Your best friend popped the question, “Will you be my maid of honor?” Of course, you exclaimed a massive “YAS”. But, if this is your first time taking on the duty you may be asking yourself, “What exactly does a maid of honor do?”
Every wedding is quite different, with brides and grooms offering different roles to their bridal party members (and now, often their mixed-gender wedding parties). Most likely, your biggest duties will include giving a toast (here's how to write the perfect maid of honor speech) and offering moral support throughout the wedding planning process.
However, there are a number of common additional maid of honor duties that your bride (or groom) may expect. Or, tasks that will overjoy your bestie if you take them on yourself.
Choosing a Maid of Honor
Ashley Lachney, the owner of Alston Mayger Events, tells us, “First and foremost, your chosen attendant of honor should be by your side because they've encouraged, upheld, and supported you and your significant other's relationship. This title does not equate to “personal assistant” for the day. But, rather someone that you love dearly and want to bestow the title upon.”
Lisette Gatliff of Lisette OC Photography adds, “It’s really just up to your preference how much of a hold on your wedding day you want the MOH to have. Make sure you’re very clear about the duties they will have to take on before they accept being your maid of honor.”
Maid of Honor Duties Checklist
We've put together a checklist of top maid of honor duties. MOHs should keep these on hand to be prepared before and on the wedding day. It's quite the long list of duties. So, while not all tasks will apply to every wedding and maid of honor, it's important to acknowledge all the hard work that's done by maids of honors!
Melanie Levin, the owner of LuckEleven Events, offers this gentle reminder to couples, “In my opinion, I think it's vital for the bride to acknowledge and thank her maid of honor for all the work she did beyond what the other bridesmaids did. The maid of honor has a lot of stress on her plate for someone else's wedding. That often goes overlooked with the stress of planning the wedding itself. Thank your maid of honor with a gift card, present, card or even mentioning her at the wedding!”
1. Go wedding dress shopping.
“Your maid of honor is someone who knows you best. And, I’m pretty sure you’d love to share this special moment with them. You know they’ll give you their honest opinion and help you pick out the perfect wedding dress. Plus, it’ll be a really beautiful memory you two can look back on for the rest of your lives.” – Lisette Gatliff, Lisette OC Photography
2. Capture all the behind-the-scenes fun during wedding dress shopping.
“Wedding dress shopping is such a fun and exciting day. Having your bestie with you on this day can make the experience so much more memorable. Make sure to bring some bubbly and snap some photos of the day. These will make for some of the most fun memories to look back on long after the wedding is over!” – Sarah Alouache, Creative Director, Designer & Founder of Sarah Alouache Bridal
3. Reduce stress during the planning process.
“Your Maid of Honor is key to helping you reduce some stress throughout the planning process! Ask her to help with tasks like planning your shower and bachelorette party. Or, more mundane tasks like finding vendors, running errands or helping to mail out your invitations. Utilize your bestie however you can and have fun doing things together!” – Kari Dirksen, CEO + Lead Planner, Feathered Arrow Events
4. Plan the bachelorette party.
“The duties can vary depending on the bride's family situation as well as potential geographical distance. The maid of honor typically gathers ideas and leads up plans for a fun bachelorette party with the other bridesmaids, or a joint party with the groom and groomsmen sometimes is an option couple opt for these days.” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design
5. Help plan the bridal shower.
“The maid of honor also will work with the bride's mother and/or groom's mother to plan the bridal shower. At the bridal shower, help greet guests and welcome them to find a seat, and help with gifts as well as writing down the list of recipients as the gifts are opened (or assigning another bridesmaid or family member to do it).” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design
6. Be a point of contact.
“Ask your maid of honor act as a middle point of contact to alleviate some of your stress. The extent to which you want your maid of honor to be the point of contact is up to you. You could have them handle the venue, caterer, photographer, and any other vendors that you need to get in touch with. Or, you could have your maid of honor be the go-to person if any of your guests have any questions.” – Lisette Gatliff, Lisette OC Photography
7. Accompany the bride to her “final fitting”.
“A few weeks before the wedding, the bride will need to attend her final fitting to ensure her wedding dress fits like a dream. At this appointment, the seamstress will also show you how to bustle the bottom of the dress. As Maid of Honor, this is an important thing to know! You'll want to learn the best way to bustle and get a bit of practice at the final fitting. That way it won't take as long (or be as stressful!) on the day of.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
8. Check on the bride-to-be before the wedding day.
“Have some fun bestie time before the wedding day! Go for a spa day, a girl’s night out or anything that will make the bride more relaxed and at ease. Check on her and offer to help too. She may not outright ask for your assistance. But, being available will go a long way to show your care for the bride and her special day! Ask if she needs anything regarding wedding planning. Additionally, ask if there’s anything essential for you to know for the big day to keep you prepared to help out on the wedding day itself.” – Sarah Alouache, Creative Director, Designer & Founder of Sarah Alouache Bridal
9. Help ease the jitters.
“Be there for the bride when she needs someone to talk to about last-minute wedding jitters and concerns. Or, maybe she just needs a shoulder to cry on if things get rough.” – Allie Calzada (she/her), Allie the Wedding Officiant LLC
10. Keep an eye on the veil and/or train.
“As the bride stands up at the altar getting photographed like a celebrity on the red carpet, you'll want to be sure the train of her dress is beautifully laid out. Make sure that her veil (if she's wearing one) isn't awkwardly folded upon itself. Remember to keep an eye on these things and discreetly fix them during the ceremony if needed.” – Jenna Miller, Creative Director of Here Comes The Guide
11. Take extra photos.
“So often, couples will want access to their photos right after the wedding day to relive all the magic from the night before. However, it usually takes at least a few weeks for photographers to send out their shot previews. By having your maid of honor or a specialty attendant as your designated behind the scenes photographer, you can have immediate access to all the wedding memories as soon as possible.” – Ari Busch, Operations Manager and Lead Planner at Bridal Bliss
12. Keep problem guests at a distance.
“What is my top duty for any maid of honor? Know who the couple's problem wedding guests are. If a family member or guest is likely to cause your couple problems or stress, be sure to be a watchful eye so you can intervene if that person starts stirring trouble. The best thing you can do is ensure they're kept at a distance. This way your bride (or groom) doesn't have to worry or deal with that person.” – Claire Eliza, Editor-in-Chief of Bridal Musings
13. Help keep the bride photo-ready.
“Photos are so important and are the only souvenir you will keep from the day, so making sure that the dress is always on a point will for sure make a bride very happy when she looks back at her wedding photos.” – Sarah Alouache, Creative Director, Designer & Founder of Sarah Alouache Bridal
14. Keep everyone calm and having fun!
“Have fun and enjoy this beautiful day as you see your BFF marrying her soulmate! Having a fun and relaxed bridal party will automatically set the tone for the day and make the bride enjoy it as much, if not more.” – Sarah Alouache, Creative Director, Designer & Founder of Sarah Alouache Bridal
15. Give a toast & assist with wedding weekend festivities.
“For the wedding weekend, giving a classy and thoughtful toast at the reception is a major duty for this honored role. Keep it short, sweet and don't mention any ex-boyfriends or awkward situations. But, bringing in some humor if possible is always welcome!
Other ideas of ways the maid of honor can help for the wedding weekend would be organizing a playlist to play on the limo bus, helping the bride pick out personal items to bring and wear such as personalized robes for the bride and bridesmaids, jewelry, purse and hair accessories.” – Valarie Falvey, Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design
16. Have drinks, beauty touch-ups & comfy shoes on hand.
“Pre-wedding responsibilities include being involved in bridal shower planning and the bachelorette festivities. On the wedding day the bride is the VIP and a good MOH is always one step ahead of her. Always have a drink on hand. Know how to bustle that dress, know where the lip gloss and deodorant are at all times, and have the extra pair of shoes ready on the dance floor!” – Danielle + Hannah, Joyfully Gathered
17. Help with thank-you cards.
“Make sure thank you cards are sent out to everyone who helped make the wedding happen! (This one's definitely not optional…)” – Allie Calzada (she/her), Allie the Wedding Officiant LLC
18. Go with what feels right.
“And one last thing: don't stress! There's no way to make all of the “must-do” lists out there work for every maid-of-honor and wedding party. You really just need to go with what feels right for you and the bride. Then, everything will turn out perfectly in the end.” – Allie Calzada (she/her), Allie the Wedding Officiant LLC
Love checklists? Browse our handy planning guides and copy our checklists into one of these beautiful wedding planners, organizers and journals for brides and maid of honors, too!
These tips were gathered with help from Be Inspired PR, a PR + Social Media Agency for wedding, wellness & lifestyle clients. With over 10+ years of experience, we’re here to take our clients to the next level! Find oodles of stylish wedding inspiration on their Instagram & Pinterest.