Are maids of honour dresses different to bridesmaid dresses?

Traditionally, all the bridesmaids at a wedding wore exactly the same dresses, including the maid of honour. However, wedding trends and customs evolve over time and in more recent years, it has become commonplace for the maid of honour to wear a different dress from the rest of the bridesmaids. 

Maid of honour dresses can be a slightly different style from the others, a different shade of the same colour or completely stand out and be nothing like the other dresses. Of course, it’s the decision of the bride whether the maid of honour dress is different from the other bridesmaid dresses, and if so, how different it should be.  

We’ll be looking at how you can make your maid of honour’s dress stand out if you think that will be something you want to do for your big day. 

What is a maid of honour? 

Sometimes called the ‘chief bridesmaid’ or ‘matron of honour’ the maid of honour has various duties and ways they need to help the bride. Planning a wedding is fun and exciting, but it’s a massive job that can be stressful and overwhelming, so having your best friend or a close family member by your side to help you along the way is a must 

There’s more to being a MOH than just planning the hen party. From organising the bridesmaids and wedding dress shopping, to giving a speech at the reception and always being well-stocked with tissues, your close friend or relative is going to need your support both leading up the wedding and on the day itself. 

What’s the difference between the maid of honour and bridesmaids? 

The maid of honour and the bridesmaid are both important roles in the wedding, but normally the MOH has more responsibilities and a more active role than a bridesmaid. A bridesmaid is only expected to help out on the big day, like with helping the bride get dressed, and simply be present to support the bride and walk down the aisle. Whereas the MOH is an integral part of the planning and build up to the wedding as well. 

How to make your maid of honour stand out 

With this distinction between maid of honour and bridesmaids in mind, an increasing number of brides are wanting to create a slightly different look for their MOH to celebrate and appreciate the special role they’ve played in the planning on the day of the wedding. 

Choose a different dress colour or design 

To make your maid of honour’s look pop, you might want to choose a dress that’s a shade lighter or darker than the rest of your bridal party’s dresses. For example, your bridesmaids could be in a light lilac or lavender colour and your MOH in a dark purple.  

A common approach when it comes to colours is having the maid of honour in the same dress as the bridesmaids but in reversed colours. So, if the bridesmaids are wearing pink dresses with purple sashes, the MOH might wear a purple dress with a pink sash. 

The colour schemes you choose should still all fit perfectly into the overall wedding theme and aesthetic, but you can make it clear that your MOH has been and is your right-hand girl. 

On the other hand, you could keep the colour of the dresses all the same but have the maid of honour in a different style of dress or a different dress design. For instance, your MOH could have a printed gown whilst everyone else has a solid design. 

A popular look currently is having a floral printed maid of honour dress set against single-tone bridal party dresses in a colour that’s pulled from the pattern. Or you could add a more modern twist with a stripe or other geometric style. 

Keep the change more subtle 

Opposing dress colours and styles isn’t the right option for every bride. If you want all members of the bridal party to be matching but still want to distinguish your MOH, the difference can be subtle. When you’re choosing your bridesmaid dresses, you could opt for a gown that can come in several strap options or necklines in the same colours and fabrics. 

This will allow your maid of honour to shine in a strapless neckline while the other bridesmaids have long sleeved dresses, or maybe a one-shoulder design instead of a sweetheart style. Adjustments like these can easily be made if you’re having the maid of honour’s dress tailored or altered. 

Focus on accessories 

Another special way to make your MOH stand out is with her accessories. All your bridesmaids could wear the same dress, then you could give your maid of honour a cute bracelet or gorgeous hair accessory. It’s a simple change but it can be just enough to set them apart, especially if it is something that will catch the light well. 

Have a unique bouquet 

If you know you want to keep all the dresses and accessories the same but want to make it clear who the MOH is, you could ask your florist to make a bouquet that’s slightly different from the rest. 

It could be a bit bigger, have an extra flower that features in your bouquet but not the other bridesmaids, or it could have an additional colour that sets it apart. This is a good option if you’ve decided to have a mismatched bridal party too. If the bridesmaids are all already in a dress of their choice, a different group of blooms will highlight that the MOH has been chosen for the special position. 

Final thoughts 

In response to the main question posed in this article, maid of honour dresses doesn’t have to be different to bridesmaid dresses, but they can be if the bride wants her maid of honour to clearly stand out with a unique look. 

Every bride and wedding are different, and at Maids to Measure we pride ourselves on fulfilling all our brides' needs with a wide variety of bridesmaid dresses UK that can fit with any wedding theme, setting, and vision.  

Whether you want all your bridesmaid dresses to be the same or are looking for one different maid of honour dress we can help. Explore our stunning range of gowns for your girls today and find the perfect bridesmaid dress for your special day.