During the Wedding Planning – Maid of Honor (MOH) – Bride Support # 1
This is the second in our series of articles for Maid of Honor (MOH). The first article focused on what you need to do before the wedding planning begins to be an awesome MOH. (We’ll add a link at the bottom of this article so you can read it later. In this article we look at the Maid of Honor’s duties and the expectations of the bride during the wedding planning process. Keep in mind that we offer a wide variety of ideas for you to consider In many areas of the country and the world traditions differ. If a duty is assumed by someone else, feel free to skip it and move on.
Assist the Bride – The MOH is Her Right Hand Woman
The bride should feel comfortable asking for your help, support and ideas. The reality is that many brides just assume that you know she needs your help,and you will offer. No one asks, no one offers – miscommunication and hurt feelings result. If the bride does not ask for help, communicate regularly with her to sincerely offer your help and assistance. If you do not have the time or money to help, resist the urge to make the offer.
Help with Pre-wedding Tasks
There are so many tiny details like sstuffing invitations, assembling favors, attending vendor meetings, etc. that the bride is always looking for help and support. As MOH, make sure your bride knows your availability schedule and help whenever you can. You can also coordinate the participation of the other bridesmaids for workdays, appointments, etc. If you are remote, there are still ways you can help. You can address wedding invitations and mail from anywhere. You can share ideas online, do research and offer offer virtual hugs when needed.
Go Dress Shopping with the Bride
This is one of the best parts of being a Maid of Honor (unless your bride cannot make a decision after multiple appointments- then it may become a chore). Your job is to stay by the bride’s side through the entire process. Provide positive, constructive feedback and help the bride see her entire wedding look including veil, shoes and makeup. If needed, you may need to calm the bride’s nerves or mediate differences of opinion within the bride’s entourage at bridal appointments. Remember you are here to support the bride.
Help Select the Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Accessories
The Bride may elect to include all bridesmaids in this decision. If so, you may need your negotiation skills to come to a consensus. Remember you job is to support the bride’s wishes.
Bride’s Cheerleader and Shoulder to Cry On
Wedding planning can be stressful for all brides. In all likelihood, you are comfortable talking with the bride sharing her thoughts and frustrations. She should feel confident that anything she shares with you will be held in confidence and not shared with others. If you cannot be there in person, reach out electronically, send notes and funny greeting cards and stay in touch with the bride’s feelings. (We created an entire series on wedding planning stress, be sure to check it out. You may need it for you or your bride during the wedding planning.)
Guests often need help with wedding registry information. You can provide support to the bride by having these questions routed to you.
Cash as A Gift
If it is cash is on the couple’s wish list, discuss with the bride and groom in advance how they would like you to respond when you get questions. This can be a touchy subject with some guests and considered distasteful and down right tacky by many guests, especially those from older generations.
If the couple is requesting cash to help with the purchase or update a new home, for honeymoon expenses be sure you know the details. When guests call, you can support the bride and groom by sharing details. This personalizes the use of the money and guests are more likely to give.
If the couple is requesting gifts to their favorite charity, do some research on the charity, so you can answer questions about it. Again, when you make charity real them, guests will be more inclined to give.
No Pressure – It is A Gift
Make sure guests do not feel pressured to give their cash. If they say no, thank them and let it go. This is between the couple and the guests. Remember the old saying “Don’t shoot the messenger”. Do not try to persuade guests to give cash. e are talking about a gift, not a donation to their favorite cause
You will be asked to keep track of gifts received at wedding showers and parties. Make sure the bride has addresses for the Thank You notes. Be prepared to transport gifts after the party if it is a large event. Being shopping bagsnor boxes to simplify transport and make sure smaller gifts and envelopes do not get lost
Plan the Bridal Shower
The bride will provide a list of potential guests. You are responsible for coordinating the party and in charge of details and the invitations. (Bridesmaids should also help financially, so be sure to include them in your planning.)
In some areas the Mother of the Bride and/or Mother of the Groom give the shower(s). Check with them before you plan. No need to step on toes.
Plan the Bachelorette Party
Be sure you consider the bride’s style when planning. Ask her if she wants a bachelorette party, and if she declines, respect her wishes. If she accepts, have a discussion about what she would like for her party. Bachelorette parties have a reputation for being risque, alcohol filled parties. If this is not your bride’s style, consider other options. Remember this event is for the bride and should be activities she enjoys. Ideas such as taking in a show, a spa day, or day (or weekend) at the beach are becoming increasingly popular with today’s bride.
Keep costs in mind when planning. If you expect bridesmaids to pay part of the tab (which is customary), they should be asked for their input before final decisions are made, not just told what their contribution will be.
Act as the Point Person for the Bridesmaids
(and gentlemen if the bride has male attendants) in her bridal party.
- Organize everyone to make sure they get dresses, shoes, accessories on time, and that alterations are completed on schedule.
- Coordinate hair and makeup appointments for the bridal party
- Coordinate transportation and accommodations for the bridal party as needed
- Direct and support the other bridesmaids with their wedding duties,
- Provide details for all pre-wedding parties to the other bridesmaids.
- Deal with any badly-behaving bridesmaids (You’ll know who they are.) There will inevitably be some tension at some point during your wedding planning or on the wedding day between bridesmaids. The Maid of Honor is the voice of reason when dealing with issues. Resist the urge to take sides and try to get the maids to resolve their issues quietly and peaceably. As Maid of Honor, your goal is to not include the bride in these petty issues.
Attend Cake and Menu Tasting as Requested by the Bride
Your bride may ask you to participate in tasting events. Try to arrange time to attend, and be sure to provide your bride with your availability so the meetings fit your schedule as well as hers.
DIY Projects – The Maid of Honor Your Responsibility to the Bride
It is great to hone your skills, get ready to craft, and be supportive of the bride’s ideas. But also be realistic about your time and the time of the bride. Creating wedding favors or wedding centerpieces are top DIY projects for many brides. Websites and magazine articles promise glamorous results that any amateur can create on a shoestring budget. Most of the items of these picture-perfect creations are made by professionals, and snapped by professional photographers.
Before the Bride Commits to DIY
Before the bride fully commits to a DIY project, encourage her to make one sample item to see if it meets her expectations. When calculating costs consider cost of supplies, tools and equipment. What space is available for working and storage? How will you transport completed items to the venue? If you will be working with fresh flowers, how will you keep them at the proper temperature until needed? (And, remember floral work has to be made no earlier than the day before the wedding.) It is your job as the MOH to be sure the bride understands what DIY really means other planning time and budget.
Help the bride pick favors (and help make them if it is DIY – again be sure to enlist the help of others.)
If the bride is undecided on having favors, it is a growing trend to bypass favors. Be supportive of her decision.
Bonus Tip: Guests # 1 choice for wedding favors is always food.
Help address invitations. Some MOH also record RSVP responses when received. Addressing does not have to be completed in one large session. It is OK to offer to take some home and complete them when you have time.
If you live out of town, you can still help with addressing envelopes. It is inexpensive to bulk mail invitations to you to you with a completed sample. You can drop addressed invitations in the mail at agreed upon time. Make sure you stay on schedule.
You can also have RSVPs returned to you for recording. You can record online in an app or spreadsheet so the information is readily available to you and the bride, and she does not have to do the keying.
Seating Charts and Place Cards
This is a major project, an the bride will appreciate your help. It is tempting to ignore this step, but research shows that wedding guests overwhelmingly prefer to be assigned to a table instead of choosing their own seating. You can encourage the bride to assign tables instead of individual seats, and use a seating chart rather than place cards. It will save lots of time and money, especially for a large wedding.
Help in Creating Music Playlists for the Ceremony and the Reception
You probably know the bride’s music tastes as well as anyone – what artists, style and songs she and the groom like and equally important what they do not like. You can offer to make an initial list of music for the ceremony and/or reception (and a list that should be avoided) and share it with the bride. She can tweak it and make it her own, after you have saved her a lot of research time.
Follow Up With Guests Who Have Not Responded to the RSVP
When guests do not respond, the bride stresses because she needs numbers for the venue, caterer, etc. While having to follow up with each guest is time consuming, it is also a necessity. As Maid of Honor, help with this task (and include the other bridesmaids too, to make the task go quickly.)
Give a toast at the rehearsal dinner (if requested)
Some brides elect to have their wedding toasts at the rehearsal dinner -especially those with long stories or insider humor. You can then provide a short formal toast at the reception if asked. Be sure to ask the bride to share how she plans for the toasting to occur.
Arrange for a Safe Place to Store Gift Envelopes During the Reception
Sadly, cash gifts have been known to vanish during hectic receptions. The MOH can prevent this issue, by planning a safe place for envelopes during the reception, and make sure they are retrieved and delivered to couple or held until after the honeymoon, if requested by the bride.
For those who read Part 1 and have been lighting up my inbox sending comments and personal ideas, Thank You. We (and all the brides reading this) appreciate your sharing. I was a little taken aback by how many MOH commented that they had no idea of how much they were committing to do when they agreed to be the Maid of Honor. Emma V. from Boston, MA shared:
“I thought I was just going to have to be at the ceremony, straighten Ruth’s train and veil and hold the bouquet. No one told me there was so much needed to do before the wedding day. I would have still said yes. Ruth and have been friends since we were kids and I wanted to be there for her. I just wish I knew what I was getting into before I said yes.”
I look forward to seeing your ideas and comments in future posts. My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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