In addition to what is expected for a bridesmaid, here are a few ideas we can get you started:
Before the Wedding
1. Location scouting
Oh, the bride wants to have a destination wedding and needs you to fly out to look at beaches with her? Say it ain’t so! Even if your bride is not a jet-setter she may need your help looking at locations. You’re there to help her think of things she may not on her own. Example: Is there someplace for the grandparents to escape the sun if the wedding is outdoors? How are people going to get from the ceremony site to the reception location? Is parking going to be an issue? Does the location require you to use their caterer and photographer or will she be able to choose her own? Etc.
Pro-tip: There is a difference between thinking something is a bad idea for logistical reasons, like having the ceremony at the perfect little chapel that is 100 miles from the most Pinterest perfect reception site, and a bad idea because it is not how you would do it. Always give advice from a logistical place unless she asks otherwise. (Which she could as she chose you as her MoH for a reason.)
2. Invitation Package Selection
These days there are many choices available to brides that the possibilities may be overwhelming. If her future partner is not all that into the invitations, she may turn to you to help her narrow the choices down. Again, try to find the best option that suits her needs. If she has the budget for it, look at Wedding Paper Divas or Minted. If her wedding is super DIY, see if you can find someone on Etsy. If you have great penmanship, or know how to use InDesign, offer to address Save The Dates with her. You’d be amazed how quickly the time passes with a Colin Firth movie.
3. Dress Shopping with her
It depends on the bride whether or not she wants you to go with her. Maybe she wants to take everyone and her mother, or she could do it by herself on her lunch break. Where ever she falls on the spectrum, she’ll send you photos or you two can cry about how beautiful she looks. It’s really happening! If you go with her, try and read her body language before you react. If she looks like the marshmallow man then you may say something, but if she is head over heels for a style that you don’t think is the most flattering on her… you may want to bite your tongue. Finding the perfect dress is about what makes her feel the most comfortable, however if she asks for your opinion then feel free to suggest a sweetheart neckline or long, lacy sleeves, or whatever else you think would make her even more stunning.
Pro-tip: Bring Kleenex.
4. Buying YOUR dress.
I mentioned this in my bridesmaid guide, but it bears repeating: her taste may not be the same as yours, but just roll with it. The exception is if she makes you wear this dress. No one should have to look like “princess bubbleyum.”
DIY to designer, most weddings these days have something the couple does themselves. It could be a small as their wedding website or as big as the wedding invitations. If you’re a domestic goddess, you could be a big help here. Even if you don’t bleed Martha Stewart, you will be a sounding board for different questions: What was that cute garland idea the bride saw on Pinterest earlier this year? Should she hire a wedding planner or a day-of coordinator? Can she just ask her mother-in-law to do it?
Pro-tip: If you know what vibe she wants (rustic ranch, old hollywood, etc) you could send her a book, Pinterest board or blog post to help get her creativity flowing. Do not do it repeatedly as it could quickly come off as pushy, but once in a while it would be sweet to send a “hey, I was thinking about your wedding and thought you might like this!” Show her you’re supporting her and it’ll go a long way!
5. Bridal Shower
Some people are old school and think the maid of honor is responsible for both the bachelorette party and the bridal shower. These days the rules are a little more lax. It’s possible the mother of bride, mother of the groom, or close family friend will offer to throw the shower. Even if you’re not technically responsible for it, you are still expected to be there unless you live out of town or something equally as un-moveable. This is a big event in the wedding timeline and you should definitely plan ahead. It’s coming for you! (But not in a creepy 80’s-horror-movie way.)
6. Bachelorette Party
Planning the bachelorette party is on of the most talked about tasks of being the Maid of Honor, and for a good reason— it’s the bees knees. I won’t say it is the best part of the whole ordeal, because watching your friend say her vows is pretty awesome, but it’s definitely top three. You either get to hang out with an awesome group of new gal pals or you get to spend time with your close friends. Either way it’s awesome and something the bride will remember for years to come. (Or not remember depending on how many drinks she has.)
Pro-tip: Make sure you start planning this early!!
7. The Rehearsal Dinner
The day of the rehearsal (when you go the ceremony location and walk through everything step-by-step so everyone knows where they are supposed to be and when) usually ends with a rehearsal dinner. This is usually a lot of fun and a great time to make a speech if you’re not going to do one the day of the wedding. Behave yourself and talk to someone you may not know. You’re not just Maid of Honor, you’re made of honor. (I know, that was so cheesy even Patrick Dempsey’s movie rolled its eyes.) You can do it!