As you may already know, the lovely Laura of Laura Hooper Calligraphy is getting married! So while she already has two wonderful guest "brides-to-be," we thought it would be only fitting to squeeze in a few Maid of Honor posts from yours truly, Laura's sister, Alyssa! Having just gotten married myself, I feel that I am a prime candidate to be an excellent Maid of Honor (if I do say so myself!).
As you can probably imagine that planning is well under way. Living about 100 miles away, I can't be around for everything, but we have already gone dress shopping (found the one - and yes, it made me cry!), and Laura sends me many emails asking for my opinion on printed materials, jewelry, accessories, DJs, videographers, a Reverend, everything - all to which I promptly respond and/or complete the requested task. It is my opinion that as a Maid of Honor, your most important duty is to make things easier on the bride, whatever that entails.
But first - there needs to be a bridal party! As a bride, it's best to be upfront about what you expect from your bridal party, and as a potential attendant, it's important to know what you are getting into. So whether you are a bride trying to select your attendants, or you are an attendant in an upcoming wedding, I hope these tips to choosing your bridal party will help you make that decision, or as an attendee, know what's in store.
Excerpt from "Choosing Your Wedding Party" on Martha Stewart Weddings:
Being in a wedding party can involve a fair amount of responsibility and expense, especially for the honor attendants (best man and maid of honor). Bear this in mind when asking; make sure all participants know up front what you are expecting of them. To give everyone ample time to plan, name your attendants soon after you choose a date and venue. Invite people to participate in a way that allows them to decline gracefully if they feel they're not up to the task, and don't insist on an immediate answer.
If anyone is unable to afford the cost of their formal wear, hotel room, or travel, you might tactfully offer to help out if you can. Pick the right number of attendants for the size and style of your wedding. Eight to twelve is common, but you can have more or less. Many couples include children, often nieces and nephews. Others have honor attendants only.
Whatever you decide, don't feel you must choose an equal number of men and women. Loved ones don't come in boxed sets, and neither should your wedding party.
What Does Maid of Honor Do?
The maid of honor is the bride's number-one confidante and helper. She's also the head bridesmaid, in charge of delegating jobs and keeping everyone informed and organized. Her job description is lengthy, but it includes a lot of tasks a good friend will likely enjoy doing. They generally include helping the bride shop for the wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses; spreading the word to guests about where the couple is registered for gifts; and hosting the wedding shower (and perhaps the bachelorette party, too).
On the wedding day, the maid of honor sticks close to the bride, tending to her veil, train, and bustle. She walks in the procession and stands by the bride at the altar. During the ceremony, the maid of honor holds the bride's bouquet and sometimes the groom's ring; afterward she signs the marriage certificate as a witness. At the reception, the maid of honor and best man sometimes join the newlyweds and their parents for the first formal dance sequence. She may also offer a toast if she wants to.
What Do Bridesmaids Do?
The bridesmaids often help the maid of honor plan the shower and the bachelorette party or cohost these events. They attend all prenuptial festivities if possible. The bride, or her maid of honor, might ask bridesmaids to assist her with numerous small tasks, such as securing hotel rooms for out-of-town guests and keeping a log of gifts at the bridal shower. You may want to consult with bridesmaids before you select their dresses -- they could be a great help.
Bridesmaids purchase the dress you have chosen and have it fitted in time for the wedding. If they're wearing dresses of their own choosing, they need to be aware of any style or color specifications you may have. At the ceremony, bridesmaids precede the maid of honor in the procession; they are often paired with the groomsmen. If there is an odd number of bridesmaids, two women can walk together, or a groomsman can escort one on each arm.
Follow these tips, and more importantly, your heart, and you'll secure a wonderful group of loved ones to stand at the altar as you say "I do!"