The maid of honor has lots to do on the bride's big day.

Maria Teijeiro/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Weddings are hard work, and it falls to the maid of honor to help handle some important details. She's the go-to person for the bride when it comes to guidance, a fresh perspective and, well, some of the heavy lifting. Being tapped as an honor attendant can be a chore, but it's also a tremendous compliment and a lot of fun. If you're on the lookout for fresh information you can use for your own wedding, participating in a friend's arrangements can be an eye opener that may save you time and some potential gotcha moments later, too.

Helping the Bride

The temperament of the bride and the scope of the wedding will have a big impact on how much or how little of the planning and organization the maid of honor will be responsible for. When assisting the bride, the maid of honor may be part facilitator, secretary, delivery person, counselor, decorator, or just about anything else. This partial list will give you an idea of some helpful ways you may be pressed into service:

  • Scout wedding locations.
  • Select invitations and help with invitation prep.
  • Explore floral options and other decorative choices.
  • Help the bride shop for her wedding dress and choose bridesmaids' dresses.
  • Oversee delivery of the dresses, monitor fittings and assist with other wardrobe functions.
  • Encourage the bride to register for gifts, spread the word about where the bride is registered and answer any gift questions that may arise.
  • Help with honeymoon planning.
  • Help with seating chart details.
  • Attend the cake tasting and make recommendations.
  • Attend the catering meetings or tastings and make recommendations.
  • Host the bridal shower.
  • Host the bachelorette party.
  • Maintain timetables and be of general assistance to keep things moving forward.
  • Attend the rehearsal dinner.
  • Keep a list of gifts received.
Maid of Honor Duties for the Big Day

The maid of honor also has some specific wedding day duties beyond wearing a big smile and keeping the bride happy:

  • Help the bride dress and deal with her hair, jewelry and the unavoidable wedding day jitters.
  • Check the last minute details, like instructions for the photographer and deliveries to the hall.
  • Act as a messenger between the bride and groom (and various and sundry family members).
  • Handle dress and veil issues. Maneuverability could be important here, even in the restroom, so this is an important and sometimes unexpected duty involving lifting, fluffing, arranging and rearranging.
  • Hold and protect the groom's ring.
  • Hold the bride's bouquet for the duration of the wedding ceremony.
  • Witness the marriage license signing.
  • Be part of the receiving line at the reception or act as a greeter.
  • Toast the bride and groom.
  • Participate in the first dance at a formal reception (partnered with the best man).

If the bride has help from family members, the groom or lots of bridesmaids who want to pitch in, the maid of honor's responsibilities could be limited to wedding day ceremonial functions and a few other helpful contributions.

The dynamic between the bride and the maid of honor will impact how the planning process unfolds. It's a sure bet, though, that if you're a maid of honor it couldn't hurt to have a sympathetic ear, limitless patience a day planner and a sense of humor.