Maid of Honor Duties & Maid of Honor Responsibilities

This is your maid of honor's official job description, in excruciating detail.
The Knot
Updated Jul 17, 2020

Your maid of honor should be a lot of things: part worker bee, part emotional lifeboat, part ball of energy. Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? It's not so bad –– in fact, it can be a ton of fun –– but it's also important for your maid of honor to know what she's getting into and exactly what you expect from her. Below, find the main duties every maid of honor should know about.

Selecting Your Maid of Honor

Choosing your maid of honor is an important decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. Though traditionally, a bride's sister or closest female friend is selected for the role, etiquette is changing. In the 21st century, your mom, your cousin, or even your male best friend can proudly wear the title as a badge of honor. Your maid of honor can be anyone you'd like – just be sure they're up for the maid of honor duties.

When making your decision, consider the maid of honor responsibilities. While you might expect your friends to rise to the occasion, your sister, with a questionable track record of reliability, may not necessarily be the best person for the job. Take a close look at what's expected of the maid of honor and make a choice based on who you believe will fulfill the role best.

Of course, your maid of honor doesn't have to do all - or any - of the duties listed below. In fact, you can spread the maid of honor duties amongst your wedding party equally. If you choose to select a maid of honor with an eye on tradition, explain your choice to the other bridesmaids. As tradition evolves, so do the roles of each member of the wedding party. The role can even be shared – this is especially helpful when you've got two best friends or sisters and don't want to favor one person over the other.

Before the Wedding Day

1. Lead the Bridesmaid Troop

So what does a maid of honor do? The list begins with leadership. This is probably the most important order of business your maid of honor will have. Between directing the other bridesmaids through their duties, making sure everyone gets their dresses, going to fittings and providing them with the details for all pre wedding parties, she'll be responsible for leading the charge and taking the reins. Of course, your other bridesmaids will have their fair share of things to do and should certainly assist her (she'll probably need lots of help planning your bachelorette party, after all), but your maid of honor should be the "director" at the end of the day.

2. Host a Bridal Shower

Even your maid of honor might not be able to make every prewedding event, as hard as she may try. But one thing she should definitely do? Host or co host one of your bridal showers.

3. Help Out With the Little Things

That's to be expected. Your maid of honor is your right hand woman—not to be confused with a personal assistant—so she should feel comfortable helping you with seemingly menial tasks like addressing invites to choosing wedding colors (and yes, hopefully nodding enthusiastically when you wax on about wedding cake flavors). Leading up to the wedding, she can help spread the news about your registry as well as keep a record of all the gifts received at various parties and showers.

4. Be There for You Emotionally (and Make You Laugh!)

You should always feel comfortable talking to your maid of honor about wedding things, and most likely, she'll be more than happy to lend an ear. Whether it's about planning or the registry china pattern, you should always feel assured you have someone to share your thoughts with. Having an emotional crisis? Your maid of honor should hopefully know how to navigate and troubleshoot (sometimes all it takes is tissues and hugs). In our opinion, laughter is the best medicine for the stressed-out bride—and hopefully your maid of honor knows how to effectively get you there.

On Your Wedding Day

5. Coordinate Your Bridesmaids

When the wedding weekend begins, your maid of honor should also be responsible for seeing that all bridesmaids get to the rehearsal; coordinating transportation and lodging (if necessary); and making sure all the bridesmaids have the correct bouquet and get their hair and makeup done on time.

6. Hold Some Things

This one's easy enough. During the ceremony, the maid of honor responsibilities include holding your bouquet while you and your spouse exchange vows and holding the groom's ring during the ceremony. (Pro tip: The safest spot is on her thumb!) And she should think ahead and wrap a few tissues around the stem of her bouquet too, in case the bride or bridesmaids shed a few happy tears too.

7. Sign the Marriage License

Both the maid of honor and the best man should sign the marriage license as witnesses.

8. Make Sure That You Eat and Drink

Remember all that care and attention you took while selecting the perfect catering options, wine selections, and gorgeous cake for your special day? With everything going on throughout the reception, many couples are surprised to realize that they completely missed out on some of their food and drink selections. You might be caught off guard at how long it takes to talk to everyone at your wedding –– and how quickly the time goes by. Therefore, one of the more important maid of honor duties can be to ensure that you are well fed (and hydrated) throughout the day.

9. Bathroom Assistant

Maid of honor duties aren't always exciting. While this may not sound like the most glamorous task, there's no doubt that you're going to need a hand –– especially if you are wearing a wedding gown with a lot of excess material. Plus, it will probably be fun to take a few minutes away from the main event to touch base with your maid of honor.

10. Act as a Back-up Hostess

Your maid of honor can also take it upon herself to play hostess a little bit during your actual reception (since you'll be busy mingling with guests)—whether that includes showing guests where to sit, directing them to restrooms, telling them where to put presents or inviting them to sign the guest book. You'll be happy to have those tasks taken off your plate.

11. Do the Menial Tasks...

During your wedding weekend, your maid of honor is your go-to person for bustling your gown and arranging your veil at the altar; collecting gift envelopes brought to the reception and keeping them in a safe place; and helping you get ready for your honeymoon by arranging storage for your gown after the all the festivities are said and done (if applicable).

12. ...But Dance and Have Fun Too

Your maid of honor is clearly someone who's important in your life, and she's putting in a ton of hard work for you. That means making sure she still has the time of her life during your wedding because she deserves to (and yes, this is possible while still upholding her duties). She should feel encouraged to make a fun toast at your reception (it is tradition, after all) and, of course, dance the night away.

After Your Celebration

13. Help Back at Home

While you are away on your honeymoon, you might need a hand with any number of post wedding duties. For example, your maid of honor can pick up miscellaneous items from your wedding venue, return rental items or help you arrange a special surprise for your partner when the two of you arrive back home.

14. Be a Reminder to the Best of Times

When it comes to marriage, many couples remember their wedding day as a time of joy and festivity. However, as the years go on, you're sure to experience some challenging times together, too. During these tough times, perhaps the most important maid of honor role will be for her to hug you, remind you of all the wonderful reasons you said "I do" in the first place, and send you back home to your partner to kiss and make up.

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