Trying to Choose Your Maid of Honor? Read This

This one's a biggie, so make sure you're making the right choice for you.
Bride with bridesmaids in mismatched navy blue, striped and patterned bridesmaid dresses
Emily Wren Photography
rachel torgerson the knot bridal fashion expert
Rachel Torgerson
rachel torgerson the knot bridal fashion expert
Rachel Torgerson
Bridal Fashion Expert
  • Rachel Torgerson is a New York-based journalist and social media professional.
  • Rachel is a Senior Fashion Editor for Cosmopolitan.
  • Rachel worked for The Knot as an Assistant Editor and Editorial Assistant.

The task of placing one friend above another isn't always easy, and the concept of bringing family and future family into the mix doesn't make it any easier. Then add the fact that you've probably been a bridesmaid or maid of honor in one of your best friends' or sisters' weddings before, and the whole thing is so confusing, you have no idea where to begin. So, is there some kind of etiquette or formula that comes with choosing a maid or matron of honor? The short answer is no, not exactly, but follow these guidelines to help you land on your leading lady.

Don't use an algebraic equation to help choose your maid of honor.

If you were in her wedding but not a maid of honor, but you're closer to her now than you were when she got married, then that's worth more than your other friend who—whoa, pump the breaks. The attendants who stand up with you shouldn't be the solution to a math problem or people you feel indebted to for having you in their wedding party. They should simply be the individuals you couldn't imagine getting married without—the people you feel closest to, most supported by and whose absence would make you sad. They should be best friends, family or some combination of both (your friend that feels like a sibling, or your sibling who feels like a best friend). If someone you're considering doesn't fit that bill, they probably shouldn't be your maid of honor.

Family is your trump card.

Not to be a broken record, but the point to get across here is to choose the person you feel most connected to whether they're friends or family. There's no rule written saying you need to choose a sister over a friend, although choosing family over friends often provides an unwritten pass to neutralize drama between friends who think they should be the maid of honor. Friends often think they can't trump the family card, so even if they have expectations of being the maid of honor, there's no way they'll be mad at you for choosing a sibling.

You can have more than one maid of honor.

If you can't decide between two or three different friends or family members, why not choose them all? Your maids of honor can share bridesmaid duties and split maid of honor responsibilities—or you can even delegate which tasks you'd like them to handle. They can cohost the bachelorette or both take on a different shower—the options are endless.

You can have no maid of honor.

Although this probably isn't the answer you're looking for if you're reading this, remember, if you don't feel there's one person who stands out amid your incredible circle of friends/siblings/cousins, and the pressure to choose someone from the pack feels too overwhelming and forced, don't worry about sticking to this tradition (there's no rule that says you need a maid of honor). You're welcome to have 2 or 6 or 12 amazing attendants who pitch in and support you equally.

Your maid of honor can be a man.

Bridesmaids don't have to be "maids," and you can choose groomsmen who aren't men. Ever heard of a "bridesman" or a "man of honor"? Your brother can be your "man of honor," and so can your cousin or your best guy friend. Gender rules are officially out the door, so don't sweat this decision if it's the right one for you. There are plenty of cool clothing options for including members of any sex in the wedding party, from coordinating ties and bow ties to custom suits and dresses.

Bottom line: Your wedding party members and honor attendants should be the people you feel most connected to. Don't let the politics of other people's wedding party choices get in the way. Even if you were a maid of honor for your friend's wedding, it's completely fine to choose someone else as your maid of honor. You get to decide who should stand up with you.

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