How To Choose Your Maid Of Honour

Jo Nunney,
11 October 2021

Hopefully, you’re one of the lucky ones and it’s super obvious to you who your maid of honour will be. Asking her is merely a formality. She already knows she’s got the job!

What if it’s not quite that simple? Are there two or more contenders for the role and the thought of offering it to one of your girlies and not the other is frankly filling you with dread? Is the epicness of this decision just chucking your mind into meltdown mode? Are family expectations playing on your mind, or has someone just assumed they’ve got the job (they’ve not – yuck).

Your choice of maid of honour matters. She should be someone you are completely at ease with and trust entirely to place as much importance on your wedding day as you do.
bride embraces her bridesmaid with so much love and joyImage with thanks to Zara Davis Photography

What Does The Maid Of Honour Do?


Your best girl needs to have a lot of qualities above and beyond being your go-to party gal. This is not another booze cruise: this is your wedding day. Make sure you have the roles and responsibilities of the maid of honour in mind when you make your choice. You’ll be surprised how much you’re going to need her help if you’re to avoid turning into Bridezilla, who we more affectionately refer to as Just-got-a-lot-to-do-Zilla.

Your perfect candidate should be devoted, confident, and very well organised. A spreadsheet-Sally is ideal. She also needs to be calm in a crisis – just in case. There will be a lot of logistics and some serious people management involved, so keep an eye out for negotiating skills on her CV! She needs to be available. There’s a lot to do on the run-up to the wedding so you need someone who’s able to be around when you need her. If your bestie is working away or battling horrendous morning sickness, then she may be best suited to the role of bridesmaid. She could probably do without the extra responsibilities right now to be fair.

bride and her maid of honour share a knowing laugh togetherImage with thanks to Zoe Harris Photography

Where Did The Tradition Of Having A Maid Of Honour Come From?

The term ‘maid of honour’ was derived in the UK and referred to the female attendants of the queen. The history of the job role itself is down to those superstitious Romans again! Witnesses of the marriage would dress like the bride and groom in order to confuse evil spirits looking to curse the bride to be. The maid of honour also played a very practical role in helping to dress and prepare the bride for her big day. We expect a bit more of our maid of honour these days, but she does often still get to wear a slightly more ‘wow’ dress than the other bridesmaids to acknowledge her special title.

Can I Have Two Maids Of Honour?


Yes, you lucky thing! You have two girlies so fabulous that you can’t possibly choose between them. Love it. Although weddings are grounded in tradition, times have changed, and a minor tweak like having two maids of honour is perfectly doable. Just make sure they get along great and are capable of working happily alongside each other. Having two right-hand ladies should make your life easier, not harder.

bridesmaids surround bride as she finishes her wedding  day look in gold mirrorImage with thanks to Alex Bradbury Photography

Does My Maid Of Honour Have To Be Female?


No. Absolutely not. The best person for the job should be recruited with confidence. Whilst we’re on the matter of who can be your maid of honour…


Does My Maid Of Honour Have To Be Unmarried?


The relationship status of your bridesmaid-boss does not matter. Officially speaking, you should refer to a married maid of honour as your matron of honour, but it’s not a rule that’s often put into action, especially in the UK.

bridesmaids help bride into her white wedding dress on the morning of her wedding dayImage with thanks to Maxeen Kim Photography

Who Should I Choose To Be My Bridesmaids?


Even if the decision of who to ask to be your bridesmaids seems silly simple, you should still take a little time to think it through with a clear head. If you have a line-up of eight lovely ladies in mind be sure to check that your wedding budget can cater for them all before you ask them. There are bridesmaid dresses, accessories, their flowers and wedding transport to think of. Check out our guide on who pays for what at a wedding.

Once in a blue moon, when mother nature decides to test your sanity levels, your maid of honour may be unable to attend your wedding for some unforeseeable reason. She would be there if she could! Do you have a bridesmaid in mind who could step up if needed? Just something to think about.


What If My Bridesmaids Don’t Get On?


This group of gals is your dream team. Your bridesmaids kinda do have to get on with each other. You’ll feel the repercussions if they don’t. They also need to be happy to take guidance and polite instruction from your maid of honour. If you have any concerns about the group dynamics, then think your decision through carefully. Usually, any little quibbles will be put aside to focus on you and your wedding day, but these lasses need to attend lots of events and a hen-do together before we even get started on the wedding day. Cooperation is required.

beautiful bridesmaids and their bride with dresses blowing in the breezeImage with thanks to Maxeen Kim Photography

How Should I Ask Someone To Be My Maid Of Honour?


Once you’ve made your decision and know who you would like to be your bridal ops director, then make sure you ask them straight away. This is quite the compliment to pay them, but it’s also a big ask and a lot of responsibility to place on their shoulders. If they do decline your invitation (the cheek) then you’ll need to reconsider your recruitment process. If it’s a yes – which, of course it will be – then they’ll want as much notice as possible to schedule plans and do the best job possible for you.

Make this proposal a meaningful one! Firstly, because she’s lovely and deserves to know how irreplaceable she is. Secondly, because you want her to say yes. Charm her!


Your bridal party will play a huge role in your wedding day. Having your ladies by your side will make a great day even more memorable. Choose your maid of honour carefully and be true to yourself when your decision. Decided? Once she says yes, then help her out with some tips and advice on her new role! There’s nothing wrong with a little homework.