If it hasn’t happened to you already, the odds are good that at some point in your life, someone’s going to ask you to be their maid of honor. As this is, well, an honor, it’s a task that should be accepted with joy and excitement. The reality is, on the other hand, that it can have moments where it will seem like a horrible chore or just something that you’re completely incapable of.
After agreeing to be my sister’s maid of honor, I asked a more wedding-experienced friend what I should expect, and she gave me a lengthy list of things I’d never heard of. Did you know it is the maid of honor’s duty to save all the gift ribbons from the bridal shower and make them into a bouquet? I did not. So, as with everything in life that I’m not sure about, I turned to the movies to see how to be a maid of honor. Why? Because in movies, no matter what you have to deal with—weddings or otherwise—everything works out in the end.
The Reluctant MOH
Exemplified by: Annie Walker (Bridesmaids)
She’s excited her BFF is getting married and wants to be the best MOH ever. The problem is, she just doesn’t have her own life together enough to be there when her friend needs it. (Then there’s also the fact that one of her fellow bridesmaids is moving in on her bestie turf.) Having a little life drama is okay, ruining someone’s bachelorette party and bridal shower are not.
If this is you: Have a frank discussion with the bride about where you’re at in life and what you can reasonably put together for the various events involved in the wedding. If she wants a bachelorette trip to Vegas and you can barely afford some two-buck Chuck in your family’s cabin, you should both be clear about that up front.
The Overachieving MOH
Exemplified by: Helen Harris (Bridesmaids)
Her shower invite will include live animals and she doesn’t shy away from international trips in search of the perfect dress. She wants your wedding to be absolutely perfect.
If this is you: You might have the perfect vision of what you think a wedding should look like. But have a chat with the bride and make sure your visions align, because this is her day, not yours. The last thing you want is for the bride to go missing on the wedding day because you talked her into a dress with about 12,000 ruffles too many.
The Frenemy MOH
Exemplified by: Regan Crawford (Bachelorette)
She’s great at planning events, but secretly she’s saying terrible things about you behind your back.
If this is you: If you’re really going to be like this behind someone else’s back, why on Earth did you say yes to being MOH in the first place? If your heart isn’t in it, decline.
The Fellow Bride MOH
Exemplified by: Liv Lerner and Emma Allen (Bride Wars)
She knows exactly what the bride is going through, because she’s going through it, too! She can be the perfect listening ear or shoulder to cry on, but might also get just a little competitive.
If this is you: This can be a perfect situation since as a fellow bride, you know exactly what needs to happen. That said, make sure dates of major events don’t conflict, and don’t actually turn this into a competition. Your wedding will be wonderful, her wedding will be wonderful, and no one’s keeping score between the two.
The Upstaging MOH
Exemplified by: Suzie Barnes (The Five Year Engagement)
She means well, but somehow manages to make the bride’s day all about her, whether it’s with a flashy dress, an over the top toast, or hooking up with the best man at the engagement party and ending up pregnant and married before the bride.
If this is you: Remember that above all, a maid of honor is there to make things easier for the bride. Yes, you get to look pretty and have a good time too, but the more important thing is to make the bride look good and make sure she has a good time.
Okay, maybe the movies aren’t full of the greatest maid of honor examples, but most of them mean well until movie shenanigans get in the way. Go in with good intentions and be a good friend, and you’ll be just fine, even if you forget that ribbon bouquet thing.