Hello, Engagement Season!
Can we talk about how I love getting messages from my followers? Seriously! Whether it’s an “Amen, girl friend!” to make me feel like I’m not the only one laughing at my own jokes, a question, or a request, I love it. I preface this post with that because I got a message from one of my followers a couple weeks ago (who is now officially a bride-to-be herself!) with the request for this blog post. Not only could I not believe I haven’t written a post on this yet. But I also knew that, with engagement season officially in full swing, I needed to get it out to y’all ASAP. With a huge portion of engagements taking place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day every year, there’s a good chance you may find yourself in the near future standing up at that altar in line of matching gowns wondering how you even got there.
Been there, done that, lady friend.
Your Simple Guide to Bridesmaid and Maid of Honor Duties
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve just been asked by your bride-to-be bestie to be in her wedding. On the other hand, if you’re reading this, you may be a bride who’s looking for a little ‘encouragement’ to send along to your maids. Long gone are the days of matching dresses and minimal commitment, ladies. Bridesmaids nowadays have more say in their wedding day attire and with that comes more responsibilities. It’s not hard to understand this increase in duties, as weddings are more elaborate than ever. Lucky for you, I’ve comprised a simple guide of some basic duties you’ll have as a member of #TeamBride with a tiny bit of help from my sweet blogger friend over at Bridesmaids Confession.
READ ALSO: 10 Things You Must Know to Rock Your Bridesmaid Duties
READ ALSO: Simple Steps to a Drama Free Wedding Day
Overall Basic Bridesmaid Duties
- Stand at the altar with the couple and bridal party during the ceremony
- Wear what the couple asks – and expect to pay for it unless the couple feels generous
- Attend wedding dress shopping and fittings – if the bride wants you to!
- Arrange your own travel and accommodations for the wedding and pre-wedding events
- Attend pre-wedding festivities and the wedding rehearsal
- Host a bridal shower with the Maid of Honor
- Help Maid of Honor plan Bachelorette Party
- Get ready with the Bride on the Wedding Day
- Make sure the Bride eats and drinks on the wedding day!
- Be announced with the groomsmen at the Reception
- Be the Bride’s emotional support
Overall Basic Maid of Honor Duties
As the bride’s go-to gal, you’ve got to expect to do a little more than the overall basic bridesmaid duties. You should also expect to do the following.
- Be the Bridesmaid Ring Leader – The Bride has enough on her plate to worry about. She shouldn’t have to stress about coordinating 12 different schedules too!
- Give a Speech / Toast at the Reception
- Tag along to appointments and errands when the bride needs you
- Offer to take on a couple small tasks like welcome bag or favor assembly
- Hold the important stuff – like the bouquet and the groom’s ring!
- Arrange the Bride’s train and veil upon her arrival to the altar
- Record gifts at parties and bridal showers
- Make the Bride an ’emergency’ kit for getting ready on the wedding day
- Plan a bridal shower with the help of the bridesmaids
- Plan the Bachelorette Party
- Work with the wedding planner on the day-of to make sure the bridal party is where they’re suppose to be
- Sign the marriage license as a witness along with the Best Man
- Help bustle the bride’s gown before reception
- Make sure the bride looks great for photo ops!
But, more importantly…
Pick Up The Phone
As a wedding planner, one thing I hear most often with Brides about their Bridesmaids is that they feel like it’s impossible to coordinate 12 schedules. While that’s a true statement in itself, I’ve found that a lot of issues or sore feelings that arise are due to poor communication. More specifically, the lack of communication. The group texts go silent, and the bride can’t get a response out of anyone. It’s something that happens way too often to almost every bride I know, and I even experienced it with my own bridal party. While I love each of my bridesmaids to death, I remember my feelings being so hurt some days because I felt like they could care less about my big day with all the unanswered texts and a low-key bachelorette party that didn’t happen.
While it’s important for the bride to remember that each bridesmaid has their own adult life (possibly in a different location!), it’s also important for the bridesmaids to show the bride they’re interested and care about her by picking up the phone. I promise it’s one of the most simple things you could do to leave the biggest impact. (Let’s be real. We spend practically all day on our phones anyways!)
Be Interested + Be Useful
Like I mentioned above, it’s important as a bridesmaid to be interested in your bride-to-be bestie’s big day. More importantly, it’s important to act interested. Whether it’s your first time in the role or you’re on your 27th matching gown, you accepted the position because you were excited for your sweet friend. You have your own busy life, but think about how you’d want your bridal party to treat you during your engagement. Would you want them acting differently?
Sometimes it’s the most simple things that can show just how much you care. Pick up the phone, offer to tag along with errands, or offer to host a wine night and do some wedding tasks together like assemble favors, welcome bags, or other DIY decor. One of my favorite memories with my bridal party was actually with just my maid of honor. She came over the night before my lingerie shower and helped my mom and I make a backdrop and decorate my mom’s living room for the party. We had so much fun getting to catch up and have lots of laughs.
Leave The Drama At Home
Sweet Theresa of Bridesmaids Confession put this perfectly… “As a bridesmaid or maid of honor, you are obviously close with the bride. You may often have the urge to vent to her about drama with the bridesmaids. Don’t! Only bring things to her on a need to know basis to avoid stressing her out. For minor issues among the bridal party, work it out amongst yourselves. However, if it is something that is really a big issue, like a bridesmaid still isn’t sure if they are going to the wedding, then tell the bride. Bigger issues are hard to deal with last minute. Especially if a bridesmaid doesn’t know if she’s fully in or out, the sooner the bride knows the better!”
Remember Who It’s About (Spoiler Alert: It’s Not You!)
You can’t tell me that you haven’t heard horror stories of high maintenance bridal parties. When you think about it, they are probably just as common as the bridezilla stories. But, the most important duty of a bridesmaid is to remember who this whole thing is really about. I’ve been there as a bride and a bridesmaid, but it’s also something I see as a wedding planner. It’s really as simple as thinking about how you’d want your bridal party to act for your wedding. For example, if the Bride wants a quiet weekend get-a-way for her bachelorette party, probably don’t plan a raging party with male strippers because that’s what you were hoping for.
Not to mention, you have no idea how much I cringe every time I walk into the bridal suite on the wedding day to check on the bride and see bridesmaids have attitudes with the hair and make-up team because they need to look perfect or they don’t like what the bride picked out. Spoiler Alert: no one is looking at you anyways.
Lastly, like I mentioned in a past blog post, I’ve also seen it with dress shopping. When it comes to bridesmaids arguing over the style or color of the dress to be worn because Susie doesn’t think she looks good in strapless and Tiffany hates periwinkle, to be honest, I don’t think the bridal party should be making the decision anyways. Call me what you want, but I am a firm believer that it is the bride’s day. Hence, it’s about what she wants. (And the reader said AMEN!) When it’s their turn to have arguing bridesmaids they regret already by that shopping trip, they’ll wish they would have just made the decision rather than releasing the hounds and watching a blood bath. I can guarantee that Susie isn’t going to care if you don’t like strapless gowns when it comes time for her wedding. That’s just not how it works.
READ ALSO: Tips for Bridesmaid Dress Shopping
Long gone are the days of matching dresses and minimal commitment, ladies. It’s time to step it up for your bride-to-be bestie.
Thank you, Anne! 🙂
This a great list for bridesmaids and maids of honor! I wish I would of known all these responsibility’s when I was a bridesmaid! I completely agree with keeping small problems to yourself and not stressing the bride out she has enough on her plate!
Thank you, Annie! I’m so glad that you found my little list helpful. 🙂
This is a great guide! I love weddings and have been a bridesmaid a handful of times 🙂
Thanks, Jordan! I’m so glad you found it helpful!
these are all great tips. Planning a wedding can be so overwhelming.
It really can be, Erika! But, I like to tell all my brides that it’s really only as stressful as you make it. That’s why I always suggest couples hiring a wedding planner for help – whether it’s just for coordination, consulting, or full-service planning!
Theresa Bailey says
Thanks for letting me contribute! I always love how thoughtful you are with your articles. You have such a big heart Cathy. I totally agree that a wedding planner can help sort out any issues and keep the bride stress free.
Theresa, you are always welcome to contribute to my blog – I just adore you to pieces, friend! 🙂
Abby Darlington says
Great tips!! I was lucky enough to have 10 amazing bridesmaids that never complained about anything (to my face at least). However, I’ve heard some really terrible stories about it ending friendships! People really need to consider their answer when agreeing to be in the bridal party. If they can’t afford it, they should just be honest about that upfront!
Abby, you’re definitely one of the lucky ones! I definitely agree about being upfront when considering being a part of the bridal party. I actually had a sit-down conversation with each of my girls before I officially asked them to be bridesmaids to make sure they were able to commit (and to make sure that they really wanted to!)
Claire Ady says
I was bridesmaid for a dear friend a few years ago, and I’d add that you still have “duties” afterwards. The bride has been there for me when I’ve needed her since her wedding, and I will be there for her as she is about to begin a very important new phase in her marriage.
Claire, I love that you mentioned being there for the bride after the wedding! I hear of so many stories of couples that hardly talk to the people in their bridal party after the big day – it makes me so sad! It’s such a big step in life to get married.