The Wedding Whisperer’s How To: a most honourable Maid of Honour

So, here’s an interesting new trend. This season, I’m seeing more and more that the “Bride’s Mate” is replacing the Bridesmaid or Maid of Honour – the bride’s brother, or next-best male friend stepping up in support of the bride, and the corollary, the Best Woman standing alongside the groom.

the bride's mates / best men, and flower boi

How cool is that?!

And, and, I’m pleased to note that it’s not the sole domain of the screaming queen or the tomboy, either. Couples are simply choosing their closest friends or family, and by doing so observing the true heart of the tradition, not just the commonest form! Yay!

That said, being chosen as maid or matron of honour is supposed to be a great honour. In reality, sometimes, it’s a great pain in the butt. What makes the difference often comes down to the bride and her Honour Attendant clearly agreeing on the specifics of the role right from the beginning.

The bride may ask the Honour Attendant to help choose the bridesmaids’  dress, shoes jewellery or other accessories. However that goes, be sure you are clear about who is expected to pay for which items.

As a general guideline, the person paying the bill should have the most input into what is purchased. This also applies to paying for hairstyling, manicures, etc. In a nutshell, [and it goes both ways] if you’re asking for something out of the ordinary, then it’s unreasonable to expect someone else to be footing the bill for it.
The mores of etiquette recommend that the Honour Attendant is the one to let guests know details of where the couple are registered, or what’s on their gift wish list, as well as hosting the bridal shower, hens night, or bachelorette party (assuming that the bride wants one).  In reality, the bride will most likely be involved in the planning of her pre-wedding celebrations, but any invites and RSVPs should come through the Honour Attendant.
On the day: The Honour Attendant should be ready and able to help the bride handle any last minute details. This includes being available to accompany the bride to the bathroom, if her dress needs wrangling, and carrying a stash of practical items such as tissues, a comb, lippy, etc for touch ups that might be needed along the way.
When the bridal car arrives at the wedding venue, the Honour Attendant helps with the bride’s veil and bride’s bouquet, and lays out the train, etc, as the bridal party is assembling and oversees the entrance of the bridesmaids and page boys and flower girls, as planned during the rehearsal.

The Honour Attendant may be asked to sign the marriage license as an official witness, but this is not always the case.

At the reception, the Honour Attendant usually sits at the head table during dinner, and may be asked to make a speech as well as, or even instead of, the Best Man.

It’s too easy, in the heat of the moment, to forget that the reason a bride chooses her attendants is because these are the people she most wants at her side during her wedding, and in the days leading up to it. No matter what, it’s worth the effort to keep the lines of communication wide open, make sure you have reasonable expectations, and be willing to extend plenty of grace to each other, so that  you can have a day to remember for all the right reasons in the years to come.

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