Choosing one friend above another is a difficult decision to make and bringing family and future family into the mix does not help matters. Add in the possibility that you’ve been a bridesmaid or maid of honor in one of your best friends’ weddings and the whole concept of choosing a maid of honor can be a stress-inducing mess!
I was fortunate enough to have alternative options when I came into wedding planning (I’ll explain in my next post), but some brides-to-be do not have such luxuries. So, as I’ve had this conversation with friends in the past, here is a bit of advice for when it comes time to decide on your maid of honor and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed:
Family is trump.
When choosing your maid of honor, choose the person you feel most connected to no matter if they are friends or family. There is no rule that you have to choose your sister over your best friend. That being said, however, choosing family over friends often provides a pass to family drama, especially if your sister or family member believes she should be the maid of honor. Friends may already think they can’t trump the family card, so they may expect you to ask your family member above them. Communicate that you still want that friend to be a bridesmaid because you could not imagine the day without her by your side.
Keep it simple.
The person you choose as your maid of honor should not be the solution to a math problem. Were you in her wedding but not as a maid of honor but are now closer to her than you were when she got married? Great! Your maid of honor should simply be the person(s) you could not imagine getting married without. These are the people you feel closest to, feel supported by, and would regret not having them by your side as you say, “I do.” Consider choosing your best friend or family member, or perhaps a combination of the two — a friend who feels like a sibling or your sibling who is your best friend. If you have any hesitations, then that person probably shouldn’t be your maid of honor.
Were you in her wedding as a bridesmaid and you’ve now fallen from being super close due to distance, work, and adulting struggles? Now is the time to reach out to this friend and spark some life into your relationship! If you are not very close anymore, still send a personal invite to the wedding, as well as you bridal shower and perhaps ever your bachelorette party, but there’s no need for her to stand up in your wedding.
Consider the responsibilities.
Being a maid of honor has some requirements and not everyone is up to the task. She is more than a bridesmaid. She actually should be the leader of the bridesmaid troupe, making sure everyone gets their dresses and accessories, schedules dress fittings, and provides all the 411 on prewedding parties. She assists with cohosting a bridal shower, plans the bachelorette party, keeps record of all gifts received, and spreads news about where the bride and groom are registered. She also holds the bride’s bouquet and groom’s ring during the ceremony, signs as a witness on the marriage license, and toasts the couple at the reception. Overall, the maid of honor is the main line of support for the bride and continues to be a trusted friend, smart adviser, and laugh-inducer to the bride throughout the entire wedding process.
Toss tradition to the wind.
In today’s world, tradition is not necessary in weddings. So, if you can’t decide between two friends or family members on whom should be your maid of honor, choose both! Or perhaps you feel all your bridesmaids are wonderful; choose none! Your maid of honor duties can be shared among your bridesmaids. Delegate which tasks each bridesmaid will handle or have them split the responsibilities equally. The options are endless.
Gender rules are officially out the door as well. So if you want your brother, father, or best guy friend to stand next to you on your Big Day, then go for it. Ever hear of a “bridesman” or “man of honor?” (This is what G and I have decided to do, actually — which you can read more about here.)
Bottom line: your maid of honor (or man of honor) and bridesmaids should be the people you feel most connected to and trust the most with various responsibilities. Do not let politics or other people’s opinions dictate who you choose to stand by you. It is your wedding after all, and when you look back on the day won’t you want to smile at the thought that you were surrounded by the people you cherish most?