What is the importance of having a maid of honour?

So how important is the maid of honour?

Being asked to be a maid of honour is just that, a real honour! Like the bridesmaids, a maid of honour is there to support the bride on their wedding day. However, the maid of honour (MOH) has the added responsibility of really being the bride's right-hand woman in the lead up and on the big day. After the bride, she's the Queen B of the bridal party. In fact, the term “maid of honour” originally comes from the title given to unmarried female attendants to the Queen. Whilst there is certainly no longer a requirement for the MOH to be un-wed, this traditional and privileged role is a really important one. It allows the bride to distinguish out her closest and most special friend or relative. In addition, wedding planning is exciting, but can also be stressful, however a MOH can relieve some of the pressure and means the bride can enjoy navigating the sometimes-overwhelming world of wedding planning with a little help from their BFF.

The origin of the role is believed to come from ancient Roman Law, who believed that evil spirits haunted weddings. The MOH and bridesmaids were tasked with protecting the bride from these supernatural forces. 10 witnesses, including the MOH, were required to dress the same as the bride to confuse the spirits and prevent them from stealing her from the ceremony. The MOH was basically the bride’s chief of security. Whereas ‘bodyguard’ is usually no longer on the list of duties for the day, some of the MOH tasks remain the same. For example, just as the Romans did, the brides No.1 pal is tasked with helping dress the bride on the big day. 

But what else does being the chief bridesmaid actually entail? It can be confusing to know what the different duties of the wedding party are as we move on from the more traditional roles. It’s important to think about what works for you and to remember that wedding planning should be fun. Getting a bestie on board to help give brides a soundboard for ideas, an extra pair of hands when needed and someone to laugh it off with if things don’t go quite to plan.

How can the maid of honour best support the bride?

Maids to Measure have put together this handy guide of how a MOH can best support the bride, in the build up and throughout her special day. Reading it can help you decide what you believe are the most important maid of honour duties and therefore what is expected of the head bridesmaid.

The duties of the MOH start long before the wedding. The most important thing they can do is to be there for the bride from day one, because they are the friend who knows her best. Whether this be answering her calls, listening to her grizzle about interfering family members, or giving her a little reassurance that things are going to plan. A little emotional support can go a long way and ensure things remain fun and not frantic.

Maid of honour duty checklist

When it comes to the practicalities it’s really worth having a dedicated chat early on between the bride and her MOH, because everyone and every wedding is different. Some brides may prefer more control and an overall eye on what’s going on, whereas another bride may dream of a MOH who repeats the mantra ‘leave it to me hun’. Get your notepads out, open a bottle of wine, and work through the top-line duties systematically, for example:

Help with venue search? Come wedding dress shopping? Help choose bridesmaid dresses? Organising hen do? Answer questions from the other bridesmaids? Answer questions from guests/other family members? Maid of honour speech? Straighten dress train during ceremony? Hold bouquet during ceremony? Adjust hair/make-up/dress during the day?

Once you’ve decided which elements make up your MOH’s to-do-list you can start getting down to the nitty gritty.

How to be that little be extra

There are lots of things the MOH can do to ease the planning load. Setting up a WhatsApp or other messaging group for the other bridesmaids is a great way to make sure they have all the information they need. The group will act as a one-stop-shop of information for timings, venues, travel arrangements etc. The MOH can also use this group to discuss any budgets needed for the hen party or if the bridesmaids are paying towards their outfits for the day.  This group chat is also just a great way to start building relationships and excitement for the hen and the wedding day.

Organising the bachelorette or bridal shower is a whole other discussion, however some key things for the MOH to keep in mind are; to be aware of budgets, give everyone information in PLENTY of time and whilst there are benefits to consulting with the hen group, the MOH is the ultimate decision maker so not to get too bogged down in everyone’s opinions.

Leading up to the wedding the bride’s right-hand woman can help with any of the aspects of the wedding planning. However, good ones for them to put their hands up for are; creating a linked Pinterest board for dress inspo, making any homemade wedding favours, writing out the table place cards, collecting flowers/table decorations and setting up the reception room the night before the wedding. A cute extra idea is making up a sleepover kit for the bride for the night before…think mini bottles of prosecco, sweets, beauty treatments (although beware of using any new products in case of a reaction), decorations for the bridal suite and photos from the hen party. Making sure there is a bottle of bubbly ready for the next morning getting-glam session will mean the bridesmaids and bride can have a toast together before the main event.

When the big day arrives the MOH will be ready to swing into action whenever an opportunity arises to support the bride. Whether it be letting in any hair and makeup people whilst the bride showers, yanking the labels off underwear, making sure she eats some breakfast (very important!) and making sure she doesn’t get too excited too early on that bubbly, the MOH is there to ensure the getting ready session is seamless not stressful. As she walks down the aisle, during the ceremony and through the reception the bride will want to be picture perfect so her MOH will be on hand to straighten her dress, fix any loose hairs or top up any make-up when needed. Another glamourous task which usually falls to the MOH is helping the bride when she needs to toilet, oh yes…long white dresses and spanks definitely make this a two-woman job!

Another great tip for all aspiring superstar MOHs is to pack an emergency kit in their handbag for the day of the wedding, think needle and thread, plasters, mini wet-wipes, hair grips, safety pins and mini perfume. Brides are often too busy to look at their phone during the day, but the MOH can keep this safe too and maybe even snap a few cheeky shots on the bride’s phone to be able to look through the next morning.

Finally, the mega maid will be there to wipe away any tears if things get emotional, probably cry a little with the bride, bring out the best moves with her on the dancefloor and give her an extra big squeeze at the end of the night. The bride may feel that this special role requires acknowledgement on the day, this can be done by helping the MOH stand out with a different colour dress from the other bridesmaids, or a stand-out accessory such as one of our Maids to Measure pearl headbands.

So all-in-all you can see that the maid of honour plays a hugely important part in the smooth operating of the wedding and can be pivotal in ensuring the bride and groom get the most out of their special day. Your wedding is one of the most special days of your life so what could be better than having your best friend on board to help!