Congratulations! You’ve just been assigned one of the most important roles in the wedding party! Whether you’re the maid of honor or matron of honor, one of your significant responsibilities is to make life easier for the bride during the wedding planning, including wedding-dress shopping and hosting the bridal shower. With helpful tips, and a checklist of items to be aware of, you’ll be ready to take on whatever the wedding party (or the bride) happens to throw at you.
First thing's first: When it comes to bridal party roles, there really are no set "rules." Each bride has a different take on which task she would like to assign to whom. The best advice that I can give to leading ladies is to ask before assuming anything. For example, the maid of honor traditionally hosts the bridal shower unless she's a relative of the bride, in which convention suggests that someone else take the torch for this event. The reason for this little caveat lies in not wanting the bride’s family to come across as greedy in trying to garner more gifts for the bride. Of course, in modern times, it is socially acceptable for a relative to host the shower. Ultimately, it depends on what kinds of traditions the bride feels are most important to them, and those involved. If the mother of the bride wants to host the bridal shower, then your role may be to help with securing invitations and RSVPs, instead.
1. Accompany the bride to wedding appointments.
Even though there will be many more appointments than a maid of honor could likely attend, it’s certainly nice to accompany the bride whenever possible. If she doesn’t ask, then it's not necessary to insist on going, but it never hurts to offer extra help. The kinds of appointments that a maid of honor might choose to attend are décor and event rentals, venue visits and of course, dress fittings. And when it comes to dress fittings, Anya Bridal is more than happy to help out! Give us a call and we’ll set up an appointment at your earliest convenience.
These are just a few fun and meaningful experiences that you can experience together. Pretty much anything in the sphere of planning for the big day is fair game, although the bride will (or should) understand if not all dates can be met. Additionally, some brides want their maid of honor to help them pick out bridesmaid dresses (although some may also want to choose independently), and help coordinate with the groomsmen.
2. Shopping will be your cardio.
Dress shopping for both the bride and her bridesmaids is a given, but your eye for style goes well beyond. A girl loves her accessories, so make sure you’re on hand to help pick the jewels, the shoes and any other required flair.
3. Throw a fun bachelorette party.
Traditionally, the maid of honor is responsible for organizing the bachelorette party, booking any reservations and coordinating with the bridal party. Along these lines, it's customary for the maid of honor to collect funds for the party from all of the bridesmaids, understanding that not everyone may be able to contribute equally. If it's an out-of-town excursion, then it's necessary to touch base with the bride before setting firm plans, especially if the pooled funds don't cover the entire cost of the trip. Regardless of where you decide to throw a bachelorette party, it's a good idea to work out all of the travel, food, lodging, and activity logistics with the bridal party in advance. That way, the bride can just focus on having fun. Whether you opt for a low-key local hotspot, a soothing spa retreat or a wild and crazy destination, it will be a time full of wonderful memories for the bride and her best friends!
4. Don’t just ‘yes ma’am.’
Fact: The bride will ask you to help with tons of tasks in the months leading up to the big day, from dinner and dessert tastings to color schemes to wedding favors. As her sounding board, it’s important to give your honest opinion. Case in point: The bride is convinced that orange is the new pink, but you beg to differ. Let the bride know, and come armed with a solution – suggest a clean color palette accented with matte metallics, a top trend we’re forecasting for 2016. With a flurry of decisions to be made, the bride will appreciate a little clarity from a trusted, clear-headed advisor.
5. Be the bridesmaids' go-to gal.
If you think scheduling one dress fitting is tough, imagine adding on six other ladies all living in different cities! Take control of helping everyone plan their hair appointments and making sure that everyone has the proper shoes, jackets, nail polish color, etc. The bride will be beyond grateful to have someone else managing all of these small details. Some of my favorite maids of honor that I've worked with have been those who manage all of the correspondence between the bride and bridal party regarding the wedding timeline, pre-wedding parties and general responsibilities. From the bride's perspective, it's a tremendous relief to know that they have someone else they can go to with an emergency or question. Another benefit of this secret communication is that you can arrange a few surprises for the bride throughout this process! For example, I know maids of honor who have hired a photographer for the bridal shower or treated the bride to an in-room massage on the morning of the big day.
6. Rock your reception speech.
One of the parts that maids of honor fear most about their role is delivering a speech at the wedding. Although public speaking can be daunting, this is an opportunity to make it treasurable for the bride. My best advice is not to wing it, even if you think you can pull it off! At the very least, jot down key points that you can refer to throughout your speech so that you stay on topic. Some of the best speeches I've heard throughout my career as a wedding planner have been the most classic, simple and genuine in context. Talk about the love the two share and their best qualities individually and how it makes them the best couple they could be. Speak from your heart, and it will be beautiful! I would recommend leaving out any and all jokes about embarrassing the bride or sharing secrets; it's just awkward and not the right time or place for it. Have a glass or two of champagne if you need to put your nerves to rest but don't down a whole bottle of liquor or shots of tequila pre-speech. You don't want to be that cringe-worthy inebriated speech-giver that everyone is watching in horror!