So you’ve been honoured by the bride or groom; you’re going to be a Maid of Honour/Best Man!
Whether the bride or groom is your sister/brother, a close friend, a mentor, your boss (hey, it happens), or a cousin/niece/nephew/uncle/aunt/third-cousin twice removed’s best friend’s half-brother; we think it’s safe to say that if you’ve been asked to act as Maid of Honour or as Best Man, your bond with the bride or groom must be very strong, and they must have an awful lot of faith in you!
With great power (in this case, perhaps, honour is more appropriate but the point stands) comes great responsibility.
The Maid of Honour and the Best Man have integral roles to play in both the weeks and months leading up to the festivities, and on the big day itself. If you’re going in blind and currently actually have no idea how a Maid of Honour or a Best Man should behave, and what their wedding responsibilities are leading up to the wedding, and on the day of.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Madame the Maid of Honour
As Maid of Honour you are essentially the head bridesmaid; which basically makes you the head cheerleader for your best friend’s wedding!
It is your responsibility to get everyone involved as psyched about the wedding as the bride is, and to make sure she has ample help and support leading up to the big day. From helping the bride choose her dress, to helping her coordinate the bridesmaids’ ensembles, you’re going to be her gal Friday every step of the way.
Whether this means creating a WhatsApp group for the bridal party to keep in touch and arrange designated DIY days where the ladies get together to help the bride craft her place cards, or holding up the bride’s dress while she pees (cliche though that might seem), your job is to be there for and be excited with the bride from beginning to end.
The Maid of Honour’s Role Before the Wedding
Planning the Kitchen Tea
Usually the Maid of Honour (MOH) will be responsible for coordinating and hosting the bride’s kitchen tea.
Sometimes, when the Maid of Honour is unmarried, young, or inexperienced and lacking in the expertise it takes to coordinate a kitchen tea, the mother of the bride may step in and help the Maid of Honour organize and co-host the affair.
In order to plan the kitchen tea of your bride’s dreams, you’ll need to get some guidance from either her, or her nearest and dearest; and you’ll need a complete guestlist from either the bride, or her mother, so that you can ensure you don’t accidentally forget to invite somebody!
Traditionally, all female guests who receive an invitation to the wedding by name (i.e. not those women who will be attending the wedding as “+1s”) are invited to the kitchen tea.
Kitchen Tea Etiquette for the MOH: The Maid of Honour should always arrive first so as to set up, communicate and coordinate with decorators and caterers, and so that she may greet her bride’s guests as they arrive.
The Maid of Honour is also responsible for coordinating how the bill for the party will be split – she can either agree to split the costs with the bridesmaids ahead of time (in which case the monetary contributions should be collected in advance so as to avoid the exchange of money on the day of), OR, she can foot the bill herself (hey, nobody said being the Maid of Honour was an honour without its associated sacrifices; and really, if you’re able to afford, who wouldn’t want to spoil their bestie).
Planning the Bachelorette Party
Who let the eligible bachelorettes out!? The Maid of Honour is responsible for planning and coordinating the bride’s bachelorette party. Hooray!
Of course, different brides may have different ideas about bachelorette parties, but, whether she’s down for strippers, or looking forward to something far more low-key, it’s your responsibility to deliver!
While costs can, and should in this case, be split between the entire bridal party, it is always best to collect the cash upfront to avoid an embarrassing till slip shuffle at the end of the night. The bridesmaids (and other guests) traditionally pay for themselves, and the bride’s costs are split equally between all her attendants as their gift to her.
If the bachelorette party is in a private club, for example, the bridesmaids will cover the cost of the venue hire and the bride’s drinks, but everyone else will pay for their own drinks.
Traditionally only the bride’s closest female friends and family near her age are invited to the bachelorette party, but be careful of who you snub! Particularly if the bride in question has hinted that she’d prefer to do something less raunchy and more relaxing for her bachelorette party.
In the end, it’s best to ask the bride to provide you with a list of those she’d like to be invited to the bachelorette party.
Bachelorette Party Etiquette for the MOH: As the Maid of Honour it is your responsibility to party hardy; but only if that’s what the bride wants. Really, it is your responsibility to make sure the bride is enjoying herself, the guests have all been greeted, the bills paid, and everyone is happy.
Make sure that all the attendees have met one another, and that everything is running smoothly. It is also your responsibility to look after the bride and make sure she gets home safely; especially in the event she drinks too much at the bachelorette party and needs to be taken care of.
The Maid of Honour’s Wedding Responsibilities On the Wedding Day
Giving A Speech
So, you’re going to need to prepare for this one a little in advance!
On the wedding day it is the Maid of Honour’s responsibility to give a speech and make a toast to the bride and groom. It is important to remember that, even though the bride is your friend and you may not have known the groom for very long, or know him particularly well; you’ve got to make the speech not just about your friend, the bride, but about the two of them as a couple.
This doesn’t mean you can’t tell funny anecdotes about the bride pre-groom; but use those anecdotes to segway into the differences the groom made in the bride’s life from your perspective. Ask yourself, how did the bride’s relationship with the groom change her for the better, or help her to grow?
Has she been happier, picked up an awesome new hobby, adopted a rescue animal?
Hold her dress while she pees
Cliches are cliches for a reason, and if the bride wants and/or needs help; you’re the one who’s going to have to step up to the plate and grab a handful of ballgown so your bride can go.
Keep an eye on the gifts
As the MOH you’re responsible for the gifts table, and for safekeeping any gifts in envelopes the couple may receive during the course of the night.
If the couple is jetting off on their honeymoon directly after the reception, you may even be tasked with taking the gifts home with you and storing them until they return from their vacation.
Alternately, you might be asked to drop the gifts off at their folks’ place, or at their house while they are away so that they can open them when the return.
Make sure the bride shines
It is your job to make sure the bride is always shining on her wedding day.
Whether this means touching up her lipstick for her during the couple’s shoot, or standing around holding her bouquet, waiting to be called on; you wait on that woman hand and foot, and one day she’ll return the favour.
Carry her train, pick confetti out of her hair, have an aspirin on you in case of emergencies, and just generally try your level best to be Mr Fix-it who always happens to have whatever she needs on hand!
The Maid of Honour’s Duties After the Wedding
Helping to Clean Up
The bridesmaids and MOH may be expected to help with cleaning up after the reception.
This will mean different things to different brides, and different wedding venues. Some brides and venues may expect you to remove all DIY decor from the premises immediately following the reception, others will allow you to remove decor the following morning, as though the DIY’ed elements were provided by a decorator who would have 24hrs to come and remove their merchandise.
Drafting Thank You Cards
Sometimes with the help of the MOB (Mother of the Bride), the MOH will help the bride draft and mail thank you cards to all her guests once she has returned from her honeymoon.
Monsieur the Best Man
The Best Man really has it easy when compared to the Maid of Honour.
The Best Man’s responsibilities are few and far between in comparison, and odds are, he will have somebody, the bride, a bridesmaid, or even the Maid of Honour, talking him through everything he needs to do that isn’t plan the bachelor party (because, let’s be honest, when has a Best Man ever forgotten to do that part?).
The Best Man’s Role Before the Wedding
Plan the Bachelor Party
It is the Best Man’s (BM) responsibility to plan and execute the bachelor party arrangements.
The groom will usually give the Best Man a pretty fair indication of who he does and doesn’t want included in the invitation; and the Best Man should never go against the groom’s wishes when it comes to bachelor party activities. If he says “no strippers”, he means it boys, and that doesn’t mean the bride told him to say that!
Pro Tip: Don’t ever have the bachelor party the night before the wedding! Nobody wants a The Hangover replay in real life! And, if you’re going to be doing something like paintball, or another extreme sport where you risk getting a black eye; plan and schedule it at least a month in advance.
The groom may forgive you for making him take a paintball to the eye pretty quickly, but the bride won’t soon forgive you for ruining her wedding pictures if you took him paintballing the week of the wedding.
Show Up, Suit Up
As the Best Man, you’ll have to wear a suit. You’ll also have to help the groom pick his suit – which, thankfully, usually just means you’ll have to make sure he sticks to what he discussed wearing with the bride.
As the Best Man it is your responsibility to make sure that all the groomsmen and the groom show up for every fitting, and that all parts of the ensemble are present and accounted for the day of.
The Best Man’s Wedding Responsibilities On The Wedding Day
Show Up, Suit Up
Yes, again, it is your responsibility to show up, suited up, and make sure that the groom does the same! It is natural to get cold feet, but it’s your job to remind him that he made the decision to marry the bride, and that he’ll regret it forever if he runs away now.
You make sure that the groom makes it to the church on time, and in a suitable state of sobriety!
If there is no ring bearer, the Best Man will hold onto the rings from the morning of the wedding until the actual “I do”s.
Should a child be acting as ring bearer, it becomes the Best Man’s responsibility to hold onto the rings on the day of, only until it is time for the ceremony, and just before the ring bearer needs to walk down the aisle. This is the point at which the Best Man will hand the rings over to the adult supervising the ring bearer, before taking his place at the groom’s side.
It is ultimately the Best Man’s responsibility to make sure that the wedding rings make it to the ceremony!
Give a Speech
The Best Man traditionally gives a speech at the reception and makes a toast to the happy couple. Keep it clean, folks!
Remember, while it is okay to offer personal anecdotes about your friendship with the groom; don’t forget to include the bride in your speech, and talk about the impact you’ve noticed she has had on the groom since she first entered the picture.
The Best Man’s Duties The Day of the Wedding, but AFTER the Ceremony
Pay the Good People
Should any money need to change hands on the day of, this job falls to the Best Man. The officiant needs his cheque? The caterer needs to be paid? Make sure that the groom has provided you with marked envelopes in the week before the wedding so that you can discreetly paid any outstanding bills to service providers on the day of the wedding.
Ultimately, you should feel honoured that the bride and groom have chosen you to stand by their side on their special day!
By fulfilling your roles and wedding responsibilities as best you can, you too can help make their wedding day the very best of their lives! If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t fret! You can always enlist the help of the other bridesmaids or groomsmen, and the couple’s families will usually also be super eager to pitch in where they’re needed.
At the end of the day, being a MOH or a BM should be fun, even if it can get a bit stressful; after all, it’s all about taking some of the pressure off the couple!
Do remember to relax and enjoy the reception with the bride and groom; they’ll remember your kind and enthusiastic involvement for the rest of their married lives.
Sources used to create this post:
How to Not Screw Up Your Friend’s Wedding, by www.instyle.com
Everything Your Maid of Honor Should Know, by www.theknot.com
Maid of Honour Responsibilities and Duties, by www.theweddingdirectory.co.za
Best Man’s Duties Checklist, by www.realsimple.com
Best Man Duties in Detail, by www.theknot.com
The Duties of the Best Man, by www.artofmanliness.com