Hooray - You're officially the MOH! What now?
You’ve been asked to be a maid of honor—this is an exciting and joyful time! While a maid of honor offer can be flattering, the title comes with a host of responsibilities.
Your job is to make the bride’s life easier as she prepares to marry the love of her life. With all the planning that goes into a wedding, the maid of honor can feel a bit overwhelmed!
If you’ve never been a maid of honor before, you may be wondering, “What is my overall timeline? What are my duties?” Or maybe you’ve been in your fair share of weddings, but want to know how you can streamline the process and better help the bride feel comfortable and prepared.
Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran, our ultimate maid of honor checklist will help you through every step of the process.
6-12 months before the wedding
- Congratulate the future bride and groom on their engagement! Whether this is a card or simply a call, it’s crucial that you start out your role as maid of honor in support of the happy couple!
- Host a “meeting of the minds.” Pencil in some time with the bride as early on as possible to talk one-on-one about what she expects of you. Be sure to ask plenty of questions and really listen to what she’s excited about or intimidated by. This will help you get on the same page to really understand what she wants out of her engagement and wedding.
- Find out if there will be an engagement party, bridal shower, or other forms of celebration leading up to the big day. Coordinate with the bride-to-be on whether she wants these parties to occur. If she does, it is your job to help her invite guests, book the venue, and do your best to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible.
- Keep the other bridesmaids in the loop. One of the things a maid of honor can do for the bride is communicate with the bridesmaids. The more people you have involved, the harder it can be to coordinate schedules or keep track of everyone. When it comes to important events like the dress fitting or parties, the maid of honor should be making sure the bridesmaids have been informed and are ready to support the bride!
- Accompany the bride to go dress shopping. If the bride would like to include the maid of honor and bridesmaids in the dress-buying process (most brides do!), this will likely happen 6-12 months in advance of the wedding. The bride may or may not want your help setting up appointments to try on gowns. Connect with her early on to see what she has in mind.
- Help coordinate the bridesmaid dress shopping. While the bride may have already picked out the style of bridesmaid dresses she wants the bridal party to wear, the maid of honor should be prepared to gently nudge or remind the bridesmaids to buy their dresses and get everything fitted in time for the wedding. One question to get out of the way early: will the bridesmaids be wearing a certain style of shoe or jewelry? Make sure the bridesmaids are aware of what they’ll need to buy sooner than later.
3-5 months before the wedding
- Prep for the bridal shower. You may be nearing the bridal shower date at this point. Check to make sure everything is set at the venue at least a few weeks ahead of time. Also, be sure to remind the attendees the shower is coming up and where they can find the registry!
- If it’s a destination wedding, renew your passport. If the couple is getting married outside of the U.S., you’ll want to leave yourself enough time to renew your passport and make other travel arrangements. Remind your bridesmaids of this, as well.
- Be a point-of-contact for guests. Ask the bride if she’d like your help as a point person for guests. Where is the couple registered? What’s the dress code for the wedding? These questions can be fielded to you, if the bride is comfortable with that.
- Plan a bachelorette party. Typically, the bachelorette party is held a few days to weeks before the wedding, but it’s not a bad idea to start planning early.
- Delegate tasks to the other bridesmaids. Are you starting to get overwhelmed yet? Not only will delegating some of your tasks to the other bridesmaids help you de-stress, it will also help keep them involved and active in the wedding-prep process!
1-2 months before the wedding
- Attend dress fittings, if the bride desires. As the wedding gets closer, the bride may have a few visits to the seamstress scheduled to make sure her dress will fit perfectly on her wedding day. She may want a support group to go with her, or she may choose to go alone. Talk with her to see what she prefers!
- Host the bridal shower. There is some debate on whether the maid of honor should pay for the bridal shower. Be up front about your budget, and don’t be afraid to ask the other bridesmaids to chip in to help fund the parties.
- Help the bride keep track of gifts. Keep a checklist of guests who give gifts before the wedding so the bride can write the appropriate thank you’s after the wedding.
- Check in with the bride and groom. How are they doing? Are they so stressed they can’t spend time together, because they’re busy with wedding planning? Offer to take things off their plate so they can have a date night together. After all, they should be preparing to build their lives together, not worrying about the details of the wedding! The best thing you can do is offer a support system for the couple.
- Gather all the vendor contact information. You’ll want to have a cheat sheet with all the vendor information before the wedding day. In case anything goes wrong at the last minute, you don’t want to make the bride scroll through her emails looking for so-and-so’s phone number.
- Polish up your maid of honor speech. While you’ll want to start writing your maid of honor speech early, make sure you start editing and polishing it as you get closer to the wedding day. Check out our guide to an unforgettable maid of honor speech!
The day of the wedding
- Get ready with the bride and bridal party on the morning of the wedding! This should be a fun process! Try to encourage the bridesmaids and the bride to have a good time getting primped in the morning.
- Head up pictures and social media. As maid of honor, take on the duty of snapping a few getting-ready photos and handling social media so the bride-to-be can unplug and relax.
- Prep an emergency kit for the bride and bridal party. A few good items to have in an emergency kit are Band Aids, safety pins, tape, aspirin, bobby pins, a bottle of water, and tampons. You’ll be a hero for thinking of this one!
- Be there for the bride! Help keep her calm as she preps for the ceremony.
- Be a go-between for the bride and groom before the ceremony. Since the groom traditionally doesn’t see the bride before the ceremony, the maid of honor should step in to help communicate prior to the big reveal.
- Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ring exchange. This is a traditional (yet easy) job that typically falls on the maid of honor.
- Stand in the receiving line, if that’s part of the wedding ceremony.
- Pose for the bridal party pictures.
- Give your maid of honor speech!
- Keep your head up. Try to keep an eye out for any issues during the ceremony or reception and do your best to help head them off.
- Help direct guests as the ceremony winds down. If there’s an after-party or designated hotel guests are staying at, try to help direct them as the night goes on.
The day after the wedding
- Help clean up the venue, if necessary. If the bride and groom jetted off on their honeymoon immediately after the wedding, you may need to assist in tearing down some of the decorations at the venue.
- Help ensure the gifts get to the right place. This may only apply if the bride and groom are away, but it can be extremely helpful to have someone to send or deliver their gifts to a safe place.
Wrapping it up
While you’re in the throes of planning for a wedding, it’s normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed by all the responsibilities. However, the rewards of tackling the role of maid of honor far outweigh the stress. The couple will be thankful for all your hard work, and you can know that your help really made an impact in their lives.
Do you have tips on being a maid of honor? Any memorable stories? We want to hear from you in the comments!