Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids
The maid (or matron) of honour is part worker bee, part emotional lifeboat. Most brides will choose you as their maid of honour because of the deep friendship they have with you, not necessarily because you are the best choice for the job ahead. Keeping this in mind, make sure you know what a good MOH is supposed to do and you can make your friends’ wedding so much better and your friendship even stronger. Always remember to listen to the bride, make her laugh, and offer emotional and logistical support all the way through.
Here is what's expected financially:
1. Accommodation and Travel cost
Traditionally bridesmaids pay for their own accommodation and travel costs, however travel to and from the wedding should be covered and organized by the bride. Also, if the bride organizes a pre-wedding night ‘sleepover’, costs for that should be covered, at least partly, by the bride as well. Since you are good friends, the bride should know your financial situation and take this into account when making plans of her own. If not, feel free to point out to her that you just can’t afford certain things.
2. Wedding Attire
Bridesmaid dresses, shoes, jewellery and other accessories are your responsibility. Having said that, some brides have expensive taste and pick rather expensive, matching bridesmaids dresses, in which case you are in your right to ask for a contribution. Often brides just stipulate a colour and length and leave it up to their bridesmaids to choose their own dresses, which makes it easy for everyone to buy something they like and can afford.
3. Bridal Shower
Whoever is hosting the bridal shower is expected to foot the bill, however bridesmaids often help the MOH with the costs. If the brides’ family is hosting, costs and responsibilities will fall on them. Depending on the amount of work and money you are putting into your MOH duties, a bridal shower gift is not expected. If the bridal party has a fun theme, maybe you can participate with a fun gift that does not break the bank.
4. Hens Party
You and the other bridesmaids are fully responsible for all décor, activities, food and drink on the hens’ night or bachelorette party, however if you are inviting guests to join in, feel free to ask them to cover their own cost. Plan to have the hens’ night a few days or even weeks before the wedding, so there is no interference with the wedding.
5. Wedding Present
Don’t feel bad if you can’t afford a big wedding present after spending all your money on MOH duties. Maybe you can join in on a present with all the bridesmaids or alternatively give a well thought through personal present, rather than an expensive one.
6. Floral Accessories
The bride or her family are expected to pay for all the flowers for the bridesmaids and the maid of honor. This includes bouquets, hair or shoulder pieces and corsages.
7. Hair and Makeup
If the bride requests that you and the bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done professionally, maybe even requests a certain make-up and hair professional, then she is responsible to pay for it. If there is no such request, it is up to you what you are going to do. If you choose your own hair and make-up artist, than you should pay for it yourself. Whatever happens, make sure you communicate any plans with the bride.
With the finances out of the way, here are your maid of honour duties:
1. Be the brides best friend and say “yes” a lot. This is not your wedding, so be agreeable, even if you don’t agree with your friends' choices. Accept her decisions and help her implement them. When you plan the bridal shower and/or the hens night, reflect her style and taste, not yours.
2. Be everywhere. All bridesmaids are supposed to participate in all wedding and pre-wedding activities, including rehearsals.
3. Be a friend. The bride asked you to be her MOH because you are friends and she trusts you. Listen to her and support her and make her take a break if you see she needs one. Make sure she eats regularly and drinks enough water (not alcohol!). Have some dark chocolate (or any other special treat your friend loves) handy, to give to the bride in between meals.
4. Keep it together. You do not want to be the talk of the wedding, so no sneaking off with a groomsman, getting into a disagreement with her family or passing out drunk. The bride needs to be able to rely on you 100%
5. Stay calm. Even in the most stressful moments, keep your calm - calm is contagious and a rare commodity at most weddings. To help you with that, make sure you know exactly what is happening when, and who is doing what. Keep a diary with an exact timeline for the wedding day, all suppliers contact details etc.
6. Lead the Bridesmaids. It is your job to direct the other bridesmaids in their duties. If you are good at organizing, this job will be easy for you. Make sure everyone has their bridesmaids dress, supervise dress fittings, help with jewellery and shoe selections and get everybody to the right place at the right time.
7. Offer the bride help with choosing themes, colours, the wedding dress, cake and food and everything else the bride needs to organize. Even if your friend has a professional wedding coordinator organizing the wedding for her, your input is invaluable, because you know your friend best.
8. Offer help to set up the wedding gift registry and keep track of gifts, especially during the hens night and the bridal shower, so your bride knows whom to send a thank you card to. If your to do list is already pretty full, you can delegate this job to one of the other bridesmaids.
9. Play hostess. Show guests where to sit, leave their things, safeguard money presents, invite everyone to sign the guestbook, give directions and see to it that everything runs smoothly
10. Be the gatekeeper and go between. Act as a messenger between the bride and the groom, as well as wedding suppliers and the bride. Give out your mobile number to everyone, so they can contact you easily. Keep any family members that are known to stress out the bride as far away as possible, at least until after the ceremony.
11. If there is no ring bearer (or the ring bearer is only 5 years old), safeguard the grooms ring during the ceremony. If it fits, wear it on your thumb.
12. Look after the brides dress at all times: before she puts it on, while she is wearing it and after she takes it off to leave for her honeymoon. Help with the veil and the train. Best to have some safety pins, thread and needle, rubber bands etc. handy, just in case something comes undone.
13. Hold the bridal bouquet during the exchange of vows.
14. Sign the marriage license as a witness.
15. If it is a formal wedding, dance with the best man after the bride and groom had their first dance.
16. If the bride returns to her room with her husband after the wedding, make sure the room is clean and tidy. If it is in a hotel, you can organize the cleaners to go through and replace towels etc.
It is important to take the role of Maid of Honour seriously and remember you are doing this for your friend, the bride. Most of the duties of a MOH can be performed by anyone, but one is especially suited to you: troubleshooting any emotional crises, so have your tissues handy and keep communications open.
If the bride has help from family members, lots of bridesmaids, or a dedicated wedding planner, the maid of honour's responsibilities could be limited to just a few wedding day ceremonial functions. Depending on your own time restraints, make sure you communicate well with your friend before accepting the role of MOH