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The Maid of Honor is an often forgotten member of the wedding party. Choosing the right person for the job will help to make your wedding day run smoothly.

Maid of Honour

Seven Tips for Choosing a Maid of Honor....

Choosing your Maid of Honor isn't as simple as it looks. Every bride has her own idea of what a Maid of Honor should be. Which is fine – the trick is in communicating those ideas! Nowhere else in your wedding planning is it easier for problems to turn up! Why? Because the Maid of Honor's duties are often vaguely defined, and worse, poorly communicated.

What does a Maid of Honor do? What is expected of her? On one end of the spectrum, she's a ceremonial figure who walks down the aisle before the other bridesmaids, on the other, she's a master of precognition who soothes your nerves before you know you’re frazzled, helps you send out your invitations, “manages” the bridesmaids, spreads the word on your registry, and offers up her thoughts on everything from the venue to the dress.

Most often, the Maid of Honor is somewhere in the middle. She leads the bachelorette party and/or bridal shower, and tries to “be there” for the bride during the planning process, and the ceremony itself.

All this flexibility leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings. And they happen a lot. The world is full of brides who feel hurt and let down by close friends as the big day draws near. Do you want to be one of them? Of course not!

Here are some tips on choosing – and communicating with – your Maid of Honor for minimum stress, and maximum happiness.

1) Define what you really want. Are you a do-it-yourself bride, or do you want your Maid of Honor to be your right hand all the way through? Be Honest!
Pick someone who can truly be there for you, and let them know exactly what you want. If you don't know anyone with that much time or energy to give, think about finding help elsewhere. Is your fiancé an active participant? Can your mother do more? Maids of Honor are not supposed to be wedding planners ... unless they really, want to be!

2) Tell her what you really want. More than one bride has shed tears because a Maid of Honor couldn't read her mind. Many brides wish their Maids of Honor could give a little speech at the reception, but never get around to asking them. If it’s important to you, talk about it!

3) She doesn't have to be family. Never feel you “have to” make a sister or other family your Maid of Honor. If your best friends a loyal trooper who goes with you on all the errands, choose her. She deserves it.

4) Pick someone local if you need a lot of help. No one can do much from 3000 miles away, no matter how badly she wants to.

5) Be realistic; look at past performance. Weddings are exciting. People are human. When everything new and you’ve just announced your plans, lots of people will offer to help. But not everyone will manage to follow through. Who came through for you before the wedding? Who actually managed to rearrange their schedules to be with you, even when inconvenient? These are the people to rely on.

6) Be realistic. No matter what a treasure your Maid of Honor is, she has limits, too. Is she expecting a new baby? Is she working through a divorce? If these things slow her down, which they probably will, can you pick up the slack without feeling disappointed?

7) Can't pick just one? Consider more than one Maid of Honor if you just can’t decide. But keep in mind, this can cause problems too. Can your Maids of Honor divide responsibilities, communicate well and avoid feelings of jealousy?

Once you've chosen, honor your Maid of Honor, show her she is special to you. Take her out to a day spa, or go together to have your hair done before the ceremony. Pick out a dress for her that's a different color from the other bridesmaids, or order her a bouquet with some special touches. She deserves it!

More wedding planning tips.