Perks and Pitfalls of Choosing a Long-distance Maid of Honor

Image Gallery: Laid-back Brides You were glued at the hip ... until she moved to Portland. Can your best friend be the maid of honor you need and want if she's three time zones away?
©iStockphoto.com/alexey05

You can't imagine anyone other than your lifelong BFF being your maid of honor, but she resides in L.A. and you live in the ATL. You're worried about the complications the distance between you will bring. Will she still be able to help you choose a dress? Scout potential wedding locations? Choose a theme?

The truth is, the most important member of your wedding party might be far away, but she should be able do almost anything the role requires, as long as you don't mind planning your wedding in front of a computer screen or with a phone glued to your ear. In fact, the distance between you can provide some unexpected perks, though you may find that video conferencing just can't replace a compassionate hug.

Every bride is different, and even if you've been friends with your MOH since before you could talk, it's important to communicate your needs. If she's up to the task, great; if her geographical location will severely limit her role, you may want to find someone closer. After all, this ceremony is about celebrating the love shared between you and your future hubby, not rekindling the friendship flame with you and your faraway bestie. Bottom line: The MOH is an honor position, but it's also a job. And you need someone who can take on the requisite duties.

Long-distance Benefits

"Do you like the dress? And the veil? What about these shoes?"
"Do you like the dress? And the veil? What about these shoes?"
©iStockphoto.com/hartphotography1

You might not think having a long-distance maid of honor would have many benefits, but as long as you have the right attitude and technology, the distance between you can actually help you plan a better wedding. Think about it: With cell phones, instant picture messages and wireless online video conferencing, you and your MOH can go anywhere or do just about anything together. Plus, keeping some physical distance will help alleviate much of the tension that many brides and their maids of honor feel when working toward that one perfect day.

Check out these perks to get a better idea of what we're talking about:

  • You don't have as much influence. We know, it's your vision, but a second set of eyes can help find the flaws in your foolproof wedding plan. Since she won't be able to see you scowl when she points out the disadvantages of your chosen locale, she'll give more impartial advice, and your wedding will be better for it.
  • You won't be able to abuse maid-of-honor privileges on the poor girl. She can't get you an emergency frappe at 2:00 a.m. to help you cope with wedding stress, and if you think about it fairly, that's a good thing.
  • She's out of the loop. This might not sound like such a great perk, but trust us, it is. Regardless if you're an easy-going, go-with-the-flow kind of bride or a hell-bent Bridezilla, there's going to be some local wedding-related drama, and your distanced MOH will be ready to lend a sympathetic ear (even if it's all your fault).
  • She'll want to be involved. You may put your fiancé to sleep every night with your incessant wedding talk, but because your long-distance maid of honor will want to stay informed, she's likely listen to you go on for hours about your big day.
  • She has to indulge you any way she can. Yes, we just touted the benefits of not taking advantage of your No. 1 bridal party member, but every bride deserves a little pampering. Feel free to call up your long-distance BFF for some mandatory late-night wedding chats or anything else she can (within reason) do for you.
  • The time you spend together will be special. Whether she drives in on an almost weekly basis, or she's only able to make it to your shower and the big day itself, the time you spend together will be better because it's not an everyday thing.

Sure, having a long-distance MOH can be great, but it isn't all champagne and flowers. Head over to the next page to learn what some of the disadvantages could be when your maid of honor lives hundreds of miles away.

Long-distance Complications

The bachelorette party would be a lot more fun if your maid of honor could've made it.
The bachelorette party would be a lot more fun if your maid of honor could've made it.
©iStockphoto.com/leschnyhan

We've got some bad news: Your long-distance maid of honor isn't going to be readily available when you need her. Sure, that might seem obvious, but you may begin to wish you'd bestowed the title to another friend when all your bridesmaids' dresses need to be refitted and you can't be there, or you've got meetings scheduled with the florist and the caterer at the same time. Of course, a bridesmaid, a family member or even your fiancé could and (most likely will) step in here, but this is exactly the type of thing the maid of honor is supposed to do. She's your go-to girl and has an understanding of your wedding vision that other friends, family members and your future hubby may lack.

Yes, the only real disadvantage to having a long-distance maid of honor is that she can't be there all the time. But one little geographic discrepancy can really worsen your pre-wedding woes. See for yourself below:

  • Phone calls aren't as good as the real thing. Sure, it's great that she can help you shop for dresses through texted pics and elaborate descriptions, but there's a big difference between chatting on the phone and actually being there. Plus …
  • … Sending pictures gets old. If you really want her input, you need to send her a picture of every dress you more than passively look at -- and sometimes one pic just isn't enough. You need to get the train, the bodice, the neckline and everything else. And it's not just the dresses. We're talking flowers, invites, cakes, napkins and all the other details that go into a wedding. You might want to beef up your phone's service plan because that's a lot of pictures.
  • She might not make your bachelorette party. Never mind the fact that the MOH is supposed to plan, organize and get the word out about the festivities celebrating your last night as a single woman.
  • She's going to have to order all her maid of honor garb long-distance. So alterations are going to be a huge, time-consuming pain, and you don't even want to think about what would happen if part of her wardrobe gets lost in the mail.
  • It won't be real to her. Because she's not there with you, a lot of your wedding plans and ideas are going to be hypothetical in her mind. When you're freaking out about the shade of your orchids, it's going to seem a little less pressing to her.
  • She won't be there if you need her. Planning a wedding is stressful, and it's nice to have someone on your side to give you a hug (or a slap) whenever you need it.

So really, it all depends on you. If you're going to be a demanding, stressed out or overly emotional bride, it might be better for you to ask a local girl to be your MOH. However, if you just couldn't say "I do" without your best girlfriend holding your bouquet and you don't mind making plans by yourself -- or at least without her constant input -- you might even enjoy having a long-distance maid of honor. As long as you're honest with yourself, your maid of honor will be exactly what you need her to be, even if it's just a bridesmaid.

Related Articles