Chief Bridesmaid: A Guide to the Role and Responsibilities
The chief bridesmaid (UK term) or maid of honour (if you’ve been influenced by American TV) is the bride’s right-hand woman and usually a sister or best friend. You can of course have a chief bridesman too. If you’ve been asked, congratulations! It’s quite an honour. But what does the role entail?
The chief bridesmaid will play an important role in the wedding preparations. It’s her job to help organize and manage the other bridesmaids and ensure that all of the tasks are completed in time for the big day. This includes communicating with the other members of the wedding party, making sure everyone has their outfits, sending out invitations, getting everyone gifts, and handling logistics for pre-wedding events like bridal showers or hen parties.
The chief bridesmaid may also help the bride with shopping for her wedding dress, choosing the bridesmaids’ dresses, selecting a wedding venue, and attending the cake tasting or shopping for honeymoon essentials. Chief bridesmaids can also take care of any last-minute errands or final details before the wedding day arrives.
The Chief bridesmaid is one of the most important members of the bridal party, and she should be ready to offer help, advice and emotional support to the bride before and during her wedding day. There will likely be some problems on the day that need that calm head, so pack some tissues and an emergency bridal repair kit.
Yes, the best man will get all the plaudits, but you will find that you are the one running around while he laughs and jokes his way through entertaining the crowd. But this is how it needs to be, you will need to silently organise and direct to make things happen.
If you’re (understandably) feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a chief bridesmaid, this article is here to guide you through it. After reading this article, you’ll know what to do and how to do it right.
Before The Wedding
As soon as you’re asked to be chief bridesmaid, it’s important to start getting things together. Start by communicating with the other members of the wedding party. When they’re all on board, your job will be a lot easier because you won’t have to keep track of who is doing what or who needs help with what.
It’s also your job to make sure the bride has everything she needs during the wedding planning and in the days leading up to the event. You should make sure that she’s comfortable with the wedding gown, shoes, hairstyle, makeup and any other items she might need to feel her best on her big day. And of course accompany her to wedding fairs and dress shopping.
As the head bridesmaid, your job is to make sure the other bridesmaids are organized and that the brides well-prepared for her big day. You will also keep the bride’s attendants in the loop at any rehearsal dinner or pre wedding parties.
Traditionally, the principal bridesmaid provides assistance in planning and hosting a bridal shower. Though this is not compulsory, it is common for this duty to be given to her. The maid can coordinate with other bridesmaids or siblings or mother of the bride to put together the event or she may do it herself.
If you’re organising to invite the close female relatives and friends then its best to get the list of the bride’s friends and close family from either the bride or the bride’s mother. The bridesmaids would need to introduce themselves at the hen party to the rest of the family and friends. They may also be in charge of assembling the favours and sorting out the games at the shower.
The chief bridesmaid should help the bride open her gifts and keep a list of what each guest gave to make it easier to write thank-you notes. The Chief Bridesmaid can also create a “bouquet” with ribbons and bows from packages or enlist another creative acquaintance of the bride or bridesmaid to do so.
The chief bridesmaid (along with the bridesmaids) typically organises the Hen-do party. Before deciding what type of party the bride would like to have, you should keep in mind that attendees at this kind of event usually pay for themselves and the chief bridesmaid is in charge of collecting the funds. The bride will supply a list of people who she would like to invite to her hen-do.
During The Wedding Day
The Bridesmaids are tasked with the responsibility of helping the bride to be calm her nerves, helping her get dressed and making her feel confident and beautiful on her wedding day. To avoid extra stress on the couple, they should also deal directly with the wedding planner.
If there are any tense moments between members of the guests or family, the head bridesmaid or best man should act as an intermediary. It may also be need to help the flower girls be calm and well behaved, and even deal with any emergencies or help take up the wedding dress.
During the wedding ceremony when the bride makes her grand entrance down the aisle, the chief bridesmaid should walk in just before her. Once at the altar, you should make sure that the bride’s train is positioned well throughout the ceremony and you’ll be responsible for holding the bride’s bouquet and where possible fixing her make up. You may be asked to hold the groom’s wedding band for the ring exchange and asked to be a witness in the signing of the marriage license or even to do a reading.
The head bridesmaid typically stands to the groom’s left, if the wedding has a receiving line, with the other bridesmaids placed to the left of her. Also when the newlyweds are taking their photos, she can help identify who is who and ensure that important shots are taken while the bride and groom take photos with their family members or their bridal party.
At the wedding reception, she may be asked to share a speech and toast with the best man. She, along with the bridesmaids and groomsmen will all be responsible for ensuring that the event is moving smoothly, the guests are taken care of and that everyone is having a good time.
The Chief bridesmaid should also be there to check up on the bride to see if she needs any assistance with anything or to go with her to the restroom. And importantly, you should join the newly weds on the dance floor and have some fun.
After The Wedding
At the end of the reception, the chief bridesmaid can be responsible for getting the bride’s dress from the reception hall to the bride’s home or to a professional cleaner. She may also be responsible for helping the bride and groom with the transportation home. They may even offer to look after their pet/pets or pick up their mail while the newlyweds are on their honeymoon.
You’re probably feeling relieved and excited that the hard work is over and your friend is finally married. But don’t forget: there’s still a lot of work to be done after the knot is tied! You may likely be in charge of sending thank-you cards and handling all of the wedding gifts.
With so much responsibility, it’s important not to neglect yourself during such a busy time. Make sure you take some time for yourself after it’s over. Don’t feel like you need to devote every waking moment to following up with guests or sorting through gifts.
Then when they arrive back home, you can go through the wedding day memories and talk about the highlights of their special day as your chief bridesmaid duties are complete.
Chief bridesmaid duties checklist
These are usual tasks for the head bridesmaid role, but other members of the bridal party can support. This is not an exhaustive list.
- Support the bride
- Co-ordinate the bridal party
- Assist with wedding planning
- Go shopping for dresses
- Visit wedding fairs
- Help find a venue
- Arrange Hen Party
- Arrange Bridal Shower
On the Wedding
- Liaise with wedding planner
- Help bride get dressed and stay calm
- Walk down the aisle before bride
- Hold the bouquet during ceremony
- Take Brides dress from venue
- Help with thank you cards