Ok so girls the question of all questions…. You have been asked to be the Maid of Honour, usually it does depend on who the bride is: sister-in-law, best friend, cousin, niece, but this is often a really exciting and welcome role to many…. However, comes with a list of responsibilities… now we all don’t want to be a Helen (aka Rose Byrne) from the film Bridesmaids however what should we be doing to be an absolute amazing maid of honour and what really does the bride expect of this role? Read on to find out more
Historically in the Uk, the “Maid of Honour” title was provided to that of the Queen’s maid. In Western civilisations, the history of the bridesmaids and maid of honour traditions likely arose from a combination of many factors, namely being that of society status, etiquette and traditions. If we look to other records of bridesmaids in history, there is even a reference in a Christian story from the bible from the story of Jacob, whereby his wives come to be both wed with their attending handmaidens. In addition to that, there are a number of sources which demonstrate that at one time in some cultures, the bride and her bridesmaids wore the same outfits to ward off evil spirits and jealous suitors! In the feudal era in China, the treatment of brides and females whom were to be wed were susceptible to being kidnapped by rival clans, they did this as they saw the marriage as the first step to producing heir offspring and wanted to put a stop to this. As vicious and demoralising as this was, this then led brides and bridesmaids to all be dressed the same so that the potential kidnappers would have no idea whom the actual bride was. Once the legal system introduced laws for protection then this custom of the bride and all her bridesmaids dressing the same soon passed. If we look at Victorian Britain, Queen Victoria started a trend when she married Price Albert wearing a lovely long white dress…white then became a bit of an official colour for female bridesmaids and groomsmen to wear.
Ok, so this is probably your most important job and done correctly will make you a legendary maid of honour! You may do it so well that other friends will ask you – oh yeah! If the thought of organising throws you into a little frenzy, don’t worry – deep breaths and remember first start off with the bride, what does she expect, what does she want? Why not have a girlie day out shopping or bottle of wine at home and casually drop it into conversation! Once you have a date sorted for you and the bride, this is your time to find out exactly what she is after – perhaps she is after a bit of naughty stripper fun or perhaps she is looking for the glam approach with a health spa retreat.
Another responsibility which falls to the Maid of Honour is suggesting small romantic gestures to the groom that you know the bride would love but perhaps does not want to mention to her newbie husband. Our advice is to approach the groom very diplomatically and explain the bride has mentioned that it would be lovely to receive this particular gift on the wedding day or perhaps it is a gesture that would make her dream come true if he did this on the day. Our advice is to not be pushy, rather mention it, plant the seed and you will be doing your bride sister in arms a massive favour.
Imagine this scenario, the bride takes you shopping and has picked out the bridesmaid dresses which you and all the bridesmaids really dislike! The bride would much rather have happy bridesmaids on her special day than knowing after the wedding (as it WILL come out) that you all hated them and took them to a charity shop afterwards. Best advice here is to be honest, really honest with the bride, and if you are all feeling the same, it is your responsibility as maid of honour to diplomatically and gently approach this subject. Now, if it is only one of the bridesmaids that dislike the attire or yourself, then you need to do the bride this favour for her special day – only would we approach this subject with the bride if it is a unanimous feeling.
If anything is going to go wrong on the big day, you should know first, if the bride is feeling nervous or having second thoughts, you are the one to talk to her and calm her and provide her with a glass or two of champagne! The bride does not need to know if someone’s zip has broken or the wedding cake may be missing a jewel, our point here is to take as much weight off her shoulders as possible on her big day.
As maid of honour, the bride will look to you and ask you on a number of decisions whether it is venues, seating arrangements, catering, live music etc and it is important to provide a stable and motivating attitude to all of these things. The bride has chosen you for a reason and ensure you respect her decision and be there for her, she will be eternally thankful for this.
Nowadays weddings can be very expensive and even though the traditional customs are for the bride to pay for the bridesmaids dresses, a kind gesture from yourself with the other bridesmaids to the bride about payment for say “the shoes” or “accessories” would be really welcome and a lovely thought, if you can do this for her or pay for your own dresses this is a lovely gift to her.
Why not as a good-will gesture offer get the bridesmaids to club together and put a lovely welcome home hamper together for the bride and groom, coupled with bubbly in the fridge or even the bubbles and chocs with rose petals, any of these ideas will really make the happy couple feel special and treasured.
Remember your duties to the bride and the guests that day and shine! From lifting up the bride’s massive train on the loo to ensuring the bride’s dearest aunt gets her cabbie home, these responsibilities fall to you! Be a helpful and calming influence for the bride throughout the day and ensure no traumas happen with suppliers, family members or friends. Completing these duties to the best of your abilities will go a long way and really help the bride and groom have that perfect special day that they will remember for the rest of their lives.