Bridesmaids Customs & Duties

Bridesmaids Customs & Duties

Being asked to be in a wedding comes with many obligations.  Bridesmaids Customs & Duties include, among many other things, being cooperative and agreeable.  One should always remember that this is not your wedding.  The focus should remain on the bride and her vision for her wedding.  We oft see people who are unable to set aside their personal preferences and put the bride’s personal vision in focus.

Bridesmaids Customs & Duties start with being a good friend.  If this request will be too great of a financial burden it is best to gracefully step down and become involved in another way.  Most first time bridesmaids are unaware of all the costs and obligations that are involved in being a bridesmaid.

Tips On How To Be A Good Maid Of Honor

By Susan M Keenan

 Published July 25, 2007

Maid of Honor Duties:

After the bride and groom, the next most important person just might be the maid of honor. After all, she is the bride’s right hand through all of the planning, shopping staging, crying, laughing and more. Sometimes, she might even be the bride’s left hand as the count down closes in and a million things are left undone and in serious need of being completed. She is the bride’s go to person for all of her dilemmas, large and small and for all of her needs, real and imagined. She is the one who gets the bride over the hump, through the jitters and into the limelight on that glorious of all days. The bride for many reasons including her ability to get things done carefully selects the maid of honor.

Who Is the Maid of Honor? 

Typically, the maid of honor is the bride’s best friend or closest sister, which in some cases might be the same person. She is someone the bride has faith in and feels close to. The bride believes she is a special person who will help to make her wedding day special. She is someone who is capable of taking up the slack for the groom when he does not want to be involved in all of the finer details of planning a wedding. Society considers it an honor and a privilege to be selected for this important position in the bridal party

What Are the Maid of Honor Duties?

Each bride has her own style and preferences therefore not every maid of honor will be expected to fulfill all of these duties. In fact, some bride’s might have additional areas that they would like to have your help in. Some of the responsibilities involve taking care of events, shopping, preparations, and more. These activities will involve her time, energy and wits. In many cases, she will need to travel and spend hours at a time with the bride handling and arranging details.

Maid of honor duties also involve taking care of the emotional needs of the bride. No matter how poised and confidant the bride normally is, the pre-wedding jitters are bound to get the best of her whenever things do not go according to plan.

Typically, the first task is to help the bride to find her wedding gown. This can involve a number of trips to a number of bridal shops and boutiques in order to find the perfect wedding dress. The bride might ask the maid of honor to drive her as well as to accompany her. On occasion, she might even take some digital photos for comparison later on when the two of them are reviewing the various gowns they have seen or the bride has tried on. All of this can enable you to help her to find the perfect gown.

You will need to help her select the perfect bridesmaids’ gowns. Obviously, this task can be a bit more complicated than it initially seems. Most bridal shops and salons only carry a few sizes and one shade for each style. The smaller shops might only carry one size. Therefore, the bride might want you to call around and locate the stores that carry the particular dress that she is interested in and the specific size that they have in stock. However, many brides like to make a day of this and have all of the bridesmaids attend as they go from shop to shop. Unfortunately, you are supposed to attend to all of the finer details like coordinating transportation and arranging times and appointments.

You will help the bride by planning her bridal shower and the bachelorette party. In some cases, the maid of honor will not be expected to plan the shower since the mother of the bride might prefer to handle the entire event. Additionally, the groom’s mother might even want a hand in this and she might throw a Jack and Jill event for the occasion. On the other hand, the bachelorette party is all yours so make it a good one.

Today, wedding invitations can be purchased at a number of locations and the choices include so many different options that the bride might appreciate having someone else’s opinion. In many cases, this task evolves into helping the bride to address all of the wedding invitations.

Along with the above, here is a quick cheat sheet of duties you can do for or with the bride to help prepare for her big day:-Help select wedding favors. It is more fun to shop when someone is along for company and valuable insights.-Help the bride to select her wedding registry.-Attend as many bridal fairs as you can get the bride to go to. These functions provide a wealth of useful information.-Attend the cake testing as well as the testing for the menu.-Help the bride to arrange the wedding seating charts.-Coordinate with the other bridesmaids so that everyone is kept abreast of things. Keep in touch and pass along any information as needed.-Keep notes for yourself. Learning how to be a maid of honor is a lot of work and short notes can go a long way to helping you to keep it all together.-Assist with the rehearsal dinner as needed. -On the wedding day, assist the bride with her wedding dress, hair, and makeup.-Field unwanted intrusions on this day for the bride.-Witness the signing of the marriage license.-Prepare and give the maid of honor toast.-Assist the bride with her veil and gown on the wedding day. Hold her bouquet during the wedding ceremony. Keep the groom’s ring for the bride until the moment that it is needed.

Tips on How to Be a Maid of Honor you are the bride’s consultant and confidante. Keep what she says between the two of you. It should not be repeated to anyone without the bride’s permission. Think ahead and do some of the planning for the bride. Use the Internet to locate bridal boutiques that carry the designer gowns that the bride shows an interest in. Plan a bachelorette party that the bride will enjoy. Even though this type of party has been given the reputation of being loud and obnoxious, plan something in line with the bride’s personal tastes.

The bride might select a different style for the maid of honor dress and you should be gracious and understanding about this. Typically, the dress is a bit nicer than what the other bridesmaids are going to wear. Prepare your maid of honor speech with tact and try not to embarrass the bride. Remember to keep certain things private. Above all as the maid of honor, you should offer the bride as much support as you possibly can.

Are you marriage material?

If you are one of the many people who are dating, there is a good chance that you are sizing your partner up for a future trip down the aisle. However, not everyone is primed for the little white chapel, maybe not even you. Find out if you are destined for the house with the white picket fence and 2.5 kids, or if you will be stuck in the bachelor(ette) pad for good with this marriage material quiz.    Great article. For more information on this topic: has a great book. Maid of Honor Handbook: The Duties, Details and Delights which outlines the Bridesmaids Customs & Duties.

Jen Doll, author of Save the Date:

The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest, reveals what used to be expected of bridesmaids, groomsmen, and even the guests at a wedding.

1. In a time in which “marriage by capture” was practiced, close friends of the groom would assist him in taking the bride from her family. They’d form a small army to fight off angry relatives so that he could escape with her.

2. Witnesses at the marriage bed were once required to get REALLY involved. A tradition in medieval England and France was called “fingering the stocking”: literally checking the bride’s stockings for signs that the marriage had been consummated.

3. There was a lot of shoe-throwing in the old days. In Anglo-Saxon times the groom “symbolically” struck the bride with a shoe to “establish his authority.” Brides would throw shoes at their bridesmaids (instead of a bouquet) to see who would marry next. Whoever caught it would throw her shoe at the men, and the first guy hit would be the one to wed.

4. Ancient Roman law required 10 witnesses to be present at a wedding, which is considered a precursor to the bridal party tradition. Bridesmaids and groomsmen had to dress just like the bride and groom to confuse vengeful spirit presences (or real-life jealous suitors) who might try to harm the newlyweds.

5. Another origin story for the bridesmaid tradition is Biblical: When Jacob married Leah and Rachel, each brought her own “maid”—but they were personal servants rather than your typical bouquet-holding bridesmaids.

6. The tradition of the “best man” is thought to have originated with the Germanic Goths of the 16th century. He was the “best man” for, specifically, the job of stealing the bride from her neighboring community or disapproving family, and he was probably the best swordsman, too.

7. In some early traditions, the groomsmen were called Bride’s Knights, because they helped protect her—and her dowry, and her virginity—or because they assisted in her kidnapping.

8. The chief bridesmaid might be in charge of the dow-purse (much the way today’s maid of honor would hold the bride’s bouquet). She’d also help the bride take off her gloves and then hold them during the ceremony.

9. In some traditions, bridesmaids led the bridegroom to the church and the groomsmen led the bride.

10. In medieval times, some bridesmaids made the bride drink and eat a concoction of plum buns in spiced ale to “restore the energies.”

11. Part of the job was to walk carefully: If a bridesmaid stumbled on the way to the altar, the superstition was that she would never marry.

12. Given the likelihood that the bride’s family would attempt to retrieve her from her groom or get revenge—or that another suitor would try to take her, or she might try to escape—the best man stood right next to her at the wedding, at the ready with his weapon. Later, he was moved to the groom’s right side (possibly due to jealousy on the part of the groom). After the ceremony he stood guard outside the newlyweds’ bedroom or home.

13. In ancient Roman weddings, the matron of honor was a moral role model, known for fidelity and obedience. (She had to have been married no more than once, and to have a living husband.) She joined the right hands of the bride and bridegroom for the first time at the ceremony.

14. In early Victorian times, tradition called for all-white weddings, so bridesmaids—who were supposed to be younger than the bride—wore white dresses with short veils, contrasting with the bride’s more ornate veil and train. By the 20th century, this had fallen out of favor, and the bride alone wore white to better stand out.

15. Victorian bridesmaids were tasked with making party favors out of things like ribbons and flowers and pinning them onto the sleeves and shoulders of guests as they left the ceremony. Bridesmaids of the past also used to walk down the aisle with aromatic bunches of garlic, herbs, and grains to drive evil spirits away (and to help make things smell nice in times when hygiene was a bit different).

16. A maid of honor once attended to the bride-to-be for several days prior to a wedding, making sure the bridal wreath was made and helping her get dressed. Bridesmaids also helped undress her, making sure to remove all pins (if a pin remained, it was bad luck for the wedding), and helped decorate for the wedding feast.

17. The “stag” or bachelor party originated in Sparta in the fifth century, as his buddies—de facto groomsmen—toasted him and feasted on the night before his wedding.

18. Being a bridesmaid was considered a good way to procure a husband. In the 16th century, if you had served as bridesmaid three times without getting married yourself, it was believed that evil spirits had cursed you. To break the spell, you’d have to be a bridesmaid four more times, for a total of seven rounds on the wedding circuit.

19. The bride’s friends would “shower” her with gifts before her wedding in cases when her father didn’t approve of her groom and wouldn’t provide the necessary dowry for her to marry the man of her choice. The gifts they gave would become her dowry.

20. The bride was often accompanied by a child—think today’s flower girls and ring bearers—meant to symbolize a fruitful union. Flower petals tossed in the bride’s pathway were representative of the way to a beautiful future.

21. Open carriages were considered an easy target for evil spirits, so wedding guests would use bells and firecrackers to scare them away. This translates to today’s celebratory car honking after ceremonies.

June 18, 2016 – 9:17 am

Maid of Honor Speech, "But literally: she was a princess!"
Maid of honor speech