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Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Your bestie has asked you to be her Maid of Honour and you’ve said YES! Now it’s your time to learn how to be the best Maid of Honour you can be. And that’s why I’ve put together your ultimate guide, with everything you need to know to do the job well.

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

This is me and my Maid of Honour, Welmie. What a champ. Photo credit: Love Made Visible

Before the wedding

As soon as you’ve accepted the role as Maid of Honour, there are a few things you need to start thinking about. 

Coordinate the bridesmaids

One of your key roles as Maid of Honour is to make sure all the bridesmaids are getting their tasks done. Have they found dresses, shoes and accessories? Are they pulling their weight when it comes to bridal shower planning and organizing? Help them to get it all done by delegating tasks and following up appropriately.

If you find yourself in the common position of not knowing the bridesmaids super well, take it upon yourself to get to know them. Put together a What’s App group, Facebook group or email chain so you can start planning together, and host a “wine and planning” evening so you can all get to know each other.

Essentially you’ll be the liaison between the bride and the bridesmaids when it comes to wedding-related admin. Let the bridesmaids know that if they have any questions or concerns about dresses, budgets and plus ones, they can speak to you and you’ll speak to the bride.

Plan the bridal shower and bachelorette

You certainly aren’t required to do all the planning yourself, but you do need to spearhead the planning.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Hosting a Bridal Shower

Coordinate calendars by first asking the bride when she is available, then asking the bridesmaids when they are available and then set a date for the bridal shower and bachelorette.

While you’re at the bridal shower, don’t forget to make a list of which gifts came from which guests, so that the bride knows who to thank.

Related: Bridal Shower Themes and Ideas

Coordinate dress fittings and shopping trips

Offer to organize a day of shopping, where the bridesmaids can find the perfect dresses for the wedding. Make a point of finding out what the bride has in mind for the colour and style of the dress. With all the details known, you can all find the right dress!

Related: The Art of Choosing Bridesmaids Dresses

If the bride hasn’t initiated any conversations about who is paying for dresses and accessories, it’s up to you to clarify these details on behalf of the bridesmaids.

Related: What Bridesmaids Should and Shouldn’t Pay For

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Being the bestie

Something really important to remember is that before you got the “Maid of Honour” title, you had the “Bestie” title. Don’t forget to fulfill this role by doing things a good friend would do:

Provide wedding planning support

You might not feel like a wedding planning expert (and let’s be real, who really does?) but there will be things you could do to help. Googling forest wedding venues, addressing invitations, and helping to pick out the right centrepieces are things you could do. Ask the bride if there is anything you can do, do the job well, and then ask again.

Support her emotionally

Getting married is a life changing experience. Check in with your bestie and see if she is getting excited about preparing to be a wife. Ask her how you can help manage her stress levels, and do what you would do in any other situation to show love and support.

Related: Why I Declined The Invitation To Be Your Bridesmaid

Go to appointments that the groom can’t go to

Be a good wingwoman and (when possible) attend meetings with the bride when the groom can’t. Offer to drive with the bride to look at wedding venues or pick up decor items.

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

At the wedding

This is your opportunity to help your bestie have the most incredible wedding day by taking on some of the stress that she’ll be feeling. 

Help everyone get ready

Make sure there are snacks and drinks available and that the morning of the wedding is a relaxing one. Find out what time the bride would like everyone to get together and pass on those details to the bridal party. Ask the bride if there is anything you can bring to make the process easier (makeup, your curling iron, and bobby pins, for example).

Related: How We Had The Best “Getting Ready” Experience

If you’re all doing each other’s makeup, I’ve got some expert tips for you from makeup YouTuber, Le’Chelle Taylor: Talking About Bridesmaids Makeup

Keep everyone organized and on time

Your bestie isn’t going to be checking the time (and if she does, tell her to stop it) so it’s up to you to make sure everyone is organized and ready. Have a copy of the wedding timeline at hand so you know where everyone needs to be and when.

Related: How To Create A Wedding Timeline

Introduce yourself to the wedding planning/coordinator and offer to be the point of contact should she need anything from the bride or the bridal party. Have a copy of the wedding vendor contact details so that you can speak to any of them should someone be late or lost.

Ask the bride if she would like to give your phone number to family, close friends and vendors, so that you can be phoned if anyone needs anything.

While you’re being super organized, put together a wedding day emergency kit!

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Some things you should do once the wedding has begun:

  • At the church, hand out the bouquets to the bridesmaids.
  • Arrange the bride’s veil and train before and during the ceremony.
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony and have tissues ready for her.
  • Along with the bridesmaids, play hostess during the reception. Help guests find their seat and show them where to leave their gifts.
  • Make sure the bride and groom have had something to eat and drink during the wedding.
  • Before the bride and groom head off, put a slice of their cake into a cake box so that they can enjoy it after the wedding.
  • Be on clean up duty after the reception.

Related: How To Be The Best Bridesmaid Ever

Your Ultimate Maid of Honour Guide

Things NOT to do 

  • Tell her you don’t like something (flowers, decor ideas, etc). 
  • Be late.
  • Get upset if she chooses to do something you wanted to do at your wedding.
  • Go against her wishes because you think she’d like it better.
  • Get drunk at the reception.
  • Give her a reason to micromanage you.

Costs to factor in

  • Your outfit (including shoes and accessories) .
  • The bachelorette and bridal shower (these costs can be shared between you and the bridesmaids).
  • Gifts for the engagement part, bridal shower and the wedding.

Go the extra mile

If you really want to spoil your bestie, help her to plan her wedding like a pro by giving her a copy of my Wedding Planning Starter Kit. This ebook is full of wedding planning wisdom I gathered from years of planning and coordinating weddings. You can find out more about the book right here.

One of my favourite things about this ebook is the Printables pack. I’ve created a wedding planning checklist, a budget tracker, and a whole lot of questionnaires for each wedding vendor.

 

Why I Declined The Invitation To Be A Bridesmaid

There is a common misconception that being a bridesmaid is an easy job. You get to spend the morning of the wedding with the bride, you get to wear a pretty dress and walk down the aisle, and there is that awesome bachelorette that you get to be a part of. Sounds fun, right? Well, yes it is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. Being a bridesmaid is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

How To Be The Best Bridesmaid Ever

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I got married in May 2015 and I had 9 lovely bridesmaids. I had a great support system and lots of help leading up to the wedding. A lot of the girls were in constant contact with me, asking how the wedding plans were going, and actively showing their support and love as often as they could.

During my engagement, a friend of mine asked me if I would be her bridesmaid. Well, she didn’t really ask. She just sort of mentioned it in passing. “You know you’re my Maid of Honour, right?” was thrown into the air, like it wasn’t really a big deal. I remember feeling a bit weird about it, but saying “OK, sure”.

Once my wedding had come to an end and I was back into “normal” life, I started thinking about how great my bridesmaids were. I really appreciated them and the effort they made to love me and help me during my engagement and on my wedding day. It struck me – once again – that being a bridesmaid is quite a task. My bridesmaids bought their own dresses, did their own hair and makeup on my wedding day, they planned my kitchen tea and bachelorette, contributed money and gifts at each, they bought wedding gifts, they made sacrifices to be at my wedding rehearsal, to help put together my wedding invitations and to help with a “DIY decor” day we had just before the wedding. That’s a lot of stuff to be involved in.

I like to think I was a pretty chilled bride and I was pretty easy to get along with during my engagement. At least my husband thinks so. So, even though my girls had a relaxed bride, there was still a lot to do and I’m sure there were many things that went on behind the scenes that I wasn’t even aware of.

So, when my friend just kind of expected me to be her Maid of Honour, I was a little surprised that I wasn’t actually asked, and that it was such a seemingly unimportant task that was required of me.

There were many external circumstances that led me to the decision not to pursue a friendship with this person. So, I was forced to make a decision:

Option 1: Be her bridesmaid and then never speak to her again afterwards.

Option 2: Be her friend and force myself to stay in her life afterwards.

Option 3: End the friendship now.

After giving it a lot of thought, I realised that the only fair thing to do was to go with option 3. I sat her down and told her why I had to end the friendship and that as a result, I would not be able to attend her wedding and be her Maid of Honour. Can you imagine looking back on your wedding and thinking “I wish she wasn’t in all my photos. She isn’t even my friend anymore”? I wanted to spare her of that experience. I wanted to give her the chance to ask someone else. Someone who wanted to stick with her through thick and thin and support her marriage in a way that I couldn’t.

I’m sharing this very personal experience to show girls that being a bridesmaid is a choice. When your bestie pops the question, you don’t have to say yes. You can – and should – give it some thought and ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to make her wedding day and buildup as special as possible. This may require not being able to buy yourself special things, so you can save money and put that towards your bridesmaids dress and wedding gifts. It might mean sacrificing a couple of social events here and there, so that you can be at the pre-wedding functions at the bride’s side. It might also mean that during a time of stress, you put yourself aside and show support to the bride without making the situation about you.

Whatever you choose to do, please know that the bride loves you. If you tell her in all honesty that you don’t think you have the time to commit to being the best bridesmaid you can be, she will still love you.

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