Matron of Honor vs. Maid of Honor: Can I Have Both?

Your wedding, your rules

Updated 09/05/17

Olivia Rae James

Once you’ve figured out who you’ll be inviting to join your bridal party, it’s time to narrow down the nominees for maid of honor. But how is a bride to choose between all of those close friends? If you’ve got more than one friend or family member who fits all of your MOH needs, is it okay to double up or to add a matron of honor to your list of who’s who? Can you have both a maid of honor and a matron of honor at your ceremony? Our experts are here to weigh in.

First things first, what’s the difference between a maid of honor and a matron of honor? Their roles are the same; the difference lies purely in semantics. A maid of honor is an unmarried woman, while a matron of honor has already had a wedding of her own. Simple, right?

And while either version of an MOH is definitely, well, an honor, that doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to just one. Especially in a larger bridal party, having two MOHs, married or not, can be incredibly useful when it comes to keeping the rest of the gang in line. And think about it: Your 18-year-old sister will be a fabulous maid of honor (does anyone tell it like it is like a sister?), while having your best friend serve as matron of honor gives you access to all of the tips and tricks she picked up while she was planning her own wedding.

Your two MOHs 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 woman (or man!) best. A long-distance MOH 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 one of your MOHs lives close by. And in the example above, if your maid of honor is underage and your matron of honor is over 21, you could ask the younger of the two to focus on your bridal shower, while the other will be better equipped to help with the bachelorette festivities.

If you’ve elected two women to the role, regardless of marital status, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, instead of one dress 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. If you’re going for something a little more eye-catching, like bridesmaids in solid colors and your MOH in a print, you could have both women wear the same print in different silhouettes or ask them to choose two coordinating (but not matching) prints that fit your palette.

Two MOHs also means two important walks down the aisle—well, important until you make your grand entrance, that is! Typically, the maid of honor walks down the aisle with the best man. If you have two MOHs but only one best man, you could either have him escort both women down the aisle or tap another VIP (such as one of your brothers) to serve as a second escort. 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 sister and the other is a friend, most brides will opt to have their sister stand closest, even if she isn’t yet married.

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