Deciding who will be standing beside you as you say your vows is a big decision for brides- and grooms-to-be. In assigning the role of maid of honor and best man, you’re choosing the one person, other than your spouse, who is behind you through thick and thin. But what are they really supposed to do for your wedding?
I’ll give you a hint – it’s about more than planning the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Their role is to help you take this huge step in your life, and they should work in partnership with you and with each other as you plan and hold your wedding. While their duties differ slightly, their main goal should be to offer support through the process and make sure everything goes as planned.
In choosing them to stand next to you, you’ve giving them a job to do and you can bet that they’ll want to be as helpful as possible.
To the Maid of Honor
The primary role of the maid of honor is to support the bride (and the mother of the bride!) and to always act and make decisions with the bride’s best interest in mind.
Photography by: Amanda K. Photography
During the Planning Process
Throughout the planning process, you should work alongside the bride, helping to keep details organized and offering encouragement and support. With so many options and thousands of questions, a bride needs to be able to depend on someone who can step back, do a little research, and objectively offer advice, making suggestions that perfectly align with her vision. When a big, time-sensitive decision is coming up, encourage the bride and help her discern the perfect choice. Be beside her in the planning process and offer support to keep things organized and moving forward.
Additionally, a bride should be able to depend on her maid of honor to help with wedding to-dos. From bows tied to gift bags or favors to the creation of itineraries, the maid of honor is the bride’s right-hand woman who can make sure that all the boxes are being checked. And don’t forget shopping for the gown! The bride will depend on you to help her find the perfect dress that fits both her personality and the design of her wedding. Additionally, it’s helpful if you accompany her to fittings, specifically so that you can learn how to bustle her dress!
Bridal shower and bachelorette party duties fall heavily on the maid of honor. Be involved with the overall design of each event, creating an aesthetic that speaks to the bride’s style and is appropriate for the guests at each event. You will likely work closely with the Bride’s family for the planning of the bridal shower, and you can offer to help by mailing invitations, creating the menu, and coordinating the duties of the other bridesmaids. (Don’t forget about the bridesmaids’ gift to the bride!) For the bachelorette party, take the reins to plan a fun and memorable celebration to send off the bride in a way that makes her feel special.
On the Wedding Day
On the day of the wedding, the maid of honor steps in to handle all the stress of the day (so the bride can relax and enjoy!).
Your real duties start the day before with the management of the rest of the bridal party for the rehearsal. Make sure to touch base with everyone involved to ensure they know when and where the rehearsal is being held, and encourage their prompt arrival to keep the events moving seamlessly. Attention at rehearsal is important so that everyone knows their role for the big day.
On the morning of the wedding, your first focus will be on the preparation of the bride. Make sure the dress has been steamed and have a plan for any unexpected issues (like a loose button or a missing hook-and-eye). Ensure the bride’s hair and make-up team know the exact look the bride is going for and help the other bridesmaids look their very best.
Photography by: Moni & Adri Weddings
It’s also helpful for the maid of honor to be prepared with a small wedding day emergency kit. Include things like a small sewing kit, super glue, tissues, band-aids, pain relievers, and anything else that could come in handy for the bride or another member of the bridal party. From safety pins to granola bars, you can never be too prepared.
Throughout the day, you will also need to help manage the bridal party and guests, answering questions as needed and providing direction when necessary. Without being bossy, work to maintain control. Make sure the bridal party is ready to go on time and that they don’t forget flowers, hairpieces, corsages, petals and anything else they will need before heading to the ceremony site. Pay close attention to the time and make sure the bridal party is ready and waiting when transportation arrives. During photos, make sure all family members and friends are present as needed and encourage cooperation of all involved to keep the day moving.
The maid of honor should also be fully responsible for knowing all of the details of the ceremony. From the processional order and escorts to the general flow of the ceremony, you need to be the know-it-all to help keep the rest of the party informed and prepared. During the ceremony, be prepared to assist the bride with her bouquet and make gown adjustments so that she is always looking her best. And last – be ready to pass out tissues!
After the ceremony, when the bride is ready, help her bustle her dress so that she’s ready to dance! At the end of the night, make sure that any gifts, cards, or sentimental items are collected and kept safe.
Finally, and most importantly, keep the bride’s well-being at the forefront of your focus. Make sure she eats and drinks plenty of water, and above all else, offer emotional support as she takes the biggest step of her life.
To the Best Man
The primary role of the best man is to support the groom and to always act and make decisions with the groom’s best interest in mind.
During the Planning Process
Unlike the maid of honor, the best man isn’t as involved with the nuances of planning. However, it’s best to be in the loop and know what is going on. (It also never hurts to offer to help!) Keep in touch with the couple and the maid of honor so that you’re aware of the plans and details for the wedding day and understand the duties they assign to you.
Of course, planning a knockout bachelor party is part of your duties as well. Though a “Hangover” caliber event is tempting, try to keep the bride in mind when planning (to keep the groom from getting in too much trouble!) Remember – you have to spend the wedding day with the bride (and all her girls) – keep the party under control just enough so you don’t have a group of women giving you the side-eye all day.
Photography by: Amber Kelley Photography
On the Wedding Day
Much like the maid of honor, the best man should be prepared to step up on the big day.
Start with making sure the groom is looking his very best. Iron the shirt, straighten the tie, shine the shoes, and have a plan if anything goes awry. Don’t let him walk to the altar with his pants tucked into his sock or looking anything but sharp.
The best man should also make sure he knows the agenda for the day. The groom may be nervous and you should be able to tell him what to expect and when to expect it. Keep an eye on the time and know when you need to be ready to head to the ceremony site, making sure no one leaves behind pocket squares, boutonnieres, or other items they will need for the day. Along with the maid of honor, help to organize the order of the processional and make sure the other groomsmen know who they will be escorting. It’s also helpful to know what is going to happen during the ceremony and to make sure the groom has a general idea as well.
Very, very importantly, it is your duty as best man to have the rings ready for the ceremony. Do not mess this part up. If you do nothing else all day, make sure you have the rings.
And, finally, support the groom. He’s taking a big step and will need emotional support and encouragement through the day. Make sure he eats and drinks plenty of water before the ceremony and be genuine in your support to him.
Photography by: Jorge Rodriguez Photography
Don’t Forget your Toasts!
Whether maid of honor or best man, you’ll be expected to speak at the reception. Don’t wing it unless you’re a professional public speaker (and even then, give it some thought beforehand!). This is your chance to give your best wishes to your best friend and their new spouse. Share (appropriate) stories that elevate the couple’s love story and show them just how much their happiness means to you.
Photography by: Kape Photography
Ultimately, the maid of honor and best man should work together to support the couple and make their entire wedding experience easy and enjoyable. These two love-birds have entrusted you to stand beside them as they take the leap – be ready to give them every push and encouraging word they might need and, mostly, make sure they spend their day smiling.