1 – CHECK THE SMALL PRINT
So the basics are…
Find out what’s expected of you
Don’t moan about the bridesmaid dress you’re expected to wear
Organise the hen do/ bachelorette party
Find out if you’re expected to give a speech
And keep the bride calm throughout the wedding day
Quite a list already, and different brides expect different things.
Some brides want their wing-woman to be involved in all the planning, organising and even the licking of the envelopes on each and every invite, whereas other brides have had their hen do organised in their heads since they were 7 years old, and already have the Excell spreadsheet of activities, props and outfits good-to-go.
Whatever it is that’s expected, make sure you and the bride are both on the same page.
If there is anything you’re going to struggle with – in terms of time/money/emotional energy – it’s best to be honest early.
2- GET CREW SUPPORT
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.
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, her partner to help make sure you do the best job possible.
3- ORGANISE A MODERN HEN DO
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.
Maybe start by getting some different inspo from some stag do ideas?
Chillsauce offers a great choice – and easy ways to organise it too (including each hen paying directly for their place). The Stag Company suggests everything from ‘beer bikes’ to putting on your own Highland Games – but best to stay clear of the ‘fake arrest’ option if you ask us.
Of course, there are also more conventional hen do ideas that can still work but avoid anything too twee and boring. A growing trend is alcohol-free hen dos but make sure the day is properly packed with fun so no one is left trying to secretly order in Prosecco!
Whatever you decide upon, remember, 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.
4 – 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.
You can always burn/delete the photographic evidence later.
5 – The Speech
It’s increasingly common for Maid of Honours to make a speech, and 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!
We advise speeches should be no longer than 7-8 minutes, that’s about 1100-1200 words. That might seem short when you start pulling all your anecdotes together, but it can seem long 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?
If she’s a teacher, maybe share the surprising things she’s taught you over the years – the good, the bad, and the seriously worrying.
Don’t mention her exes. Even if there is a brilliant story involving them and a llama.
Do use humour though. The ideal speech has people crying with laughter, then crying with emotion. We suggest you spend about 70% of the speech taking the mickey out of the bride, and 30% reminding everyone why she chose you to be her Maid of Honour, and why she’ll be a brilliant wife.
Check out more speechwriting tips at our Maid of Honour Speech Advice.
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 and we guarantee to help you write & deliver a speech that will be remembered for all the right reasons. Find out more about the products and services we offer.
6 – 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 venue 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.
Good luck! You’re going to have a ball.