Some Maids of Honour (MOH) are chosen on the basis of obligation because they are your sister / best friend / future-half-cousin-in-law. You might feel that it would cause unnecessary hurt or discord if you did not choose them. Others are chosen because you genuinely thought they would be excited about your wedding, eager to get involved and help you with the many items on your growing “to do” list. In terms of problematic MOH’s, three different scenarios may arise. She can be 1) far too interested and nosy, bossing you around and taking over the planning of your big day, 2) completely disinterested in her role and in helping you with your planning process or 3) difficult to get hold of or schedule any sort of meeting with.
An over-eager, bossy MOH can be fairly easily handled. It usually just requires that you give her one or two sole responsibilities on which to focus (such as the RSVP’s or the collection of the suits and flowers). This will allow her to feel very involved without encroaching too much on your areas of focus. However, if she continues to annoy you with “advice” that seems more like instruction and so on, you may need to have a heart-to-heart with her, gently explaining that, while you do need and value her input, you would prefer her to take a more supportive role, helping you rather than taking over.
If your MOH does not seem interested in your big day, the plans or how happy you are, you may need to take an assertive stand. You have chosen her, not only because she is special to you, but also because you need her help, advice and enthusiasm. Give her the option to get out of the responsibility, gently assuring her that there is someone else that can fulfil the role if she is not able to do so. If she still wants to be your MOH, she will need to commit to fulfilling certain tasks (such as throwing you a hen party, following up on certain service providers, etc…). If your MOH is despondent because she feels that she will not be able to cope and might disappoint you, offer to get one or two of the bridesmaids involved so that they can work as a team.
If your MOH has suddenly disappeared, not answering her phone or returning any messages, immediate action must be taken. It is likely that she is avoiding calls in order to avoid the responsibility of being a MOH. Unfortunately, even if there is a good reason for her absence, you will probably not have the time to accommodate this within your hectic wedding planning schedule. You will need to have a backup plan in place and will need to implement it soon. Appoint one or two bridesmaids to take over the tasks that you had assigned to your MOH. If they are already swamped, you can ask the Best Man to take on some of the load (such as collecting your flowers or calling about the wedding cake). The last resort is for you to take over. This is the least favourable option as you are most likely already overloaded with jobs and stress. However, it sometimes has to be done. You cannot, at this time, worry about the feelings of your missing MOH. You will need to explain it to her later and, if there was some sort of misunderstanding, it can be ironed out once the success of your wedding day is assured.
As in any relationship, communication is key. When in doubt, talk to your MOH about how she feels and what you can do to ensure a good working relationship. If she is really not keen to assume the position and responsibilities of Maid of Honour, it is better to thank her for her honesty and find someone that will help, rather than trying to convince and coerce her into it. In this way, you will spare her the discomfort of having to fulfil this role and you will ensure that your special day is as meaningful and memorable as you want it to be.
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