When you’re asked to stand up in a wedding, there are probably a few things that run through your head. I know when my little sister asked me to be her Matron (SUCH an un-fun word) of Honor I was excited, and a little intimidated by the timeline of the events. Here are the tips I collected throughout the process of helping to plan and put together my sister’s wedding as her MOH.
5 Tips for a First-Time Maid or Matron of Honor
Tip #1: Remember — It’s Not Your Wedding
This sounds like common sense, but it can be tough not to make too many suggestions to the bride. It’s important to make sure that the bride feels supported and that you are being helpful, but to also remember that it’s her event and your taste and preferences really don’t matter.
Being myself and a MOH, I struggled with trying to work with the different flow that my sister’s wedding would have. I am a bit of a control freak, and her planning style was much more relaxed than mine. I had to remind myself frequently that it’s okay to do things differently, and that it’s her day and her event. My job was to support her vision and help to make things run as smoothly as possible.
Tip #2: Focus on the Bride — Not the Guests
When it comes to the days leading up to the wedding, and especially on the wedding day itself, your job is not to keep the guests happy. As the MOH, it’s important that you are paying attention to the bride and what she needs to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. The wedding is her special event and will be an important memory in her life, so her experience throughout the day is the top priority for the MOH.
If the event was planned well, the guests should be able to navigate the day and its events easily and without causing undue stress. As the MOH, your job is to delegate any issues that arise (to other family or members of the wedding party) and to keep the bride from getting caught up in any negativity or drama. She has enough on her mind, and will appreciate a MOH who can keep everyone calm.
Whether it was people running late, the wrong song being played, or a guest in a bad mood, I made it my goal to keep my sister from having to deal with as much of the drama as possible. Of course, I couldn’t keep everyone on track. However, remembering the small things like a snack and cold water bottle for after photos, or making sure the wedding party knew where to go and that everyone had a ride are details that the bride shouldn’t have to worry about.
Tip #3: Offer Your Time, Even if That’s All You Have to Give
Weddings can be expensive. Not all of us have much wiggle room left in the budget after buying a bridesmaid dress and attending events like the bridal shower and bachelorette party. It’s important to remember that your time is valuable and that offering your time to help out can be the best way to make the wedding planning process easier for the bride.
I run a tight budget, as anyone who spends time with me knows (check out my blogs on paying off student loans!) and that meant that I had to be careful about expenses related to my sister’s wedding. What I was able to do was to offer my time either after work or on the weekends to take care of tasks and projects.
Here are some of the jobs I was able to work on or help with before the wedding day:
- Designing, printing, and assembling bridal shower invitations
- Writing out guest name cards for the dinner/reception
- Assembling bouquets (it was my first time and it was the night before the wedding! yikes!)
There were some small investments in accomplishing these tasks, but by making them a DIY project and volunteering my time, I was able to save myself and the bride some money and undue stress. Time and attention really are the best ways to help out as a MOH.
Tip #4: Avoid Putting Pressure on the Wedding Party
This tip is especially important in specific situations — and definitely applied to the wedding I was just involved in. As the MOH, it is your job to take stress off of the bride and help to make the wedding day and any pre-wedding events go as smoothly as possible. A bride chooses her wedding party based on who she loves, not necessarily based on who has the most time and experience in putting together events. Because of this, it can be very important to plan ahead based on the availability of help. Don’t assume that every person in the wedding party is able to dedicate the same amount of time and resources.
For example, there are three things necessary to make a bridal shower a success: guests, food, and drinks. As the MOH, it was my job to ensure that the guests had the information they needed and that the food and drinks were available when they arrived. If the shower had only consisted of a light lunch, a drink to sip, and opening gifts, it would still be a success.
Once those three bases were covered, we were able to delegate extra low-priority tasks to other members of the wedding party. These low-stress tasks included things like: games, prizes, and extra treats.
The same rules apply to the wedding day. As the MOH, it is helpful to have a handle on all of the most crucial factors involved in the wedding day — leaving the extra details and any more “fun” aspects to other members of the wedding party. That way, if they forget or there is a conflict, the most important events can proceed smoothly.
Tip #5: Chill Out and Enjoy the Event
When the big day arrives and you’ve survived the lead up, preparation, and any bridezilla moments, it’s time to chill out. Of course, you’ll do your best to maintain peace and keep things rolling, but by the time the day has arrived, you’re really there to enjoy yourself and ride it out. Try to be a positive and relaxed influence on the wedding party and the bride.
You’ll have more happy memories of the event if you choose to just work with whatever happens and keep the bride as comfortable as possible. Rock your speech after dinner and enjoy a piece of cake. You will have definitely earned it!
Extra Bonus Tips for the MOH on the Wedding Day:
- Carbs & Caffeine: If getting ready before the ceremony starts early, show up with some carbs and caffeine for the wedding party and especially the bride. Either organize a breakfast option that will feed all the girls or remind them to eat something before the day gets going. It’s going to be busy and with empty stomachs, both the bride and her ladies may get cranky or even sick.
- Earlier is Better: You might not need to be at the salon before 10am, but getting up a few hours early on the wedding day is always a good idea. If you have extra time on your hands, call the Mother of the Bride and ask if she needs anything that morning. Otherwise get the carbs and caffeine and meet the bride wherever she is to make sure she’s feeling comfortable and prepared.
- Watch for Nonverbals: The bride is going to be a little flustered and nervous, but she’s also going to be trying to keep a smile going because it’s her day. Watch for nonverbal clues as to how she’s feeling whenever she isn’t in front of people or a camera. Does she need some water? A snack? A quick break from the hustle and bustle? As the MOH, it is really helpful to facilitate whatever she needs without her having to seem needy and ask.
- Hydration: Keep everyone hydrated. It’s not your job to force adults to drink water, but you should remind the wedding party to keep drinking water throughout the day’s events. Not only will their bodies be prepared for celebratory drinks, but the bride may also be too busy to remember to drink between photos and conversations.
Aren’t You Glad You’re Not a Full-Time Event Planner?
After my sister’s wedding was over, I felt such a relief. I loved the wedding. Everything went great. However, all the pressure and preparations had everyone feeling a little wound up. Remember that being a MOH is an honor and that the bride will remember this day for the rest of her life. All we can do is try our best and make the whole process as wonderful and fun as we possibly can.