Has your bride bestie made her decision yet? Have you been officially nominated as queen bee? Have you had the honour bestowed upon you that is, aptly named, maid of honour? Choosing which friend or family member to royally appoint as her number two on the big day (the number one spot of course being assumed by her husband or wife to be) is rarely an easy decision. But, as soon as her mind’s ‘maid’ up, and all of the excited hugs and squeals have taken place (the first of many rounds we hasten to add), you can get out your pen and paper (or Papier notebook!) to start writing down your maid of honour duties that’ll ease the strain of wedding planning.
After all, being her right-hand woman isn’t just about being at her side for reasons of fun and friendship, but to be a bigger rock than the sparkly one on her finger. You’re there to help, to listen, to calm any nerves, to take some of the hefty to-do list weight off her shoulders, and to support your beloved friend in any which wedding way you can. Whether you’re stumped as to what responsibilities you can take on, or if you have a list as long as her wedding dress train and are wondering if you should rein it in, here’s a rundown of some of the tasks that should have your name on.
Your maid of honour checklist starts way in advance of the nuptials. Think about adding jobs like:
There are all sorts of ways that couples go about arranging a shindig to toast to their happy news (have a read of our engagement party FAQ article for our top tips), but by offering your maid of honour expertise as soon as they’re out of the engagement starting blocks is certainly one of them. Think of it as good planning practice for her soon-to-come hen party to end all hen parties. Talking of which...
This is the big one. The one she’ll really be expecting you to tackle. Maybe more than any other bullet point on your list, sorting out the hen party is when maids of honour across the land have their moment to shine. Yes, you can dish out tasks to other members of the bridal squad, but it’s ultimately for you to sort out and make sure her celebration is everything she could have wanted (and more, for the jackpot).
Only one of the most anticipated moments of the whole wedding, hunting down the perfect dress is a search party waiting to be led by the maid of honour. Suggest that you could do some of the research to uncover the designers that are most ‘her’, or help with booking appointments for the ones she’s given the thumbs up to. And any maid of honour worth her salt will be with her for as many trips as it takes before she meets ‘the one’.
Photographers, videographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, DJs, magicians (yes, it’s a thing) – the list goes on. There’s a whole host of people to call upon to bring together a couple’s big day, from the getting-ready brigade to their choice of entertainers. Finding the right ones however is no walk in the park.
Enter y-o-u – the maid of honour in shining armour. They probably shouldn’t be tasking you to help out with all of them – you’re not their wedding planner – but having you there to lean on and to lighten the load with one or two feels more than reasonable.
Planning done (or not? This last minute wedding checklist might come in handy), now’s the time that you can swoop in and make sure everything’s running smoothly on the day itself. That and a few other dinky duties of course:
Having her closest friends fluttering around – in the prerequisite matching silk robes and sipping on champagne – is often one of the most memorable moments of the day. As maid of honour, you’ll be the one waiting in the wings to confirm her hair is perfect, her make-up radiant, to help her slip into her dress & don her shoes. And you’re the one who’ll be the first to look back at her as she emerges from the swathes of silk, lace or tulle – a moment so special that the two of you will cherish forever.
On the day of the wedding, you’re there to enjoy every second of the getting ready excitement, but don’t forget that you should also always have one eye open and one ear on red alert to be sure the key things are happening as and when they should be.
What a lullaby it will be for her to hear when she asks things like, have the flowers arrived, has the outdoor speaker come yet, or how many proseccos has my mum had so far? And you reply, serenely with: yes and they’re in water, it did an hour ago and testing began at 10.27am, and she’s on the non-alcoholic sort but doesn’t realise. So, think about asking the blushing bride to share any concerns that she thinks she might have throughout the day, then reassure her that you’ll be there looking after the lot of them.
Some brides love the idea of a maid of honour speech. Why should it be the best man who gets to hog the limelight? Now you might prefer to stay mute, and that’s your prerogative – no bride should pressure you into doing something that will make you squirm. But otherwise, suggest it and see how she responds. She may well love the idea of a speech-off between you and the best man, and to sit back while you honour her in front of all her nearest and dearest, just as she’s done for you by making you maid of honour.
This last one’s less for the wallflower maid of honours out there and more for those who know how to get the dance floor filled. Somebody needs to lead the way and to peel people away from tables and chairs, so be a good egg and make the first move to coax the crowds to shuffle to their feet.
If you’re reading this on wedding day countdown and the prospect of moving to the music brings you out in a cold sweat, think about what other things you could do to check everyone’s having a blast. Even if it’s just circulating to have conversations with all and sundry, doing the rounds counts for a lot too.
The big day’s been and gone (boo-hoo!) but that doesn’t mean you need to shimmy out of your maid of honour cloak just yet. Post-wedding thank yous are one of the first tasks of marital life waiting for when they return from their envy-inducing honeymoon. And those thank-you cards can feel a tad daunting, especially if the guest list was on the sizeable side; there’s a lot to say to make sure each one is meaningful.
Loyal maid of honour to the rescue! This is another task that you can support the newlyweds with. Not the writing of, not the stamp-licking (you’re not a PA), but a helpful contribution like pulling together a spreadsheet (fancy!) of the guest list, detailing who gave them what, and address. It’s a godsend that makes thank you notes all the speedier and all the smoother.