‘Tis the season… For wedding planning! In the wake of the holiday season – prime time for engagements – wedding planning is kicking into high gear for brides everywhere. With the holiday lights coming down and the trees long discarded, now is the time to start filling out that bridal party, including that highest of distinctions, the maid of honor.
If you’re one of the lucky few who’s been tapped for MOH duties, it’s important to remember above all else that you’ve been chosen for the honor because the bride feels a special connection with you and trusts you to stand with her on the most special day of her life. Sounds daunting, I know, which is why we’re making it a little bit easier for you with our foolproof list below. If you’re brand-spanking-new to the MOH game, read on for everything you need to know about your MOH duties from the tastings to the toast. Even if this ain’t your first rodeo, you might learn a thing or two! 1. Leader of the pack.
It happened. Your newly betrothed bestie has offered you the role of maid of honor, which you’ve happily accepted. Along with the lengthy list of duties the role entails (more on those below), you’ll essentially serve as bridal party president, leading the bridal party through the planning process and delegating duties when necessary. For the foreseeable future, consider yourself the group’s social chair, fashion stylist, travel secretary… The list goes on.
Capture Life Moments
2. Shopping will be your cardio.
Dress shopping for both the bride and her bridesmaids is a given, but your eye for style goes well beyond. A girl loves her accessories, so make sure you’re on hand to help pick the jewels, the shoes and any other required flair.
3. The finishing touches.
Speaking of flair, no outfit is complete without hair and makeup, and this goes tenfold for the big day. Help the bride choose the looks for herself and her gals beforehand, and make sure the glam team is booked well in advance.
Kate Wenzel Photography
4. Don’t just ‘yes ma’am.’
Fact: The bride will ask you to help with tons of tasks in the months leading up to the big day, from dinner and dessert tastings to color schemes to wedding favors. As her sounding board, it’s important to give your honest opinion. Case in point: The bride is convinced that orange is the new pink, but you beg to differ. Let the bride know, and come armed with a solution – suggest a clean color palette accented with matte metallics, a top trend we’re forecasting for 2016. With a flurry of decisions to be made, the bride will appreciate a little clarity from a trusted, clear-headed advisor.
5. Be the punching bag...
Planning a wedding is stressful, even for the most levelheaded bride. When the bride encounters a bump in the road – and she will – be there to listen and let her vent her frustrations without judgment or argument.
6. … and the butler.
The bride will need things, and the closer you get to the wedding day, the more things she will need. You will fetch them. You will do it with a smile on your face. Enough said.
Eileen K. Photography
7. Keep your soldiers in line.
The MOH is the one to disseminate all pertinent information to the rest of the bridal party, including schedules of all events from the shower to the reception. Make sure the ladies stick to the schedules by helping to get to all points smoothly; help coordinate transportation if necessary.
8. Eliminate the guesswork.
Locating a registry may require guests to do some digging, so make sure you know where the couple is registered, then spread the word.
9. Party time!
Serving as MOH comes with responsibilities, sure, but there’s plenty of fun to be had, too. Help plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, keeping in mind the bride’s personal preferences. For example, some brides prefer a quiet spa day with a hot stone massage and a cup of chamomile; others prefer to paint the town red while festooned in bachelorette-themed novelty items head-to-toe. Be mindful of budgets as well. If the bride wants to hit the poker tables but a weekend in Vegas just isn’t in the cards (pun intended), it’s time to get creative. Borrow one of our top wedding trends for 2016 – destination without the travel – and bring Vegas to the bride by renting a more wallet-friendly venue at home and setting up your own mini casino.
Jeannine Marie Photography
10. Madame Secretary.
Dust off those note-taking skills from your school days, because you’ll need ‘em to keep thorough lists of gifts received (and their givers) at the various parties and showers.
11. Dress for success.
The big day has arrived! Help the bride shimmy into her gorgeous gown, and don’t forget about the heels, the bling and any other finishing touches. During the ceremony and reception, stay close by to help make adjustments as needed, whether it’s placing the veil just so for the ceremony, fluffing layers of tulle for photos or bustling the train before hitting the dance floor.
12. Always be prepared.
As a publicist for many years, I’ve been trained to keep my trusty “go bag” handy for any big event. Take a cue from us PR pros and stock your own kit for any day-of emergencies. Throw in a sewing kit, tissues, adhesive bandages, fashion tape, stain remover wipes, a nail file, a few aspirin, some hairpins and elastics, and anything else that might be needed in a pinch.
13. Lord(ess) of the ring.
You’re the one responsible for holding the groom’s ring during the ceremony, so be sure to keep it safe and secure. Most hold it on the thumb for safekeeping, but choose the system that works best for you. (Since the bride needs her hands free for this part, too, you’ll also be holding the bouquet.)
Jeannine Marie Photography
14. Jot down your John Hancock.
Along with the best man, you’ll be signing the marriage license as a witness.
15. Chin chin.
Also on the docket is your wedding toast. Tickle guests’ funny bones with a hilarious anecdote about the couple or tug at their heartstrings with a sappy memory – that’s your call. Make sure you have a printout of your speech handy, or at the very least jot down a few notes to keep your delivery on track. Regarding booze, use your judgment. If you feel that a glass or two of champagne will help calm your nerves, then go for it. Stay away from the hard stuff though; this is a heartfelt expression of love and admiration for your beloved best pal, not spring break ’04.
Eileen K. Photography
16. Steer the ship.
Okay, you’re not actually steering the ship, but you are responsible for hanging on to a whole lot of info and directing guests and other wedding participants accordingly. Accept gifts on behalf of the bride or guide guests to the appropriate drop spot. Invite wedding-goers to sign the guest book. Know where the restrooms are located and point guests in the right direction if needed.
17. Jockey the dress.
This one applies only if the newlyweds are heading right to the honeymoon. In the event that the happy couple are dining and dashing straight from the next day’s brunch, the MOH will stand in as the keeper of the dress. Make arrangements for safekeeping until the bride returns.
Eileen K. Photography
18. Don’t let her go hangry.
Fun fact: I always have snacks. Always. Follow my lead and keep some fresh, filling bites handy for the bride to munch as she bounces from hair to makeup and beyond. (Hungry bride = cranky bride.) Bonus points for packing the bride’s faves. If my heart can be won with just a few squares of super-dark chocolate, you can bet that your gal will appreciate having her treats of choice handy, too. Even during the reception, the bride may need a reminder to chow down between catching up with long-lost relatives and glad-handing assorted other guests. Throw a couple of glasses of bubbly into the mix and things could get dicey, so keep some food in her belly to be sure her special day doesn’t fly by in a very literal blur.
19. Have fun!
In the end, the goal is make the day an unforgettable one for the bride. That includes you, her nearest and dearest, so grab your gal, hit the dance floor and boogie down!
Jody Savage Photography
Being named maid of honor is just that – an honor. While there’s lots of work to be done, going above and beyond for someone you hold so dearly can be truly rewarding and may even help further strengthen your bond. If you’re truly in a bind and don’t know what to do or how to help at any point in the process, just ask the bride. She knows you’re there for her, and she’ll be there for you, too!
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