The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Maid of Honor

Choose wisely—this someone needs to be best suited for the job, not just your best mate

Updated 03/14/19

Virgil Bunao

The time has come in your wedding planning for a big-time decision—selecting your maid of honor. We know, we know: How can you possibly crown just one woman (or man!) in your life with this momentous title?

If you’re lucky enough to have a tight-knit group of friends or three wonderfully doting sisters, delegating this role is certain to be a trial. You don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings but, equally, you don’t want to feel pressured into choosing someone just because he or she wants to be chosen. While we can't make the decision for you, we can provide you with this guide to get you thinking about what the choice should entail.

Assess your bridesmaids’ strengths

You will likely have pinned down your bridesmaids early on, but who gets promoted to the MoH position? Take some time to think about your needs as a bride, then assess who of your bridesmaids is best equipped to handle those. Be as honest as possible when it comes to their strengths and weaknesses—just as you would when considering someone for a job. For instance, you may be extremely close to your old college roommate, but know that she is often scatterbrained and unreliable. On the other hand, your best friend from high school could be a pro when it comes to organizing events and keeping her cool in high-pressure situations.

Don’t be confined by gender

There’s nothing to say that you have to have a maid of honor at all. You could have a man of honor instead. It’s not uncommon. In fact, 40 percent of couples now choose to have a mixed-gender wedding party, according to the latest stats from WeddingWire. With that in mind, if there’s a guy in your life—perhaps your brother or a male best friend—with whom you have a close connection, you may want to ask him to take the title.

Consider choosing a family member

Still struggling to make this decision? One fail-safe way not to offend anybody is to go with a family member. After all, blood is thicker than water. While your connection and love for a friend may wane after your wedding, you will always have a strong bond with a relative. That means that your sister or favorite cousin could make the perfect choice.

Make sure your prospective MoH can afford it

Accepting this honor does not come cheap. Many don't realize until they've been in the situation, but the average cost of being a bridesmaid is around $1,200, and has gone up to $1,800 in some cases, according to one wedding survey. Since the maid of honor has extra duties, including planning and chipping in toward the bridal shower, that price tag could be even heftier.

Before you make your decision, you need to ensure that the person you have in mind can actually handle those expenses. While you may already understand your friend or loved one’s financial circumstances, having a frank and open talk about the various expenses will help you to avoid any awkwardness. Be clear about the total cost of all your bridal-related events from the very beginning, so there are no surprises.

Ensure she or he understands the duties

It’s not merely a title. Being someone’s maid of honor comes with a variety of tasks, from keeping you calm in the lead-up to the big day to delivering a heart-wrenching speech. Consider whether each possible candidate is up to the challenge. If you believe that a certain friend can hack it, it’s time to have a quick chat and make sure that friend is 100 percent onboard.

Don’t be swayed by promises

Are your besties vying for the honor? Oh dear. It may be that all of your friends believe they have a fair stake. In that case, they might make certain promises, such as repaying the favor when they wed, to try to sway your opinion. Stay strong and trust your instincts. This is by no means a bartering situation. The woman or, indeed, man you choose ought to be someone who feels right to you.

Choose a supportive person

Moments before you walk down the aisle, it’s only natural to get nervous. Most brides get a bout of last-minute anxiety when their big day finally comes. Perhaps one of the most important responsibilities for your maid of honor is to help you hold it together. Ensure the person you choose can handle that emotional wrangling. It may help to envision each of your candidates in this particular situation. What advice would each offer? How would each support you? Is someone most likely to say the right words to calm your fears? Is someone else the type of person who will put her foot in it? Ultimately, your maid of honor is a confidant and someone you trust to have your back.

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