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Maid of Honor Survival Guide

Something borrowed, something blue. It’s the bride’s big day, but who’s taking care of you?

Stressed-out brides are the subject of conversation each summer in wedding magazines, online communities and bridal party get-togethers. But, what about the bride’s right-hand gal?

If you have been asked to wear the maid of honor corsage in a friend or relative’s wedding party this summer, be prepared for some blood, sweat and tears – and we’re not talking about from the bride. We’re talking about from you!

Survive being a maid of honor this summer by adding these six tips into your wedding preparation kit.

Survival Tip No. 1: Let Time Stand Still
One of the most important jobs for a maid of honor is to get the bride to the church on time. But before the big day, you will be bombarded with various time commitments of your own associated with helping the bride and managing the wedding party. From dress fittings to cake tastings, bridal party celebrations, hairdos and flower arrangements, you will be expected to, and should plan for, spending hours engulfed in wedding planning.

To survive late-night phone calls and texts from the bride, diplomatically answering questions about dress choices from the bridesmaids, and keeping the mothers of the bride and groom at ease, it’s important for the maid of honor to regularly schedule time away from the overflowing to-do lists, wedding planning and bride consultations.

Rachel Keaveney, customer service representative at Elements Warren and a two-time maid of honor, insists that the only way to stay sane during the craziness known as wedding planning is to take time out for yourself. “I definitely had to make sure to take time for myself and make sure to relax,” Keaveney said. “I would turn off my phone and e-mail and just take a break every now and again from the wedding.”

Survival Tip No. 2: Be the Referee of the Party
Open communication is key to any strong friendship, but especially when you are the maid of honor in your friend’s wedding. In Keaveney’s experience, the maid of honor can’t be afraid to tell the bride what is working and what isn’t. It also is important to keep all of the bridesmaids on the same page by reaching out to them on a consistent basis so that everyone stays in the loop.

“You definitely are the go-between with everyone,” Keaveney said. “Not all of the bridesmaids will get along or agree so you have to keep everyone on the same page. A lot of communication is needed and keeping in contact with everyone is very important. Make sure you have everyone’s Facebook, e-mail and phone numbers so you can get a hold of everyone when you need to. As the maid of honor, you have to be very diplomatic because you are dealing with bridesmaids, mothers, etc. who all have a different opinion on everything.”

Survival Tip No. 3: Sprinkle in Some Fun
Brides and maids of honor both agree that it’s important to keep the atmosphere of the pre-wedding festivities as fun as possible. In Keaveney’s first maid of honor experience, she successfully mixed a fun girls’ night out dancing with relaxing next-day bridal party massages that everyone enjoyed.

Newlywed Nicole Opperman, office manager at Elements Castle Rock, agreed that one of the best things about her maid of honor is that she kept the experience fun.

“My maid of honor was awesome,” Opperman said. “She made every attempt to be there for me and to listen to what I wanted and needed. She made it fun. It does get stressful. But it’s important to remember that the purpose of the wedding is to have fun.”

Survival Tip No. 4: Calm the Nerves for a Great Wedding Day Speech
For the majority of the wedding, the maid of honor is the behind-the-scenes queen who takes care of all the little and big details. Your big public debut, though, is when all eyes are on you during the maid of honor speech. To make sure your speech is delivered with ease and grace, speak from the heart and practice the main parts of your speech beforehand.  When you’re in the moment, don’t be afraid to go off script, as the best speeches are heartfelt and authentic. Just try not to cry through the entire speech – save the tears until after you fulfill your maid of honor duties.

Survival Tip No. 5: Save Some Cash for the Money Dance
Weddings are not only a lot of work for everyone involved; they also can be an expensive commitment for the maid of honor. From dresses, shoes, make up and hairdos to hotel accommodations, parties and bride gifts along the way, the cost of being in a wedding can add up quickly. To help keep your finances in check during the wedding season, sit down with your bride-to-be early on in the engagement to discuss the financial expectations of the maid of honor and your budget limitations.

Survival Tip No. 6: Expect the Unexpected
Every wedding will have its own unique twists and turns – whether it’s a complete bride meltdown right before the ceremony or groomsmen showing up at the wedding venue without the pants to their tuxes. Maids of honor have to be quick on their toes and a step ahead of everyone else. You also have to be flexible and willing to fulfill even the most bizarre bride and groom requests.

“I had to go out and buy a rubber chicken for the bride,” Keaveney said. “A game for the wedding was to hide and find a rubber chicken throughout the wedding and reception. There was a picture of the groom with the rubber chicken in his coat pocket and he had no idea it was there. It was pretty funny.”

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