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.