Whether you’re a bride or newly-assigned Maid of Honor, this checklist should help you out.
27 Dresses. Bridesmaids. Made of Honor. Bachelorette.
Great movies, but hopefully, none of that happens in real life, ever.
To help make sure none of those wedding ruining scenarios ever happen, we’re going to break down anything and everything you, as a maid of honor or bridesmaid, can do in preparation for your BFF’s wedding. If you’re a veteran maid of honor or bridesmaid, this should all be fairly familiar. If it’s your first time, don’t be overwhelmed! You get to be the mom friend (if you’re not already) and buy cute wedding-dedicated planners and drink lots of coffee!
But first – what do you know about the history of bridesmaids? I have to admit I’d never given it much thought, but I guess this is my something new (?) I learned.
If you’re still reading even after that terrible pun, here’s what I discovered. Like most things we do today but don’t have a second thought about, bridal parties are based in tradition. Specifically, in Ancient Roman times, 10 witnesses were needed to validate a marriage – the prototype to the bridal party, if you will. Even more fascinating: the bridesmaids & groomsmen had to dress exactly like the bride & groom in order to confuse any vengeful spirits or real-life super jealous suitors.
Simply put: bridesmaids & groomsmen are decoys just in case a crazy ex shows up and tries to kidnap the bride and groom. Not at all what you were expecting, right?
Now that we got that history lesson out of the way, let’s get to planning a timeline!
We all know that planning a wedding isn’t all champagne & frosting, it requires a lot of time, attention to detail, and emotional support. That’s where you come in: from invitations, to color palettes, to accessories & more, make your voice heard when your opinion is needed. Helping in the decision making process (especially with the tedious stuff) will lift a weight off of the bride (& groom’s) shoulders.
You know how flight attendants are trained to act calm & collected even if the plane starts making funny noises & there’s a lot of turbulence? Do that. When things get stressful, be the rock. That is really the core of what being a maid of honor & bridesmaid is.
Fix the dress when it’s bunched up. Lace the shoes if reaching down that far is totally out of the question for the bride. Make sure all the vendors are kept up to speed.
Being the maid of honor means you get to attend the ~confidential~ dress shopping trip. I don’t know about you guys, but I make a day out of going to the grocery store with my friends. Pick up some produce, buy a face mask or two, get some coffee, etc. Wedding dress shopping? Are you kidding?! That’s an errand-loving-friend’s DREAM day. When you’re there, be sure to give your honest (CONSTRUCTIVE!) opinion in order to best serve your bride. Plus, maybe you’ll get to make a fun mood board or something. I’m so jealous already. Have fun guys!
Specifically, questions they’re probably getting tired of answering. Be the point person – the one everyone goes to for info like: gift registry, venue address, brunch?? All of this info may very well be on the couple’s wedding website or on their invitations, but, you know how it goes. Just be prepared!
I’m going to assume we are above the stereotype that women in a pack are catty to each other because its 2021 and all of the bridesmaids should definitely be friends, so that leaves the maid of honor the following duties: delegate pre-wedding & wedding-day tasks, make sure everyone is on time & on their mark, etc. If there is anything that can be “outsourced” from the bride to the maid of honor, make sure it gets done. You got this.
If you missed out on partying in high school & college, now’s your chance to fill that void (with a very watered down but still very fun & adult party)! Don’t feel like you have to go it alone, though. Planning a bridal shower/bachelorette party can be involved, so reach out to the other bridesmaids to get on the same page and give your friend the pre-wedding bash she deserves!
Brunch, family gatherings, engagement parties, the rehearsal dinner – it’s your time to shine, soldier. You probably won’t have to plan these events, but it is encouraged to attend as many pre-wedding events as you can handle.
Keep track of what gifts came from who, what the day-of timeline is, when the bride last had a full meal/water, etc. The wedding planner will take care of most things, yes, but it doesn’t hurt to have another person in the loop.
It may also be helpful to carry a little bag with lipstick, oil-blotting papers, band-aids, ibuprofen, etc.
When it’s time for the ceremony, there will be some little things here and there for you to be in charge of. For example, making sure no one (including and especially the bride) trips on the gorgeous train, holding the bouquet, fixing the dress, etc.
When there’s no more parties to plan, gifts to keep track of, bouquets to hold, or speeches to write, theres the “other,” – aka all the little stuff throughout the day that the bride wouldn’t trust anyone else but you to do. Escorting family members, being the bathroom buddy, personal stylist, & all night dance partner. At this point (the reception), all the biggest dragons are slayed and there’s only one thing to focus on: raging. The bride knows you’re probably best at that too, so live up to the task, friend.
Everything should go very smoothly if you took heed of.. if you’ve taken heed of…..let’s give Dwight a chance to explain what I mean:
Exactly! With these 10 simple steps, I promise you’ll be the ultimate maid of honor. You’ll be recruited to be everyone’s maid of honor, even. You’ll get the dundee for best maid of honor.
The Office references aside, you’re going to crush it. The bride will be absolutely lucky to have you around for her special day. And for the day after when there’s the possibility of a hangover or if you need to swap pics for the gram. Either way – have fun and savor every moment of it.
We're Sava, a small studio of photographers who bonded over our similar educational background, love of art, & general affinity for timeless wedding photos. Based in NYC, will travel, will pick up your coffee order on the way.