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Traditional Duties of a Maid or Matron of Honor
The marriage of a friend or relative is such a happy, joyous occasion, and being asked to be a part of their day is a honor. As an attendant, and especially the maid of honor, there are so many ways that you can be helpful and supportive for the bride (and groom!) in both traditional and special ways. Here are a list of a few ways to aid your friend along her path to marital bliss!
This is probably the most important thing. The days, weeks, and months leading up to a wedding can be incredibly stressful and busy. While the bride may need your help with the actual planning, being a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on can be invaluable. Step up where you can and offer advice (but only when wanted), and lighten the load for her. Be sure that you understand how the bride wants help though-- if she just wants you to listen, don't even try to give her all the wonderful advice you have. If she's truly looking for direction and input, give it to her kindly and sincerely. Remember that she's asked you to be part of her wedding because she values you and wants you around, so be genuinely interested, even if the activities planned aren't your cup of tea.
Helping With Wedding Plans
Something as monumental as the average wedding in America would drive most people insane if they had to do it by themselves. That is where you come in to help your friend arrive at the day of her wedding whole, healthy, and hopefully happy. Here are just a few pre-wedding things that you can help with:
- Venue Shopping: There are so many options to look at, and you can help the bride envision what the wedding will look like and help her organize her thoughts for the formality, colors, and themes of the event and how they work with the locations.
- Wedding Dresses: Most brides consider the dress they wear to be one of the most important parts of their day. And what girl doesn't want to feel beautiful, especially at her wedding? Just make sure that you are sensitive to the bride's preferences-- if she loves something, don't shoot it down if it doesn't coincide with your tastes. Be supportive, considerate, and encouraging but still honest. Also, your input may be invaluable when it comes to the bridesmaids dresses-- after all, you'll be wearing them!
- Registries: What man loves to shop? Not many, so unless your bride got some extraordinary model of groom, you may want to offer to visit stores and fill registries with her. Join in on all the excitement as she prepares for her new home and life as a wife.
- Attend Catering/Cake Tastings: The poor girl is in love-- you can't expect her to be tasting anything correctly! But all joking aside, it's a lot of fun and can be a great way to get a good idea of what the reception refreshments will be like.
Pinterest can be used as a great organizational tool for idea, plans, and other things. Pin hairstyles, nails, decorating, organization, and whatever else you might find useful. Shared boards is a great way to gather ideas from other people involved in the wedding, including bride, bridesmaids, wedding planner, and so on.
This is probably one of the biggest responsibilities that you will have before the wedding. If you are immediate family it's not considered appropriate give the shower, as it could be seen as asking for gifts. However, in any case, you can definitely help whoever does end up giving it with the behind-the-scenes organizing and preparation. There is frequently more than one shower so coordinating with different hostesses can be especially appreciated.
Because you know the bride better than just about anyone, you have special insights into her tastes and preferences. Graciously giving input to the hostess if she requests it can be a really good thing, and helping the bride keep track of her full social schedule can help relieve stress all around.
Organizing With Other Bridal Party Members
Helping make sure that the other attendants are getting to fittings for dresses and tuxes can be very helpful for a bride who doesn't need to try to keep up with that many people's schedules. Also, events like engagement parties, showers, and bachelor and bachelorette parties all have to be organized by someone other than a bride or groom, and all of them except for the bachelor party are things that you can be involved in.
On the Wedding Day
On the wedding day, make sure that the bride knows that you're on top of it. She doesn't need or want to be thinking about all of the details, so make sure you're familiar with the schedule of events and that everyone else is sticking to it.
Also, make sure that she's comfortable with her appearance. Help her get into the dress (but only if it's not a prerogative that her mom wants to do), make sure she's happy with her hair and veil, and carry around the lipstick and blush for last minute touch-ups.
Keep everyone else in order too. Find someone to carry messages to the groom or family members and never let your phone leave your side. Have all of the numbers for caterers, musicians, etc. to catch any last minute changes or goofs. Oh, and always remember to keep smiling and make it look smooth and effortless!
During the Wedding
During the wedding you get to relax and enjoy watching your friend, sister, cousin, or whomever she may be marry the man of her dreams. There are still a couple of things you should keep an eye on:
- Make sure that as the bride turns to face the groom that her train is in good order. Lay it out flat so that it doesn't end up in a crumpled mess.
- Take her bouquet before the couple joins hands. They don't really want to have to deal with flowers as they gaze into each other's eyes anyway.
- Have a hankie or tissue ready to hand to a teary-eyed bride, or even yourself if you need it. Tucking it in your bouquet keeps it discreet and handy for when it's necessary.
- Holding the grooms ring is a traditional maid of honor responsibility. Slip it over one of your own fingers for safe keeping, and be ready to hand it over discreetly at the perfect moment.
At the Reception
By this time, most of the work is done and you can enjoy that party! However, a few things that you should be aware of:
- Give the reception room a once over before the wedding begins. Make sure that the decor is what the bride wanted and that all caterers, musicians, and sound systems are in place
- Get ready to give a speech! This is your chance to be funny, clever, sweet, or which ever combination you choose. Make sure to keep it tasteful and to the point-- no incredibly long monologues.
That's all there is to it! Other small things that you can do for the bride you're helping may come up, and enjoy them as they do. Being a part of someone's wedding is a honor and privilege, and you should enjoy your involvement in such an important event. The fact that you can offer your love and support to the new couple is the greatest gift they could ever receive!