maid of honor helping with bride dress

Maid of Honor Duties Checklist: Tools, Tips, Advice

Sep 23, 2020
By Wedding Spot

Congratulations on being chosen as a maid of honor! Not only will you be by the bride’s side for one of the most important days of their life, but you’ll also join a highly-anticipated tradition that inspired one of the best wedding movies of all time, Bridesmaids.

After you pop that champagne bottle to celebrate, take a moment to go over what’s required of you using this maid of honor duties checklist, which features step-by-step instructions, free resources, and lots more. Keep reading to learn more about how to be a good maid of honor, plus what you’ll need to budget for the whole experience.

What is the responsibility of the maid of honor?

It’s the maid of honor’s responsibility to be the bride’s right-hand person before, during, and after the wedding. Your duties will range from planning as many as two major pre-wedding events to keeping water on hand for the bride as they’re dancing the night away.

Be the best maid of honor with our maid of honor duties checklist:

Before getting started, know that every maid of honor duties checklist will likely include duties for these main wedding phases:

  • Wedding dress shopping

  • Planning for the bridal shower

  • Planning for the bachelorette party

  • During the ceremony and reception

  • After the wedding

But also know that every wedding is different. As the maid of honor, you need to be able to adjust on the fly, and that goes for the checklist, too!

In this post, we’ll go over your responsibilities for each major category listed above. Keep reading to learn more about great free tools, practical tips for how to do it all, and expert advice that will guide you through.

1. Assist the bride.

First, schedule a meeting with the bride to go over the wedding date, venue, and timeline. Ask them about their ideas for the bachelorette party and bridal shower. Then, ask them what they know they absolutely need your help with. Add these to your checklist and cross off any of the following items they’ve already taken care of. Throughout every wedding-related event, you’ll be responsible for troubleshooting issues as they come up.

If the bride isn’t sure what to ask for help with, suggest any of the following:

  • DIY decor items such as table centerpiece projects

  • Social media hashtagging and photo sharing

  • Answering guest questions in a shared wedding email inbox

Write it all down so you both are on the same page about your expectations, and know that things may change during the wedding timeline. There will be things that come up that neither of you thought of during your initial meeting, and that’s OK!

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2. Manage the bridesmaids.

Create a communication plan for all wedding-related activities using:

  • A messaging tool such as Facebook Messenger or Slack for easy group discussions

  • A scheduling tool such as Doodle to vote on what Bachelorette party dates and times work best for everyone's busy schedules

  • A cloud storage tool such as Google Drive or Dropbox for documents like travel itineraries and photo sharing so the bride has everything within easy reach at all times

Besides the logistical planning, you’ll also need to manage the bridesmaids if there is any conflict amongst them. Two of the biggest issues among bridal party members include money and jealousy. For example, some members may have strong opinions about what they should or should not financially contribute. Do a pulse check about budget concerns before you begin planning any extra events. You can also give a suggested budget range or get the bride’s opinion on what would be realistic for all bridesmaids. It can be a little icky at first, but getting this information early will save everyone a lot of unnecessary stress and dollars in the coming months.

3. Help choose a wedding dress.

As the bride’s most trusted confidant, it’s up to you to help them find the perfect dress within their budget. If they don’t have stores in mind already, create a list of wedding dress shops nearby then plan to hit them all over the course of one or two weekends. Before you go dress shopping, research the best wedding dress for the bride’s body type — a wedding dress style guide can help! — and make an inspiration board (Pinterest or Photoshop both work well) you can reference.

Stock your purse with a couple of water bottles, healthy snacks, and undergarment options just in case the dresses they try on need a different bra style. While you’re out shopping, be careful to only give your opinion if asked for it. It’s never a good feeling to dismiss a dress that the bride has already fallen in love with.

Keep a shared photo folder and upload photos plus notes on prices, model numbers, and store names for the bride’s top picks so they can reference them afterward. Go one step further and compare each option to their original inspiration board and budget, then rank accordingly.

4. Plan the bridal shower.

Ask the bride what they’d like to do for their bridal shower. If they don’t have any fun bridal shower ideas, plan a luncheon or high tea with activities such as gift opening, groom quiz games, and a slideshow of embarrassing memories. If allowed, invite close members of the bride’s family and the groom’s family. Split the cost between yourself and the other bridesmaids. If other people chip in, great. But if not, create a realistic budget based on what the bridal party can afford.

5. Plan the bachelorette party.

Think of the bridal shower planning as a dry run for the bachelorette party planning. List options of bridal party destinations, a proposed budget, and potential dates first. Then, make an itinerary your bride will love. The main difference between planing a bridal shower and planning a bachelorette party is that bridal showers typically last one afternoon but bachelorette parties tend to last an entire weekend. Plan for one classy evening with dinner and relaxed activities followed by a high-energy night out. If there’s still time left, plan for the last day to be all about recovery and pampering. But remember: Bachelorette party planning varies depending on the bride. Some brides may want to be more hands-on throughout the process, while others will be comfortable passing the duties off to their maid of honor. Make sure you’re both on the same page!

6. Prepare for the wedding day.

Get your outfit together including your dress, shoes, undergarments, and accessories. Have your bride sign off on your hair and makeup ideas ahead of time if you plan to do it yourself. Create a wedding emergency kit that includes stain remover, a mini sewing kit, and some everyday medications for headaches and allergies. Notify all of the bridesmaids about the wedding day itinerary and answer their questions so the bride doesn’t have to. Triple-check that they chosen hair salon/stylist is properly booked for the bridal party. Figure out what food the bride and everyone else will need while getting ready including breakfast, coffee, and healthy snacks.

7. Help during the ceremony.

The heavy lifting is almost complete! During the ceremony, the bride will likely hand you their bouquet, which you’ll hold during the vows. You may be asked to greet guests, double-check to see if certain family members have arrived yet, or help the bride put on their finishing touches. Provide emotional support for the bride, if needed, and keep tissues on hand for everyone. When everyone leaves the ceremony venue, make sure no personal items were left behind in the bridal waiting room or the audience seating. But again, these duties will vary, especially if the bride has a planner or a day-of coordinator.

8. Celebrate during the reception.

Make a heartfelt toast by sharing how you know the bride (funny and embarrassing anecdotes are recommended), how they have changed since meeting their partner, plus any well-wishes you want to give them. Afterward, get ready to spend the night on the dance floor keeping the energy up and the party going for as long as the bride wants it to. They may ask for help with things like holding up the wedding dress train as they use the restroom or grabbing them a drink from the bar, so keep checking in as the night progresses.

9. Consider getting the bride a gift.

The maid of honor will spend a considerable amount of money and time performing their role in the wedding, so most brides understand if you don’t get them anything extra. However, if you can afford to, give a memorable gift to the bride that’s both sentimental and practical. For example, you can get a luxe robe with their (potentially new) initials on it that they can use to get ready in. Or, gift a special hanger for their wedding dress with their (potentially) new last name and wedding date engraved on it.

Put this maid of honor duties checklist to good use!

You’ve got all the basics down. But if you want to go the extra mile, help your bride out even more by sending them suggestions for bridesmaid bouquets and bridesmaid dresses you think the whole group will love.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.