You’re the Maid of Honour! So, what do you have to do?

Tips to help you be the Greatest Maid of Honour (or Man of Honour…) of All Time

By Lorraine Wright, Marriage Celebrant

14 April 2023

Congratulations! The bride-to-be has asked you to be her maid-of-honour (or man-of-honour). That means she trusts you, and wants you by her side on this important day.

But what does a maid-of-honour actually have to do?

It really depends on the people involved, and the type of wedding they’re having. But the most important things for the MOH to do are to:

  1. help the bride prepare, so she is ready on time
  2. help her feel as calm and relaxed as possible, and
  3. help her look her amazing best … not just at the start of the ceremony, but throughout the whole experience.

Before we move on, let’s get the terminology thing out of the way. Traditionally, an unmarried chief bridesmaid is called the Maid-of-Honour, but if she’s already married, she’s the Matron-of-Honour. But seriously, this doesn’t have to be a big deal these days. Choose your own title! And if your bestie is a guy, go for it and have a Man-of-Honour by your side!

To keep it simple, from here on I’ll be referring to the role as “MOH”, and to the person they’re assisting as the “Bride” (or She). But please don’t feel excluded by my brevity. The gist of this article is applicable and inclusive for all genders, but some of the specific tasks will vary, depending on the person’s wishes. 

Amie Forbes Photography


Well before the wedding, sit down with the bride and work out a plan (or run sheet), so everyone involved knows what their tasks include. Then, regularly check that you’re all on track.

  • Does she want you to be in charge of the hen’s party, dress shopping trips, nail and spray-tan appointments?
  • Does she expect you to be present for a ceremony rehearsal?
  • Does she want you to make a speech at the reception?
  • Is there anything she wants you to collect and bring home for her at the end of the night?

Bride’s prep list:

Encourage the bride to make a list of everything she wants to wear, carry with her, or have someone take for her, and check these things off on the day so nothing is forgotten.

  • Dress, veil, shoes, underwear, bra, Hollywood tape, bouquet, earrings, necklace, bracelet, rings, hair pin/decoration, card for her new spouse?, keepsake from her grandmother?, grandfather’s pen for the signing?, (or whatever is relevant);
  • Purse – containing phone, tissues, lipstick, mascara, face powder for touch ups, breath mints, and lots of cotton tips for dabbing tears without ruining her makeup
  • Jacket/wrap for later in the evening
  • Comfy shoes to change into


Amie Forbes Photography

Pre-wedding activities:

You’ll most likely be in charge of booking the pre-wedding activities, such as the hen’s night/weekend, bridesmaid-dress shopping trips, and possibly nail and spray-tan appointments, if these are part of the plan.

  • Some brides prefer to have total control over what their bridesmaids wear; others want it to be a mutual decision, while a few give their bridesmaids carte blanche to decide for themselves, perhaps with just a colour scheme in mind. My best advice is to be honest, because most brides prefer you to look and feel your best, too. If you know the dress that’s being considered will not suit your colouring or body shape, mention it, and suggest something more suitable.
  • You should also have an open and honest chat about the bride’s expectations in terms of who is paying for the bridesmaids’ outfits, shoes, jewellery, hair and makeup. In most cases, the bridesmaids pay for their own outfit and shoes, while the bride covers hair and makeup. She might also gift her bridesmaids some earrings or a necklace to wear on the day. But there are no rules with this stuff, so talk it through.
  • Regarding the hen’s night… ask the bride exactly what she wants to do, and have some suggestions up your sleeve, based on what you know about her, in case she hasn’t had a chance to think about it.
    • Is she a party girl, or is a relaxing weekend at a spa retreat more her thing?
    • And what are her expectations in terms of who will be paying for what? (Generally, attendees pay their own way, but because everyone’s circumstances are different, you may have to be the voice of reason if she has her heart set on something that is unaffordable for some.)
    • Avoid having the hen’s night within 2 days of the wedding… she’ll want to be well rested so she can look her best on the day.

On the day:

  • Make sure the bride has something to eat, and plenty water to drink while getting ready. Same for you, too! It’s amazing how these simple things can be forgotten in all the excitement, and that’s a recipe for light-headedness or even fainting.
  • Get yourself ready ahead of time, then you can focus on helping the bride prepare.
  • You might want to wait to put your outfit on fairly last minute, to keep it in perfect condition. However, here’s a special note for bridesmaids who are wearing infinity dresses (those ones you can wear a multitude of ways): give yourselves a little extra time, so you can figure out exactly how each person is styling their dress. Not everyone gets it right the first time!
  • If the wedding is outdoors, consider applying insect repellent and non-staining sunscreen before getting dressed.


Getting ready:

  • Amie Forbes Photography

    When it’s time for the bride to get dressed, help her if she needs assistance to get into her dress.

  • If the wedding is outdoors, consider applying insect repellent and non-staining sunscreen before the dress goes on.
  • Once she’s in the dress, check every detail… Are all the buttons done up correctly? Is her bra showing? Does she need some Hollywood tape or safety pins? Does she need help with her shoes?
  • Who is attaching her veil – the hair stylist, or will she need you to complete this step? If you’re to do it, ask the hair stylist to show you how before they leave.
  • Check her jewellery. Does she have her earrings? Necklace? Rings? (All the items on her list?)
  • On the subject of rings, traditionally, the bride does not wear her engagement ring to the wedding ceremony. (Her wedding ring goes onto her bare finger, then the engagement ring is placed back on over the top). So, where does she want to keep her engagement ring in the meantime? Will it fit on her other hand? Does she want you to mind it?
  • Finally, make sure she has her bouquet (and don’t forget your own, or the petals for the flower girls).

The ceremony:

Amie Forbes Photography
  • Before the bridal party starts walking down the aisle, cast your eye over the bride again. Is everything as it should be? Then ask her if she feels ready.
  • Take a calming breath, relax your shoulders, and hold your flower bouquet down low. (The joke which will help you remember where to hold them is ‘pubes, not boobs’). Then, begin to walk slowly but naturally down the aisle.
  • Look up and smile as much as possible. Make eye contact and engage with people in the crowd as you make your way down the aisle. This will slow you down so you don’t rush, and make your smile all the more natural and authentic.
  • When stepping into position at the front, glance over at your counterpart on the other side, so the bridesmaids are evenly positioned relative to the groomsmen, and there is a nice symmetry to the set up.
  • Once the bride has arrived at the ceremony spot, help to arrange her dress, train, and veil.
  • If you notice the couple are not centred in front of their arbour, whisper to them to shimmy left or right. They’ll appreciate the intervention, once they see their photos!
  • On that note, photos will be taken constantly throughout the ceremony – some you’ll be aware of, and others will be happening when you don’t realise it. So, remember to look up and smile as much as possible. Look at the couple; look at guests you know; look at the photographer occasionally. And try not to slide into what I call, ‘resting concentrating face’, which bears a striking resemblance to ‘resting b_face’. This goes for all members of the wedding party!)
Amie Forbes Photography


  • Immediately after the ceremony, the bride might need you to hold her flowers, grab her jacket, hold her drink, check her makeup or her teeth for errant lipstick, as guests crowd around to congratulate the happy couple and have photos. Do your best to be her right-hand person, and don’t wander too far away at this stage.
  • Remember to bring water along for the post-ceremony photoshoot, jackets or wraps if it’s chilly, umbrellas if it’s rainy, insect repellent, and makeup touch-up kit.


  • The couple may ask their wedding party members to make a grand entrance to the reception. So check, do they want you to simply walk in, or dance, twirl, or do something unique on the way in? (Check your favourite video-sharing platform for tons of inspiration!)
  • Throughout the reception, remember to check in from time to time with the bride in case she needs assistance with anything from passing her a tissue, to makeup and hair touch-ups, to helping her find the restroom.
  • If you’re doing a speech, take it easy on the alcohol till you’ve had your moment with the microphone. Keep it brief, meaningful, and funny if you can.
  • If the couple choose to do a first dance, be ready to hit the dancefloor with them to encourage the crowd to get into the party spirit.
  • At the end of the night, be sure to collect anything you’ve been made responsible for. (For example, polaroid cameras, guest book, wishing well, marriage certificate in its envelope, leftover cake, table decorations, bouquets…) Then go and put your feet up! You’ve earned it!

What do you do when the borders are shut, and your Celebrant can’t make it to your wedding?

Roses and two wooden hearts overlaid with text from wedding vows, I will show you how much I love you, even when words are hard to find.

Last Thursday, I met the most beautiful young couple, and on Saturday, I married them!

Things don’t normally move that fast, but with the recent closure of the Queensland/New South Wales border, I was privileged to jump in for a Celebrant who was unable to travel to Brisbane for the ceremony. It was time to put the wedding contingency plan in action! He briefed me and forwarded the all-important paperwork, then I took the ball and ran with it.

Even though I met R & M in person only days before their wedding, you could say we ‘crunched the timeline’ in getting to know each other! And we quickly came to an easy, comforting place of trust. R & M knew I had their backs; that was my promise to them.

Our rehearsal gave us the perfect opportunity to check that everything was coming together just as they envisioned, and by Saturday, it felt as though it was always supposed to be this way.

Many details made R & M‘s wedding ‘oh so special’, but three of my favourites were…

💍 Firstly the original poem written and read by the bride’s stepdad. (Goosebumps!)

💍 Secondly, the time we dedicated to one-on-one conversations between myself and the bride and groom at the rehearsal. Those meaningful, honest chats gave me the insight I needed to ‘ghostwrite’ deeply personal vows, just for them. And they delivered them from the heart. (Goosebumps on goosebumps!)

💍 And thirdly, the perfect rainbow that arched across the sky as I was driving away from their wedding. I’m sure that’s a wonderful sign. (Dare I say it, even more goosebumps!)

I’m so grateful for the trust R & M (and their original Celebrant) placed in me. It all led to an uplifting ceremony that flowed with natural warmth, and celebrated their love story in an authentic way.  

Big virtual hugs to Shirley and her lovely team at Boulevard Gardens – always wonderful to work with you!

Things happen the way they’re meant to happen. 

Hot tips for keeping cool on a hot wedding day

by Lorraine Wright – The Wright Celebrant

I’ve put together my top tips, plus some from a few other fab wedding professionals, to help you ‘keep calm and get married’ on a stinking hot day.

These ideas come from my experience as a celebrant, but also from personal experience, as my hubby and I chose late January for our wedding, and survived – hair, makeup and (arguably) sanity intact. So here goes, in no particular order…

Stay hydrated

  • It probably goes without saying, but drinking plenty of water is a big deal on a hot day. It will keep you from feeling faint or headachy, help you concentrate and be present in the moment as you say ‘I Do’, and it’s a must before cracking open the bubbly later on.
  • Pop some half-filled bottles of water into the freezer the night before, then on the day, fill them up with water and take with you. You’ve got yourself a chilly drink and a cool-pack for the back of your neck, all in one. 
  • Prepare them for each member of the bridal party. Or better still – put one of them in charge, so that’s one less thing on your list.
  • And “Don’t forget to have plenty of water on hand for your post-ceremony photo shoot, to keep you fresh, fabulous and photo-ready”, advises wedding photographer extraordinaire, Lee Burgess of Life and Love Photography. Add to that some umbrellas for the bridal party, and you’re good to go.

Eat something

  • The same goes for having a bite to eat. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the beautifying, zhooshing and photographing that you totally forget to eat before the wedding.
  • Big mistake! No-one wants to be ‘hangry’ on their wedding day, so do yourself a favour… feed your body so you can still be merry later on. 

Set up for success

  • If you’re getting married in the hotter months, plan your ceremony for late afternoon. The heat can be pretty brutal at 3pm! 
  • Lee Burgess of Life and Love Photography suggests around 2.5 hours before sunset as the perfect time to tie the knot.
  • Choose a shady spot for the ceremony, and arrange the aisle and seating so that no-one is facing directly towards the sun. That goes for the wedding party and the guests.
  • Don’t be ‘fashionably late’ on a hot day, as your guests will be languishing in the heat waiting for you. Not cool.
  • White umbrellas for the wedding party and VIP guests are equally fab in the hot sun, and in a summer shower of rain. You can hire or buy them quite cost-effectively.
  • Here’s a seriously useful tip. Ask for the guests’ chairs to be set up a few extra inches apart, rather than right up against each other. Give your people some personal space. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than being jammed shoulder-to-shoulder and thigh-to-thigh on a hot day. Not only will this make a big difference to your guests’ enjoyment of your ceremony, it gives them more latitude (literally) to pop up an umbrella if they need to.
  • Have cold water and little fans available for your guests. The fans make a lovely, practical wedding favour.
  • Mozzie repellent is also a great thing (in some locations, an essential thing) to have on hand.
  • Did I mention, don’t be fashionably late?
Set up for success
Image by Life and Love Photography

BYO hand towel

  • Especially awesome if you are decked out in a suit, or a heavy dress with lots of fabric or gorgeous beading.
  • Just before the ceremony, grab your towel and dab your forehead, upper lip (taking great care not to spoil all that zhooshing), your neck, arms and hands – and don’t forget that ring finger!
  • Even better than a regular hand towel would be one of those new chiller towels – pop it in water, wring it out so it won’t drip, then give it a few quick flicks and hey presto – a reaction causes the towel to chill down. Magic on a hot day. (My kids swear by these on hot sports days.)

Advice your grandpa would give you

  • Guys – wear a singlet! An extra layer on a hot day might sound counter-intuitive, but it works. Rather than your shirt clinging uncomfortably and showing nasty sweat marks, a singlet will soak it up and help cool you off. So grab yourself a Chesty Bonds, fellas!
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen. Even if your ceremony is going to be in the shade, you’ll probably be in and out of the sun for photos and mingling with guests throughout the day. You don’t want to rock up to your reception (or heaven forbid, your honeymoon) with a dose of sunburn.
  • While you wait for the ceremony to begin, stay cool by hanging your jackets over the back of a chair until the last minute.
  • Chill out in a shady spot (or air-conditioning) if you can. I’ve even had to step inside a catering cooler van to bring my core temp down between ceremonies while filming Nine’s ‘The Last Resort’ at Mission Beach. That was some intense heat!

    Nine Network

Wiggle it, just a little bit

  • If you do start to feel a bit faint or whoozy during your ceremony, wriggle your toes and squeeze your calf muscles a few times. No-one will know you’re doing it, and it can be enough to get the blood moving and stave off a fainting episode.
  • If that doesn’t do the trick, don’t be afraid to ask for a drink of water or a moment to sit with your head down – infinitely preferable to collapsing in an unceremonious heap! (If you need convincing or just want a chuckle, check out ‘fainting at weddings’ on YouTube.)

Cool tech

  • If you’re using a phone or tablet to play music for your ceremony, make sure it’s not sitting in full sun as most devices are programmed to shut down when they overheat. And regardless of the weather, have a back up plan, with your playlist ready to go on another device.

Style it up

Image by The Tsudons
  • If you have long locks, hair and beauty expert Sarah Thong recommends an up-do that will go the distance, as heat and humidity can make long tresses frizzy or flat, messy and clingy.
  • Using a hair ‘donut’ may help to offload the weight of hairpins, and add support and anchorage for your up-style.
  • Sarah also recommends using a light-hold hairspray during styling to add a beautiful, weightless volume and hold, and finishing off with strong-hold hairspray then a spritz of light shine spray.

Makeup for photo-ready brides…

  • Sarah Thong also shared these tips for longevity of makeup on a hot day:
  • Use face and eye primers as a base. Sarah’s favourites are Hourglass Mineral Veil Face Primer, and NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base.
  • For oily skin – lightly dust some translucent powder on top of the primer, and then apply foundation.
  • Use a hydrating eye cream before applying concealer to prevent creasing.
  • Set the oily areas such as the T-zone with loose powder.
  • Finish with a makeup-setting spray. Sarah’s top pick is Urban Decay All Nighter.
  • Keep your powder and lippie with you for touch ups at photo time.

All-ages gig

Image by Cloud Catcher Studio
  • If you’re having flower girls and page boys in your wedding party, your best chance of achieving that ‘cuteness overload’ factor you’re no doubt going for, is to really consider what’s going to work for them.
  • Be realistic in your expectations of what they need to do (psst. I can help with that); in your choice of outfits for them; and be ready to go with the flow if they back out in the heat of the moment… (no pun intended).
  • Bubbles are an awesome, cheap distraction for little ones during your ceremony, and they will add a magical quality to your photos. (I mean the kind you blow into the air, of course; not the kind you ‘clink’… at this stage, at least!)

Fur babies

  • If your four-legged family members are also joining the festivities, give some lucky person the job of keeping them cool, hydrated and loved. For expert care, talk to Gillian at First Class Pet Wedding Assistants

I hope you’ve found some gems among these ideas to help you be fabulous on your wedding day. Stay cool!

Image by Life and Love Photography