Being asked to be a maid-of-honor in someone’s bridal party certainly is an honor, (haha, see what I did there?) but it is also a major responsibility. When my older sister, Kim, asked my sister Jess and I to be the maids of honor for her wedding, I had no idea what accepting the role would entail. It would be my first time at a bridal party—let alone being a maid of honor—and throughout the 18-month preparation for the wedding, I would be away at college.
I’m not going to lie and say that I was the greatest maid of honor ever. If I could go back, I would do things a lot differently to be more helpful throughout the lead-up to the wedding. But I was a rookie, and when you’re in a small bubble at university, it is easy for your role to slip your mind and to assume everything is being taken care of. I learned from my mistakes, and I learned how to do my best if I wasn’t always there. It is more common than you think for the maid of honor in a bridal party to live far from the bride herself. Here are some tips for being a good “long distance” maid of honor.
1. Always ask the bride if she needs help with something. Don’t expect the bride to tell you what she needs.
I learned the hard way that it was my responsibility to ask, and not her responsibility to tell. I was so caught up with my life at school, and I thought that my co-maid of honor and my sister’s friends would take care of everything. It wasn’t until about 4 months before the wedding that my sister explained to me how upset she was that I never asked her if she needed help on a regular basis.
There is no such thing as overcommunicating. Ask if she needs your opinion on anything, and ask her how all the planning at home is going. Whether it’s listening to ten bands and choosing your favorite or looking on Etsy for gifts for the bridesmaids, there is ALWAYS something that you can do to help out.
Make a checklist and stay organized. It is more appreciated than you would think. If you can’t be there physically, you can at least still try to be there emotionally.
2. Be honest and realistic about things you can and can’t do for the bride.
If you are really busy and you cannot do something, don’t try to squeeze it in. The worst thing you can do is have the bride count on you to do something only to let her down.. Take on reasonable responsibilities. The bride understands the nature of doing tasks remotely, and she will cut you some slack.
3. Take part in every event (small or big) that you can if you are visiting the location of the bride.
I go to school 3 hours away, so I am able to make trips back home frequently. I also lived in New York (our home) all summer. At first, I missed tons of dress fittings, meetings with the party planner, etc. while I was actually home. I was so used to not being there for those things that I never prioritized it even when I WAS there. But I quickly realized how important being present really was, and how much it meant to my sister for me to be there for her when I could.
Make it a priority, because you aren’t there often. If you don’t feel like you are the best maid of honor when you’re away, be the best maid of honor when you’re in town!
4. Constantly send your ideas to the bride.
There are SO many decisions to be made (i.e. flowers, band, songs, location, food, cake, etc.) and having an extra set of creative ideas from another person is super helpful. The bride will spend so much of her time browsing all over the Internet to find different options for each aspect of the wedding. A different set of eyes might help her find just what she is looking for and can’t find. It’s fun to help and to explore!
5. Stay organized and know the schedule so that you stay on top of everything.
Communicate with the rest of the bridal party so you can know what’s going on a little bit more behind the scenes, and so you can be involved with planning the parts of the wedding that the bride is unaware of (i.e. bachelorette party details, bridal shower games and decorations etc.). While you can’t be there, you can still communicate your ideas and stay on your A-game.
6. Calm her down and show her how much you love her and care about her.
Luckily, we are in the age of FaceTime, where you can look at someone over the phone and talk to them. FaceTime her, and ask about her feelings about the wedding. Is she nervous and freaking out? Is she anxious about what her room is going to look like? Is she just super excited and happy? You can be there as a friend, and as a person who shows her that you care.
You don’t want this experience to be stressful for her. You want to help make it an easy and uncomplicated process. You being there for her emotionally is crucial to achieving these things.