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Serving Her Majesty the Bride
To Be a Maid of Honor. . . or Not

Larry James
Wedding Chronicle An edited version of "Serving Her Majesty the Bride: To Be a Maid of Honor. . . or Not" by Larry James was featured in the July/August 2007 issue of The Wedding Chronicle.

Larry James was a contributing author to The Wedding Chronicle.

Congratulations to Larry James!

Larry James has been selected as the "Best Officiant" in the Greater Phoenix area by The Wedding Chronicle's 2007, 2008 & 2009 Readers' Poll!
Read more!

While it is an honor for a bride to ask you to be the Maid (or Matron) of Honor, you would be wise to consider the many awesome responsibilities that go with this honor. Some brides will automatically think of their very best friend for this privilege. Perhaps a better reason would be to choose the person who is willing to do all the things that are necessary to cater to the Bride's every whim, serving with distinction.

As Maid of Honor the Bride's chief attendant and personal confidante - you have to keep things organized and under control as well as being her "crisis counselor." Maids of Honor are chosen for their emotional stability and composure. You will offer moral support and assist with virtually every aspect of the pre-wedding planning all the way to the end of the wedding. Part of your job is to make the entire process as stress-free as possible.

You will be expected to give her your full attention on the day of the wedding and be ready to handle anything that comes up.

Once you have been asked to serve, have a meeting with the Bride and ask her to define what she expects from you. The key is to "ask." Be clear about what she expects and be honest with her if you do not think you can live up to her expectations. When necessary, step in and take control of any stressful situations. Anticipate any needs the Bride may have and take care of them in a positive manner.

Once you accept the honor, try not to ask too many questions unless it is about something very important. This only adds to her frustration level. The Bride is counting you to take care of pretty much everything. Be a shoulder she can lean on when things become to overwhelming to bear. This can take a lot of time, energy and requires lots of preparation. Be cool, but never outshine the Bride.

You will act as a liaison between the Bride and the Bridesmaids from the beginning through the reception. You need to set the tone among the women in the bridal party. Prep the Bridesmaids and make sure they know their duties and show up "on time" for the rehearsal. Think of yourself as a coach. You are in charge of the Bridesmaids and with their cooperation the wedding will run more smoothly.

Bring tissues, extra makeup, pantyhose, nail polish, breath mints and anything else that she might need the day of the wedding. Put together an "Emergency Checklist" to make sure to avoid any crisis that might come up. Prepare a "beauty bag" (emergency pouch) to bring with you on the big day. Hold her flowers, straighten her veil and train before, during and after the wedding and especially during the wedding pictures.

One of the most important traditions of a Maid or Matron of Honor is to give the Bride a Toast at the reception. The best toasts include funny stories growing up with sentimental friendship and love. Don't get too wordy. Keep it short and interesting. Offer a few words of advice to both the bride and groom and best wishes you have for the newlyweds (e.g., success, happiness, many babies). If you are a person who does not like to speak in front of others, make sure to rehearse and bring a hard copy of your wedding toast.

Tips for the Toast

  • Have note cards handy! Write down what you will say.
  • Take a deep breath before you start. You can't go wrong with full lungs. It will even make your figure look better.
  • Stand up.
  • Use a microphone if given one. <IMPORTANT: Hold the microphone around the middle and keep it a few inches from your lips and an inch or so lower than your mouth. Try not to let it fall because no one will be able to hear you. Try not to hold it too close to your lips or you will get a popping sound when you say your P's.
  • Don't drink to much before your speech. Tranquilizers aren't a good idea either. They will leave you with an inability to react to the situation.
  • Click here for more toast tips!

Here are a few Wedding Toast ideas that may be helpful to you when writing your speech

  • Stories of what the bride used to share with you about the groom when she first met him.
  • Funny story while growing up
  • How you and the bride met and how long you both have known each other
  • Most "appropriately" embarrassing moment you shared with the bride
  • How beautiful the bride and groom look together
  • Talk about a funny habit of the bride that the groom will have to live with
  • A spiritual statement (if the bride and groom are spiritual people)
  • Words of advice to both the bride and groom
  • Wishes you have for the newlyweds (e.g., success, happiness, many babies)

The Maid of Honor's duties may be as many or as varied as the bride may wish to impose upon her, but typically, the Maid of Honor is responsible for:


  • Traveling with the bride to help choose a wedding venue
  • Helping to choose and address wedding invitations
  • Going with the bride to help with the shopping for her wedding dress as well as the bridesmaid dresses
  • Going with the bride to register for her wedding gifts
  • Helping the bride with the seating arrangements
  • She will be hosting and planning the bridal shower as well as the bachelorette party
  • Maintaining communication and organization with the other bridesmaids
  • She will be attending and assisting during the rehearsal dinner

Wedding day

  • Assisting the bride with her dress and makeup
  • Being the messenger if the bride wants to communicate sight unseen with the family or groom
  • Visiting the reception room to check on the details
  • Helping to make sure the bride has privacy before the ceremony if desired
  • Signing of the marriage license after the ceremony (if requested)
  • Helping the bride with her veil and train before, during and after the ceremony
  • Holding the bride's bouquet during the ceremony as required
  • Holding the groom's wedding ring to hand to the bride during the ceremony
  • Making a toast and/or speech during the reception
  • Securing any money as might be given to the wedding couple during the reception
  • Providing emotional support as needed

What are the duties of a Maid of Honor? We went to the ultimate source to find a comprehensive answer for you. Emily's Post's Wedding Etiquette lists the following responsibilities for the Maid of Honor:

  • Help the bride choose the bridesmaids' attire
  • Help address invitations and place cards
  • Attend as many prenuptial events as possible
  • Organizes bridesmaids' gift to the bride; usually gives an individual gift to the couple as well
  • Makes sure that all the bridesmaids, the flower girl and ring bearer are at fittings, the rehearsal, and the ceremony on time
  • Is expected to attend the rehearsal and is included at the rehearsal dinner
  • Takes part in the processional and recessional
  • Hold the ring, which the bride will present to the groom
  • Helps maintain the brides gown before, during, and after the ceremony. This includes helping her change out of it if she plans to change into going-away clothing
  • Ensures that the bridal gown and accessories are well cared for after the wedding and until the bride is able to have them attended to
  • Arranges the bride's veil and train for the processional, recessional and photography
  • During the ceremony the maid of honor holds the bride's bouquet
  • She is a witness to the signing of the marriage certificate
  • If a receiving line is used, the Maid of Honor usually stands in it
  • Is responsible for making sure the bride adheres to the schedule
  • The maid of the honor is expected to pay for her own wedding attire and transportation to the wedding

While the maid of honor isn't required to host the bridal shower, Emily Post notes that the family of the bride is not to do it. This generally leaves the attendants (of which the maid of honor is the head attendant) to throw the shower. It is suggested that the maid of honor co-host the bridal shower. The maid of honor hosts most bachelorette parties.

And finally, serve with distinction! If other commitments prevent you from giving the Bride the attention she deserves, you may be a better candidate for a Bridesmaid.

•    •    •

Copyright © - Larry James. All rights reserved.

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