It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: your best friend or your sister just called, and she’s decided you should be her maid of honor! This is such an exciting time in her life, and there’s so much you can do to be helpful. Not sure where to turn next? This quick guide can help.

Understand What the Bride Expects

Not every bride is going to have the same expectations of her maid of honor, and it’s important that the two of you have that conversation before you ever get started. You need to know what she does and doesn’t want you to do. Are you supposed to help her scout locations? Does she want your help as she shops for a wedding dress? Should you assist with choosing the right decorations and menu for the reception? In some cases, the bride will want to turn to you for everything. In other cases, though, she won’t want your opinion on very much. She may just want your support. Either way, a good conversation at the outset can help avoid tears and drama down the road.

Go With the Bride Whenever Possible!

If the bride wants you to be a very hands-on maid of honor, go with her whenever you get a chance. You can be by her side as she finds the right place for both the wedding and the reception. You can go with her while she’s choosing her wedding invitations, too. You can certainly be with her as she chats with a caterer or florist. Wondering why you should be there for all of these appointments? Remember, the bride is going to have a lot on her mind, and having you by her side is the perfect way to help her remember all of those little details and keep things straight in the process.

The Bridal Shower Is Your Responsibility

In some cases, family members or friends of the bride may actually take this duty from you, but traditionally, this has been a duty of the maid of honor. If you will be planning the bridal shower, make sure you know who the bride wants to invite. Choose a location with lots of space, and make sure you select the perfect theme. For example, you could choose just a single room in their new home together and focus on that. Kitchen showers can be lots of fun. Don’t forget to plan great bridal shower games, with wonderful prizes, and the food should be a focus too.

Bachelorette Parties Are All You Too!

These days, bachelorette parties are almost more fun than the bridal showers, and this responsibility will fall solely on your shoulders. Start by taking what the bride wants into consideration. Maybe she’s exhausted from all of the planning. If so, perhaps a relaxing backyard barbeque is the best possible idea. Maybe she wants one last night of excitement with her friends. If that’s the case, plan an evening of painting the town red together. After you’ve talked to her about what she wants, start this process by creating a guest list, then choose a date that works for everybody. You can probably accomplish this step with a few emails. From there, pick your theme, then decide on a budget that works for you. Choose your location (or locations) and plan out the activities and games as well as any transportation that will be required. Finally, on the big day, don’t forget to bring along any bachelorette party supplies you’ll need, and go have fun.

The Big Day Means Everything

While helping the bride to plan the wedding can be exciting and a bit stressful at the same time, it’s important to remember that your main duties actually occur on the wedding day itself. Make sure she arrives on time, and help her get dressed and do her makeup. If she has a message to send to anyone, be sure your function as a runner. If you can visit the reception before it starts to ensure there are no real problems. Also, make certain the bride has privacy if she needs it before the ceremony. Your job is to be her right-hand-woman at all times.

Image by kudumomo on Flickr’s Creative Commons.

Pinkchic18 is a party planner with a passion for weddings. She is also a regular contributor to the Wedding Favors Unlimited Advice Blog. USA, LLC