Maid of Honor Versus Matron of Honor: What's the Difference Between These Two Roles?

And is it appropriate to have both be part of your wedding celebration?

bride and bridesmaid posing in front of pink wall

Photo by Kami Olavarria; Floral design by Addy FloralesNative Poppy

Once you’ve figured out who you'll ask to be part of your wedding party, it’s time to choose who will lead your entire group as maid or matron of honor. As the lead member of your wedding party, a maid or matron of honor is generally responsible for tasks such as organizing your bridal shower and bachelorette party, ensuring the entire group orders their bridesmaids' dresses, and assists you with any wedding-planning tasks for which you need additional support.

If you have more than one person in mind who fits all of your maid-of-honor needs, you may find yourself wondering if it's okay to double up. The simple answer is: Yes! In fact, one solution is to choose both a maid of honor and a matron of honor to stand by your side on the big day. According to Phoebe Chen, owner and lead planner of Brooklyn-based wedding planning company B'burg Events, you should feel empowered to bestow this honorary title on two people. She says, "If you have two people in your life that you want to be MOHs, go for it. If it’s what’s right for your wedding, it’s for you."

Meet the Expert

Phoebe Chen is the founding owner and lead event planner of B’burg Events, a wedding planning company in Brooklyn.

But before you commit to enlisting both a maid and matron of honor for your big day, you might be wondering what the key differences between these two roles are and what you can do to make both honorary positions still feel special. Below, we have all the answers you need regarding maids and matrons of honor.

What's the Difference Between a Maid of Honor and a Matron of Honor?

First thing's first: What’s the difference between a maid of honor and a matron of honor? "Traditionally, the difference between a maid of honor and matron of honor is based on relationship status," says Chen. A matron of honor is anyone who occupies the same role and fulfills the same duties as a maid of honor, but has already had a wedding of their own. The title holds the same rank as "maid of honor" does in a wedding party. A maid of honor, on the other hand, is someone who is unmarried. Simply put, their roles and responsibilities are exactly the same; the difference is purely in semantics.

Can You Have Both a Maid of Honor and a Matron of Honor at Your Wedding?

While asking anyone to be your maid or matron of honor is definitely, well, an honor, you don't have to limit yourself to just one. Especially in a large bridal party, having two MOHs, married or not, can be incredibly useful when it comes to keeping the rest of the group in line. And think about it: Your 18-year-old sibling will be a fabulous maid of honor (no one tells it like it is the way a sibling does), but having your already married best friend serve as matron of honor will give you access to all of the tips and tricks they picked up while they were planning their own wedding.

If your maid of honor is underage and your matron of honor is over 21, ask the younger of the two to focus on your bridal shower while the other helps with the bachelorette festivities.

Your two maid and matron of honor can either work together on all of their responsibilities, such as planning your bachelorette party or bridal shower and helping with DIY projects, or you can chat with them to divide the tasks into ones that fit each person best. A long-distance maid/matron of honor may be helpful for your bachelorette party, but won’t be able to help stuff envelopes or assemble favors—which would be a great task if the maid or matron of honor lives close by.

Most importantly, says Chen, "Rely on your MOHs to delegate tasks to your wedding party. Delegation when it comes to your wedding plans is crucial. Your squad is there to help, so let them!"

maid of honor vs. matron of honor

Michela Buttignol/Brides

How to Include Both a Maid of Honor and Matron of Honor in Your Wedding

If you’ve elected to have both a maid and matron of honor for your wedding—regardless of marital status—there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, instead of one outfit that stands out from the crowd, you’ll need two. You could opt to have your MOHs both wear the same differentiating detail, or have them distinguished from the bridesmaids and from one another. That could mean having both MOHs wear the same bejeweled belt or carry matching, slightly different bouquets with unique pops of color. Chen also suggests incorporating a special headpiece or hair clip that gives them that extra shine.

If you’re going for something a little more eye-catching, like bridesmaids in solid colors and your MOH in a print, have both MOHs wear the same print in different silhouettes, or ask them to choose two coordinating (but not matching) prints that fit your palette.

Two maids (or matrons!) of honor also means two important walks down the aisle. Typically, the maid of honor walks down the aisle with the best man, but this "head bridesmaid" could also walk behind the bride. If you have two MOHs and only one best man, you could either have him escort both MOHs down the aisle or tap another VIP (such as one of your brothers) to serve as a second escort. Or, says Chen, "Go solo! The maid of honor, matron of honor, and best man can each walk down the aisle separately. Plus, it’s an extra nod to their special role in your wedding party."

Whether you are having your bridesmaids and groomsmen walk separately or together, there’s no protocol as to whether the matron or maid of honor stands closer to the bride at the altar (and therefore walks last). If one is a sibling and the other is a friend, most brides will opt to have their sibling stand closest, even if they aren’t yet married. To help them stand out, Chen suggests having the MOHs stand by your side while the rest of your bride squad takes a seat by the altar.

  • How do you choose a maid or matron of honor?

    Traditionally, the role is held by whoever holds the closest and most significant relationship to the bride, like a best friend or sister. Consider the responsibilities of the role to help narrow down candidates. The MOH should be dependable enough to complete their duties and be able to afford the financial requirements, as well.

  • Do both the maid and matron of honor give a speech?

    Yes, if both are a part of your wedding party then both should be speaking (unless one personally prefers not to). They can each deliver their own individual speech or choose to combine their efforts on one grand toast.

  • Does my maid or matron of honor have to be a woman?

    No! The honor is not confined to any gender and we've seen many a man or person of honor assume the title. Some brides even opt to have both a MOH and a man or person of honor stand by their side.

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