What Are The Maid Of Honor Duties? A Complete Wedding Checklist

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What are the maid of honor duties? a checklist

Being asked to be the maid of honor at a wedding is very exciting, but it's also a big and important role that should be seriously considered before accepting. There are plenty of responsibilties inherent to this title, and it's important to know what you're getting into.

According to Kylie Carlson of The International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning, the maid of honor duties include everything from acting as a support system, to making sure everything goes according to plan. 

“The maid of honor typically oversees pre-wedding festivities, such as the bachelorette party and bridal shower. They will coordinate each celebration with the support of the wedding party — from selection of venue and invitations to planning the menu. Oftentimes, immediate family members may also want to be involved, which helps lighten the load for the maid of honor,” she says.

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What can you expect to be responsible for? Here are just a few of the duties a maid of honor must, well... honor.

1. Defusing problems and being a therapist

Unfortunately, there are some conflicts that may arise in the wedding party, and it may come down to the maid of honor to help mediate these issues.

“Since they have a leadership role and are closest to the bride, many will likely follow their advice and look at them for a solution. This isn’t an easy feat by any means, but it will keep the problems from affecting the wedding itself,” says Carlson.

2. Being the main point of contact

The maid of honor oftens serves as the point of contact on the day of the wedding when the bride can’t be immediately reached. According to Carlson, “They’ll be the one the bride looks to if any emergencies arise, since she’ll be busy getting ready, taking photos, meeting up with her fiancé for their first look, and so on. Make sure they have contact information for all of the creative partners, including the venue manager and/or onsite coordinator. This will take the weight of worry off of the couple, and they’ll be extremely grateful.”

Adds Danielle Rothweiler of Rothweiler Event Design“Being the point person for vendors and guests is appropriate on the wedding day (assuming there is no wedding planner).”

3. Keeping the bridal suite tidy

Avoid your photo and video crew from needing to clean your room after they arrive, where they can possibly missing a spontaneous moment. Instead, says Mary Angelini of Key Moment Films Destination Wedding Filmmaker, "Assign the maid of honor to keep the room tidy as everyone gets ready. This means leftover room service put in the hall, empty water bottles thrown away, and luggage placed in the closets.”

Enlisting in the help of the maid of honor and other attendants will help keep down the clutter throughout the getting ready part of the day.

4. Keeping the wedding party on time

Have a special timeline created for your VIP guests, the ones you will be relying on to independently arrive early for photos, schedules, when everyone should get dressed, and so forth.

“Asking the maid of honor to keep everyone on the schedule with time checks can help keep the entire wedding party informed and on time. Making the timeline simple, with times and locations for the key events you need them for outside the normal flow of the wedding, will help everyone be responsible for themselves,” Angelini suggests.

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5. Taking stress off the bride

The maid of honor's job is to make the couple’s day special and stress-free as possible. That’s why saying "yes" to the bride is imperative.

Adds Angelini, this includes, “Whether it’s volunteering to help organize the family for portraits, or carrying the couple’s personal items like sunglasses or a purse throughout the day. In our experience, the most helpful maids of honor introduce themselves when we arrive, and offer to assist throughout the day. We’ve even had maids of honor bring us bottles of water on a hot day, which is not expected but very much appreciated.”

Other duties include keeping the bride calm, bringing her food and drink when she needs them, and ensuring her hair and makeup are on point throughout the photos, ceremony, and reception. In additiona, says Rothweiler, the maid of honor should be in charge of "helping the bride make critical decisions such as attending her gown appointments to assist with selecting the right dress."

6. Preparing a speech

“The maid of honor will be expected to give a speech at the reception, along with the best man. It generally runs just a few minutes and since the timing can vary, it’s essential they connect with the planner and/or DJ in advance to make sure they are aware of when they should make their way to the stage,” suggests Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services.

7. Coordinating gifts

“At the end of the evening, the maid of honor is often instrumental in coordinating the gifts and cards, which need to make their way back to the couple at some point. There is normally a designated car where items to be moved, and they often oversee the process, along with the best man or other members of the wedding party,” Dennis advises.

8. Handling tips

“If the couple decides to dispense gratuities to the creative partners and there isn’t a planner involved, the couple may look to the maid of honor to help hand out envelopes to the appropriate members of the wedding day team at the end of the evening,” Dennis says.

9. Gathering the group for photos

After the ceremony, typically, a significant number of photos need to be taken before the immediate family and wedding party head to the cocktail hour. "While the photographer will take the lead in rounding everyone up, it’s great when the maid of honor, as well as the best man, are close by to help support and help corral the bridesmaids and groomsmen,” says Keith Phillips of Classic Photographers.

He adds, “As a photographer, we see firsthand how the wedding party attire impacts the photos, so, typically, the maid of honor will have a pretty significant role with this. Brides run the gamut in terms of what they request; you may get instructions to buy a very specific dress, or just select something from a particular palette. In either of these instances, the maid of honor takes the lead in making sure the bridesmaids are aware of any parameters, as well as deadlines for ordering.”

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.