What does a maid of honor do, exactly? This is a question I get a lot from readers, friends, and clients. A maid of honor’s duties include being the emotional boat for the bride, planning the bridal events, serving as the point of contact on the wedding day, set-up/take-down of decorations, giving a big speech at the reception, helping with the invitations, confirming details with vendors, family, and friends, and so, so much more. Essentially, if there is no wedding planner or wedding coordinator, the MOH takes over all of the tasks and duties.
However, how much help is needed really depends on the bride. If she’s already quite organized and likes to get things done on her own, she may not ask much of the MOH. On the other hand, some brides-to-be want their MOHs to be there through everything from attending wedding shows, to dress fittings, to tasting 15 different cake flavors. Whether it’s just a bit of advice and a person to rant to, it’s the MOH’s duty to be there.
Leading the Bridemaids
One of the more important duties of the MOH is being the leader of the troop. Between directing the other bridesmaids, checking on all the fine details, going to dress fittings, organizing the bachelorette party and bridal shower, and coordinating transportation, she’ll be responsible for leading the group and taking the reins. Of course, the other bridesmaids will have their share of things to do and should certainly assist when needed, but the maid of honor usually 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.
Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party
If there is no close family member available to help, the MOH usually hosts the bridal shower with help from the bridesmaids. From selecting a venue to choosing décor, sending invitations to preparing or ordering food, planning a bridal shower can be a big job, so it should be a shared responsibility with the rest of the bridal party.
The same goes for the bachelorette party – the MOH should work with the rest of the bridesmaids to throw an unforgettable party that the bride will never forget. Whether it’ll be a small getaway or something closer to home, keep the bride’s personality in mind to create a memorable event.
During the ceremony, the MOH holds the bride’s bouquet during the exchange of vows. She should hand it back to the bride just before the recessional. She must also adjust the bride’s train as necessary. Lastly, both the maid of honor and the best man should sign the marriage license as witnesses.
*Side Note: the MOH should have some tissues somewhere nearby in case the bride, bridesmaids, and the groom start to cry.
Just in Case…
The bride may stress out about the set-up, the vendors arriving on time, the schedule, events running behind, and all other last minute details. There are so many things she needs to handle at once and it becomes very overwhelming. The maid of honor can help communicate with wedding vendors if need be, help with set-up and coordinating the schedule throughout the day , and overall keep the mood light and cheery for everyone!
Help bustle the bride’s train and restroom duties!
The MOH is usually responsible for bustling the bride’s gown, so make sure she is familiar with that before the wedding day. 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 poofy and a little extra, the MOH may be automatically enlisted to help her in the restroom… That’s what friends are for right?
The MOH usually gives a speech after the best man’s toast. The maid of honor speech is usually relatively short, relaying about the bride, and her love and respect for the couple. As long as the speech comes from the heart, it’s sure to be a hit.
The MOH and the bridesmaids should help close the night by taking down any personal items as décor and gifts and figuring out what to do with the leftover cake, flowers, and other bits and pieces from the night. Create a list with the couple or their family members ahead of time and check to make sure if vendors need to be paid at the end of the night. Also, keep an eye on the gift table and card box, and delegate help bringing gifts and cards into a secure room or someone’s car after the party’s over.
In my opinion, hire a wedding planner/coordinator to do all of the leg and grunt work so that everyone who is an important part of your wedding can relax and enjoy the day with you. Wedding professionals will a huge load off your back and make the entire process much easier and smoother so you and your MOH, family, and bridesmaids have nothing to stress about.