This past January, I was the maid of honor in a friend’s wedding. It was not my first time in a wedding, but it was my first time being part of the bridal party, my first time being a bridesmaid, and definitely my first time being a maid of honor. I’m here to share my experiences and may this will help enlighten or at least entertain some people!
Being Asked To Be A Bridesmaid/Maid of Honor
Way back when, all the way back in middle school, we used to dream and joke about getting married to celebrities, and we’d pick who our bridesmaids would be. In our naïveté, we’d pick our best friends because who else would you want to be with you up there while you marry Keanu Reeves, or whoever you had a crush on in 7th grade. It was kinda like picking your Top 8 during the MySpace era: who do I love the most?
However, being in the bridal party really opened my eyes because in the real world, it is no longer about who you like the most, it’s going to be about who can get stuff done. Before I dove headfirst into maid-of-honor duties, my good friend Julie was the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding, and I saw her get. Stuff. Done. She busted her backside planning and organizing and running around. And when I came time for me to rise to the occasion, I definitely worked my butt off and got it done.
There’s a lot of responsibility to being in the bridal party, and there’s a lot of cost in it too. If you’re not ready or you can’t afford it right now, you should definitely think about saying “Thanks, but I can’t” to your friend when they ask. For me, I had a lot of time to save up for the wedding (it was a long engagement), or else I probably wouldn’t have been able to take the reins of leadership.
Bridesmaid/Maid of Honor Duties and Drama
My lovely bride (whose birthday it is today, happy birthday!) is very low-maintenance and down-to-earth, so I didn’t there would be a lot of drama with the wedding. And while there wasn’t drama between her, her now-husband, and me, there was plenty of drama to go around.
I’m not here to talk about wedding drama though; that’s not my story to tell. I’m here to talk about the drama I went through with my duties as the maid-of-honor.
One of your busy overall duties is to make sure the wedding is what your bride wants, and no what other people want. It still boggles my mind how many people tried to pipe in their own opinions to make the wedding better for themselves.
Whenever my bride (who I will now call MB) asked for my opinion, I relayed what I thought through a wedding filter. Did the plates she picked match the color scheme and theme of the wedding? Yes. Would I get them for my wedding? Probably not, but it’s not my wedding. Did the decorations look nice and did they match the aesthetic with the wedding? Yes. Would I get them for my wedding? Some, but again, not my wedding. Were the mini-pies delicious and what she wanted? Yes. Would I have them at my wedding? No, because I don’t like pie, but again, not my wedding.
Another overall duty was to respond quickly and just show up when needed. I tried really hard to be there for everything she could possibly need me for, and I think I made it to 95% of the things. I may have missed a few because our worn schedules didn’t mesh, but otherwise I was pretty on both top of things. I even took the week before the wedding off because I knew something would come up to do, and lo-and-behold, there was.
I was also available so MB could vent. You have to be ready for vent sessions, especially if it’s a crazy, hectic wedding. Be prepared to agree with her POV, which was easy for because we have a similar personality and mindset.
The last duties were to plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. This was quite a feat, and took a lot of time, energy, and money.
For the bridal shower, I had help from MB’s mom and another bridesmaid, but honestly, not a lot. Just before the day of the shower, the aforementioned bridesmaid fractured her leg, and ended up in a cast, so I made all the decorations and decorated by myself. And if you’ve never decorated, it was not an easy task to do. The actual day of the shower was easier, MB’s mom and the bridesmaid were more help, as MB’s mom did most of the hosting and the bridesmaid could cook sitting down, but I was mostly running around doing little stuff. I paid for most of the decorations, and some of the food.
For the bachelorette party, that was a different story. First thing to do is to get a budget from you and your other bridesmaids. Work around that budget, to figure out what you can do that your bride would like to do. MB is not a big drinker, not a fan of wine or clubs, but she loves museums so I wanted to do a semi-tipsy private museum tour. Now, the other bridesmaid objected, so I went with my second choice, a spa day for MB. Because the wedding had been so stressful, I treated her to a massage, a mani-pedi, and a good ol’ sleepover with us two bridesmaids and her other friends. It was a good time had by all.
Remember that you might not like the same things your bride likes, but you should cater the bridal shower and the bachelorette party to her tastes. It is not your bridal shower or your bachelorette party, it is hers. Also, be prepared to do everything yourself because things can happened and that may well be the case.
I’m trying to be pleasant, but I’ll say working with the other bridesmaid was not fun. I think overall, her personality and my personality just didn’t mesh well. I, however, treated her as I would treat a co-worker or a friend-of-a-friend I didn’t like, and just stomached it until the end of our relationship.
The Day of the Wedding
There was a lot of running around for me the day of the wedding. It was quite a packed day. As stated before, be ready to work your butt off and get stuff done. I packed flats in addition to my wedding shoes so I could run around more efficiently, both before and after the ceremony. I had to, of course, help setup and decorate, make a speech, get MB some food, help pass out the champagne, wrangle the guests to their tables, and, finally, pack and clean up. There also were things I did on the wedding day I didn’t even plan for, like a dance with the groom during dance time and making sure the flower girl was having a good time.
At the end of the day, it was a beautiful ceremony, a delicious dinner, and a great, lovely day, so it was all worth it.
Tip for bridesmaids and maids of honor: be prepared to work your butt off and pay for it. Be prepared to do it all yourself.
Tip for brides: don’t think about who you like talking to, think long and hard about who, of your friends, is responsible and reliable, and have a talk with those who may believe they will receive a bridesmaid invitation but probably won’t because they’re hard to get a hold of, or flaky more times than not. Weddings can break up friendships if friction happens and your relationship is not strong.