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By Niquita Odell.

A loved one has asked you to be their Maid of Honour. Firstly, a massive congratulations to you, what a privilege. We have both been a Maid of Honour before, for each other actually, so we know how exciting it can be. However, it can also feel a little daunting and overwhelming, especially if you aren’t a natural planner. From our own experience and from speaking with fellow Maids of Honour, we have found there tends to be three main duties, so we have created this guide which we hope will give you a few useful pointers to help you along the way.

The bridesmaids

You may be asked to coordinate the bridesmaids as part of your role. This could include ensuring the bridesmaids have all the required details for hair trials, make up trials, dress fittings and so on. This can feel like herding cats, so we suggest setting up a WhatsApp group ASAP. This will allow you to keep the bridesmaids updated and share ideas centrally, without having to message everyone individually – a huge time saver. It’s also a great space for the group to share their excitement for the bride and groom, especially as the big day gets closer, and share pictures and titbits following the celebrations that you can use to create a scrap book memento for the happy couple. If the bridesmaids don’t know each other already, it’s a great idea to arrange a meet-up early in the planning process to break the ice.

The speech

Been asked to give a speech on the big day? We suggest that you start working on this as soon as you can. There is nothing worse than a last minute panic when it comes to a speech, nobody wants a case of verbal diarrhoea, especially on a loved ones wedding day. Why not start keeping a note of any ideas that pop into your head, whether that be an embarrassing (but wedding appropriate) story of the bride to be, a funny or fond memory, or films or songs that are special to the both of you. Starting a note on your phone or keeping a small notebook and pen at the ready (we find our best ideas come to us when lying in bed at night) means that you can jot down and keep track of any lightbulb moments you have, all of which will come in handy when it comes to writing the speech.

When it comes to putting your speech together, it doesn’t need to be perfect first time round. Staring at a blank screen can be daunting, so just start somewhere, even if it’s typing up the ideas you have already jotted down elsewhere. With a few words on the page, you’ll soon find your flow. Importantly, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are a lot of speech templates and examples online that you can and should use to your advantage.

The hen party

This is a biggie and something we’re sure lots of you feel pressure to get right. Here are some things we suggest you take into consideration when starting to plan the hen party:

- Budget: there is no point planning anything until you know what is affordable for everyone attending. The budget will give you a good idea of what is going to be achievable, whilst ensuring everyone who wants to attend can afford to be there.

- Length: are you planning the celebration for a day, evening, weekend? Whatever you choose, be realistic with the amount of activities. There are so many options out there it can be tempting to cram as much in as possible, but you’ll regret it when it comes to getting up at 5am for a yoga class with a raging hangover from the night before.

- Age: consider the age range of those attending and pick suitable activities that allow everyone to get involved. If white water rafting is a must, plan an alternative activity for older guests so they have something to enjoy too.

Finally, and most importantly, always remember to consider what the bride would want. It can be difficult as everyone will have their own ideas. We suggest you listen to these ideas and take them into consideration, but if you feel you’re going down a path that the bride wouldn’t be on board with, don’t use them. Remember, you know the bride and what she would want her celebrations to look like, that’s why you are her Maid of Honour.

Here are a few websites we found useful in our own planning. There are plenty of ideas and suppliers online so do have a look yourself, but in the meantime, we hope they inspire you:

A fantastic website, especially if you choose to go down the DIY hen route. You can find everything from decorations to stationery, gift bags and hen party games. They also have hen party themes, the dream if you want everything to match.

This site includes a huge list of hen party activities and ideas, what could be more useful? We also loved the free download section. You can download games, dares and cocktail recipes (some we are thinking we should probably test ourselves, all in the name of research of course).

Thinking of a weekend or short break for the hen? This website has some gorgeous properties and vast list of activities to match. When you’re enquiring about a property, simply select the activities you are interested in and they come back to you with a package -super simple!

We are pretty sure you will find almost everything you need (and probably things you didn’t realise you ‘needed’ until you saw it) on Etsy. You name it, it can be found here. A treasure trove of everything hen party related. There is so much to look at on this site that patience is most definitely required, or if you know exactly what you want, be sure to refine your search.

Got another Maid of Honour task you’re struggling with or hints and tips of your own you’d like to share? Connect with us on our social channels and start a conversation.

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Happy planning!

Niquita Odell is from Oligra Events


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