The role of the maid of honor can turn into a dress rehearsal for the day when it is your turn to be the bride. The bride's maid of honor typically has a very close personal relationship with the bride and often serves as confidant and advisor on a variety of issues. Preparations can include selecting wedding colors; choosing the bridesmaid dresses, the caterer and flowers; identifying a location for the wedding and the reception; and hosting a bridal shower.
This position of honor can be loaded with a lot of work and responsibility as well as a lot of fun. Typical maid-of honor duties often include shopping with the bride, arranging transportation for the bridal party, communicating plans and responsibilities to the bridal party, selecting and sending out wedding invitations, ensuring the bridal party gets to rehearsals on time, helping during the rehearsal dinner and other events and making sure the reception runs smoothly.
"Deciding to marry is a big step and preparing for a wedding is an extremely stressful process," says Dr. Douglas Whiteside, director of the Argosy University Seattle Psychology Center. "The bride needs reliable and trusted people around her to help make decisions and transact business. Therefore, the role of the maid of honor is critical in helping the bride cope with the demands of planning a wedding and preparing for a new life."
She also has official duties such as signing the marriage license along with the best man and participating in the first dance with the best man, holding the groom's ring during the ceremony, holding the bride's bouquet during the ceremony and toasting the newlyweds during the reception. Then there are the tender tasks of helping to prepare the bride just before her grand march down the aisle by fixing her hair, adjusting the veil and wiping tears to avoid smudging makeup, along with the tedious task of helping to keep track of the wedding gifts and money cards.
Lest we forget, the toughest task for the maid of honor is the unofficial duty of keeping the bride calm, being a sounding board for the bride and offering thoughtful opinions when major decisions are being made. There is also the responsibility of keeping the bride calm the day of the wedding when nerves and anxiety will be at their peak. Screaming at the caterer, banquet hall attendant or church clerk over a forgotten detail can raise the stress level of the bride and those around her prior to the wedding. This can take the mood of this festive occasion in a wrong direction.
Assisting the bride through this delicate and stressful process also means looking out for her emotional well-being. The maid of honor often tells jokes to make the bride laugh and help reduce her stress level, and makes sure the bride eats healthy meals to keep her nourished and balanced. On top of all that, the best maid of honor must be a good listener in order to provide the necessary emotional support the bride needs leading up to and the day of the wedding, as she prepares for the start of her new life.