Can Your Mom Be Your Maid of Honor?

Because she's not a regular mom, she's a cool mom.
lindsay tigar the knot
by
Lindsay Tigar
lindsay tigar the knot
Lindsay Tigar
Wedding Planning Contributor
  • Lindsay contributes articles to The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in honeymoon travel and creating wedding planning.
  • Lindsay owns a content agency, Tigar Types, to help businesses of all sizes grow their digital footprints.
  • Lindsay freelances for a plethora of publications, covering many topics, ranging from wedding advice and planning to travel, health and more.
Updated May 24, 2023

As you decide who to ask to be part of this group, you may wonder…can your mom be your maid of honor? If she's your bestie—it seems like a no-brainer.

From an etiquette point of view, it's your wedding day — so it's up to you on who stands by your side. As Sarah Chianese, the owner and executive chef of Mangia and Enjoy! says, your mom absolutely can be your maid of honor, since this role is typically given to the bride's closest friend, and in some cases, your mom actually is your BFF!

Chianese does note it is imperative to keep in mind the duties of a maid of honor, including planning the bachelorette party, for example, which for some may be awkward. However, if your mom is a cool mom, and your friends can heartily embrace her as the maid of honor, it can be a glorious arrangement. Here, the benefits of your mother being your maid of honor, along with some considerations before you officially name Mom leader of the bride squad.

Benefits of Having Your Mom as the Maid of Honor

The relationship between a mother and daughter is a unique, timeless love that begins before birth. This meaningful connection is lifelong and unconditional, providing many benefits for your wedding day.

She knows you better than anyone.

A maid of honor's most important job responsibility is providing emotional support to the bride during one of the most stressful months (or years!) of her life. Because of her constant presence throughout life's milestones and added years of wisdom, the bride's mother will be a source of stability and comfort throughout the wedding process, says Sarah Jobe, a Twickenham House and Hall consultant. And perhaps, Mom can serve as a voice of reason and reach you in a way that others can't.

"Although the bride's friends may unendingly support the bride's every decision, such as selecting heels that are entirely impractical for an outdoor ceremony regardless of their beauty, a mother will provide perspective and reasoning while honoring her daughter's choices and delivering balance in a conversation," Jobe adds.

She knows family dynamics.

You may love your family…but they may also have their own drama. Rather than stressing about wrangling your wild cousin or unpredictable uncle, your mother can be the ringleader. She can step in and ward off any situations before they make it to your ears or your mobile phone. She wants you to have the best experience—it's your day!—and her instincts will kick in to keep you safe.

As Jamie Chang, the owner and destination wedding planner for Mango Muse Events, one of the benefits of having your mom as your maid/matron of honor is that they're your mom, which means you have a relationship that goes beyond friendship. "This is a woman who raised you and supported you and who already knows how to take care of you, which means they'll know how to take care of you on your wedding day as well," she says. "If you're feeling anxious or worried, those innate motherly instincts will be there to help you."

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She will cut down on the stress.

Along the same lines, choosing your mother as your maid-of-honor may automatically take some of the weight of wedding planning off your shoulders. You know you can depend on her, she will help, and you don't have to worry. In fact, it's what many women choose to do, like Lilia Shatnaya, the owner and designer of Plume and Stone Invitation Studio. Her mom was the maid of honor at her wedding — and she considers it the best decision.

It means you don't have to pick between friends.

You have your childhood best friend, your sisters, your sorority sisters, your workplace buddies and the list goes on. For some brides with a large social community, deciding who will be the maid of honor can feel like a high-stakes decision with consequences.

Considering how your friends may feel if they were not chosen as maid of honor is challenging not to hurt feelings, and if the couple has siblings, they are traditionally given the maid of honor or best man type role, says Mary Angelini, the founder of Key Moment Films. "When a couple does not have an easy way to distinguish, another more modern option is to choose a close family member and, even better, mom," she says. "This way, your friends do not have hurt feelings, and you're getting an incredible MOH to stand by you."

Considerations When Having Your Mom as the Maid of Honor

There's a long list of benefits of asking your biggest fan to be your maid-of-honor on your wedding day. Your mother will likely be more than honored if you decide to go this route. However, consider these considerations since they may require some adjustments to the traditional approach to wedding planning.

The Processional

One thing to consider when having your mom as your maid of honor is the processional. While traditionally, mothers are escorted in the early part of the ceremony or walking in with their child, you have even more options, Chang says. "You can treat her like a wedding party member, or you can walk in with both your parents or your mother," she says.

"There are many ways to construct this, but you'll need to think about what makes the most sense for you, given what's happening with other wedding party members and parents."

The Ceremony and Reception Seating Arrangements

Regarding seating at your ceremony and reception, you will want to factor in other parents involved, reminds Jen Sulak, the lead wedding photographer for Weirdo Weddings.

"If your mom is standing the entire time with you, there could be an empty seat in the ceremony area—you will want to communicate that efficiently to everyone involved," she recommends.

As for your reception, typically, any person involved in the wedding party has access to the couple via a nearby or a group table. "If you have a wonderful, close relationship—consider the group seating option, as you will spend quite a bit of time together," she says.

The Bachelorette Party

Traditionally, the maid of honor plans the last hoorah vacation for the bride. And most of the time, there is a little alcohol involved.

Sometimes, your mom would have a lovely time at your bachelorette party. Think: a relaxing spa weekend with private tasting dinners. And other times—say a booze-filled weekend in Vegas—she may prefer to be left out of the fun, even if she is the maid of honor, says Sarah Chianese, who has over 10 years experience in the events industry.

"Make sure Mom is not only up for the task but that your wedding party will also be comfortable enough to engage with her presence fully," she says. "Mom may also understand the situation if she doesn't indulge in the happenings and may opt to set you and your friends free while simply arranging for the shuttle to pick you up and bring you home safely."

The MOH Attire

Though a maid of honor usually wears the same dress as the other bridesmaids, Sulak says it's essential to keep your mom's comfort in mind if she'll serve as the MOH. "It is beneficial to think about the attire as a whole, so your mom feels amazing, looks amazing," she says. "When it comes to colors and themes for the wedding, having your mom dress in the same tone but a completely different style really sets them apart as unique and honored without blending in."

And remember, if your mom doesn't want to walk in super-tall heels like the rest of the party—give her a break. Her safety and comfort are far more critical.

How to Decide if You Want Your Mom to Be Your Maid of Honor

If you can't decide if your mom should be your maid of honor, Chianese recommends asking yourself a few questions:

  • What is the impetus for considering your mom to be the maid of honor?
  • Is it because she's truly your best friend?
  • Do all your friends love your mom, and you want to show her off and have her join the fun?
  • Do you want to express your gratitude?
  • Is there a sensitive reality, such as a terminal illness, and would you like to honor her in this way?
  • Has the person you wished to ask initially been unable to accept the role leaving you stranded for a second-best option for fear of hurting some of your other friend's feelings?

People would want their mom as their maid of honor for many reasons. Of course, taking into consideration the initial reason you are considering offering her this loving position and discussing it with someone you can trust before taking the plunge, Chianese recommends.

Then, once you've decided to move forward, have a candid, open conversation with your mom, Angelini, whose work has been featured in numerous wedding publications, says. "Invite an open dialogue, and make sure you listen. Mom should be as excited as you are. Give her the space and time to consider whether she would like to take on this responsibility," she says. "Trust your gut—no one knows your mom like you do."

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