When you find out your best friend is getting married, you might face a roller coaster of emotions — things will likely change up, especially if you're single and don't see marriage, or long-term companionship in your future. But despite the fact that your friend is going through a life milestone that you're not yet facing, it doesn't mean that you can't figure out ways to be a great maid of honor at her upcoming wedding. Serving as the maid of honor means that she values your friendship, and likely doesn't see herself drifting apart from you, regardless of whether she's a Miss or a Mrs. And also, it's a big responsibility that she assigned to you, since she knew you could handle it.
It's often a little jumbled about what the maid of honor really does. First and foremost, know that the title doesn't imply that you'll be there for the bride's every whim (or forced to work on her DIY centerpieces till 2 a.m., without any kind of thank you pizza in return). It does imply that you'll be there to help her emotionally, since wedding planning is tough work, and after a while, it stops being "fun" and starts becoming "a major pain in the butt."
Here are a few tips to totally rock your title, and make sure your bestie has the most amazing wedding possible.
1. Get to know the other bridesmaids
You may know some of them already, but there might be a cousin or two in the mix that you're unfamiliar with. Since you'll be tied to this group until the reception ends, try your hardest to get to know them and get along. They might not be your favorite people in the world, but they were chosen for good reason. Any kind of tension or stress will be pretty obvious to the bride, so unless one of the other girls is secretly planning to sabotage the event, don't make any snide comments to your friend about the rest of the group.
While it'd be amazing if you had an instant bond (as it'll help with so many aspects of planning) you at least have one thing in common — you're all very, very important to the bride.
2. Plan a bachelorette party that the bride will actually like
If your bestie bride hands off the bachelorette party to you, remember to keep her in your mind the entire time you plan. If she's wary of "shadier" locations (cough, strip club, cough), don't even entertain the idea. Heck, if the bride just wants to stay in and watch a bunch of movies with her favorite girls, honor that request. She should never feel uncomfortable during the process, and she'll be happy to know that you're planning the event for her, not because of her.
3. Don't be late to appointments
You shouldn't expect to be at every bridal appointment, but you should try your hardest to make a few — especially the ones where dresses are involved. While your life shouldn't revolve around this wedding, skipping out entirely makes it look like you don't care. This is a big deal for your best friend. Don't run late, don't dismiss it, and make sure that you don't let a bad mood sour the day entirely.
If you think there's a chance you might be late (as sometimes major things do come up), give the bride as much advanced notice as possible. That way, she won't be waiting around for you to show, and can get things started.
4. Be upfront about expenses
Nobody likes talking about money. As the maid of honor, sometimes costs can get a little out of control. When you accepted the position, you realized that you might need to start saving to prepare for the big day, but if things seem to add up to a point you can't handle, kindly tell the bride. You might assume that this may cause a rift, but it's better to be upfront and honest than go into debt and hold an endless grudge (especially if, say, she mentions cost at your future wedding, while you kept your mouth shut to please her).
Approach the topic calmly and politely — if she's starting to look at bridesmaid dresses that are way out of your price range, a little nudge and a "that one may be out of my budget, but I do like the style" may help. If she likes the dress enough, she might offer to help her girls out with the expenses.
5. Try to make this as fun for the bride as possible
Even brides who seem as cool as a cucumber will find something weird to get into hysterics about. When planning a wedding, many brides want to give up and just elope, to ease them of the pressure. But as mentioned before, your friend will hopefully only be doing this one time in her life, and if she can't have fun with it, she'll find herself too focused on things like flower arrangements and napkin designs at the reception, when she should be focused on the start of her new life with her partner. Wedding planning can be fun, if you let it be fun. Take breaks with her during the process, and maybe take her to the movies or out to drinks like you did prior to her engagement.
6. Don't flake on communication
Brides are often fond of group e-mails — they help make sure everyone is on the same page. And while some brides might be a little excessive at times, at least make sure that she knows her attempts to inform have been read. You don't always have to respond back with a novel, but if she asks for opinions, or wants to tell you what time your day-of hair appointment is, don't brush it off. Just one or two enthusiastic sentences will ease her mind.
7. Write your speech from the heart
Your true chance in the spotlight will be at the reception, where you'll give a short speech about how much the bride means to you, with maybe a fun anecdote or two mixed in. First, know that nobody is expecting you to give an Obama-level speech — so, if you've got a bit of stage fright, make sure to take a deep breath and realize that you got this. Your speech shouldn't be long (in fact, the longer the speech, the more people might tune it out) but it should be heartfelt. This isn't the time to make too many jokes, or embarrass the bride, or talk about yourself. Make sure the room realizes why you were given the top bridesmaid spot.
8. If you have time to help with the details, offer it
The bride will be up to her ears in small chores, and might feel hesitant to ask for help. If you've got the time, you should help her out, and use this as a chance to let your bond with her grow. Just know that it's not your responsibility to drop everything to be at her beck and call. You should help because you have the time, want to be there for your friend, and support her wedding — not because you think she'll drop you from your title if you say no.
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