Bridesmaids and the maid of honor are generally expected to pay the cost of their outfits for the wedding, with the exception of any floral accessories. If you are concerned about how much it will cost, your best option is to have a straightforward conversation with the bride and find out right away what she expects you to pay for. If you are unable to afford these expenses, discuss this with the bride. Unless she can help you to pay, it might be best for you to graciously decline the invitation to be in the bridal party and offer to play some other role instead.
Duties of the maid of honor before the wedding
Before the wedding day, the honor attendant is chiefly responsible for lending the bride as much moral support as she (or he) can muster. This is often best supplied with generous offers to help in any way possible.
Here are some of the ways you can do this:
- Help with the addressing of invitations.
- Give a shower for the bride (optional) or co-host a "Stag and Doe" party with the best man (optional).
- Attend all pre-wedding parties, including showers (although you are not obligated to bring a gift to more than one shower) and the rehearsal dinner, if any.
- At showers, help to keep a record of the gifts for thank-you notes.
- Help select the outfits for the bridal party.
- Liaise with the bridesmaids regarding their dresses and accessories. Organize any fitting appointments and make sure the dresses are correctly tailored, that adjustments are made on time, and that the gowns are delivered to the right place(s).
- As the wedding day draws near, make sure the bridesmaids have adequate transportation to get them to the wedding site on time.
Duties of the maid of honor on the wedding day
Your duties may include any or all of the following:
Arrive early at the bride's home (or wherever the bride is planning to dress) to help with the gown and any final packing for the honeymoon, to assist the hairstylist and/or makeup artist and the photographer, and, if things start to get out of hand, to calm nerves, direct traffic, and pour coffee. Make sure you get the groom's ring from the bride.
Since it is traditional for the bride to arrive at the wedding site with her father, the honor attendant can opt to travel alone,
or with the bridesmaids and/or the mother of the bride.
You may offer to take the bridesmaids' flowers to the wedding site and ensure that each maid receives her bouquet.
Once at the site, you can help to make final adjustments to the bride's train and veil.
During the ring exchange, the honor attendant holds the bride's bouquet and gives the groom's wedding ring to the bride. (If the bride wasn't able to choose between her two best friends and has two honor attendants, this moment is a great opportunity to get both of them involved: one may be in charge of the ring while the other holds the bride's bouquet.)
At the reception, the honor attendant stands to the left of the groom in the receiving line with a constant smile and an endless supply of upbeat comments.
You may offer a toast to the newlyweds after the dinner if you have made arrangements to do so with the master of ceremonies (usually the best man).
Once the dancing begins, the honor attendant should try to mingle among the guests and meet as many of them as possible.
You may be asked to ensure that all the guests have signed the guest book.
At a cue from the bride, you should slip away to help her change into her going-away outfit. You should then take care of the bridal gown, delivering it wherever it needs to go.
Duties of the bridesmaids
The bridesmaids' duties will probably include running errands for the bride to help her streamline her wedding plans. You might be asked to participate in work parties (addressing invitations, making decorations, etc.). On the day itself, you might be assigned a special task, such as helping to round up people for the photographer or taping the cards to the gifts on the gift table. Be willing to do whatever is required of you.
- Assist in any way you can throughout the wedding planning process.
- Attend all pre-wedding parties, including showers (although you are not expected to bring a gift to more than one) and the rehearsal dinner, if any.
- Make yourself available for fittings, etc.
- On the wedding day, arrive at the ceremony site (or wherever the bridal party has arranged to meet) on time and, for the rest of the day, follow the bride's timetable diligently, being on hand at all times so as not to hold up the photographer, the formation of the receiving line, etc.
- Ensure before leaving for the reception that the ceremony site is clean and tidy.
- Make sure all guests have a ride to the reception.
- Take special care to ensure that all reception guests, especially the elderly and the disabled, are comfortable.
- Stand in the receiving line, to the left of the maid of honor.
- Once the reception is under way, mingle with the guests and make introductions.
- Help to transport gifts brought to the reception to the newlyweds' home (or to the home of those parents delegated to take responsibility for them).