Do You Have to Have a Maid of Honor?

Two bridesmaids with their arms around the bride
photo by AMBphoto

Q:

I have three women in mind to ask to be my bridesmaids, but I'm unsure about whether I want to ask any of them to be my maid of honor, or whether I even want one to begin with. Do you have to have a maid of honor?

A:

There's no "clause" in the wedding rule book that says that you have to have a maid of honor. (Heck, you don't really even have to have bridesmaids if you think you'll be better off without them.) But it's not like brides ask their friends to be their maid of honor for no reason; your maid of honor is meant to do more than just stand there and look pretty at the altar while you exchange vows.

Let's start with the basics -- what is a maid of honor, anyway? Right hand woman, total confidante and sometime lifesaver, your maid of honor is there to support you through all the ups and downs of wedding planning. The maid of honor's duties include organizing and hosting your bridal shower, helping you do things like address invitation envelopes and shop for your bridesmaids' dresses, and collect and keep records of your wedding gifts. Oh yeah, and she'll also act as a crucial liaison between you and your bridesmaids to keep everyone on track in terms of buying their dresses and planning your bachelorette. If you think you're going to have time to do everything, and enjoy your wedding day to the fullest... well, good luck.

So let's be real: You're going to need some help during the dog days of wedding planning. One idea is to delegate each of the maid of honor tasks to your bridesmaids, sisters, best friends or favorite cousins -- whether you call any one of them your maid of honor or not. Make one woman in charge of, say, the bridal party, and another in charge of helping you with DIY crafts for your wedding day and so forth. And since they'll be the point person, people (hopefully) will go to them with questions instead of you. The extra hands will keep the little details leading up to your wedding running smoothly. Can't choose just one maid of honor? Why not have two maids of honor...or three? There's no wedding etiquette rule against it. Now all you have to do is kick back and enjoy your day.


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