25 Oct For the Bridesmaids
Alright brides and grooms, you can sit this one out. This blog is for the Maids of Honor!
First of all, congratulations. Watching your best friend get married is such a special moment, and being invited to stand by their side while they tie the knot is an even bigger honor. As exciting as this time is, it also carries a lot of responsibility, both leading up to and on the wedding day. But don’t worry! We have decades of experience working in weddings, and we’re ready to help you support your friend in any way you can. There are a few things that you absolutely need to know to be the best Maid of Honor you can be!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, I want to take a moment and say that even if you aren’t chosen to be a Maid of Honor, you aren’t any less important to the bride. Many women assign the role to their sister or soon-to-be in-law, or any other family member. And you should also remember that you can definitely say no if your best friend asks. Sometimes life gets in the way and, unfortunately, a wedding won’t change that. The most important thing you can do, whether you’re the official MOH or not, is be there for the bride and let her know that she’s loved and supported. At the end of the day, you’re there to celebrate her and her marriage.
As an MOH, you’re going to be there for all the big things. This mostly means general wedding planning and events like dress shopping, bridal shower, bachelorette, rehearsal dinner, and, of course, the wedding day itself. General wedding planning means regularly meeting with the bride to plan things, like coordinating dates and deciding on colors, as well as doing some DIYs, like helping make party favors. The craftier your bride is, the more hands-on activities you’ll have to help with. When my best friend got married last year, her venue did not allow a sparkler exit. She decided to do a ribbon exit instead, where guests stood around and waved ribbons for the grand exit. About a week before the wedding, she and I spent a night cutting hundreds of sage and gold ribbons before tying and hot gluing them onto wooden dowels for guests to hold. You’re going to be spending a lot of time with the bride for these planning sessions, and I recommend making a fun time out of it (we watched wedding-themed rom coms together, like Bridesmaids and 27 Dresses!)
Another tip to keep in mind is the wedding gift. As a MOH, you’ll likely gift the bride something special from all of her bridesmaids (we decided on a resin ring-holder with dried flowers from her bouquet in it! Obviously it wasn’t available to give her on the actual wedding day, but it’s still a beautiful and sentimental gift– and you can find tons of creators on Etsy). However, I wanted to give the bride, my best friend, something special, from only me. I decided early on to make a scrapbook of everything – I included pictures from the first time she tried on her dress, scraps of wrapping paper from the bridal shower, and tons of other keepsakes! I would absolutely recommend doing this with all your behind-the-scenes MOH pictures. I took pictures of absolutely everything and I’m so glad I did! I was even able to include screenshots from their engagement pictures, and the pictures of the ring that her husband sent me months before he popped the question.
This leads us to the two major maid of honor events: the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. A lot of brides have been choosing two maids of honor, and this is a wonderful idea to split up some of that work: one can be the designated party planner for each event. However, both maids of honor should expect to help with payment and decoration for the shower. We did a brunch theme and split the rental space between ourselves and completely decked it out with streamers, balloons, and all the best breakfast foods. Of course, there was an unpredicted blizzard that hit that day (another tip for all our New England bridesmaids: do not trust the weather). But the bride and I got to the venue early and walked through a foot of snow in our heels, and the event ended up going off without a hitch. I recommend looking up games to play. One of my favorites was every guest writing down a memory they shared with the bride, who then read them all out and had to guess who wrote what. I ended up saving a bunch of the funniest answers to include in her scrapbook, so I’d recommend looking up nice templates online.
The bachelorette party has definitely evolved over time: no longer just one night out, it’s often a weekend away, filled with activities. For this, I can’t stress enough that you have to be flexible. Initially, we were planning a trip to Nashville. But weddings are pricey, and as more and more girls dropped out of the trip, the cost rose for the rest of us. We ended up cutting our losses and canceling that trip, deciding on a girls’ weekend in Mystic, Connecticut instead. Now, if we’re being honest, I dropped the ball a little bit on this bachelorette (a great argument for having two MOHs, honestly). The bride wanted to go to the casino on Friday night. We went, had a wonderful dinner, but otherwise, hated it. None of us were really party-ers, and I think we were doing what we thought a bachelorette was supposed to be, rather than what we actually wanted to do. So, instead of going back to the loud and smelly casino, the next day we got brunch and went to the Mystic Aquarium. Being flexible was a huge help, and I’m honestly glad that we didn’t have tons of activities pre-booked, since our initial idea ended up being a loss. Unfortunately, no matter how hard you plan or try or wish, some things just aren’t going to go to plan. And that’s okay. My best friend is gracious and adventurous, and she was able to go with the flow, even though I was less than helpful with planning. What mattered at the end of the day was spending time together and celebrating her. That being said, I would make sure you’re planning a bachelorette for the bride, not for anyone else. If she’s not a party girl or a gambler, don’t go to a club or casino because you feel like you have to. Learn from my mistakes and make sure you’re celebrating your person in the right way.
For my friend’s wedding, the ‘rehearsal dinner’ was split over two days. Her wedding was scheduled for a Sunday, and Friday she and I got our nails done and ran last minute errands. That night, the entire wedding party and families met at a restaurant to celebrate the upcoming ceremony. Saturday, we all went to the venue to meet their coordinator. We dropped off decorations, toured the bridal suite, and rehearsed walking down the aisle. Personally, I think breaking up things like this can be a great way to take away some stress, and it gives time for last-minute adjustments. Because we didn’t have to rush out of the venue to get to dinner reservations, we were able to practice a few times and set up some surprises for the next day.
And now, we’ve finally made it to the wedding day. After months, maybe years, of planning and prepping, it’s time to get started. Depending on what time the ceremony begins and the size of the wedding party, you may want to start getting ready in the morning at the bride’s or mother of the bride’s house. We always recommend getting ready shots, so we’ll likely be wherever you are, capturing all the makeup magic. As maid of honor, you’ll likely be taking pictures too (and sipping on champagne, of course!) Primarily, you’ll be supporting the bride in whatever way she needs: feeding her breakfast while the makeup artist does her eyeliner, closing all those impossible buttons on the back of her dress (and the photographers will be there taking pictures and sticking to the timeline). I packed a bag (okay, two bags) full of emergency supplies, so that neither the bride nor myself would have to stress on the actual day. I made a little packing list on Canva for all our MOH readers to enjoy. And of course, I recommend adding in whatever you might need that’s specific to you.
The day goes by fast, so make sure you’re taking time to enjoy yourself while you’re getting glam, too! Some bridal parties only get ready at the venue, which won’t change much in terms of pictures, but the atmosphere may be a little less casual. Before walking down the aisle, there is a lot of waiting and celebrating on the big day. If the couple is taking first look shots (which we always recommend) you and the bridesmaids will have some downtime to relax before the party starts. Once the time comes to walk down the aisle, make sure you breathe and smile – and don’t trip, if you can help it! When you get to the end, you’ll turn and see your best friend walk down the aisle. Try not to cry, even though you probably will. Once she reaches you, hand your bouquet to the bridesmaid behind you, and hang onto the bride’s so that her hands are free for the ceremony. I’m sure we’ve all seen the ‘practicing my soft smiles’ TikToks, but really, once it’s happening, how you look is the last thing on your mind. Just be in the moment, and celebrate with your friends.
After the ceremony, it’s formal picture time! You’ll be in group shots and one-on-one shots with the bride and groom (hopefully your mascara was waterproof, but there will be time for touch ups before). After that, it’s a whirlwind to grand entrances, dancing, eating, and then your speech. I am not someone who enjoys public speaking (does anyone really enjoy it?) but I was excited for the speech. My friend and I joked about how she didn’t want a single dry eye in the house, and I did my best to deliver. I began by introducing myself and explaining how I knew the bride, what our friendship meant to me. Then I transitioned into talking about their relationship, keeping things light and teasing the bride. I wouldn’t recommend throwing in too many personal jokes, simply because other guests will feel left out and confused. But I added in a sweet anecdote, and, as the bride and I adore Taylor Swift, ended on the quote “All’s well that ends well to end up with you.” The speech is intimidating, yes, but I found that thinking of my favorite memories and things about the bride made it come so much easier.
After everything, all the work and formalities, it’s time to let loose. Grab the bride and the bridesmaids, get dancing, and have fun! A wedding, at its core, is a celebration. It can be easy to forget, but now that all your duties are officially complete, it’s time to have fun (and don’t worry, your photographers will be there to take pictures of that, too!)