If you’ve never done this before, you might be feeling confused or overwhelmed about honor attendant’s duties. We’ve got you covered with our favorite thing — lists!
It’s a big deal to be asked to be an Honor Attendant, Maid of Honor, Person of Honor, Best Man… whatever they’re asking you to be. You might recall that we’ve even written here about the trend toward making that ask a bigger deal and how, well, startled we, these Gen Xers, were by that fact. But when you start to look at what is expected of these people, it all makes sense!
As old school as we are, we used to think that Maids of Honor and Best Men were just there to stand up with you on the day. Maybe hold a bouquet or pass you some rings. Make a funny speech. That sort of stuff.
But nope. These are the people who have the bride’s and groom’s backs. And it’s not just on the big day, but it’s also all the days leading up to that big day.
That’s exactly why brides and grooms take the asking so seriously and put so much thought into it.
Let’s get into it. We’ll review honor attendant duties leading up to the wedding and then we’ll look at the actual day itself.
Leading up to the Wedding: Honor Attendants’ Duties
Keep in mind that these are typical duties that we’re listing. Also, these lists are not necessarily comprehensive. Your bride or groom might have very different ideas about what they need or want help with so clear and open communication (and good note taking) is a must.
Maid of Honor
- Dress shopping help. Really, who doesn’t want to do this? Who doesn’t want the ultimate sneak peek? (Unless, of course, your bride is so very picky that it becomes a bit of a nightmare… but none of our brides are like that, right?)
- Plan the bachelorette party. This is big. Especially now when, again, everything about weddings just seems to be expanding at the speed of light. Again, communication here is really important. Maybe your bride is more low-key and doesn’t want too much fuss. Then again, she picked you for a reason, and it’s likely that you are pretty certain what would make her happiest.
- Deal with any drama in the bridal party. The bride has enough on her plate and has enough stress and possible anxiety already. If the maid of honor notices any drama building among bridesmaids, she should take it in hand herself and not bother the bride about it.
- Serve as a point of contact for everyone else involved in the wedding, from wedding party to guests. This is a big one, and it means you really need to pay attention to all the details so people can ask you questions instead of bothering the bride.
- If the bride is opening her gifts at the bridal shower (which you or a family member may be planning), you will want to be right there, writing down who gave her what.
- A really excellent Maid of Honor also thinks about what the bride might need in any of the situations they’re interacting and working on the wedding together. So, for example, bring along things like ibuprofen, tissue, hair ties, safety pins, and a tiny flask of her favorite medicinal drink (that’s a little joke… or not).
- Help your groom and the groomsmen to finalize their suits and all the accompanying accessories.
- Plan the bachelor party, keeping in mind what the groom would want and not what the men surrounding him would like. Organize the other groomsmen to help.
- Provide emotional support throughout the planning of the wedding.
- You can imagine that traditionally the Best Man has not had, um, quite so many duties as the Maid of Honor, so one thing the Best Man could do is to be aware of this possible imbalance and offer his support and help to the Maid of Honor.
- In that vein, the Best Man could help the groom himself be more aware of the multitude of tasks the bride is very likely taking on without thinking twice about it. You could encourage the groom to encourage his bride to delegate more.
- Organize the groomsmen. Make sure they know every last detail about the days leading up to the wedding and the wedding day itself.
- Like the Maid of Honor, think about putting together an emergency kit for the groom. See above for suggestions but also ask your groom what he might need and what he might forget.
Day of Wedding
Maid of Honor
- Keep the bridal suite and/or changing areas neat and organized. Think of yourself a little bit like a general waging a sort of campaign.
- Drop off any last minute items to the wedding/reception venue. For example, maybe they’ve ordered monogramed champagne flutes that just arrived, or the guest registry, seating cards, or any last bits of “stuff” need to be delivered.
- Provide emotional support. Of course, the bride is probably surrounded by family but they are likely just as emotional as she is. You can be the one passing out the tissues, patting the backs, bringing water, checking mascara.
- Make sure the bride eats. This is big. This gets lost in the shuffle more than it should. Make sure the bride has some nutrition and some hydration. Have a stash of energy bars in your emergency kit.
- Keep an eye on the bride’s personal items. Keep them safe and not lost.
- Watch how much people are drinking as they get ready. No one needs to be tipsy as they walk down the aisle.
- Help everyone with dresses and bouquets.
- Give a speech. This can be nerve-wracking for anyone so we’ve written about how to write a great honor attendant speech.
- Help the groom to get ready. This can be a time of big nerves. Be ready to tie ties and fold handkerchiefs and just generally keep track of all the moving parts of the preparations.
- Speaking of keeping track, be sure you have the rings on you at all times. Or know where the rings are supposed to be and be sure they are there.
- Help the Maid of Honor with any last minute details.
- Make sure the groom eats and watch his and the groomsmen pre-ceremony drinking (if there is any).
- Keep track of the groom’s personal items.
- Have your speech ready and practiced. (And see above for our previous post about writing an excellent speech.)
- Decorate the getaway car if your couple is planning this sort of exit.
- Make sure everyone has what they need to send the couple off — whether that be bird seed or bubbles or whatever unique thing your couple has come up with.
- Act as a sort of wedding and reception host, guiding people to their seats, making sure people have what they need, and just being generally helpful.
Even though these honor attendants’ duties can be handled by either attendant, be sure to be clear about who is doing what so there’s no confusion.
- Be a point of contact with the vendors so they’re not bothering the happy couple. Remember that your job is to minimize the bride’s and groom’s stress levels as much as possible. They don’t need to hear about every little glitch. Just get people to fix it.
- Help “herd the cats,” i.e. the family and friends during portrait time after the ceremony.
- Keep a general eye on the goings on. Weddings can be tricksy and there are a lot of emotions. If you notice anyone having a hard time or getting a little… grouchy, step in quietly so the bride and groom are none the wiser.
- That goes especially for the alcohol component of the day. If you see someone turning green, run! ((ugh)) If uncle so and so is getting loud, see what you can do to lighten the situation. Otherwise, keep your antennae up.
Phew! Now we totally understand why asking people to fill these rolls has become a sort of proposal in and of itself!