Maid of Honor Duties: The Ultimate Checklist 2023
The Maid of Honor is the person who is most responsible for the wedding day success. It’s not an easy job and there are many things that need to be done on the day of the wedding. If you are not sure how to handle some of these duties, don’t worry! Below is a handy list of all of the major duties you will have as a Maid of Honor. You’ll be a first-class Maid of Honor, helping the bride plan her wedding every step of the way.
First Things First…What is a Maid of Honor?
The bride might choose to have bridesmaids (remember, it is entirely optional) if she decides to have them! As a tradition, one of them is chosen as Maid of Honor (or Matron of Honor if they are married). Similarly to the role of the best man, the MOH is the “chief” bridesmaid. For example, in the United Kingdom, the term was originally reserved for the Queen’s female attendant. In the past, a Maid of Honor was usually thought of as the bride’s right hand woman, helping as much or as little as the groom desires. However, this role has evolved over time (more on that, below)
Who Should the Maid of Honor Be?
If you’re the bride reading this, might be struggling with who you should choose on your big day? Once you choose your wedding party, you may choose a role filled by your best friend or sister (or in the case of your aunt or grandma-at-all). However, a more modern approach may mean making your best friend or even your brother the Man of Honor. There are gender neutral options – Person of Honor or Honor Attendant may be the best choice.
So, What Should the Maid of Honor Actually Do?
There is no guarantee that a Maid of Honor will actually perform anything according to the bride. While we’ll outline nine of the best ways an MOH can be supportive throughout the wedding-planning process, below, the best thing a bride can do is figure out where she needs the most help(and where she feels comfortable relinquishing a bit of control). The following are some of our favorite ways in which Maid of Honors can get involved:
- Plan your bachelorette/engagement party
- Putting together your wedding emergency kit (with essentials like safety pins, band-aids, fashion tape, and more)
- Wedding day assistance with your veil and makeup (and even going to the restroom if you have a heavy dress!)
- Keeping your bridesmaids on schedule
- Holding your bouquet once you get to the altar
- Being one of your witnesses when signing your marriage license (not all states require this).
- Give an amazing toast at the reception or even better, the rehearsal dinner (the latest trend).
The Maid of Honor Duties Checklist
Whether you’re the bride or MOH, use this checklist to help you get started.
1. Be the Leader
The MOH role essentially means you are the leader of all bridesmaids. You’ll take the lead on all the plans. From the dress appointment to the bachelorette party. You’re pretty much in charge of all those secret email chains (imperative to any planning process). Don’t forget to listen to all bridesmaids who express concerns so that no one is unhappy with being a bridesmaid, like wearing a bridesmaid dress they don’t like.
2. Support Her During Wedding Dress Shopping
Dresses – if the bride decides to go to salon appointments with her bridal party (or perhaps just her MOH), she may get invited to the salon. Here’s where you should expect honesty (but not too much). Bring some tissues as well. You will likely need them. After she chooses the dress, find out if you will be bustling her dress after the wedding. There will be a showing in the salon, as every bustle is different according to what dress you wear.
3. Assist with Planning the Shower
Although the bride’s mother or mother-in-law usually throws the bridal shower, the Maid of Honor has the responsibility of helping the host. You will be the right-hand-woman for invitations, decor, and games. Since you’re super close to the bride, you’ll know what she’ll love.
4. Take Charge of Planning the Bachelorette Party
The MOH also plays a major role in planning the bachelorette party. Remember, this is the bride’s party, not yours. That said, we suggest choosing a location that fits the bride’s personality. If she is low-key, go for a spa weekend, or if she’s all about that last rage, skip out of town to Miami or New York. Make sure you’re being fair to all bridesmaids regarding cost and location. Don’t let the girls stretch themselves in a moment by paying for the party. NOTE: The bridesmaids usually cover the cost of the bridal trip. Lavish expenditures are still her responsibility, however.
5. Be Her Right-Hand Woman
You will undoubtedly call her when you need an extra hand, from crafting wedding favors to stuffing welcome bags for guests. It’s also helpful to keep her sane when it’s all about to get too much. Our secret? Always have a bottle of wine at-the-ready.
6. Be There for All Her Pre-Wedding Needs
Wedding planners can be a little scattered from planning for the weekend (checking the checklist of necessary items is important) to planning for honeymoons. This will likely be a hectic few days for her, so this is your chance to shine. Help her pack if she is needed, and you should also discuss any other needs before the reception. For example, is she preserving her wedding bouquet? Are you in charge of taking her bouquet to the florist to get it freeze dried? If you have any other personal requests from the bride, you should discuss them as soon as possible so she doesn’t have to worry about these questions at the reception.
7. Be the Reception MVP
Maid of Honor responsibilities include managing the getting ready process to make sure all bridesmaids are on time for your wedding pictures. In addition to holding the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony, you’ll also have your own family. Someone in need of a snack during photos? You’re their girl. Bride need help holding her wedding dress when she inevitably has to use the restroom? Yep, that’s you too. You’re quite invaluable, MOH.
8. Make a Stellar Wedding Speech
Even if you’re really afraid of public speaking, you must keep it aside for your bride. As a Maid of Honor, your maid of honor role is to deliver a truly amazing Maid Of Honor speech at your wedding reception (or rehearsal dinner). Be yourself and reflect on your amazing friend and her amazing partner for life. And no! You can’t mention any exes or embarrassing moments.
9. Help as the Party Unwinds
When the party ends and the bride isn’t quite ready to leave, it’s time for you to close the party. You will ensure that no gifts are left in the bridal suite, that everyone’s belongings have made it home with them and that all the loose ends are tied. It isn’t just your shoulders that fall on this, but it will be nice for the bride’s parents and in-laws to want the extra help, should they need it.
No matter how little or how much assistance a bride may need, the most important Maid of Honor duties are the ones that keep the bride calm, cool, and happy!
Maid of Honor Duties Before the Wedding Day
1. Lend a helping hand (and ear) to the bride
In the wedding planning process, brides will ask their maids of honor a lot, from helping them put together invitations to discussing possible color schemes (ahem, here are the trendy wedding colors and palettes). Brides may prefer to handle most of their pre-wedding responsibilities themselves, or hire a wedding planner to do most of it. The maid of honor’s primary duty is to assist the bride with any tasks she needs assistance with – or simply to listen to ideas and make suggestions.
2. Attend wedding dress shopping and fittings
The bride may or may not ask the maid of honor to accompany her wedding dress shopping and to her dress fittings, but many brides do like to have the maid of honor present for this outing.
3. Lead the bridal party
Bridesmaids also have a lot of responsibility. Bridesmaids’ questions or concerns are usually directed to the maid of honor-usually initiating the email thread where the bridal party discusses wedding-related details.
4. Be the bridesmaid dress and style guru
The maid of honor not only assists the bride with choosing the bridesmaid dresses, but also should make sure that all of the ‘maids order their dresses and accessories in a timely fashion. Other tasks related to leading the bridal party may include confirming hair and makeup appointments, helping to coordinate travel and accommodations for the crew, and more.
5. Be a point person for guests
Wedding guests have many questions to ask. Where is the couple registered? Where is the venue located? Is there a post-wedding brunch? There are some guests who aren’t computer-savvy and may need some additional assistance with this information. Generally, these information should be listed on the wedding website. As the maid of honor, you can answer guests’ questions and provide essential information.
6. Host or co-host the bridal shower
One of the most important maid of honor duties is hosting the bridal shower with help from the bridesmaids. Planning a bridal shower can be a daunting task. From choosing a venue to choosing décor, sending invitations to ordering food, don’t hesitate to delegate some of the responsibility to the rest of the bridal party. As part of the actual wedding ceremony, the maid of honor writes down all of the gifts received so the bride can write thank-you notes easily.
7. Plan the bachelorette party
The maid of honor should work with the rest of the bridesmaids to plan a bachelorette party that the bride will never forget. Keep the bride’s personality in mind during the planning process whether you’re planning a destination bachelorette party or something closer to home.
8. Attend pre-wedding events
While the maid of honor doesn’t usually plan the engagement party, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner, she is usually in attendance at these events.
Maid of Honor Duties on the Wedding Day: Pre-Ceremony
1. Get dressed with the bridal party and bride
Time to get ready! This maid of honor usually gets ready with the bride and the rest of the bridal party in the bridal suite, and can help the bride get dressed and make sure all the bridal parties look so beautiful on the big day.
2. Serve as messenger between the couple
If the two almost-married couples are exchanging love notes or gifts the morning of the wedding, the maid of honor may serve as the go-between, along with the best man. The maid of honor gives the bride’s future spouse a note and/or gift, and reports back on the reaction!
3. Prepare and bring an emergency kit for the bride
The wedding may have many mini-emergencies that arise before it, so it’s important to prepare! Maid of Honor should prepare an emergency kit for the wedding that contains items that may be of help, from safety pins to fashion tape, bandaids to pain relievers.
4. Have all vendors’ contact information nearby
Brides should have a desire to relax and enjoy the morning of their wedding – not stress over last-minute details! In some cases, the maid of honor can help manage wedding vendors, although a wedding planner or venue coordinator is most likely to deal with wedding-related issues as well.
5. Keep the bride calm
If bride starts to seem a bit stressed, it’s one of the maid of honor duties to keep the mood light. Play music, tell a funny story, watch silly cat videos, whatever it takes to keep the crew happy and laughing!
6. Help keep things on schedule
The maid of honor should make sure that the bride or wedding planner is providing you with a full marriage timeline and you keep an eye on the clock! If the bridesmaids focus more on chatting than getting ready (especially if they’ve had champagne or other drinks, gently remind them that the limousine will arrive for the ceremony in ten minutes). Make sure everyone is on time.
Maid of Honor Duties on the Wedding Day: Ceremony
1. Walk down the aisle
It’s time for the maid of honor’s big moment in the spotlight! You’ll likely walk down the aisle after all of the bridesmaids, and before the flower girl and ring bearer, and bride.
2. Arrange the bride’s train and veil upon her arrival to the altar
Once the bride arrives to the altar, make sure that her dress and veil look great and make any needed adjustments before the ceremony begins.
3. Hold the bride’s bouquet
The maid of honor should be responsible for holding both the bride’s bouquets and her own during the ceremony — particularly during the exchange of rings. If you need to take a break from holding the bouquet during the ceremony, make sure to contact a fellow bridesmaid.
4. Hold the groom’s ring
In an opposite-sex wedding, if there is no ring bearer, the best man will hold the bride’s wedding band, and the maid of honor holds the groom’s band until the rings are exchanged.
5. Sign the marriage license as witness
Right after the ceremony, the officiant and the newlyweds will sign the marriage license. Two witnesses are also required, and usually the maid of honor and best man take on the role of witness as well.
Maid of Honor Duties on the Wedding Day: Reception
1. Stand next to the groom in the receiving line (optional)
Many couples choose not to have receiving lines these days, but if there is one, the maid of honor stands next to the groom and greets guests as they enter the reception.
2. Enter the reception with the best man
If the emcee is introducing the wedding party members as they enter the reception, the maid of honor usually enters with the best man. Whether or not you choose to do a silly dance as you enter is your call!
3. Help bustle the bride’s train—and use the restroom!
Before the wedding, you should learn how to bustle the bride’s gown — her bridal salon or seamstress can give you a quick tutorial if you can attend the dress fitting. Busting the bride’s gown will keep her dress’ train clean and make her dress more comfortable to dance in.
If the bride’s gown is particularly cumbersome, you may be asked to help her use the restroom. That’s what friends (and maids of honor) are for, right?
4. Play host
The event will likely have guests asking questions like before the wedding. What’s the guest book? When is the cake cutting? Where should I sit? Is there a place to put my gift? While answering questions and direct guests, the maid of honor is also responsible for directing guests. While guests are supposed to give their gifts directly to the newlyweds or place them on the gift table, you may be given a gift or two. Make sure any gifts are properly placed in a safe place.
5. Dance with the best man
Maids of honor are expected to have a great time and spend a lot of time on the dance floor. To kick things off, the maid of honor traditionally dances with the best man for the song immediately following the first dance. If this seems too formal or your style doesn’t suit you, please don’t worry! Make sure you’re one of the first on the dance floor, and encourage others to dance as well!
6. Make sure the bride stays stress-free
If any mini-crises occur during the reception, don’t let on to the bride and groom. They should focus on enjoying the reception, not that the bride’s cousin got sick in the bathroom or the cake almost toppled over.
7. Give a toast after the best man
The maid of honor usually gives a speech after the best man. The maid of honor speech is usually relatively short, relaying about the bride, and her love and respect for the couple. As long as the speech comes from the heart, it’s sure to be a hit.
8. Make sure the bride eats and drinks
The last thing anyone wants to encounter is a hangry bride. Make sure that the bride eats and be sure to refresh her water glass throughout the night to keep her hydrated.
9. Collect wedding gifts if necessary
Before the wedding, find out where the couple would like their gifts to be transported after the reception. Ensure that the couple’s gifts end up in the right hands and in the correct location when the reception is over.
10. Tie up any other loose ends
From making sure the bride’s wedding gown is properly stored to ensuring that the top tier of the wedding cake ends up in a freezer, talk to the couple about any end-of-the-night duties they’d like the maid of honor to help complete.
11. Help the couple during and post-honeymoon
Check with your friends and family as the couple heads off on their honeymoon if there are any ways you can help them. Maybe you can check their house once a while, dog sit, or bring over groceries before they go home. In helping the newlyweds after the wedding, you’re showing that you’ll be there for them for life.