The Modern Maid Of Honour’s Duties

So your best friend/sister/woman you once had a Saturday job with when you were 15, has chosen you to be their Maid of Honour. Congratulations! You are literally the best person they know- or at least the person they most trust to hold their hair back if they get too squiffy at the hen do.

But what exactly is expected of you? Here are our top tips to being a marvellous Maid of Honour.

bride and bridesmaids


So the basics are-

  • Get the bride to the church
  • Wear whatever hideous dress the bride thinks goes with her theme
  • Organise the hen do
  • Keep the other bridesmaids in check

But what else is expected? It’s best to find this out up-front, so you don’t fall out with the bride before the cake has been cut. Some brides want their Maid of Honour to be involved in all the planning, organising and even the licking of the envelops on each and every invite, whereas other brides have had their hen do organised in their heads since they were 7 years old, and are convinced a My Little Pony theme is still totally cool and relevant today.

Whatever it is that’s expected, make sure you and the bride are both on the same page, and that you have enough time to devote to making her dreams come true.

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You’re not in this alone, and possibly there are other bridesmaids who are part of your crew. You may not even know some of them, so set up a drinks session, or a Whatsapp group to get to know each other a little as soon as possible.

This will help with the organising of the hen do, and delegating of tasks if the bride needs a lot of support. It could even help with writing your speech, should you choose to make one (we’ll talk more about this later).

And don’t forget the Bride’s other nearest and dearest. It may be helpful to get the contact details of her parents, siblings, and of course, the groom to help make sure you do the best job possible.

bride and maid of honour


A hen do shouldn’t just be a few jugs of Sex on The Beach and a stripper dressed as a Policeman. In fact- it shouldn’t be!

Firstly, check with your Bride what kind of “do” she wants. It’s not unusual for Brides to have two hen-dos nowadays, one wild one with friends, and one slightly more sedate one with family and work colleagues- although there’s always one Aunt who goes a bit heavy on the pre-drinks and ends up being the live entertainment.

Whatever the group you have involved, there are plenty of ideas for the event on Tobooka.

Fancy something relaxing and special, but don’t want the restrictions of staying in a health spa, where you may get judged for tucking into your 8th slice of pizza? How about booking a hot tub for the weekend? It can be set up anywhere you want, whether you’ve hired a quaint cottage for the weekend, or you’re planning to stay at home.

Or maybe your Bride is itching to let out her inner diva, but you’re not quite sure the rest of the world is ready to hear her teary rendition of Total Eclipse of The Heart? How about hiring your own karaoke, with over 20,000 songs? And the best thing is, you won’t have to wait for your favourite Backstreet Boys song whilst some old fella murders a Meatloaf song. (And the queue for drinks will be shorter, which, let’s face it, will be necessary).

Is your bride more of a nature lover than a party girl nowadays? Try herding ducks for an unusual hen-do activity. Apparently, ducks are more difficult to herd than sheep, but definitely less difficult to herd than a gaggle of tipsy hens, so there’s no doubt you’ll absolutely nail this activity.

Or if you really want your Bride to see one last strange man’s tackle, how about getting creative and organising a life drawing class? You’ll all feel totes sophisticated as you unleash your artistic side, or you’ll all giggle as you look at a man’s flaccid todger. Either way, there’s something for everyone!

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4 - Props

Hen-do t-shirts? We’re not sure.

Ridiculously embarrassing outfit for the Bride? We could be convinced.

Team modern fancy dress outfits that will get people’s attention, and know you’re celebrating something special (and may get you a few free drinks?) Now we’re talking.

Whatever you decide upon, remember, it’s not your hen-do, but the bride’s, and fingers crossed, she’s only ever going to have one. So go big, but go with her style, not yours. If she’s really going to find something uncomfortable, then maybe that can wait until another hen-do.

brides party

5 - The Bridesmaid Dress

Chances are your Bride is a wonderful person, and will go out of her way to find a dress she thinks you can “wear again”. Chances also are that you will actually think the dress is hideous, and totally not your style.

If there is more than one of you, your Bride is in an impossible situation. She’s got numerous styles, shapes, sizes and ages to cater for. She has a vision of what the day will look like, and she most probably has a budget.

Help her with choosing the dress if possible. Give her some suggestions. Find out what she is looking for, and see if you can help. But don’t be pushy, don’t be stroppy, and once she has made a decision, wear the goddamn dress! Unless she is asking you to pay for it, and it’s totally out of your price range, it’s not your place to be making demands. It’s her day, and if you love her, you’ll put your own sense of style aside for one day to make her happy.

You can always burn the photographic evidence later. Or delete.

bride speech

6 - The Speech

We know it’s not traditional for the Maid of Honour to make a speech, but why the hell not? We think more women should have the opportunity to speak at weddings, besides, you have all the good dirt on the Bride, and people should get to hear it!

Ask the Bride first if she’s happy with you speaking, and then get writing. We advise speeches should be no longer than 7-8 minutes, that’s about 1100-1200 words. That might seem short when you write it up, but it can seem a much longer to a crowd of people who have been drinking champagne since 11am, and are itching to get their hands on their profiteroles.

If you can think of a theme for the speech, that would be perfect. Is there something the bride is really into that could form the basis of the speech? Did she used to be obsessed with Take That, and was convinced on her wedding day she’d be standing next to Mark Owen? Maybe use the words of Mr Barlow to give the speech some structure?

Don’t mention her ex’s. Even if there is a really brilliant story involving them and a llama, which just has to be shared. Save that one for the hen do, or if you must, later on at the reception when everyone has had a few drinks.

Do use humour though. The ideal speech has people crying with laughter, then crying with emotion. We suggest you spend about 75% of the speech taking the mickey out of the Bride, and 25% reminding everyone why she chose you to be her Maid of Honour, and why she’ll be an absolutely brilliant wife. We know you love her really. Despite the itchy nylon, you’ve been forced into wearing.

Find out more fab speechwriting tips at our Maid of Honour Speech Post.

Of course, depending on the hen do hangover and your writing ability, you may want to follow the lead of many other savvy Maids of Honour and recruit the Speechy team to do the hard work for you. We’re TV comedy scriptwriters who have written for Richard Hammond, Sharon Osbourne and David Mitchell and we’re guaranteed to help you write & deliver a speech that will be remembered for all the right reasons.

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7 - Look After Your Mate

You’ve got her through the hen-do relatively unscathed (we hope!). Now you just have to make sure she makes it to the church on time, and calm enough to actually enjoy her special day.

Chances are, even if she’s marrying the love of her life, she’ll be nervous. She might want to have a pre-wedding drink, so pop open the champers, but make sure she only has one! Weddings are long days, and we don’t want her passing out before your fabulous speech.

If you’re married, think about what words of advice you would have liked to have heard the day you got hitched. And if you’re not, remind her just how terrible Tinder is.

Prepare your best, reassuring comedy lines a la Prince William to Harry. Maybe think about a little gift you could give her before you head to the Church. Something funny or heartfelt, to calm her nerves before the big day ahead.

This is going to be one of the most amazing, most intense, most stressful days of her life, and she’s going to have you right there by his side. And if you follow all the tips above, she’ll be glad he chose you and no one else.

Good luck! You’re going to have a ball.

maid of honour speech

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