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Guide to Being a Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid: Your Complete To-Do List

Congrats! Your best friend is getting married and you’ve been asked to be a Bridesmaid or even the Maid of Honor. This is an exciting time, not only for the bride and groom to be, but also for you. You’ve been selected and trusted to share in your friend’s happiest, most important day. You can already picture the wedding flowers, the dress you’ll dance in, and all the memories you’ll make.

However, as much fun as this title is, being a Bridesmaid or Maid of Honor is no walk in the park and will require your time commitment. There are many duties, responsibilities, and a long check list of things to-do to ensure the Bride has the best wedding imaginable. Being in the bridal party is being there for the Bride no matter what, making sure she doesn’t go from Bride to Bridezilla.

Rest assured though because Allurez has you covered! We’ve complied a complete guide to educate you to become the best Bridesmaid and Maid of Honor possible. From tasks that take place before the wedding, during, and after, this guide will make sure you’re prepared for the known and unknown, allowing you to enjoy the wedding, eat cake, sip champagne, and dance the night away.

Before the Wedding:

The Engagement Party – If the bride is planning to have an engagement party, or and engagement dinner, make sure you attend. The engagement party or dinner is the kick start to the wedding celebrations. Though this is something the bride and groom typically plan on their own, as a bridesmaid, offer any help possible from invitations to the catering hall to what she should wear. Though not necessarily expected or required, you may want to consider gifting the couple with a congratulatory gift that express your enthusiasm on their engagement.

The Bridal Shower – Typically held anywhere from four months to four weeks before the wedding, bridal showers require a fair amount of planning and money so don’t overlook this event. Bridal showers are essential because they’re a day to shower the bride with love and to make her feel special.

The first step to a bridal shower is to figure out where to hold it. As a maid of honor or bridesmaid, the location you decide on is truly dependent on how well you know the bride. Whether it’s a restaurant brunch, in the bride’s home, or at a spa, you must select a place that your bride will enjoy the most. If you plan on making the bridal shower themed, such as Parisian or nautical, please prepare accordingly – make sure the theme flows throughout the entire party, such as invites and decorations.

Secondly, you have to plan the invitations. Bridal showers are usually reserved for women, so invite all the women in the bride’s life who are important to her (nowadays, some men, like the groom and bridesmaids boyfriends, are invited to attend at the end to keep the party going). Make sure that you only invite those who are invited to the wedding, and keep the size of the attendees within a level that would please the bride – whether she prefers intimate gatherings or large parties will make a difference. Shhh! Bridal showers are supposed to be a surprise, so don’t give away the secret!

The third step is to prepare the bridal shower games and activities to keep the bride and guests entertained. Games such as bingo with the bride’s registry or a trivia Q&A for how well the bride knows her groom are a fun way to add energy and life into the party. Also, consider having guests write their marriage tips as part of a “Recipe for Love” on notes cards or even wooden spoons for a personal touch the bride will be able to read once the shower is over.

The fourth and last step has to do with the gifts and cards. Once the bride has selected her registry, make sure you spread the word. Whether you include a card with registry information with the invitation or send a mass email, its important guests know where to buy. Whether or not gifts are opened at the bridal shower, offer to collect all the cards to make a list of who got the bride what. This will make the bride’s duty of sending thank-you notes much easier and less stressful. As for what you gift the bride yourself, you want to select something from registry plus a personal gift. Consider buying something that’s related to your relationship – an inside joke, a memory from the past, or her the same wine you two shared once over dinner.

The Dresses – Always remember, this is not your wedding; this is the bride’s wedding. Therefore, no matter what dress she wants you to wear, as a maid of honor or bridesmaid, you must oblige. Don’t pout or argue! The spotlight of the wedding is on the bride and groom not what the bridesmaids wear. Also, keep in mind to free your schedule for dress shopping and dress fittings. The bride’s preference and schedule come first, so do everything you can to appease her – you’ll want the same treatment for your wedding!

The Bachelorette Party – If the bride has expressed her desire to plan the bachelorette party herself, please make sure you offer a helping hand. If she wants it to be a surprise, the steps to planning the bachelorette party are similar to the bridal shower. Set a budget, a place and time, invite only those in the bridal party, and of course have fun! Whether the bachelorette party is a surprise or not, you must make sure you can attend. It is also customary that bridesmaids buy the bride a funny and sexy gift, after all the bachelorette party is the bride’s last send off before marrying!

Rehearsal Dinner – The bride and groom plan this event, but like so many other aspects of being a bridesmaid, your main duty is to simply attend. The bride wants you to be part of her wedding, so make sure you’re there for her. Rehearsal dinners are typically the day before the wedding, so your bride may have some jitters. It’s your job to calm her nerves, help with any last minute details, and assure her everything will be perfect.

The Wedding Day:

The Morning Of – The bride will more than likely require her entire bridal party get ready either at her house or the hotel room she’s staying at. As a bridesmaid, you want to be where the bride is for hair, makeup, and dressing. Do NOT be late! The last thing you would want is to stress the bride out by having your hair and makeup delayed. Arrive with plenty of time that way if an issue arises with the bride you’re free to solve it, not panicking about your own needs. You also want to pack and carry an emergency kit for the bride that’s filled with hair pins, floss, paper blotters, band-aids, stain remover pens, and any other items she might need.

Getting to the Ceremony – This requires getting everyone assembled and ready to go in a timely manner. If a limo is taking the bridal party to the ceremony, don’t keep it waiting if you can. On the ride over, the bride might be nervous, so keep her calm and relaxed.

During the Ceremony – Bridesmaids and the maid of honor must be prepared to walk down the aisle as soon the bride and groom are ready. Keep an eye out for the bride’s gown and veil, adjusting them as need be. Once the bride is at the altar, whoever is in charge of taking her bouquet be sure to hold on to it for the bride will need it back for photographs. Additionally, whoever is holding the bride’s wedding ring must remain attentive and be prompt when asked for it.

After the Ceremony – The time between when the ceremony has finished and before the reception commences, is when all the photos will be taken. Be patient, be happy, and be smiling! There’s nothing worse than ruining pictures because you look distracted or unhappy. Make sure you arrange yourself with your assigned attendant, or groomsman, and take orders from the professional photographer and/or bride.

At the Reception – The wedding party is finally here, but a bridesmaids and maid of honor’s work is never done! Make sure you are well versed on the wedding’s itinerary and schedule to stay on top of things.

During cocktail hour, the bride and groom may want the bridesmaids and groomsmen to be part of the receiving line so be prepared to greet all their guests graciously. When the reception party is ready to start, the bridal party and grooms party are typically asked to walk, or maybe even dance, into the hall hand-in-hand. Again, step into this spot light with a smile on your face to greet everyone. Don’t be shy and have fun.

As the party continues, continue to greet guests, dance, have fun, partake in photographs, and, most importantly, be there for the bride. Help touch up her makeup and hair, keep needy guests from taking up too much of her time, make sure she eats, and solve any catering hall issues if present.

If you plan to give a toast, make sure it’s the speech has been rehearsed! Don’t grab the microphone and start mumbling to the crowd, especially if you’d had a few drinks. Some tips include speaking with confidence, address the crowd sincerely, keep it short and sweet, speak of the groom, as well, and introduce yourself to the crowd so people familiarize themselves on why you’re part of the bridal party.

After the Reception – Make sure the guests take their party favors before leaving and collect all the cards intended for the bride and groom. It’s essential that these cards safely make their way to the bride and groom. Do a final walk through of the reception to make sure nothing is left behind. Help the bride and groom collect anything they wish to bring back home. If there is an after party, help the bride get dressed into her party outfit and attend to any of the party’s needs. If the happy couple is leaving to another destination or a hotel room, send them off in a farewell line and shower them with glitter, bubbles, or flowers.

Being a Maid of Honor or Bridesmaid is no easy task. It requires time, money, and a host of responsibilities. If you’ve been ask to be in a bridal party, understand that as fun as it will be, it shouldn’t be taken too lightly. Being a bridesmaid to your bride requires putting her needs first to ensure she has a memorable, beautiful wedding. It’s a title that asks you to make a special day as perfect as possible. If it ever gets too stressful, refer back to Allurez’s guide, and remember, everything you do for the bride, she will one day do for you on your wedding day.