Communication. It sounds like a pretty simple thing. But in the world of wedding planning, where little things can blow out of proportion in an instant, it’s anything but simple. For the maid of honor, good communication isn’t just necessary, it’s essential. The bride will need you, as the maid of honor, to pass information along to the bridesmaids and take charge sometimes. And you’ll probably have the responsibility of organizing a bridal shower and/or a bachelorette with the bridesmaids.
In order to maintain good communication with the bridesmaids, it’s important that you take the time to be more than that bossy maid of honor who keeps bugging everyone about money. Seriously, if you are the maid of honor who only calls when she’s looking for money from the bridesmaids, you won’t be making any friends. Worse yet, you’ll probably end up with bridesmaids complaining to the bride and causing her unnecessary stress. That is the last thing you want as the maid of honor.
Communication can be a tricky thing depending on far apart you and the bridesmaids live, but it’s necessary and important to keep an open dialogue. The bride chose you to be a leader of the bridesmaids and communication is the cornerstone of that role.
Your first communication with the bridesmaids should be something simple – say hello, introduce yourself if you aren’t acquainted, and give your contact information (phone, email, im, etc). Casual communication will break the ice a bit with the bridesmaids, particularly if you’ve never met before. This could also be a good time to learn a little about each of the bridesmaids as well. Find out what they do, their skills, etc because it will come in handy later in the planning process.
Maid of Honor Contact Methods:
In Person – By and far this is the best way to go if you, as the maid of honor, and the other bridesmaids are in close proximity to each other and can do it. Face to face contact will allow each of you in the bridal party to express yourselves without fear of being misunderstood (as will happen with electronic communication). As the maid of honor, you should make every effort to meet all of the bridesmaids as early in the process as possible. If you are unable to, at least speak on the phone.
Phone – This is the second best method of communication for you as the maid of honor, as it is less likely you will end up with colossal misunderstandings. If you and the bridesmaids are unable to meet in person, be sure to speak on the phone.
Email – Email is a great communication device once you’ve spoken to all of the bridesmaids either in person or on the phone. It’s a quick way to shoot off information to the group at once, and keep track of details. Use it, but don’t let it be your only method of communication.
Instant Messaging – Again, this is an effective method of communication once you’ve established contact with the bridesmaids in person or on the phone. Use it to keep in touch and up to date, if possible. The instant factor helps during crunch times such as shortly before the wedding or bridal shower.
Message Boards – This is a great free resource that you can utilize to organize your communication, planning and the responsibilities of the bridesmaids. MSN and Yahoo! offer free group set ups that you can make private. It’s also a great way to keep track of everyone’s ideas.
Mail – Okay, Miss Maid of Honor, if you are sending letters to these ladies, you’re in the wrong century. These days, this method is far too slow for communication like this. Save your stamps for bills, birthday cards and thank you notes.
Communication and Planning for the Maid of Honor:
While you are the maid of honor, you are not the sole decision maker (sorry, it’s true). The bride chose you to lead the bridesmaids, not dominate them, so be sure to include everyone in the planning. This is where communication is most important.
Create a healthy exchange of ideas with all the bridesmaids regarding visions for the bridal shower and/or the bachelorette. The give and take of ideas gives everyone a chance to feel like they are part of the process and people who are part of the process more willingly contribute physically and financially. Remember, just because you’re the maid of honor doesn’t mean you are the boss – just the leader.
In order to plan, you should try to arrange a meeting with all of the bridesmaids for the purpose. If you cannot get everyone in the same place at the same time, a conference call is another possibility to facilitate the communication. A message board could also be set up with the bridesmaids. As the maid of honor, that could be a great tool for long distance bridesmaids.
Being a maid of honor isn’t easy at all. Being a maid of honor isn’t really glamorous either. Hell, being a maid of honor is nearly thankless at times (though the bride will likely give you a hearty thank you later on). And as the maid of honor, you are going to deal with conflict with the bridesmaids. It’s a given.
A bridesmaid is going to get upset with another, or maybe with you. Even the best laid communication can’t completely prevent it. As the maid of honor, do your best and when you cannot, just deflect the turmoil away from the bride. It’s stress she doesn’t need.
Communication issues can cause a lot of turmoil between you, the maid of honor, and the bridesmaids. Being misunderstood is a common problem. That is why communication between you, the maid of honor, and the bridesmaids needs to be primarily conducted face to face or over the phone.
Try to be diplomatic. Try to be kind. Just do your best.