How to Set Expectations with Your Maid of Honor

bride and her bride squad holding glasses

It’s so exciting to choose your bridal party. Especially when you get to ask your best friend or loved one to be the Maid of Honor! But even your best friend might not understand everything you’re expecting of them when you ask them to take on the role. 

It’s important to set expectations with your Maid of Honor. Even if you think they will do everything you want them to do. Being in the bridal party, Maid of Honor or not, comes with a lot of time and financial commitments. And you want to make sure they are up for the task. 

I’ve been a part of some weddings where expectations were not set. And it can turn out really bad for everyone involved. For one wedding I was a part of, the Maid of Honor felt like she didn’t have time to plan a bachelorette party and it upset the bride. While it wasn’t a nasty altercation, it was still uncomfortable to be around. 

Thinking of having more than one maid of honor? That’s a whole other can of worms. Check out this post for a detailed break down on how to have multiple maids of honor.

Here is everything you need to know about what to expect from your Maid of Honor. And guidance on how to have those conversations! 

How to set expectations with your Maid of Honor

It’s important that you have a conversation with your Maid of Honor and bridal party about your expectations for the wedding-related events. You should let them know ahead of time everything you want. Also what events they need to be planning, and anything else you expect of them during the process of your wedding. 

In talking with your Maid of Honor, you should make sure to discuss:

  • How you picture your bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • What you want the bridal party to wear to the wedding and other relevant events
  • What their tasks will be leading up to and on the wedding day
  • Any other thoughts you have about planning the wedding that you need her help with
a bride walking away with her bridal party, the maid of honor is fixing her hair

The tone of these conversations can make all the difference in having a successful discussion. You want to make sure you’re working together to decide what your Maid of Honor has the time and budget to contribute. Not making demands of your friend or close family member.

At the end of the conversation both of you should feel like you’re clear on next steps. And you both should be excited to celebrate your upcoming marriage together! You don’t want your Maid of Honor to feel like maybe they should back out… And of course, you don’t want to feel that your Maid of Honor isn’t able to support you on your big day.

What does the Maid of Honor pay for?

There are a few different things, traditionally anyway, that the Maid of Honor is supposed to pay for. Nowadays, the bride sometimes chips in. Especially if there is something specific she wants that the Maid of Honor can’t pay for. 

The Maid of Honor is traditionally financially responsible for a few different parts of the wedding. 

Does the Maid of Honor Pay for Wedding Attire?

The whole bridal party, including the Maid of Honor, is typically expected to pay for their own wedding attire. This list includes any clothing they are wearing to wedding-related events, especially anything they wear on the wedding day. The dress, jewelry, and shoes are all the Maid of Honor’s responsibility.

There are of course exceptions to this rule if you know that your Maid of Honor can’t afford something you would love them to wear. If you want to give a certain dress, shoes, or accessories as a gift you can do so as a nice gesture.

Again an open discussion about what you would like and some room for compromise goes a long way here to create a positive experience for everyone.

Does the Maid of Honor Pay for Bachelorette Party?

The bachelorette party is one of the Maid of Honor’s biggest jobs and one of the most fun! This is traditionally a night out for the bride and her closest friends for “one last night of freedom.” It is normally split between the bridal party. 

It’s more common now to do more of a weekend. Rather than keeping it to one night for some brides and friends. The finances can get trickier here. The most common thing is for all of the bachelorette party to split one meal, or take turns buying drinks, to treat the bride. While the bride pays for her fair share of the airfare, lodgings / hotel, and any other travel / entertainment expenses.

Sometimes the bride wants to and does chip in, but the Maid of Honor doesn’t let that happen all the time. 2021 bride Ashley says, “I was fully expecting to chip in and help to pay for the bachelorette party I wanted, but when I got there, the only thing my bridal party let me pay for was breakfast on the morning we were leaving. It was such a nice gesture, especially since my wedding had 250 people, and I was already paying a lot.”

bride with her bridal party at a bridal shower

Does the Maid of Honor Pay for Bridal Shower?

The parents of the bride, specifically the mom, usually helps with the bridal shower expenses and planning in addition to the Maid of Honor. 

Not all brides want their parents involved. But some do, so it’s important you talk to your Maid of Honor about who else is funding wedding events in advance. 

Does the Maid of Honor Get the Bride a Gift?

Gifts for the bride from the Maid of Honor are controversial these days. Traditionally, the Maid of Honor, Best Man, and the rest of the bridal party are expected to buy a wedding gift. This is in addition to anything else they may be paying for like the bachelorette party and bridal shower. 

But that’s not expected, per se, anymore. Some brides are now assuring their bridal party, especially the Maid of Honor, that they don’t have to buy the couple a gift. This is because of the amount spent on other things. This isn’t something that everyone will expect though. So if you’re planning on telling the Maid of Honor that she is not expected to get a gift, you should express that as soon as possible. 

What are the Maid of Honor’s other responsibilities?

The task of the Maid of Honor is really just to be there for the bride through planning the wedding. In addition to the bachelorette party and bridal shower, there are some other smaller things that they are expected to take care of. 

Attending appointments with the bride

From getting the dress, to alterations, to last-minute appointments for anything related to the wedding, the Maid of Honor should be your shadow through the entire process. While there are other people in your life you might want with you through it as well, your Maid of Honor is in charge of helping you make sure things get done. 

Being a Model Guest

RSVPing on time, greeting guests at the wedding, and maybe even leading on the dance floor are all ways the Maid of Honor is supposed to be a model guest.

Serving as a point-person on the wedding day

One of the biggest – and arguably the most stressful – tasks that the Maid of Honor takes on is being the person others’ go-to for any issues during the wedding day. Everyone who is doing something, like family members or vendors, on the day should have the Maid of Honor’s phone number. 

Putting together an emergency kit for the wedding

One of the best things any bridesmaids can do for a bride is to put together a basket or box of emergency supplies for the bridal party to use throughout the day. This can include lotions, sunscreen, bandaids, pimple patches, a Tide-to-go stick, Gatorade… anything you think you might need to combat emergencies. 

Make sure the bride stays hydrated and eats

Excitement takes over on the wedding day for everyone, especially for the couple. Your Maid of Honor should make sure you are mentally and physically ready to take on the day. This means making sure you eat, stay hydrated, and don’t go crazy on the coffee – you’ll have enough jitters already!

Helping during the ceremony

Your Maid of Honor should be prepared to fix the veil and train during the ceremony. She should also help with other responsibilities like signing the marriage certificate as a witness. Or holding the rings in case the Best Man can’t. 

bride with her bridal party in burgundy dresses

Giving a speech at the reception

This is the most iconic role the Maid of Honor and Best Man perform, and it’s usually a crowd-pleaser. Giving a speech is a fun part of the wedding where your Maid of Honor will get to tell everyone you love why she loves you. 

Helping the bride go to the bathroom

This isn’t just in the movies – depending on the size of the dress, you might need help going to the bathroom, and your Maid of Honor is officially responsible. 

Gathering all the bride’s things before the send-off

Anything in the bridal suite, luggage for the honeymoon, etc. And anything else you might need to take with you before you leave for the night should be the Maid of Honor’s responsibility. It’s one more thing you won’t have to worry about. 


Your wedding should be a fun time for you and your future spouse. It’s a time to be able to celebrate your love and life together. Your bridal party, especially the role of the Maid of Honor, is meant to make everything easier on you. Planning and coordinating events is part of that. 

If there is anything you feel like you need to talk to your Maid of Honor about, you should do it as soon as possible. They should know everything you’re prioritizing and exactly what you want in your wedding events. 


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

Recent Posts

Cookie Consent Banner by Real Cookie Banner