Photo Credit: @the.simple.space
Accepting the ask to be a friend, cousin, sister’s Maid or Matron of Honor isn’t as easy as saying ‘YAAAAS GIRL,’ drinking unhealthy amounts of champs at every wedding-related (or not) occasion, and planning a baller bachelorette party, there’s a lotttt more to it - especially if you’re after that best bridesmaid ever title. And for real, if you’re not in it to win it, then why even sign up? It’s kind of a huge undertaking and one that you shouldn’t take lightly. You’re pretty much passing the best friend/soulmate/person torch/baton/etc. to your bride-to-be’s new spouse, so you have to show up for the job, take things seriously, and honor the person who’s entrusted you with such an honor. It’s her day, her biggest day (actually), so you can’t f*** up. If you can recognize that going into it, and consider the weight of your decision deftly, you’ll be in a much better position to meet any+all expectations.
I’ve been working in weddings for the last 6+ years now - penning relatable advice for couples, promoting some of the best brands in the business, curating some of the most incredible real wedding coverage ever - but I only became a Matron of Honor for the first time in the past year+. And I have to say, being on this side of things is much harder than I thought! It really isn’t just nights of stress-induced drinking and trying on pretty dresses, it’s pressure; yes, you’re not the one getting married, but you’re trying to manage, relax, and alleviate the anxiety of one who is. And on top of it all, you have your own life to attend to, as well.
Photo Credit: @aprilandpaul
So, after reflecting on my own fears and chatting with a number of friends and colleagues who have been or will be in the same boat in the very near future, I’ve rounded up some of the most common fears of Maids and/or Matrons of Honor // followed by some related content that can allay some of those fears.
If you happen to be a MOH RN, chances are you probably felt some or all of these things at some point in the process / her engagement - know that you have the support of every former MOH behind you. You’ll get through it, we promiseeeee!
Not being able to afford it allAs the MOH you don’t have to pay for everything, but you’ll certainly have to contribute to a lot of the pre-wedding events and adventures: the bridal shower, bachelorette, whether they require travel expenses, accommodations, etc. It can easily be a $4,000 expense to be a bridesmaid in the year 2018, and usually the HBIC pays out a lot more than that. A lot of the anxiety can stem from your unique set of life circumstances+age, for instance, my sister was still in college when she was my MOH and she didn’t have a real adult job yet to cover all the costs. Now as her MOH, I do have a job, and have been making money (alongside my husband) for years, but we also have a baby, so we try not to go too overboard with frivolous things either.
Having to manage the rest of the maids
With an 11-women-strong bridal party (most living in New Jersey, a few living in New York, one in Nashville, one in Scottsdale), my sister didn’t make it easy for me… but thankfully, there are so many more resources, apps, technology to help bridal parties communicate these days. I’m fairly organized with things, so I’ve been able to keep track of events, needs, money required, and articulate what’s going on/needs to happen to everyone in the group at the drop of a hat, but some Maids/Matrons of Honor worry that they’re too all over the place to be able to corral the whole crew, ask for money when it’s needed, etc. There’s also a ton of drama and gossip and politics that can bubble up in a bride squad, and the MOH really has to be able to step up to streamline responsibilities, squash any arguments between girls, make decisions that are for the good of the group AND - first and foremost - the bride. This requires a Maid or Matron who either isn’t afraid to be assertive or who might be afraid to reach out and rally the troops, but will anyway, because she’s a boss.
Photo Credit: @tyfrenchphoto
Being unprepared or overprepared
A few weekends ago was my best friend’s wedding, and I can remember a few minutes in the bridal suite where she just melted into a puddle of nerves after not being able to put her veil in. She needed her bridesmaids to be there for her, offer to help, give her reassurance that she looked stunning and everything was going smoothly. I jumped in to help her adjust the veil and make sure it fit flush with her hairpiece, but it wasn’t because her sister and cousin (the dual Maid and Matron of Honor) didn’t want to, they just weren’t sure they knew how! And that’s totalllly normal, especially since weddings don’t happen every day. I rose to the occasion solely because I had a pretty good handle on what needed to be done and how it was supposed to look. I was comfortable, but not every bridesmaid or MOH is totally in tune with bridal decorum, event management, wedding wisdom. On the flip side, as my sister’s MOH, I knew sooo much going into everything - budgets, aesthetics, color palettes, vendor relations, guest etiquette - that I worried about overstepping boundaries or offering too much support and guidance so as to be overwhelming for her.
Messing up the morning of
The morning of the wedding is truly a Maid or Matron of Honor’s time to shine. Time to wo-man up and be totally on your game to ensure the bride is calm, cool, and collected by the time she walks down the aisle. Lots of girls are concerned that they’ll forget something big that the bride can’t possibly say ‘I Do’ without (like a veil or shoes, maybe even the something old, new, borrowed or blue) or not show up with the things she needs for the wedding if she’s forgotten them herself. I’m truly terrified about getting my sister into her gown. Even though I’ve been to three of the last four fittings, I’m scared that I don’t have the confidence and the know-how that the bridal salon stylists and consultants have shown they have to zip her up and make sure she feels like her best, most beautiful self. My mom has even walked away before, saying ‘I hope you know what you’re doing, I’d be scared I’d rip the dress.’ Makes me feel real good! 😨 Other girls are scared they’ll drink too many morning mimosas and be sloppy getting to the ceremony or stepping on the bride’s gown and destroying her perfect tulle skirt. And I’ll forever be nervous about doing my sister’s bustle. It’s probably the easiest thing to do, and I can have her stylist show me a dozen times, but I still think I’ll screw it up.
Photo Credit: @maleen_photography
Writing+delivering the speech
This is - without a doubt - the biggest fear I’ve had being my sister’s Matron of Honor. I write for a living, and spent the majority of my childhood and young adulthood performing, acting, singing, and dancing on stage and otherwise. I’m completely comfortable with public speaking and actually like the butterflies that happen when I have to talk in front of a large group of people. My issue is coming up with the right words to use when I address my sister and her new husband. Will I talk too long and bore TF out of everyone listening? Will I make people tear up enough? Will I get the newlywed’s approval? It’s a lot to wonder about, and being the perfectionist that I am, I’m so scared I’ll deliver a speech that just doesn’t speak enough to their relationship, my relationship with her, love in general, what I think marriage means to them and what I see for their future together. Whether you’re having trouble with the wordsmithing or freaking out about the actual moment when you take the mic, it’s all 100 percent normal and expected. Makes things even harder if you’ve been the bride before and born witness to a beautiful speech on your behalf. You obvi want to repay it forward...
Feeling bested by another bridesmaid
This is probably the most shared fear of ALL the current, former, and future MOH I’ve talked to. And it’s something that every woman who has ever watched Bridesmaids understands and relates to right away. That feeling like you’ve lost your best friend chip to another chick. Like you haven’t gone above and beyond to make the bride happy, as much as another one of the crew has. It’s a sick way to feel and something that goes wayyy past middle school ‘she’s MY best friend’ fights. If you’re fraught with fears over another friend taking your ‘place’ at the altar, then you probably also have even bigger fears about not being as close with the bride as you thought you were or even that you’re not meeting her expectations. Disappointing the bride or realizing that you haven’t been her first ‘phone a friend’ for everything, that’s a sinking and all-consuming struggle; it hurts to see someone else doing it better.
Photo Credit: @torreyfox
Listen, there will be fears (probably many of them) involved in saying ‘YES’ to being someone’s Maid or Matron of Honor, but your bride asked you to fill those shoes (pretty ones, of course) for a very special reason. She loves you and knows that you’ll do a Taylor Swift-worthy amazing job, so if you can just remember that and try your best to make her smile whenever you can, you’ll kill it. 👍