Your best friend just got engaged and you are the lucky one she asked to be her Maid of Honor! You’re excited for her and even more excited that you get to be her right-hand lady when planning this wedding. But what exactly does being a Maid of Honor mean? What are you supposed to do?

Don’t fret! You’ve come to the right place. We’ve got your job description down to a science and by the end of this blog you’ll understand where the role of a Maid of Honor came from, what you are supposed to do and what not to do. Let the journey begin!

Where does Maid of Honor come from?

Once upon a time, centuries and centuries ago, the groom used to kidnap the bride. The groomsmen and best man formed a small army fighting off any of the bride’s relatives. During this time, the bridesmaids were all made to look alike so none of the angry relatives or jealous suitors could tell them apart.

Superstition also notes that the reason the bridesmaids and groomsmen look alike is so that it would confuse any evil spirits so that they would not know who the real bride and groom are. Roman law stated that there needed to be ten witnesses so the bridesmaids and groomsmen all acted as witnesses to the wedding.

As marriage progressed into later years. the act grew towards purchase or exchange. During this time the groom would pay a dowry to the bride’s father in exchange for the daughter, and groomsmen and bridesmaids were responsible in protecting the bride and the dowry on the journey to the wedding. The Maid of Honor was also responsible in helping the bride get dressed and to dress her in her wedding wreath.

Slowly, in most places of the world, marriage has progressed to be love-oriented. Today the Maid of honor is still to protect the bride from angry relatives, help her in getting dressed, and even wear matching clothes. However, there is so much more that the Maid of Honor is responsible for nowadays and I’m here to walk you through all of that so you’ll feel more than prepared to be the best Maid of Honor for your bride!

Responsibilities of the Maid of Honor

First thing’s first: Every bride is different! Some brides may want you to do it all while others may only want you to do a few things.

For Example: If it’s your sister who’s getting married, she may want you to give the speech, but have her friends throw the bachelorette party. If your friend is getting married, she might want you to do a majority of things, but have a family member assist in creating décor for the wedding. Whoever your bride is, remember to listen to her and be patient. Planning a wedding is not easy and she needs you to be there when she needs her, but respect when she doesn’t need your help. This is not your day, it is her day. Relax, you don’t have to do it all. Your main task is to be there to do whatever the bride needs and keep the peace.

1.   Emotional Support

Check in with the bride throughout the planning stages, listen to her vent, and support her in any way possible! This does not mean bash her crazy aunt who may be trying to micromanage the whole thing. This just means your role is to listen and be understanding about how difficult things may be. After all, she is one of your best friends, right? You know her better than most people and there is a reason why she asked you over all the other people in her life! You know exactly what flavor of Ben and Jerry’s will calm her down and which jokes will make her laugh the hardest. Be there for her best wedding planning moments and her worst. She’ll need you in order to get through the stressful moments.

Want bonus points? Send her encouraging notes or small gift packages to remind her that she doesn’t have to plan it all alone.

2.   Wedding Attire

Choosing a wedding dress is stressful! It’s probably the most beautiful, expensive dress the bride will ever wear and (hopefully) she’ll only get one her whole life. As the Maid of Honor, you get to be there to help her decide which one is best.

The number one rule for wedding attire is this: BE HONEST! Don’t tell her that the dress looks amazing when it doesn’t, but keep in mind that her favorite dress might not be your favorite. Be there to support her and help direct her indecisiveness. Do not be afraid to kindly voice your concerns if you are worried the dress may be out of her price range or not fit properly.

3.   Get Information Out

Lead the bridesmaids’ troupe. It’s the Maid of Honor’s job to ensure all other maids know their duties. Make sure everyone gets their bridesmaids dresses, goes to fittings, and has the correct jewelry This also means you have to know every detail and be able to get the information out to those who need it. From addressing save the dates and writing invitations, to telling people when the bachelorette party is and even holding onto the bride’s phone to answer last minute questions guests may have on the big day, it’s the Maid of Honor’s responsibility to be responsible. The bride is going to have too many people surrounding her to be able to answer all of those questions on her own. It’s also good to let people know where the bride and groom are registered.

4.   Assist in Wedding Tasks

This is the area where brides may differ greatly. Some will want you to help pick the color, come to bridal shows, create the seating chart and even try the cakes. Others may simply want you to be there a week early to put up some last-minute decorations or help clean up after the wedding. Do whatever you are able to do.

For Example: if you are long distance it may not be possible for you to check out every venue and try every cake.. but you can call and set up appointments or look at pictures she sends you of dresses, colors, and venues to join in on her excitement.

5.   Bridal Shower

This subject differs depending on the bride and her family. In some families, it is always the job of an aunt or older woman (than the bride) in the family, who is not the bride’s mother, to throw the bridal shower. Other times mother-in-laws or an aunt from both sides like to throw one. However, some people say this is the Maid of Honor’s job so this may be something you want to check with your bride on. Either way, it is important to note that in the shower you are responsible for keeping track of all the gifts the bride received and who they are from, make a bouquet from the ribbons for the rehearsal night, and assist in cleaning up or setting up if needed.

6.   Bachelorette Party

It’s your job to plan the kick-ass bachelorette party, but if the bride wants herself or other friends to be a part of the planning make sure you collaborate with them. Also, it is your job to pay for yourself and help pay for the bride. Feel free to ask other bridesmaids to help split the cost of the bride.

7.   Prepare a Toast

Give a speech in honor of the bride and groom. Writing the speech doesn’t have to be hard. The most challenging part will be figuring out how to start your speech. It’s easy to know what not to say: don’t mention exes, embarrassing stories, or drunken debacles.

Here are a couple of ideas if you’re struggling. Make sure to say who you are and how you know the bride. If you don’t introduce yourself people may be wondering who the heck you are right when you’re getting to the best part of your speech. Give thanks to the people who helped make the special day possible. Weddings are expensive and stressful; a simple thank you can make worlds of difference. Tell a story about the bride, when you met the groom, or them as a couple. The bride is someone you know very well, might as well wow the crowd with a funny or heartfelt story!

You can also use props to spice things up. For a Maid of Honor speech I gave in the past, I made a gift bag of things the bride can’t live without and gave it to the groom after my speech. The bag only had a few items in it, but I pulled each one out and talked about the significance that item had to the bride. A good way to start or end a speech is to include a powerful love quote that gives the guests something to think about. Lastly, you could ask the audience a question to make your speech more interactive. You could do a “raise your hand if..” and finish the question with something funny about the couple. If you choose to end with a question make it something that will leave the audience cheering like “Who’s ready to celebrate this awesome couple?!” Whatever you choose to do remember to keep it short, sweet, and about the couple. Speak from your heart and the audience will love it.

8.   Specific responsibilities on the big day

These are a few responsibilities you have on the wedding day that is often forgotten about. You should hold the groom’s ring, make sure the bride gets a chance to eat and make sure people arrive on time and know where to go. Try to make this day go as smoothly as possible for the bride. Don’t let people bombard her with questions; you should know the answers and can talk to everyone for her.

9.   Dress/Undress the Bride

Before the wedding: You are responsible for helping her into her dress and zipping, buttoning, or tying it up. Happy Cry with her and remind her the best of her life is ahead.

During the ceremony: You are responsible for laying out the train so it’s not wrinkled, holding her bouquet when needed, and making sure the dress doesn’t drag in any dirt. Enjoy the ceremony and watch your best friend marry hers.

During the reception: You are responsible for bustling the dress and if need be holding it up in the bathroom. Some dresses may be bigger than others. Laugh when it’s awkward. You love her, right?

After the reception: If your bride has a getaway dress, you are responsible for helping her out of her dress because most grooms do not have the patience for 1000 buttons down the back. You also need to keep her dress safe and get it to where it needs to be while the bride is on her honeymoon.

10.   Be a friend

After all, that’s why she asked you! Don’t forget to be a good friend and help make her special day everything she’s ever wanted it to be. This should be fun and hopefully, make your friendship stronger! Just remember this is her day, not yours. Do not make it about yourself. Do your best to be there for your friend because this is a time when it is supposed to be all about her.

Now go out there and rock that Maid of Honor role!

This post was written by Bailey Berberich, Ring Cam blogger.