What does a Maid of Honor do anyway..

•March 22, 2011 • 2 Comments
For my Magazine writing class I had to write a How To.  I wrote mine on being a Maid of Honor.  So take it all in, and ladies…take note…I’ve done a lot of listening and observing and am currently experiencing the whole thing first-hand!  It’s awesome and I really think what I’ve said in this essay has a lot of value.  But like everything, there is no perfect formula and everyone is different…so take it for what it’s worth : )

How To: Be a Maid of Honor

It’s one thing to be a friend, another thing to be a sister, but fulfilling the expectations of a maid of honor takes the title of kindred spirit to a whole new level.  Every little girl dreams of her wedding day but rarely does she dream of all the time and exhaustion that comes with it.  The following tips will help to minimize stress for both the bride and yourself, while creating positive memories along the way.


The man of her dreams has just proposed to her.  At this point you may or may not know if you are the maid of honor, but you do know that she’s your close friend.  She’s glowing and reveling in her new title of “fiancé.”  This is your opportunity to be by her side and share in her excitement.  Throw her a party, gawk at her ring; bring her magazines to peruse and chick flicks to watch.  Be excited!  No one wants to have a killjoy for a friend, much less for a maid of honor.

Get organized.

One of the most overlooked, yet most important parts of planning a wedding is taking the time to get organized right away.  Buy the bride a binder.  Create an easy-to-use system with sections and labels.  It may not seem that important at first, but you will find it will save you hours of frustration if you just take care of it right off the bat.

Talk Responsibilities.

To save yourself and the bride from awkward moments down the road, ask what her expectations are for you.  It’s possible that she may not need you to be by her side at all times, but you should be prepared to dedicate as much time as she needs.  Some things that the typical maid of honor is responsible for include:

-Organizing Bridal Showers
-Organizing the Bachelorette Party
-Helping shop for the dress
-Helping create, stuff or address Save the Dates and Invitations

Every bride is different, so never assume the answer, always ask.

Be Accessible.

With the way we keep our cell phones close by at all times, this may seem superfluous, but throughout the months before the big day it is essential for the bride to have quick and direct access to you, your support and your opinions at all times.  This is especially important the week and day of the wedding to ensure a relaxed and enjoyable experience.

Honor the Groom and Mother of the Bride.

Despite what the movies depict, not every groom is void of opinions when it comes to the wedding day.  After all, it is his wedding too!  Give the groom the opportunity to be involved and to help make decisions.  If he’s not interested, at least you have respected him by asking.  The same goes for the mother of the bride.  Give her a quick phone call early on to make sure that you don’t overstep any boundaries.  This is her little girl and she will likely want to be involved as well.

Be Selfless: Don’t add the zilla to bride.

The bride has asked you to bring your relationship to a new level.  She has hundreds of details to keep track of and hundreds of decisions to make.  Your job is to make her day as stress-free and smooth as possible.  This is her wedding; so as you help her plan, remember that it doesn’t matter if you don’t like her colors or if the bridesmaid dress makes you look fat.  What matters is that she looks beautiful and that she has the experience of a lifetime.  It will almost certainly drive her crazy if you make everything about you and disregard her desires and feelings.  She is honoring your friendship by including you in this way, so honor her by forgetting yourself and focusing on her.

Learn Her Style.

It’s likely that as the bride’s close friend you already know her wardrobe and her stylistic choices and this is your chance to utilize that information.  Keep her past decisions and preferences in mind as you help look for dresses, decorations, etc.  As you do this try not to take it personally when she rejects ideas.  It’s not worth your time to let your feelings get hurt.  It can’t be said enough: It is, after all, her wedding.

Be Honest.

The bride has asked you to follow closely with her as she plans one of the most important days of her life.  There are some times when a woman just needs to know the truth about how a dress makes her look.  You, as her friend are the only one in that moment who can tell her the truth in love.  So as painful as it may be, it’s your responsibility to tactfully do so.

Save Up.

Surprise! The title maid of honor costs money!  Rarely does one anticipate emptying their savings to be a maid of honor, but if you’re not careful, you might.  As with everything, there are great ways to be frugal and still create a great party, but you also don’t want to skimp on your friend.
Some costs you can expect:

-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party invitations
-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party decorations
-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party favors
-Bridal Shower/Bachelorette Party gift for the Bride
-Bridal Shower refreshments
-Bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the other bridesmaids and friends.  Often times everyone will pay for her own meal/drinks if you go out for the bachelorette party.  Chances are you’ll find plenty of people who would love to pitch in for additional costs and it doesn’t hurt to ask!


Even though responsibilities are delegated to you from the bride, there may be so many that you, too, have to delegate to the other bridesmaids or family members.  As was stated above, there are often plenty of friends and family members who would love to help out.  Part of eliminating stress for the bride involves eliminating stress for yourself.  It’s not selfish; it’s just plain smart.

Pay Attention to Detail.

Possibly the most intimidating factor of planning a wedding is the tremendous amount of details to cover.  Keep track of everything.  Utilize the organization you set in place at the beginning throughout the entire process.  Think Santa Claus; keep your list and check it twice.

Be Considerate.

It is your duty as maid of honor to plan the bride’s bachelorette party.  This topic could be its own “how-to article,” but for now following these general guidelines will give you a great start!  The bachelorette party could either be a fantastic success or an epic disaster.  Whatever you do, don’t overwhelm her with embarrassment.  As with everything, every bride is different but you know her limits and you should keep to them.  Don’t add to the hundreds of horror stories marked by disastrous embarrassment, but at the same time make sure it’s a good time!  Once you have decided how crazy or conservative the bride is, browse the Internet, talk to experienced friends and get creative with your ideas!  Here are just a few unique bachelorette party ideas: Paint your own pottery, Pick apples in an orchard and make caramel apples, Pick and carve pumpkins, Take the bride shopping for lingerie, or have a scavenger hunt.  Not every bachelorette party has to have a male stripper or the lame game where you dress the bride up in a toilet paper wedding gown.  The alternative options are endless.

Have Fun.

You may be feeling slightly overwhelmed at this point, but be encouraged!  If you stay organized and follow these guidelines you are much more likely to have fun along the way.  Remind yourself (and the bride!) to take a deep breath every once in a while.  Remember, there’s a reason she picked you; you are the only one she could imagine sharing this experience with, so take it all in and have a good time!


it’s beginning to feel a lot like autumn..

•September 20, 2010 • 2 Comments

Autumn is my favorite.  I love the colors.  I love breathing the fresh air.  I love pumpkins.  I love jeans and long sleeves.  I love football.  I love the fact that I’m turning 21 (ah!).  I love apple orchards.  I love white pumpkin mochas (which I have yet to discover in Iowa City).  I love scarves.   I love hats.  I love fallen leaves.  I love bonfires that actually warm you up instead of make you sweat.  I love Tazo tea.  I just love the season…and tonight I’m feeling it after a day of taking photos in my rainboots.

So I’m drinking it in as I drink my tea and enjoy the scent of a Yankee candle.

so about that project..

•August 23, 2010 • 2 Comments

So I’m not what some call a “lucky” person.  I don’t find “lucky” pennies.  I don’t win things.  Ever.  However…I think God felt like upping my self-esteem a bit and I actually won something! : )

I mentioned at the beginning of August that I had a project I had been working on.

Well.  I can finally tell you about it! : )

The Anthem band is about to release a new album in FOUR days!  Well, what do you need to release a CD?


They had a contest and here, my friends, is the latest Anthem album artwork!

Check out their website and twitter!

Artwork and Photos: Valerie Allen

a poem to share..

•August 17, 2010 • 2 Comments

I came across this poem again today and just wanted to share it.  It’s very introspective and deep and though I am not feeling that way today, I know I have and will again, so maybe it will inspire you. : )

O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless–of cities fill’d with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light–of the objects mean–of the struggle ever renew’d;
Of the poor results of all–of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest–with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here–that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

By Walt Whitman

it’s coming..

•August 9, 2010 • 1 Comment

My favorite time of year is Autumn.  And it is coming!

One reason I love Autumn?

Scarves.  I love them and they make me appear WAY more stylish than I am. : )

all of a sudden..

•August 8, 2010 • 1 Comment

I moved.  I was in the middle of shooting several weddings and a few other portrait sessions and the next thing I knew, I was leaving home with tears rolling down my cheeks because I had not emotionally or mentally prepared for this.  I knew I’d be moving this week, but it just…….happened…..and now I’m waking up in an Iowa City apartment every day!

This week I’ve had several moments of sorrow.  I am mourning the loss of so many amazing friends who will be staying in Ames.  I am missing the ability to walk out my door, walk down the hall and see two ladies who always seem to bring a smile to my face.  I am missing the familiar atmosphere of the ISU campus and the people I’d run into daily.  I am missing having confidence in riding the bus.  I am experiencing change.  Big change.  But it didn’t really seem big until now.

I am now, officially, living on my own.  I have to make my own food (no meal plans in apartments!), everything I need is no longer at my fingertips (lots of random trips to the store have been the result of this), and I have to once again bum rides off other people until I learn the Cambus system.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know God has plans for me and I KNOW He wants me here.  But I won’t ignore the reality that comes with life change.

On a better note, here are some things that have happened since I’ve been here!

I finally made my own cup of GOOD coffee!  As an “apartment warming” present my Mommy bought me the coffee maker of my dreams : ) Mr.Cuisinart, you complete me.

I bought the most amazing little egg skillet EVER.  Thanks to Kara who introduced me to this novelty….Mark and I made “Egg McMuffins” the other day : )

Mark and I rode in a bike-buggy around the block in the Ped Mall, pulled by a guy named Drew.  We’ll probably do it again since our conversation was rather interesting involving world religions and the like.

I played Heart & Soul with a random guy on an old painted-blue piano that the city stationed in the Ped Mall so people would “tickle it’s keys” AND got a dollar for it!

I bought the Phoenix CD, Wolfgang Amadeus, which is awesome, by the way.

I’ve been editing photos from all the recent weddings/sessions and I’m going to give you, my personal blog readers a few top-secret sneak peeks at them : ) (They’re “top-secret” because I’m not even close to being ready to posting them on my photo blog yet) I’m really excited because I can see my photos getting better as I learn and gain experience, so a huge thank you to my clients who are giving me the chance to really become the photographer I aspire to be!

I happen to LOVE this photo of Jameson and Mark…and the fact that they get along so well : D

Consider yourself privileged, no one has seen these photos yet : ) And I have another sweet project that I’ve been working on that I hope to tell you about SOON!

a wish upon a star..

•July 14, 2010 • 1 Comment

So I’m having a moment of sadness.  As I have written before, I love the photography of Simply Bloom and there are so many things about their work that I wish I could learn to do in my own photography.  Well…believe it or not, they’re offering a workshop! This September!

Here are some of the topics they outlined for this workshop:

– Developing your style
– Shooting Techniques
– Capturing the light
– Choosing Locations
– Posing and client relations
– Branding and Marketing
-Post Production

Here’s all the info about their event on their blog….it sounds awesome: “A Blooming Affair”

Annnnnnnnnd the catch? $780 big deal dollars!  Oh, to not be a “poor college student” and to just have $780 laying around.  Sad day.