Seven Tips for Choosing a Maid of Honor

Choosing your Maid of Honor is more complicated than it looks. Nowhere else in your wedding planning is it easier for vexing problems to turn up! Why? Because the Maid of Honor’s duties are often vaguely defined, and worse, poorly communicated.

In fact, every bride has her own unique idea of what a Maid of Honor should be. Which is fine – the trick is in communicating those ideas!

So what does a Maid of Honor do? On one end of the spectrum, she’s a ceremonial figure who steps off the plane and walks down the aisle before the other bridesmaids.

On the other, she’s a master of precognition who soothes your nerves before you know you’re frazzled, helps you send out your invites, “manages” the bridesmaids, spreads the word on your registry, and offers up her thoughts on everything from the venue to the dress.

Most often, the Maid of Honor is somewhere in the middle. She leads the bachelorette party and/or bridal shower, and tries to “be there” for the bride during the planning process, and the ceremony itself.

All this flexibility leaves a lot of room for misunderstandings. And they happen a lot. The world is full of brides who feel hurt and let down by close friends as the big day draws near. Do you want to be one of them? Of course not!

So here are some tips on choosing – and communicating with – your Maid of Honor for minimum stress, and maximum happiness.

Define what you really want. Are you a do-it-yourself bride, or do you want your Maid of Honor to be your right hand all the way through?

If you’re high-maintenance, accept and acknowledge it. Pick someone who can truly be there for you, and let them know exactly what you want. If you don’t know anyone with that much time or energy to give, think about finding help elsewhere. Is your fiancé an active participant? Can your mother do more? Maids of Honor are not supposed to be wedding co-planners … unless they really, really want to be!

Tell her what you really want. More than one bride has shed tears because a Maid of Honor couldn’t read her mind.  For example: many brides wish their Maids of Honor could give a little speech at the reception , but never get around to asking them. If it’s important to you, talk about it!

It doesn’t have to be family. Never feel you “have to” make a sister or other family your Maid of Honor. If your best friend’s a loyal trooper who goes with you on all the errands, choose her. She deserves it.

Pick someone local if you need a lot of help. No one can do much from 3000 miles away, no matter how badly they want to.

Be realistic; look at past performance. Weddings are exciting. People are human. When everything’s new and you’ve just announced your plans, lots of people will offer to help. But not everyone will manage to follow through.

Who came through for you before the wedding? Who actually managed to rearrange their schedules to be with you, even when inconvenient? These are the people to rely on. No matter how exciting your plans, they won’t make an overcommitted person more available to you. Avoid the trap of asking such a person because you think your wedding will be “important enough” for them to “change their ways,” and you’ll avoid all the stress and hardship of a disappointing Maid of Honor.

Be realistic; look at her life ahead. No matter what a treasure your Maid of Honor is, she has limits, too. Is she expecting a new baby? Is she working through a divorce? If these things slow her down, which they probably will, can you pick up the slack without feeling disappointed?

Consider more than one Maid of Honor if you just can’t decide. But keep in mind, this can cause problems too. Can your Maids of Honor divide responsibilities, communicate well and avoid feelings of jealousy?

Now that you’ve chosen, honor your Maid of Honor with a little sign of how special she is to you. Take her out to a day spa, or go together to have your hair done before the ceremony. Pick out a dress for her that’s a different color from the other bridesmaids, or order her a bouquet with some special touches. She deserves it!

Follow these tips, and you’ll be the bride who spends that all-important day surrounded by loving, warm friends at their ease. Could anything be better?

About the author: Blake Kritzberg is editor at "FavorIdeas.com." Stop by for wedding favor ideas, Save-the-Date eCards, free wedding screensaver, free wedding templates and Bridezilla's weekly adventures at: www.favorideas.com

Wedding Responsibilities of the Best Man

Best Man To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Host the bachelor party.
• Purchase or pay for rental of own wedding attire.
• Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Make arrangements to transport the groom to the ceremony and see that he is properly dressed.
• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Supervise the groomsmen and ushers.
• Hold the bride’s ring during the ceremony.
• Sign the wedding certificate as a legal witness.
• Forward any payment to the ceremony officiant, musicians, etc.
• Make transportation arrangements for newlyweds, maid of honor, and himself to the reception.
• Offer the first toast to the bride and groom at the reception.
• Transport the couple to the airport or honeymoon suite.
• Organize the return of all rented formalwear.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Father of the Groom

Father of the Groom’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Help prepare guest list.
• Select wedding attire that matches wedding party.
• Plan rehearsal dinner.
• Give toast at rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Stand to the left of the groom’s mother in the receiving line.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Father of the Bride

Father of the Bride’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Help prepare guest list.
• Select wedding attire that matches wedding party.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Escort bride down the aisle.
• Stand to the left of bride’s mother in the receiving line.
• Act as a host at reception.
• Help mother of the bride gather card box and gifts after reception.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Maid of Honour

Maid of Honour To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Assist bride in selecting wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses.
• Purchase own wedding attire.
• Help bride address invitations.
• Plan and host bridal parties for bride.
• Record wedding gifts received at bridal shower.
• Collect bows and ribbon at shower to design mock bouquets for rehearsal.
• Help bride decorate wedding favors.
• Help bride with reception hall decorating.
• Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive at dressing site two hours before the ceremony to assist the bride in dressing.
• Help in organizing the bridesmaids and their wedding attire.
• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Arrange the bride’s veil and train throughout the ceremony.
• Hold the groom’s ring and the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
• Sign the wedding certificate as a legal witness.
• Stand to the left of the groom in the receiving line.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Groomsmen

Groomsmen To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Purchase or pay for rental of own wedding attire.
• Help best man with bachelor party.
• Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Mother of the Groom

Mother of the Groom’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Help prepare guest list.
• Select attire that complements mother of the bride’s
*Plan rehearsal dinner.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Stand to the left of the bride’s parents in the receiving line.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Assist bride in selecting wedding gown and accessories, wedding colors, and attendants attire.
• Help prepare the guest list.
• Help record gifts received by mail.
• Select own attire that complements the color of the wedding.
• Assist in ceremony and reception details.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.
• Bring guest book and unity candle to ceremony..
• Stand at head of the receiving line.
• Serve as the official hostess at the wedding and reception.
• Bring guest book, candle, and card box to reception.
• After reception, gather gifts and card box to be later taken to the designated gift opening site.
• Sign the wedding certificate as a legal witness.
• Stand to the left of the groom in the receiving line.

Flower Girl Petal Toss

Flower Girl Petal Toss

Flower girls have been a wedding tradition for hundreds of years, symbolizing the youthful aspect of the circle of life. Here is our take on how to prepare your little angel for her all-important walk preceding you down the aisle.

Fresh or Freeze Dried?

Any of our natural botanicals are appropriate for your flower girl toss but you should compare our petals and botanicals to decide what will work best for you.

Ordering Your Petals

We recommend you order one package of our Fresh or Freeze-Dried Petals to fill one large or two small flower girl baskets.

You may want to consider creating a rose petal walkway before the ceremony. In this way, you will be sure to have a consistent carpet of petals even if the flower girl becomes distracted or throws all of her petals in her first few strides.

Practice, Practice

If your flower girl has a short attention span, you should start prepping her a few weeks before your ceremony. Present it to her as very important to you and a fun job too!

Find an area that is about the same length as your wedding aisle – outdoors if possible – so the birds can be your clean-up. Fill her basket with plain popcorn (no oil or it may stain the basket). Work with your flower girl on the pace of her walk, how many petals to use for each toss and how frequently she should toss them. Emphasize that she’s not a baseball pitcher! She needs to pretend she is a beautiful princess with long, flowing arms and delicate moves. Give her a small, inexpensive basket to take home and ask her to practice with leaves or more popcorn. The day of the rehearsal she should try out her skills again.

Above all, let your flower girl know she’s a vital part of your wedding and that you love her, no matter what happens.

The preceding information was provided by:Pick A Petal.  Add luxury to your wedding day, sophistication to your tabletops... or romance to any special occasion with fresh or freeze dried rose petals that look, smell, and feel like they just fell off the stems. Perfect for wedding or party favors, not to mention sensuous decoration.

Wedding Responsibilities for the Ring Bearer

Ring Bearer’s To Do List

Prior To Wedding

• Parents of ring bearer pay for wedding attire.
• Attend wedding rehearsal.

Day of Ceremony

• Arrive dressed at ceremony site one hour before the wedding for photographs.

During The Ceremony

• Precede the bride and her father down the aisle carrying the ring pillow.