The Unwritten Rules Of The Maid Of Honor Relationship

So your best gal pal said "I will" — got a ring, set a date, and — most importantly, at least as far as you're concerned, asked you to be her maid of honor. Ok, cool, you've always wanted to be a bridesmaid and get all dressed up in an awesomely ugly great big poofy matchy-matchy dress

Now you're going to get to be the head bridesmaid! So does that just mean an extra-poofy dress, or... wait, just what, exactly, does it mean? You'd ask your bestie, but you feel kind of silly not knowing. Fear not, we'll fill you in on everything the etiquette books might mention so that you don't make too many mistakes and, oops, absolutely ruin your (former) friend's big day.

The wedding day is all about her

Some guests go to a wedding to dance, to drink, to flirt, and maybe to catch a bouquet and dream about having their own weddings some day — but this isn't going to be you. Not this time, not this wedding. Sure, being maid of honor is an honor — hence the title — but it is also, first and foremost, a job.

Martha Stewart Weddings provides a reminder that your new duties may range from the tedious (endless dress fittings with a bride who just can't make up her mind) to the dramatic (refereeing major family stress over who gets on the guest list) to the slightly gross (accompanying the bride to the bathroom so you can hold her train up off the floor when she has to... you know). Whatever you do, keep a smile plastered to your face, and never, ever, ever let the word "Bridezilla" past your lips.

Stand by her right up til she leaves on the honeymoon

Better go easy on the champagne, girl — once the ceremony is over, your work is nowhere near done. In fact, you're pretty much required to be Janey-on-the-Spot throughout the whole reception, taking care of all those mundane details so the bride can bask in congratulations and lovey-dovey photo ops.

Meanwhile, you'll be on standby to help with wardrobe changes, traffic directing, hostessing, and wedding gift logistics — oh, and don't forget to look pretty as you lead off the dancing with the best man! According to Wedding Wire, "One of the most important maid of honor duties is to have a great time and spend a lot of time on the dance floor," although how you are supposed to manage this while keeping an eye out for everything else, they don't exactly explain. Still, you'll have to do your best to stay aware and in charge at all times while simultaneously appearing to be enjoying yourself in a carefree manner.

Yes, you have to give a speech

As if all those other reception duties weren't enough, there's also that toast — aka speech — that you'll have to give as soon as the best man's done giving his toast — better hope he's not a hard act to follow! (And also that he hasn't crushed all of your toes already.) Don't worry, Martha Stewart Weddings reassures, all your speech needs is "an introduction, expressions of gratitude, personal memories, and a sweet sentiment about [the bride's] relationship," as well as "appropriate jokes that prompt good-spirited laughs from the crowd." 

Better start writing that speech as soon as you agree to be maid of honor, though, since Martha's mag also warns that the bride will (or will not) appreciate your better-be-thoughtful words "for years to come... so make sure this is a performance you'll be proud of."