Virginia wedding

Weddings: A Maid of Honor’s or Best Man’s Stress Test

Before you honor someone by asking them to walk down the aisle as part of your wedding party, there are things you should think about as a bride or a groom.   Getting married sometimes gets you so self-involved that you can forget how stressful, inconvenient, and expensive it can be for a friend or family member “to be there for you.”  While you might think it is an honor and a way of showing your love and affection to ask someone to be your maid of honor or best man, you also need to realize you are asking someone to take on responsibility and stresses.

Here is a quick rundown of some of the responsibilities of these honored posts.

The Maid of Honor’s Duties

  • Serve as the personal aide and adviser to the bride.
  • Coordinate the bridesmaids’ formal wear, which includes selecting dresses and attending fittings, as well as assisting with jewelry, hairstyles, and makeup.
  • Pay for her own dress and shoes and make sure the other dresses are paid for either by the bride’s family or by the bridesmaids.  This includes shoes and coordinating jewelry.
  • Spread the news about where the couple is registered and what may still be needed and desired.  This will require keeping up with the registry.
  • Help bride change out of her wedding dress into her clothes for her honeymoon.
  • Make sure dress is stored and put away for safe keeping.
  • Be the bride’s trusted confidant as well as adviser. Weddings are stressful, and the bride needs someone she can entrust her worries and frustrations to and offer helpful support.  No bride needs a divisive person in this position.  She needs someone who is a comfort and who can defuse conflicts.
  • Coordinate the bridal shower.
  • Coordinate the bachelorette party.
  • Attend all rehearsal and pre-wedding parties.
  • Keep a gift registry so the bride and groom can write proper thank-you notes.  There should be room for some detail that will help convey thoughtfulness, for example, if the teapot is red or if the glass vase is crystal or it it’s painted glass signed by an artist.
  • Make sure bridesmaids have accommodations if they need to travel and stay overnight.
  • Make sure the bridesmaids make it to the rehearsals and ceremonies on time, have their hair and makeup done, and have their coordinated flowers.
  • Arrange the bride’s veil and train just before she walks down the aisle and after she arrives at the altar.
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
  • Keep the groom’s ring until the exchange of rings.
  • Witness the marriage certificate with the best man.
  • Play hostess in the receiving line and circulate with the bridesmaids during the reception.
  • Collect any gift envelopes and possibly deposit them in an account for the bride and groom.
  • Give a toast to the couple.
  • Dance with the best man.

The Best Man’s Duties

  • Serve as the personal aide and adviser to the groom.
  • Coordinate the groomsmen’s formal wear.
  • Organize the bachelor party.
  • Attend the rehearsal wedding and rehearsal dinner.
  • Be the groom’s confidant as well as his adviser.  Although less emphasized, the groom does need someone he can entrust any stresses and conflicts to.  He needs someone who is supportive and constructive.  A divisive person should not be entrusted with private information or private moments.
  • Stand with the groom at the altar.
  • Keep the bride’s ring for the ceremony.
  • Organize the groomsmen, making sure they are performing their duties.
  • Sign the marriage license as a witness.
  • Give the officiant a sealed envelope with his fee enclosed.
  • Dance with the bride and maid of honor.
  • Give the first toast to the bride and groom.
  • Collect guests’ gift envelopes at the reception and possibly deposit the checks for the bride and groom.
  • Decorate the getaway car.
  • Drive the couple to their honeymoon destination or to the airport after the reception.

Other Things to Consider

  • Can the person handle being in public situations?
  • Can the person afford any expenses?
  • Does their employment allow them enough time to be a such an important part of your wedding?
  • Would they be able to spot a potential problem and resolve it independently?
  • Can they socialize well enough to play host or hostess?
  • Can they manage other people?

Although the duties will vary from wedding to wedding, you can see how potentially you could have to pick someone who is responsible versus someone you just love dearly.  Your best friend or even your oldest sibling may not be able to be there for you.  In some cases, you may know they need to just be there to enjoy themselves and not be burdened.

And be real.

Weddings have a lot to do  with responsibilities, and places of honor are all about long-term commitments.

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The author: Dawn Van Ness

Dawn Dickson Van Ness grew up at the beach and has published her work in print and online. With a BA in English and a MS in Mass Communications, she has used writing and multimedia to promote artists, art shows, writers, small businesses, and other self-employed individuals by building websites and maintaining social media pages. She feels most fulfilled when she is helping others achieve their dreams, which includes writing self-help and steps-to-success articles for various websites. It seems a natural fit for this wife and mother of two to write features that help soon-to-be wed couples. For more about Dawn, go to