It’s an honor to be asked to be a part of someone’s wedding! It’s a sign from the bride that you’re one of the most important people in her life, and because of that, she wants nothing more than to make you a part of her big day. And as much fun as her wedding year will be, it will inevitably come with some responsibilities, both expected and unexpected, that you’ll have to fulfill.
The ones you already know about—like standing next to her on her wedding day, and if you’re the Maid of Honor, giving a toast—are obvious. But to make sure nothing catches you off guard, read below for some lesser-known responsibilities you might not expect.
The Emotional Support Human
From footing the bill for the wedding, to planning the biggest day of her life, the bride is going to have moments of weakness. And when she does, you’ll need to be there for her! Standing by her side doesn’t just mean physically; it means supporting the bride during her stressed, emotional, conflicted, and of course, most bridezilla-worthy moments. This can happen during the final dress fitting, during wedding planning, when she’s dealing with in-laws, and sometimes, even moments before she walks down the aisle. What do you do? You show up with four things: sanity, compassion, a listening ear, and when necessary… a glass (or two) of champagne.
Wedding-Day Chaos Fighter
Anything can happen on the wedding day. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G. To battle the unexpected, make sure you come prepared with wedding-day staples: from Advil, Pepto Bismol and safety pins, to bobby pins, makeup remover, concealer and tissues. There will probably be food in there for you at some point, but in case something happens and you don’t get to eat, pack a few snacks and water bottles, too. Between spending a long day getting ready, wedding-day nerves, and that one bridesmaid that always goes too hard at the rehearsal dinner and shows up feeling “under the weather,” a little sustenance goes a long way.
Last-Minute Errand Runner
A to-do list is neverending in the days leading up to a wedding. From picking up the veil, finding an easel for the seating chart, and putting together welcome gifts for guests, to buying pens to sign the guest book, grabbing champagne for wedding morning mimosas, and taking traveling guests or bridal party members to and from the airport, the bride could ask you to do a myriad of things. For that reason, keep that week or weekend open and plan to be fully dedicated to the bride- and groom-to-be.
The Financier of All Things Bride
We all know that being in a wedding is expensive. As a bridesmaid, you already buy a dress, shoes, jewelry, and flights to and from the wedding, if you need them. Those are obvious, but other costs might not be! While it isn’t required, if you’re the Maid of Honor, it’s more commonplace these days to co-host or throw a bridal shower for the bride. In the same vein, if you’re a bridesmaid and there is a bridal shower, you might decide to contribute in some way. If you’re the Maid of Honor and you plan a bachelorette weekend, be prepared to cover any travel mishaps that come with planning a vacation for a group. For example, if someone backs out of the bachelorette weekend at the last minute and doesn’t pay their remaining costs, you might need to cover that, as it isn’t necessarily the responsibility of the other bridesmaids. Furthermore, while all guests of the bachelorette weekend typically share the expenses, if there’s anything the bride really wants on her bachelorette weekend that would drive the price up too high for everyone else… it’s up to you whether or not you want to fund that on your own.
Here’s an example for reference: I once co-hosted a really fun bachelorette wine weekend for 10 guests and the bride! We didn’t want the girls to pay more than $300 before travel (a standard price for bachelorette weekends, these days), but with the wine tastings, cabin, hot tub, alcohol, food, t-shirts, party bus, night out, lingerie shower and more that we knew the bride would like, the $300 from each just wouldn’t cut it. The other Maid of Honor and I split those remaining costs.
Reception Clean-Up Crew
The wedding might be over, but as her top team of girls, you’ll see it through to the very end. That means helping clean up if needed! Don’t worry—we don’t expect you to scrub the floors at 2 a.m. There should be a staff on hand to do that kind of cleaning, but the bride might want you to make sure there are no gifts left in the bridal suite, everyone has their belongings, and if you got dressed for the wedding at the venue, that your “getting ready” room is emptied. If you all pitch in it won’t take long at all! Plus, after a long year of wedding planning, and a long night of eating, drinking and dancing, the bride’s parents and in-laws will be more than happy to have the extra help.
Bridesmaid Chaperone + Cruise Director
If you’re the Maid of Honor, you don’t just make sure the bride is okay—you’re responsible for the bridesmaids, too. Part chaperone, part enforcer, it’s your job to make sure all bridesmaids are happy, show up when and where they need to, get ready on time during the wedding day, and keep it together for the bride. If you’re on the bachelorette weekend, it’s your job to make sure everyone is safe and taken care of, especially after a night of drinking. I was Maid of Honor in one wedding where a bridesmaid was fighting with her boyfriend during the whole wedding weekend, and it was so bad that it started getting more attention than the wedding itself. With the help of the other Matron of Honor, we tag-teamed the situation and took turns entertaining the distraught bridesmaid (while kindly reminding her what the weekend was really about) so the bride could shine on her day.
…and Doer of All the Random Things
Packing for her honeymoon. Freeze-drying the wedding bouquet. Taking her wedding dress to the dry cleaners. Feeding and walking the dog while her and her betrothed are on their honeymoon. As the best friend/sister/cousin/new family member of the bride, you’d probably be asked to do these things anyway. As one of her bridesmaids, it’s what you’re there for.
Let us help you with your wedding party duties! From hosting bachelorette parties and bridal shower planning, to how to keep your bride calm, cool and collected, our Registry Finder Give It Blog has all the advice you need.
Written by Jennifer Agress, a travel and dining writer—and “professional bridesmaid”—who thinks the three most important items to have on hand during a wedding day are Advil, hairspray and bobby pins.