Bridal Party Q&As

Guidelines about the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, from maid of honor on down.

Q: My friend just asked me to be her maid of honor and I am so thrilled. What are my responsibilities?

A: The bride relies most heavily on her maid of honor (called a matron of honor if the woman is married). Before the wedding, the maid of honor's duties include coordinating the bridesmaid's activities (such as meeting for the dress fittings) and organizing the bridal shower. She should also offer to help the bride with any organizational wedding planning tasks, such as addressing wedding invitations.

On the day of the wedding, the maid of honor helps the bride dress and accompanies her to the ceremony. She precedes the bride and her father down the aisle, arranges the bride's veil and train whenever necessary, and holds her bouquet at the altar. The maid of honor also carries and passes the grooms ring to the bride during the vows, and signs the marriage license as the brides witness after the ceremony. At the reception, she dances with the best man and helps to organize the bridesmaids for formal photographs. Before the couple leaves for their honeymoon, the maid of honor should help the bride change her clothes, and then make sure her dress and bouquet are taken care of until the bride returns.

In some cases, a bride will choose to have both a maid and a matron of honor. Generally the maid of honor's role takes precedence, but some brides divide the duties equally. Either is fine, as long as it's clear who does what.

<< More Bridal Party Advice



Wedding etiquette is a popular subject because they are so many horror stories. It's expensive to be in a bridal party, and it's expensive and stressful to have a large one. One budget line item that often gets overlooked by the future Mr. and Mrs. is the THANK YOU gift for each bridal party member. You should plan to spend at least half the amount of the cost of the bridesmaid dress/suit rental for each person. So if the dress they bought is $300, then be prepared to thank each one with ~$150 worth of gratitude. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, flights/hotels, hair/shoes/makeup/hair styling -- all these things add up, and some bridesmaids spend over $1000 just to be in your wedding party. These are your most important witnesses to your wedding. And chances are they supported you before, during, and after the big day. Thank you gifts are not the area to skimp. Good luck! Lisa |

I've selected my matron of honor (and asked her) who is engaged and was supposed to get married before me but then had to postpone her wedding. Can she still be my matron of honor??