Maid-of-honor duties
November 1, 2005 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Help me be a fabulous maid-of-honor for my best friend's wedding.

I've only been to two weddings in my life (both as an audience member and not in the party), and I have zero extended family, so I'm new to the whole wedding circuit. I'd really like to be a fantastic maid of honor and make the day and the weeks proceeding as special as possible for my best friend. She's definitely not opposed to me asking her outright what she'd like in terms of maid-of-honorish stuff, but I'd really like to have some element of surprise in there.

Some background on her, to make answering easier: the wedding is going to be super low-key, which is indicative of my best friend and her husband-to-be. She's not a girly-girl, but I know she does want some sort bachelorette party and a wedding shower. She doesn't want the typical things and she isn't a bar person or a big drinker (though she isn't opposed to a few fruity, pretty-colored drinks). She's a stage manager for local theatres, loves crafty-type things and has a great sense of style/taste in clothing and decoration.

So, I suppose main questions are: what's the timeline on things like wedding showers and bachelorette parties? What are the usual expectations of the maid of honor on the day before and the day of the wedding? What are some creative ideas for a bachelorette party?

If it matters, this is an outside wedding next July. We're both in our mid-20s and live in Minneapolis. I am on a limited budget, but I'm open to all suggestions. Thanks in advance!
posted by Zosia Blue to Society & Culture (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oops, I somehow managed to glaze over this thread. I'll check there, too, for bachelorette party ideas.
posted by Zosia Blue at 3:20 PM on November 1, 2005

Best answer: I was just the maid of honor for the second time (!) for my closest childhood friend. (The running joke at the wedding was that I'd better get it right and make sure she married a keeper this time around.) She didn't have a bachelorette party, so I can't really help you there, but I can give you some tips on your other "duties."

Above all, you should be her right-hand woman. (The fact that she sounds pretty low-key/low-maintenance is great -- you probably won't be dealing with putting out any Bridezilla-related fires.) In the months leading up to the event, be proactive in helping out with the necessary logistics, such as going with her to reception sites or caterers (take notes, ask additional questions, etc. to make sure she doesn't forget anything). You could also help out with invitations in terms of getting them designed/printed and addressed/mailed.

Also, what about setting up a wedding preparations website or blog for her as it gets closer to the big day? My friend had a lot of guests coming in from out of town for her wedding, and it was really helpful for the guests to have all the maps/lodging/restaurant/entertainment info listed in one place.

On the day of the wedding, your job is to keep her calm, keep her happy, and keep her preparations running at least somewhat close to on time. Consider ahead of time as to when you'll need to arrive at the wedding site, how long it will take to get there, how long your friend will take to get ready, etc., and be prepared to nudge her along as necessary. (Don't be a timekeeping ogre about it, though; IMO it's more important to have a calm bride and a wedding that starts a little late rather than a frazzled bride and an on-the-dot ceremony.) Also, if she and her husband are leaving immediately for their honeymoon, you might want to help her pack.

Don't forget the groom's ring if you're going to hand it to her during the ceremony! (Be prepared to tape it onto your thumb to prevent it from slipping -- that's what I had to do.) And don't let the best man forget the bride's ring!

For a special treat before the wedding, how about a spa day together just for the two of you?
posted by scody at 3:36 PM on November 1, 2005

Scody should get a prize here. Just be ready to support the bride in any way possible. Help with the picking out of the dress, make-up, flowers.

Be ready to make sure that she has what she needs. A drink, snack, hanky? If you dote on her on her big day, she will love you for it. It may sound dumb, but a good Maid of Honor and Best Man can really add alot to the romance of the thing. Girly-girl or not, she is the Queen for the day.

Also, you might want to prepare a toast or speach. If you do, have fun. Roast the bride and groom a bit before you get into the "they are the perfect couple" thing. Congrats to you and the Bride and Groom! Good luck.
posted by snsranch at 3:58 PM on November 1, 2005

Scody's got it covered, but I'd also suggest that you read this site as a sort of object lesson in "what not to do".
posted by anastasiav at 4:45 PM on November 1, 2005

Biggest thing is to be the person willing to listen to all the minutiae. Even if she is normally low-key she may get a bit more ratcheted up as things get closer and some things go wrong (as some things always do !)

Some ideas for a bachelorette party - consider a store that runs special events like a pottery painting party or a beading party. One nice tradition, is to include a recipe card in the invitations you send it, asking all the guests to fill out a recipe for the bride. Guests who don't cook can include recipes for a happy marriage or phone numbers for reservations at favorite restaurants. Even if the bride isn't a big cook, she may love having the cards.
posted by AuntLisa at 5:01 PM on November 1, 2005

Oh, another thing: it sounds like this may not apply (since it's a very low-key wedding), but if she's going to have a big dress and veil that you'll be helping her with before the ceremony, you'll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the dress beforehand so that you can help her get into it smoothly. Make sure she's got a spare pair of hose handy, too. (And if you sew, have a needle and thread in your purse just in case you have to make a last-minute stitch or two.)
posted by scody at 5:52 PM on November 1, 2005

I made my sister take the whole day off before the wedding for a hike. It was a little stressful at first because she was finishing up so many final details that I thought we were going to miss the ferry to the hiking locale, but it worked out in the end -- she said it was nice to be forced to finally finish everything and start partying.

On the other hand, if you set up elaborate plans for her in the days leading up to the wedding, don't get too invested in them yourself in case something comes up and the plans get derailed. Try to think of flexible activities which can be rescheduled just in case.

Oh, and also, don't fall asleep in the middle of helping to prepare the wedding favors. Yeah.
posted by footnote at 6:02 PM on November 1, 2005

Response by poster: Awesome, these are all great ideas, thanks, especially the crafty-sounding bachelorette party ideas and the recipe cards. She's a domestic queen, so I know she'll enjoy those.
posted by Zosia Blue at 6:56 PM on November 1, 2005

Pack an emergency wedding prep kit with safety pins, spare nylons, clear nail polish, emery boards, hair pins, hair spray, hand lotion, tissues, tampons, baby powder, toothbrush/paste, Tums, Tylenol, etc. And anything else that seems handy.

Keep things smooth. Make sure there's gas in the car, cash for an emergency taxi and your cell phone is charged. If there are squabbles, try to help calm the waters. Reassure her that she looks fabulous. Help her write thank you notes.

In return, she has to pick a bridemaid dress that is not ghastly, and make sure there's a couple of great guys for you to dance with.
posted by theora55 at 8:18 PM on November 1, 2005 [1 favorite]

Don't let her feel obligated or pressured to go along with doing things in a traditional way if it's not her style.

Lots of brides start out with ideas of how they'd like things to go and what elements are and are not important, and by the time the mom, sister-in-law, whoever gets ahold of them, they've got bridesmaids in ugly dresses, a bad DJ, and a stressful generic wedding that is now "their day."
posted by desuetude at 6:10 AM on November 2, 2005

Hey Zosia,
Generally the timeline for wedding showers is about 4 to 6 weeks before the wedding. The bachelorette party is usually given much closer to the wedding date, like a week or two before.
You will be an awesome maid-of-honor just by being there for her, don't worry about a thing :)
posted by Ailla at 10:37 PM on November 3, 2005

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