In my MOH 101 post I talked about all the prep work you need to expect as a Maid of Honor, but I knew the real doozy would be the actual wedding weekend. And man, I was right! In no particular order, here goes.
1. Be careful with the booze! Because it’s everywhere on wedding weekend. And as MOH, you have to be ready to jump into action with a moment’s notice. It’s okay to indulge with the bride if you have a night with no critical obligations first thing in the morning. In my case, I flew in on Thursday. Having copious amounts of bubbly with the bride that night and being able to sleep late the next morning was perfect! But I held back during the rehearsal, at the rehearsal dinner and until my toast was over at the reception. After the toast and once the dancing started? All bets were off!
2. Bustles ARE HARD. Figure out ahead of time how to work the damn thing before you find yourself on the bathroom floor in your poofy dress with the bride, fumbling through what seems like miles of lace for hooks that do not exist. #MOHFAIL However, small crochet needles are absolutely life-saving when you have a bazillion teeny buttons and button loops to fasten her into the dress!
3. Help the coordinator. That hard-working person may have a team of people, but there are still 100+ guests and an entire bridal party to corral. At Nette’s wedding it was a bit tricky to round up the bridal party for pictures after the ceremony. The parents of the bride were nowhere to be found. The guys needed to be herded to the front of the vineyard. The coordinator was assisting guests with finding their seats for dinner. Peach is super damn glad she wore flats because she was sprinting through the winery, around guests and friends, hollering a cheerful, “Gotta find the mom, talk later!!” if they tried to stop her as she whizzed by. In the end, all the pictures were taken with the correct parties (WHEW!) and everyone eventually made it to where they were supposed to be. Running in a dress = All a part of stepping up when you have to.
4. Time doesn’t move on the wedding day. IT HAULS ASS. So many blogs and brides have told me this and I thought it was completely cliche. But it’s unbelievably true!! A good MOH must stay calm and not get overwhelmed in the frenzy. (Easier said than done!) We started the day at 8 a.m. with Starbucks and pedicures, then the bridesmaids began getting ready while the bride went to the hotel for hair and makeup. We met her there, finished getting ready and fed her snacks and a sip of bubbly, then whisked her off to the vineyard to beat the groom’s arrival. Once there, we all did our final prep, got ourselves dressed and poured her into her amazing dress, took a few pics and the next thing we knew, it was time!!! 9.5 hours, gone in a flash.
5. Be organized. When, as MOH you are charged with ownership of small things like, oh … the groom’s ring and the marriage certificate and the bride’s vows, you need to be trustworthy. Know where these key items are at all times. (I carried my Lululemon yoga bag everywhere!) It’s also great to know the schedule inside-out, have important cellphone numbers and bring (or rent) vehicle of your own. Preparation is key and knowledge is power. If you don’t know, ask!
6. Remember that no wedding day is perfect. Nette’s wedding had two gigantic OHHOLYSHIT moments that I know she won’t mind me sharing. First, we had a hospitalized officiant with less than 48 hours to go. He wasn’t going to be able to marry them. Then we had a 100% chance of pouring rain the day before, which meant adding tents and redoing seating for everything, plus a very soggy/cold rehearsal. And oh yeah, renting a UHAUL to move the decor without it getting wet! The amazing bride was able to accept the situations without meltdowns, help with the alternatives where she could and luckily had a backup officiant ready to go! Her best groomsmaid Ivy’s husband was already ordained and experienced. The hospitalized officiant was able to email the ceremony text, but our hero still had less than 24 hours by that time to get comfortable with it! In my eyes, her coordinator, Ivy and Ivy’s husband really took the challenges by the balls and worked out all the details. All the bride and groom had to do was bless the decisions. And all I had to do was be there for the bride, whether to shove a piece of Gouda cheese in her mouth or just listen to her say “Whoa, holy crap, these are some GOOD curveballs! But I’m okay!” for a minute. Color me one lucky MOH!
Because sometimes you just gotta rent a UHAUL and get it done!
7. Charge your phone. Often. Everyone. Especially the bride. Because her phone did. not. stop. ringing. ALL. WEEKEND. Like, whoa.
8. Give a good toast! I found a formula in BRIDES magazine that worked wonderfully for me at the wedding. Highly recommend the following: 1. Introduce yourself and describe how you know the bride. 2. Tell a funny story/memory of the two of you and why you love her. 3. Talk about meeting the groom and how you feel about him. 4. Describe why the bride and groom are so good together. 5. Wish them congrats, love and best wishes. 6. CHEERS! This formula kept it meaningful, funny and sweet, but not hours long. See also: Careful with the booze. No one likes a slurry, wobbly, ugly-crying MOH. Don’t be that girl.
9. Enjoy the moment, too. I blinked back tears of joy as her father walked her down the aisle. She was beaming and radiant, ever the gorgeous woman I’ve always known her to be. He was dashing and only had eyes for her. I stood beside her and held her bouquet with his ring on my thumb as they spoke their personal vows to one another. I alternated laughing at their witty quips and gulping down the lump in my throat during their tender professions. And I’m so glad I did. Because after all the madness, chaos, drama, stress and emotions of planning the wedding, it all culminates in one thing: Witnessing the love that these two amazing people share.
*posted with the bride’s permission
10. DANCE. Because it’s so much fun to “Gangnam Style” in a poofy dress. Plus, you’ve earned the right to let loose now. Your bride is married and your MOH duties are done! Be sure to give her a big hug and send her off on the honeymoon with her new husband. (And yes, it’s okay to cry a little.)