What Is the Difference Between Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid?

What Is the Difference Between Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid?

Bridesmaids and maid of honour are two essential roles of the bridal party in a wedding. 

Before selecting the right person for each role, you should know the exact difference between these two roles.

The main difference between bridesmaid and maid of honour is that the bridesmaid is a young woman who serves as the bride's attendant while the maid of honour is the chief bridesmaid.

Choosing your bridal party can be equal parts fun and stressful. 

You want to be surrounded by your best gals, but many other things come into play – from existing expectations among friends and family to the strength of different relationships. 

So who – and how – do you choose to fill these VIP spots? Is it the longtime friend from school, or the one you see every day? 

Someone for whom you were a bridesmaid or a favourite cousin who lives in the next town. Do you have ten bridesmaids, or go for three?

As you can see, there's a lot to consider. And that's before you get around to assigning the most important role of them all – that of the Maid of Honour. 

We've compiled this handy guide to help you understand the difference and pick the right person for each role, but remember, the first person to come to mind for each position may not be the best person to carry out each position, so choose carefully!

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Here's the difference between bridesmaids and your maid of honour.

Who Is a Bridesmaid

A bridesmaid is a young woman who serves as an attendant of the bride during a wedding ceremony. 

Bridesmaids are members of the bride's party. In a typical Western wedding ceremony, there is more than one bridesmaid. 

Brides usually select someone very close to her as bridesmaids – sisters, cousins, best friends, etc. Traditionally, bridesmaids were unmarried young women.

Bridesmaids are only required to attend the wedding and assist the bride on the day of the wedding. 

Sometimes, they may be asked to help with planning the wedding and reception. In modern times, bridesmaids also attend other wedding-related events like a wedding rehearsals, bachelorette parties or bridal showers.

Sometimes, the bride can choose a chief bridesmaid. For example, if she is unmarried, we call her a maid of honour, but we call her a matron of honour if she is unmarried.

A junior bridesmaid is a girl too young to be married but is included as an honorary bridesmaid. 

Junior bridesmaids usually have no responsibilities except attending the wedding. 

Furthermore, the male equivalent of bridesmaids is groomsmen. Generally, couples choose an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen.

What Does a Bridesmaid Do?

What Is the Difference Between Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid?

As the name suggests, a bridesmaid is a member of the bridal party. 

They tend to be a sister, cousin or close friend, although these days, brides sometimes choose attendants of the opposite sex to reflect the varied nature of modern friendships.

Numbers-wise, there's no minimum or maximum limit imposed, although couples often choose to have an equal number of attendants. 

Where you have only one bridesmaid, they will serve as the Maid of Honour.

In the lead-up to the wedding, some of the tasks brides traditionally seek help with include addressing and stuffing envelopes, going dress shopping, or getting involved in DIY projects, whether creating personalised ceremony programs or making decor elements for the reception. Bridesmaids can also help with tasks such as recording details of gift-givers during events such as the engagement party.

On an actual day, they will support the Maid of Honour in looking after the bride, help look after junior attendants, circulate at the wedding to ensure guests feel included, dance with their opposing groomsman, and answer guest queries.

Who Is a Maid of Honour

A maid of honour is a chief bridesmaid. Maids of honour are usually unmarried; if they are married, we call them matrons of honour.

A bridal party may contain several bridesmaids, but the maid of honour title goes to the main bridesmaid, usually the bride's sister or closest friend. 

In other words, she will be the right-hand woman of the bride on the wedding day. Generally, a maid of honour is dressed the same as a bridesmaid.

A maid of honour usually has more duties and responsibilities than bridesmaids. 

Some of these may include helping with the wedding plans, dress shopping, helping the bride to dress, keeping track of the wedding gifts, making a toast to the couple, signing the marriage license as a witness, carrying the groom's ring, and holding the bride's bouquet while the ceremony is taking place. 

She must also keep track of all other bridesmaids and make sure everyone receives updates about the wedding, keep their appointments, etc.

What Does a Maid of Honour Do?

The Maid of Honour (or Man of Honour, where applicable) serves as the chief bridesmaid. 

She acts as the bride's critical personal attendant during the engagement and on the big day, intending to reduce stress wherever possible and lend a hand or opinion whenever needed.

In the lead-up to the wedding, the MOH will traditionally host the bridal shower or kitchen tea and plan the hen's night. 

She can also help corral and delegate to bridesmaids wherever a hands-on effort is needed, such as if the favours are homemade.

On the wedding day itself, her duties range from helping the bride get dressed, making sure she eats something, holding her bouquet during the ceremony, signing the marriage certificate, and assisting the bride in go to the toilet if her dress is too ornate to wrangle alone. 

She also dances with the best man during the newlyweds' first dance, takes charge in any moments that need a delicate hand and may also make a speech or a toast.

Usually, she is dressed the same as the bridesmaids, although some brides will reflect her status with a different colour, piece of jewellery or slightly different dress design. 

Note that if she is married, the correct term is the matron of honour.

Difference Between Bridesmaid and Maid of honour

Definition

A bridesmaid is a young woman who serves as an attendant of the bride during the wedding ceremony, while a maid of honour is the chief bridesmaid.

Duties and Responsibilities

Maids of honour can have more duties and responsibilities than bridesmaids.

Number

A bride can choose any number of bridesmaids, but there is usually only one maid of honour.

Marital Status

Bridesmaids can be married or unmarried, but a maid of honour is usually single.

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

Many factors go into choosing bridesmaids. Looking for Wedding Dress Shops? Look no further, Vogue Ballroom has you covered.

There's friendship, family ties, sentimentality, returning the favour or even doing the right thing. And they're all essential to consider, to varying degrees.

But the big question you want to ask in making final selections is this: "Do I want these people to be the ones standing with me at the altar as I get married? And am I confident they will support me along the way?" If the answer is yes, you're on to a winner.

How to Choose Your Maid of Honour

When it comes to choosing a Maid of Honour, sisters and best friends are the obvious candidates. 

After all, you need somebody who knows you intimately, who you trust and who can also bring you back down to earth on the odd occasion you need it. 

Plus, they're going to be a patient right-hand gal when wedding responsibilities add up, or you get overwhelmed and need tissues, or even a hug.

As well as love and trust, time availability is an essential factor to consider. 

When the groom isn't free – or even when he is – you're going to want the MOH to join you for activities such as cake tasting or venue hunting, on top of usual responsibilities ranging from dress shopping to planning celebrations such as the hen's night. 

So if one of your besties works incredibly long hours that limit her time off, she may be better as a bridesmaid.

Something else you'll want her input on is deciding themes, colour schemes, reception decorations and more. 

For this reason, someone who has an eye for style and shares your taste is also a perfect choice.

Finally, suppose your potential MOH has an existing relationship with the other bridesmaids. In that case, that's wonderful too, because then she can easily direct them as needed to critical dates and responsibilities such as hair and make-up trials and jewellery shopping. 

She'll also ensure they're in their best form on the big day to help make it a magical celebration which, after all, is why you have attendants in the first place.

Maid of Honour or Chief Bridesmaid?

If you're a bride, the most important appointment you'll need to make is a maid of honour or chief bridesmaid. 

The person who will be your rock through the planning stages, the head coordinator of your hen do, and the friend calming your nerves just before you walk down the aisle, the chief bridesmaid, is integral to the smooth running of your big day. 

So what exactly is the difference between a maid of honour and a chief bridesmaid? We decided to find out.

Maid of Honour Vs. Chief Bridesmaid

In reality, the main difference between a maid of honour and a chief bridesmaid is nationality. 

In the US, the bride's BFF has generally been known as the maid of honour if they're single or the matron of honour if they're married.

In the UK, the chief bridesmaid has traditionally been the person the bride relies on. Aside from linguistic differences, virtually nothing separates the two roles. 

This leaves the decision about what to call your wing-woman entirely up to you.

Duties of the Maid of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid

As well as showing your dearest friend how much they mean to you, the role of maid of honour or chief bridesmaid is incredibly important throughout the build-up to the wedding and on the day itself. 

From helping you pick out your dress to advising you on your choice of venue, caterers and wedding theme, your chief bridesmaid/maid of honour will be there throughout the planning process. 

On the big day itself, your BFF will calm your nerves, help you get ready and ensure everything on the day goes as smoothly as possible.

How to Choose a Maid of Honour/ Chief Bridesmaid

What Is the Difference Between Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid?

Unless you have a clear frontrunner for the position, choosing a maid of honour/chief bridesmaid can be a real challenge. 

Before deciding, think about the different qualities each of your potential picks would bring to the role. 

Ideally, you want someone reliable, trustworthy and calm in a crisis. However, if your chosen friend also has a good sense of humour and a talent for organisation, then you're onto a real winner.

So, What's the Difference Is Between a Maid of honour and a Bridesmaid?

Your maid of honour will become your right-hand lady. She's more of a personal helper and confidant – so this must be someone you trust entirely and knows you well. 

She's there to help you get through all major hurdles and guide you through your big day without any stress.

She'll help you into your dress, hold your bouquet at the ceremony as well as make sure your dress is fluffed at the altar. 

She may even be the one to host your bridal shower. She is there for you throughout all of the ins and outs of the planning, all the way to the actual event.

The bridesmaids should be helpful too, but they're not as involved. They may help with more minor chores and responsibilities like taste testing or helping with your DIY invitations. 

But the ringleader will continue to be the MOH, who frequently will delegate tasks to the rest of the bridal party.

Other "Expert" Opinions

A maid of honour is the chief bridesmaid, and a matron of honour is a married maid of honour. It's usually the bride's best friend or sister.  

The maid or matron of honour has to take the lead when organising things like the bridal shower etc. 

The maid of honour is formally responsible for throwing the bride the bridal shower, helping the bride with fittings and selecting her gown, and serving as a formal witness to the vows. If the maid of honour is an elder, she is usually designated "matron of honour" instead.

The bridesmaids, while a traditional part of the procession, do not have significant duties and are mainly given the honour for purposes of appearance and to allow these individuals to have and enjoy the privileges that go with it, including participation in the bridal shower if any; and in the rehearsal dinner, if any. 

Sometimes the bridesmaids are given specific responsibilities by either the bride or the maid/matron of honour for the general purpose of assisting the bride with things on or in preparation for the wedding day.

As a practical matter, when the bridesmaids, escorted or unescorted, precede the bride and follow the maid/matron of honour in the procession before the nuptials, anticipation for the appearance and walking down of the bride builds.

The Maid of Honour (or Man of Honour, where applicable) serves as the chief bridesmaid. 

She acts as the bride's critical personal attendant both during the engagement and on the big day, with an aim to reduce stress wherever possible and lend a hand or opinion whenever needed.

As the name suggests, a bridesmaid is a member of the bridal party. 

They tend to be a sister, cousin or close friend, although these days, brides sometimes choose attendants of the opposite sex to reflect the varied nature of modern friendships.

Numbers-wise, there's no minimum or maximum limit imposed, although couples often choose to have an equal number of attendants. Where you have only one bridesmaid, they will serve as the Maid of Honour.

In the lead-up to the wedding, some of the tasks brides traditionally seek help with include addressing and stuffing envelopes, going dress shopping, or getting involved in DIY projects, whether creating personalised ceremony programs or making decor elements for the reception. 

Bridesmaids can also help with tasks such as recording details of gift-givers during events such as the engagement party.

On an actual day, they will support the Maid of Honour in looking after the bride, help look after junior attendants, circulate at the wedding to ensure guests feel included, dance with their opposing groomsman, and answer guest queries.

Conclusion

The main difference between bridesmaid and maid of honour is that bridesmaid is a young woman who serves as the bride's attendant while the maid of honour is the chief bridesmaid.

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Therefore, a maid of honour typically has more duties and responsibilities than bridesmaids.

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