Help! How Do I Choose My Maid of Honor?

It's a big choice, so how do you make sure you're making the right one?
by Rachel Torgerson
Bride with bridesmaids in mismatched navy blue, striped and patterned bridesmaid dresses
photo by Emily Wren Photography

Choosing one friend to be placed above another friend is a hard pill to swallow and 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.

One bride on our community boards summed up the question and the sentiment nicely: "I have been maid of honor for two friends already and I can't decide who to choose to be mine. Of all my friends who would be in the wedding party, I'm closest to a girl for whom I wasn't the maid of honor. I'm closer to one of the girls that I was a maid of honor for than the other and I feel obligated to ask both of them to be my maid of honor even though I don't feel close enough to either of them. Is there some kind of etiquette when it comes to choosing your maid of honor?"

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 -- just stop right there. The people who stand up with you shouldn't be the solution to a math problem, they should simply be the people you couldn't imagine getting married without -- the people you feel closest to, feel supported by, and would be nervous if they weren't there. 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 your 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 no matter if they are friends or family. There's no rule written that 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 hate you if you choose a sibling.

You can have more than one maid of honor.

Can't decide between two or three different friends or family members? Choose them all! Or even choose none -- there's no written rule that you have to have a maid of honor. Your maids of honor can share bridesmaid duties and responsibilities, split maid of honor responsibilities equally, or you can even delegate which tasks you'd like for them to handle. They can co-host the bachelorette or both take on a different shower -- the options are endless.

Your maid of honor can be a man.

Listen, these days, anything goes. 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 "maid of honor" and so can your father or even your grandfather. Even your best guy friend since the age of two can stand up with you. Gender rules are officially out the door, so don't sweat this decision if it is 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 bridesmaids 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 your 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. It's your wedding after all! You get to decide who should stand up with you.

Have something to add? Say it on our community boards!

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