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Getting to Know Your Wedding Entourage: The Maid of Honor

Maid of Honor

The principal member of the bride’s wedding entourage, the maid of honor is often given the most duties and honors in the whole bridal party. She is the female counterpart of the groom’s best man.

The term maid of honor traditionally refers to the unwed young woman given the tasks of heading the bridal party or the group of bridesmaids. If the woman is already married, she is called the matron of honor.

In Western tradition, the bride can have as many bridesmaids as she wants, but the maid of honor is considered the bride’s main attendant. Most of the time, the appointed maid of honor is a close relative or friend of the bride’s.

The Maid of Honour in the UK

In the United Kingdom, when you say maid of honour, you’re usually pertaining to the Queen’s female attendant. Maid of honor also refers to a form of small cake. The word bridesmaid usually suffices in reference to a bridal attendant. If the bridal attendant is already married or if she’s already of mature age, then she can be called the “matron of honour.”

Today, some modern English brides are now referring to their principal bridesmaid as their maid of honour. This is mainly due to the strong influence of American English and culture.

Introducing the Man of Honor

A number of modern brides today prefer a close male friend or relative as their head attendant. Although pretty unusual and unconventional, this idea is accepted in most social circles. The man of honor performs the same duties as the traditional maid of honor.

Duties before the Wedding

The maid of honor or the man of honor basically has duties or responsibilities before the wedding, during the wedding and in some cases even after the actual ceremony. The number of duties assigned to the bride’s chief attendant may vary depending on the bride’s wishes, but the following are some examples of the main duties of the maid or man of honor prior to the nuptials:

  • To travel with the bride and help her when picking out the venue for the ceremony.
  • To help the bride shop for her wedding gown, as well as to help the bride pick out the dresses for the bridesmaids.
  • To help the bride pick out and send out all the wedding invitations.
  • To accompany the bride when she registers for her gifts.
  • To plan and to host the bachelorette party or hen’s party and the bridal shower.
  • To help the bride finish the seating arrangements.
  • To attend and to help out during the rehearsal dinner.
  • To be in contact with the other bridesmaids and to keep things organized.
  • To take records of the gifts given during the bridal shower and the bachelorette party.

Duties during the Actual Wedding

The following are the main duties of the maid or man of honor during the actual wedding ceremony

  • To act as the messenger between the bride and whoever she wants to communicate with.
  • To help the bride apply her makeup, put on her dress and get ready for her walk down the aisle.
  • To make sure that the bride gets enough privacy prior to the wedding.
  • To check the reception room and see over the details.
  • To help the bride with her wedding train and veil, before, during and even after the wedding.
  • To sign the marriage license after the wedding.
  • To hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony if needed.
  • To hold the wedding ring of the groom and to hand it to the bride during the wedding ceremony.
  • To secure any and all the money that will be handed to the couple during reception.
  • To make a toast and say a speech during reception.
  • To provide emotional and sometimes even financial support to the bride if necessary.

Check out this Maid of Honor wedding toast from the TV series One Tree Hill.

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