How to Choose Your Maid of Honor Without Hurting Anybody's Feelings

Bridesmaids, Planning Tips

Picking a maid or matron of honor isn't always an easy choice. You're essentially playing favorites with your family and friends. It's good to have people to choose from, but how can you be sure you're making the right decision? Here's how to tactfully choose who you really want standing by your side on the most important day of your life.

Just because you have a sister, doesn't mean she has to be the maid or matron of honor. Modern wedding etiquette doesn't put the bride under any obligation to select any particular person, says Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group. Instead, you should pick the person who you are closest to — and definitely someone who is levelheaded and rational to help with planning and day-of details. "If your sibling or in-law doesn't fit the bill, find ways to involve her elsewhere," Velez says.

In some cases, your mother, aunt, or even daughter may feel like the best choice. Looking a generation up or down is fine of course, but remember that your mom will have other duties to fulfill on your wedding day, so you may not necessarily want her playing both roles, Velez points out. Similarly, think about what any chosen MOH might be dealing with in her personal life. It could be a new baby, a change of job, or a cross-country move. If your potential right-hand woman is going through something stressful or time consuming, keep in mind that she may not have a lot to give you at the moment.

If you were chosen by a friend or relative to be her MOH that also doesn't mean the favor automatically needs to be returned. As Velez notes, your wedding could be many years later and your relationship may have evolved over time. It wouldn't make sense to ask her to be your best gal if that's not the case. That being said, there's no rule limiting any bride to just one MOH, Velez says. "Consider splitting the responsibilities and keeping everyone happy (and busy!)," she adds.

Alternatively, you can opt out of picking a MOH entirely. "If you're stuck in a tough situation, just don't choose a maid or matron of honor," says Araceli Vizcaino-S of Azazie. "Instead, make them all bridesmaids and ask each one of them to be responsible for certain elements of the wedding."

Once you've assembled your wedding party — with or without a maid of honor — take a deep breath and stick to your guns. Then try to think about whether anyone will be hurt by your decisions and plan to have a quick chat. "Approach them quietly and explain your reasoning before they find out from someone else," Velez suggests. Then consider giving them a special duty on your wedding day, like a ceremony reading.

Vizcaino-S agrees that the decision requires careful consideration. You don't want to regret your decision or have to take back your offer and strain the relationship. And you want to make sure you're asking someone who you'll be just as close with five or ten years down the road. Once you've narrowed down the options to one — or two — special someone(s) then just go ahead and pop the question!

See More: Qualities of a Good Maid of Honor

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift

Get personalized planning advice, exclusive offers and must-read wedding news.

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from