Selecting your closest friends and family to be part of your bridal party is an exciting part of the wedding planning journey. These are the people you want right beside you on your wedding day, and you probably knew exactly who you would choose before you even got engaged!
It’s undoubtedly a huge honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid, but it’s even MORE of a privilege to be asked to be a Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor.
But hold on, what is the difference? Can I have both? Do I even need one? We’ve pulled everything you need to know on the subject here…
What is the Difference Between a Maid of Honor and a Matron of Honor?
Contrary to popular belief, it has nothing to do with age or how close they are to the bride – it’s actually a lot simpler than that. If the bride chooses someone who happens to be married, that person is a Matron of Honor. But if she chooses a loved one who is unmarried, that person is a Maid of Honor.
The difference is simply a technicality; their marital status!
Where Did These Roles and Traditions Come From?
Legend has it that Ancient Romans believed evil spirits would actually haunt weddings! In an attempt to protect the bride and groom, the wedding party was dressed in identical outfits to confuse the wicked ghouls.
These identical outfits also served the purpose of bamboozling any jealous men who may try to steal the bride away from her wedding ceremony!
The Maid of Honor’s primary duty was to stick by the bride, dressed identically to her, to confuse any threats – natural or supernatural – until she was safely married. Now that is a lot of responsibility!
What Are the Duties Today?
The Maid/Matron of Honor may not need to worry about an attempted kidnapping ruining a wedding day today, but with great honor still comes great responsibility!
In the early days of planning, the Maid of Honor duties include helping to finalize a guest list and picking out wedding invitations. She’ll comb through color palettes and wedding favors with you and let’s not forget the mammoth task of helping you choose the perfect wedding dress!
In charge of delegating tasks to the bridesmaids, the Maid of Honor can ensure there are hands on deck organizing confetti cones and assembling favors while she is right by your side making the table plan. You name it, your MOH is the girl that helps you get it done!
Let’s not forget that your No1. gal is also charged with the extra special honor of organizing the bachelorette party and bridal shower!
There is certainly no rest during the wedding day either. From signing the marriage license or certificate, to holding your wedding dress while you pee, your Maid or Matron of Honor is your first port of call. Spontaneous makeup and hair top-ups, always having water on hand and a witty toast ready to roll are all tasks for the bride’s chosen one!
Probably the most important duty of all, however, is the role of the supportive crutch. The Maid of Honor is primarily there to dry tears, try to resolve any drama, and keep the bride calm. Not to mention help her relish in the excitement of her day!
Can I Have Both a Maid and a Matron of Honor?
Absolutely! We are big believers in having your wedding day YOUR way, so you can organize your wedding party exactly the way you want to. If you are having a fairly large wedding then it is actually not a bad idea to have two people ‘in charge’. Split the duties so each has a clear role and take full advantage of having two helpers topping up your champagne at your wedding reception!
Do They Wear a Bridesmaid Dress?
Typically, yes! But it’s not uncommon for the Maid of Honor to wear a variation of the bridesmaid dress to make her stand out. It could be something as subtle as a different neckline or strap, or a bolder statement with a different color or print.
Often, however, brides choose to add something to the outfit to make them stand out as head of the squad.
Perhaps your Maid or Matron of Honor (or both!) could wear a beautiful headpiece or hair clip to differentiate themselves. Or maybe gift them with a special matching necklace or bracelet to wear on the day. Maybe you’d prefer to make some differences in her bouquet, opting for a slightly larger or different colored arrangement to the bridesmaid’s flowers.
What If I Have a Male Friend I Want to Ask?
Men can have important roles in your bridal party too! If you want to choose a male friend or a brother to be the head of your squad then no problems, they simply become the Man of Honor. Similarly, a groom may pick his female friends to be involved – in which case they could be called the ‘Best Woman’ for example. It certainly has a ring to it! (No pun intended).
Who Walks Down the Aisle First?
Traditionally the Maid of Honor walks down the aisle after the bridesmaids, followed by the bride and her father.
If you are having small people in the roles of flower girl or ring bearer then they would typically come down the aisle just before you, after the Maid of Honor.
More and more couples are now choosing to mix up the order of who walks down the aisle – so it really is up to you.
Your Maid or Matron of Honor could come down the aisle alone, or with a best-man or groomsman, depending on the numbers in your wedding party. If you have both a Maid and Matron of Honor, then they could even come down together!
Can I Just Have Bridesmaids?
If you can’t decide which of your bridesmaids should be your MOH then do not worry! It’s really not essential for you to have one, and as long as you have support and help along your wedding journey then it doesn’t really matter anyway. Some brides decide to have a ‘Chief Bridesmaid’ instead; someone to perhaps simply oversee the roles and delegate jobs to the rest of the squad.
How Can I Ask My Friend to Be My Maid of Honor?
There are so many fun ways to ask your closest buddy to play this key role in your wedding. Whether you are asking in person or from afar, you could give them a gift to make them feel even more important and show them how much you love them.
There are loads of awesome branded gifts like sweaters, socks, mugs, or even necklaces. Even a bottle of wine if they like a drink!
We hope this has answered all your questions about the Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor roles – good luck with making your decisions and enjoy!