You we're asked to be a maid of honor - congrats! Now what?

How does one take on maid of honor duties? More so, how does one be a kick-ass maid of honor?

This past year, one of my closest friends got engaged and asked me to be her maid of honor. I had never participated in a wedding, let alone been someone’s maid of honor, so I was thrilled to be asked. I was also a bit nervous because I didn’t know a lot of details such a role would entail, and I wanted to be sure I did a great job.

I initially took to the internet and Googled, and read a lot of articles about the “best maid of honor is one who does this” and “the best maid of honor is one who does that.” Then, I reached out to her and asked her what she needed from me.

What my research made me realize is that there’s no one right way to be a great maid of honor. There are the traditional and more well-known tasks that a maid of honor should do, such as help organize the bridal shower, plan the bachelorette party, act as the liaison between the bride and bridesmaids, and give a speech at wedding.

If you live nearby the bride, as her maid of honor you may be involved in more of the decision making or you may even be making party favors and tasting cakes. Really, when you break down the role, it all leads back to one thing: standing by your best friend’s side on a very important day in her life.

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Here are the top five things you’ll need to do to help your friend plan, organize, prepare for, and celebrate her wedding day:

    1. Listen. Listen to what she sounds excited about, and what makes her sound stressed or weary. Think about what she is really saying, and what she hasn’t said at all.

    2. Ask questions. If you’re not sure of your purpose, just ask. If you think your friend is making a decision based on a popular vote rather than her own wishes, gently ask her what she really wants. Or, if you haven’t heard from her in a while, reach out. Don’t wait for her to ask to catch up or talk about certain details.

    3. Organize. Set yourself up for success by making a Google drive folder, excel file, or dedicating a notebook to all of the details. That way you can keep everything together.

    4. Support. Your friend has asked you to be her right-hand-lady and second in command so that she can lean on you. When she’s tired of making decisions, stressed about seating charts, and just wants to get the marriage part, she’ll be able to turn to you for a hug, a life chat, or someone to take over looking at bridesmaid dress swatches.

    5. Communicate. Whenever you can, bridge any gaps in communication. When you’re planning the bridal shower, or figuring out what shoes to wear down the aisle, don’t assume that all the bridal party is on the same page. Sometimes touching base with the smallest details can help keep everyone caught up.

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Bonus task: Get the dance party started! At the end of the day, literally and figuratively, someone needs to start the party. Whether you’re celebrating finally deciding on the song that will play as the wedding party is introduced, or rounding up a gang to dance the cupid shuffle, it’s your job to get grandma out of her chair and onto the dance floor. Remember to stop and celebrate the little moments along with the bigger ones.

In my case, everything went according to plan—I was the maid of honor in my childhood friend’s wedding in July. For six months, I helped her as best I could while she picked out her wedding dress, chose colors for bridesmaid dresses, and worried over the flowers that would be in season and still bloom prettily in the southern summer heat.

We talked over shoe choices, guest lists, logistics for guests’ travel, and much more. I connected with my friend in a way that I hadn’t before in the 18 years of our friendship (I’ve known her since I was six!) and being able to share this time in her life was so special.

As I watched her embark on her journey into marriage and stood by her side as she married the love of her life, I knew that our friendship had changed. Our lives had changed. I know that it was a gift to be a part of this step in her life, and I was lucky to be able to stand by her side.

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