The term and role "Maid of Honor" is sometimes confusing, and desperately needs some clear definition! When a Bride is choosing who will be her MOH, she needs to think about who will offer her the support, the helping hand, and the positive attitude she will need on her wedding day and the months leading up to it.
Traditionally, a MOH was a female, a sister or close girlfriend of the Bride. In today's world, a male or 'Man of Honor" is most welcome, and although his role reversal may be surprising to some guests, he becomes a welcome addition to the Bridal Party! Brides who choose a woman, who is already married as her right hand gal, can refer to her as their "Matron of Honor" although some women don't like it as it sounds kind of dowdy!
As a MOH, the traditional main roles are:
Offer your assistance to the Bride as she begins her wedding plans. She may need a second opinion when looking at a million wedding dresses, reception locations and flower choices.
Host the bridal shower(s). This involves planning a theme, finding a location, cake, inviting the Bride's friends, and essentially throwing a "Yay! You're getting married" kind of party. I recommend that the MOH speak with the Bride's mother when planning the shower, as she may have some plans of her own. Although the MOH is traditionally in charge of the shower, the other attendants should definitely offer their assistance.
Plan and host the Bachelorette party! Now the fun begins! This is it! Girl's night out ? the last hurrah of a single woman's life! Talk to the Bride about what she would like to do. Above all, remember, it is HER night. If she does not want to see a male revue, then don't take her to see one (even if all the other party attendees want to go!)
Be the Bride's "Girl Friday" on her wedding day. Does she need a drink? Is she nervous? Talk to her, and keep her calm. Don't stress her out, and don't strong arm other people who may want to offer the Bride their help as well. You are there to help her, not keep her secluded from all of humanity.
If there is no wedding coordinator present, your role may need to double. You may be needed to run messages back and forth between the Bride and other family members as well as help keep her on schedule. Adjust her veil and dress when she is ready to go down the aisle, and SMILE! When a Bride sees you smiling, it will put her at ease, you have a bigger impact on the day than you know!
Hold the bride's bouquet during the wedding ceremony.
Help the bride bustle her gown after the ceremony has ended. If a Bride has a particularly tricky bustle, make sure you ask her or her seamstress to provide a map of which hooks go where.
Some more elaborate bustles can have 20 hooks or more!
Make a speech at the reception. Say something witty, yet sentimental and not too long. Keep it upbeat, and look at the Bride and her new husband as you are speaking, remember, you are toasting to them! Please don't say anything personal or embarrassing, Grandma does not want to hear about her Granddaughter's deviant behavior from the past!
If you are asked to be a Maid of Honor (or Matron of Honor, if you are married) the best things you can offer a Bride are your support, your time, and yes, your money!
If you are a Bride getting ready to choose your MOH, I suggest throwing conventional etiquette to the side! Ask someone you feel will be supportive, and enthusiastic about your wedding AND your marriage! Discuss with the person you choose what will be expected of them, never assume they already know.
Communication is key.
Charity Plaster has only been a Bride, never a Bridesmaid. She does not own any taffeta gowns.