Being a maid of honor is a lot like being a wedding planner, therapist, ambassador and stand-up comedian all rolled into one. You need to be super organized to keep all those balls in the air.
But where do you start? We’ve put together the ultimate checklist of duties, favors and expectations that any good maid of honor should be prepared to meet. Whether this is your first rodeo or your tenth time walking down the aisle on a friend’s wedding day, use this planner to be the best maid of honor your friend could hope for on her big day.
The average American couple spends somewhere between 12 and 18 months to plan a wedding, so being a maid of honor is a big commitment. Be prepared to help the bride make decisions—or just support her when she’s second-guessing herself. You may be asked to help do any of the following:
- Visit wedding sites to help the bride compare, take notes, and narrow the choices.
- Visit caterers to taste food and help decide on a menu. You can also remind her about guests’ dietary needs.
- Attend a tasting to help choose the wedding cake flavor and style.
- Address and stamp invitations and drop them in the mail.
- Get the word out about the gift registry if that info isn’t included on the invitation.
- Help assemble a playlist of great wedding songs for the DJ.
- Organize the seating chart to keep groups of friends and family together—and frenemies apart.
- Help decide on decor, including flowers, table linens, favors and more.
Pro Tip: If the bride is nervous or unsure where to start, share our event planning checklist to help her stay on track as she begins planning the biggest event of her life!
Even if the bride has already hired a professional wedding planner, she’ll almost certainly want your help shopping for dresses. In fact, dress shopping has become an event in itself, and it’s a day that you can make really special for the bride, her mother and the other bridesmaids. Here’s how:
- Make an appointment at the bridal boutique so you have personalized help.
- Check with the boutique to see if you can bring a bottle of champagne or light snacks to keep things festive.
- Bring a tote packed with the bride’s undergarments, shape wear, strapless bras, etc.
- Take lots of photos to help the bride see herself at all angles and remember the details of each dress.
- Take notes about how to care for the dress, arrange the bustle or train, etc.
- Be a sounding board as the bride ponders her choices.
- Keep everyone upbeat and positive, especially about their bodies and looks.
- Back the bride up on her choice of bridesmaid dresses, and help sell it to the bridesmaids if necessary.
- Make reservations for lunch or dinner so you can all relax together afterwards.
Planning the bridal shower is traditionally the maid of honor’s job, but you may have help from the bride and/or groom’s family in doing so. Here’s what you need to do:
- Create the guest list, usually by checking with the bride about her preferences.
- Choose a venue big enough for everyone.
- Decide on the food, keeping dietary needs and preferences in mind.
- Mail the invitations, making sure to include gift registry information.
- Choose party favors and get the bridesmaids to help you make them.
- Plan an activity or game that keeps everyone entertained.
- Keep a gift list so the bride can write thank you notes later.
In the past decade, the bachelorette party has grown into a full-blown weekend getaway for the bride and her bridal party—and it’s your job to plan it. Be sure to solicit lots of feedback from the attendees as you plan.
- Set the date for the celebration.
- Book the venue, whether it’s a hotel, spa or other series of activities.
- Plan an itinerary that includes rough times and locations for meals and activities.
- Develop a budget with bridesmaids and collect money for tickets and deposits as needed.
- Arrange transportation, including airline tickets and ground transportation.
- Keep an eye on the wedding party, making sure everyone has fun and stays safe.
The day before the wedding, there’s a lot to do to set up the wedding venues. People will be looking to you for guidance, so review what needs to be done and take the lead as needed:
- Confirm delivery times with vendors, including florists and caterers.
- Set tables with rented linens, folding napkins and arranging flowers and favors as needed.
- Decorate the church and reception hall.
- Prepare wedding attire, makeup and hairstyling tools for the next day.
- Attend the rehearsal, taking notes as needed.
- Attend the rehearsal dinner and make sure the bride gets a good night’s sleep
When the big day arrives, you’re the bride’s most trusted support. It’s your job to keep an eye on everything and help the wedding stay on schedule:
- Assist the bride in getting dressed and ready.
- Keep the bridesmaids on schedule as they get ready.
- Keep track of the bride’s flowers and possibly the wedding ring.
- Stay in contact with the wedding coordinator or officiant to get started on time.
- Greet people in the receiving line.
- Answer questions about the day’s events for guests.
- Pose for photos and provide the bride makeup touchups and sips of water as needed.
- Give a great speech at the reception.
- Help the bride and groom make their exit from the reception.
After the Wedding
The newlyweds will be off to wedded bliss, but there are still things to take care of at the wedding venue:
- Collect linens and other rentals to return.
- Gather gifts and make sure they are sent to the couple’s home.
- Collect leftover favors and items for the lost and found.
- Coordinate the bridal party for any post-wedding festivities.
Being a maid of honor is a huge responsibility, but it can also be a lot of fun. When you stay organized with our checklist, you’ll be ready to perform your duties for your friend’s big day with confidence and grace.