the last guest is gone and coordinate any final touches so the newlyweds can enjoy their honeymoon.
The Maid of Honor should ensure all the bridesmaids are present along with their gowns and jewelry for the event. It’s a good idea to carry a small first aid kit and a small sewing kit in case of last-minute emergencies. Other than that, she should bring her own attire and help make sure the bride looks amazing. An MoH doesn’t usually carry a bouquet down the aisle because she holds the bride’s flowers while she says her vows.
Unless the newlyweds specify in advance that they do not want gifts or that the wedding party is exempt, a Maid of Honor should bring a gift.
At modern weddings, not all Mohs give speeches. However, it is a tradition for the Maid of Honor to give a speech.
A Maid of Honor’s speech should be brief. Around 2-4 minutes is the ideal speech length to keep everyone’s attention. Five minutes is the maximum, but short and sweet is better.
A bride could technically designate multiple MoHs, but they’d have to coordinate, and there’s a chance of clashing personalities. To be prudent, choose no more than two. In a traditional setting, there is only one Maid of Honor. That is why it’s such an honor.
The Maid of Honor walks down the aisle with the Best Man. If there are multiples of either, they can walk as a trio or two pairs. In some rare cases, a maid of honor will walk down the aisle with another important member of the groom’s half of the wedding party, but that’s usually only when there are two MoHs, and someone else is walking with the Best Man.
Being the Maid of Honor is a big deal. It means someone loves and trusts you with organizing parts of their wedding. They will expect you to help organize bridesmaids, plan smaller parties, and even arrange their veils if necessary. As the MoH, you should be ready to troubleshoot any last-minute necessities or issues and help take the stress off a new bride’s shoulders so she can enjoy her spotlight and have a fantastic wedding. A good Maid of Honor is organized, capable, willing, and attentive without the need to be the center of attention.