Do You Have to Have a Maid of Honor? Experts Weigh In.

The short answer: No.
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Aug 22, 2023

Once you're engaged and you've set a date, you'll likely tap a close friend or family member to be your maid or matron of honor. A maid of honor's duties usually include planning a bridal shower, bachelorette party, making a speech, and being there for general moral support. However, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to have one. In fact, it's becoming more common to forgo this role altogether.

If you're considering having bridesmaids without a point person or not having a wedding party at all, you'll want to read on for what a few wedding planning pros say you should consider before making this decision.

In this article:

Do You Have to Have a Maid of Honor?

When it comes to your wedding, you don't have to do anything. While having a maid of honor is a very common tradition, it's by no means a requirement. However, putting a friend or family member in charge might not be a bad idea. "It's helpful to denote one person to be the leader of the bridal party. This individual can help wrangle the bridal party and should be focused on tending to the bride and her needs," says Mandy Connor, owner and lead planner at Hummingbird Events & Design. Not only is a maid of honor helpful when it comes to dealing with logistics, but having someone you can rely on for moral support might help you get through a stressful (but exciting) time. "The maid or matron of honor plays a very important role prior to the wedding for such things as moral support, decision making, someone that knows you and can relate to you," says Ariel Becker, Founder of Becker & the Co.

What to Keep in Mind If You Don't Have a Maid of Honor

If you're not assigning the role of maid of honor to someone, you still might want to consider having friends or family members take on various tasks that'll make wedding planning and the wedding day a little less stressful.

1. Appoint a group leader or leaders.

"It's helpful to denote one person to be the leader of the bridal party, if you're having one. This individual can help wrangle the bridal party and should be focused on tending to the bride and her needs," says Connor. Consider tasking a type A friend or family member with this role. Someone with natural leadership abilities will work well in a role like this.

2. Ask someone to help you on the day of the wedding.

You'll probably have a wedding planner or day-of coordinator to help with all of the details of the event, but having a close friend or family member help you with personal assistant type tasks will keep things running smoothly and allow you to soak up every moment. "Ensure also that someone responsible is able to keep an eye on your phone while you are prepping in the morning, just in case any important calls come in while you are in hair and makeup," recommends Connor.

3. Ask someone to help during the ceremony.

There are little details during the ceremony that you might overlook. That's where a close friend or family member can step in. "Typically the maid of honor will step in to fix her train and to hold her bouquet during the ceremony. If you don't have a maid of honor, a mom or other VIP can step in to assist," says Connor.

Alternatives to Having a Maid of Honor

If you've decided to nix the maid of honor role completely, there are a few alternatives pros recommend you consider.

1. Create a new role.

"Gender makes no difference in appointing a bridal party leader. You can have a man of honor or a sis or bro of honor. You can even have a mom of honor if you prefer to have mom take lead on the wedding day," advises Connor.

2. Just have bridesmaids.

Split up all the duties of a maid of honor among your bridesmaids. Assign the type A planner with the task of organizing your bachelorette, have the life of the party, create the getting ready playlist, and have your well-spoken friend deliver the speech.

3. Utilize your wedding planner.

Why not take advantage of your wedding planner for the behind-the-scenes duties? "Prepping for the event we have someone that takes care of the couple's needs. We also have bride's shadows for the couple and the family," says Becker.

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