Your bestie just got engaged — and they’ve asked you to be the maid of honor (MOH)! So… now what?! Whether this is your first time standing beside a bride or you’re a MOH veteran, it’s never a bad idea to (re)acquaint yourself with just what’s in store for you over the next year or so. Even big day aside, there are so many wedding events to plan, and as MOH, you’re a major part of these milestones. From the bridal shower to the bachelorette, wedding dress shopping to your rehearsal dinner speech, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 most important duties so you can effortlessly nail this maid of honor thing — without ever attacking a giant heart-shaped cookie at the bridal shower.
1. Wedding Planning 101: Private Pinterest boards, mid-day Hangouts conversations, Insta-stalking every detail of Harry and Meghan’s royal ceremony — as maid of honor, you’re basically a wedding planner’s assistant until the big day rolls around. Your responsibilities here swing from indulging in your BFF’s wildest fantasies (“Yes, a week-long destination wedding in Bali does sound fun!”) to bringing her back to reality (“Yes, you do have to invite their sister, no matter how condescending she is.”).
2. Finding “The One” (Dress, That Is): No one has to twist our arms when it comes to enthusiastically participating in this MOH “duty.” Shopping for wedding dresses is a total dream, whether you’re helping the bride choose their gown or coordinating your own lewk. But as with so many moments over the course of your tenure as MOH, you’ll want to figure out how to be both honest and considerate when you’re giving your opinion — subtlety and tact are super-important.
3. Bridal Showering: Bringing together the bride’s nearest and dearest is one of the most fun and meaningful parts of being the maid of honor — plus you get to throw a crazy-creative party! There are so many fresh bridal shower themes and celeb-inspired bridal shower tips to choose from — just remember to honor your bestie’s personality and the couple’s love story. Most of the time, you’ll have the help of the bridal party and family members to plan a bridal shower, so you won’t have to go it alone. Pro tip: You’ll want to schedule the party about six to eight weeks out from the wedding date, and be sure to send invites about six weeks before that.
4. To Hangover or Not to Hangover: The bachelorette party vibe should be all about who your bestie is as a person — if they’re the chill type and hate the spotlight, a front-row table at a risque venue is probably a bad idea. For a less traditional but still totally memorable hen party, we love the idea of a spa weekend, a wine tasting afternoon, or even a boat party. Word to the wise: Bachelorette email chains can devolve into the most unwieldy, politely passive-aggressive documents to exist, so we’re giving you permission to be direct and decisive (without being a diva) when it comes to finalizing decisions.
5. All Hands on Deck: The past months of preparation all come down to the few days before the wedding — flower crowns must be made, seating charts finalized, and Jordan almonds bagged. Obviously, every bride is different, but even if your bestie is DIY-averse, there’s still a ton to do — even though that may just mean running to the airport to pick up their cousins, your bestie will so appreciate your helping hand.
6. Rehearsal Dinner Speech Time: Traditionally, the maid of honor gives a speech at the rehearsal dinner to honor the couple, so chat with your bestie a few weeks beforehand to see what they expect. If you are saying a little something, we suggest keeping it short and sweet, with a good-humored joke or two thrown in. Be sure to include their partner in the speech, since it’s their day, and let your friend know just how happy you are to be a part of this special occasion. (A glass of rosé about 30 minutes beforehand never hurt either.)
7. Getting Ready: The morning of the wedding day is probably going to be all about face masks, hairspray, and lots of girl talk. It’s a time that’s infused with a special sense of giddy anticipation, so don’t forget to snap a few candid pics so the bride can remember those moments later. We suggest that as the maid of honor you put together a “girl power” playlist and stock up on lots of La Croix and nourishing snacks to keep spirits high throughout the afternoon.
8. The “I Do”s: You’re up, Pippa! When you’re walking down the aisle, remember to breathe, walk slowly (seriously, walk slower than you think you need to!), and smile. Since you’re the last of the crew to head down the aisle before the bride, be sure to take a moment, just the two of you, for a reassuring hug and once last deep breath before soaking in all that love.
9. Staying Photo-Ready: It’s time to bustle the bride’s train, touch up their lipstick, and tromp through the gardens — and, yet again, don’t forget to smile! If a cocktail reception for guests coincides with photos, try to sneak away to grab the bride a bite to eat and a bottle of water (okay, and a glass of bubbly too). They’re probably famished, nervous, and thirsty and will be forever grateful for your on-the-fly snackage.
10. Party Time: It is now your solemn duty to get the party started. Which means being the first to get your butt on the dance floor, no matter how cheesy the DJ’s selection may be. Once you’ve broken the ice by breaking it down, everyone else will soon follow suit — putting your bestie at ease and setting the tone for the rest of the evening.
Are you a MOH veteran, or will this summer be your first time as a bride’s ride-or-die? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know what this wedding season has in store!
(Photos via Getty)