I believe I have been in about 8-9 weddings, two of which I had the privilege of being the maid of honor.
I remember picking the ladies I wanted in my wedding party.
I took this choice VERY seriously.
I not only wanted women who would help me plan and execute my wedding, but I wanted women whose (1) Relationship with the Lord and marriages I respected and wanted to emulate, (2) women who would tell me the truth even if they thought I would take it wrong, (3) women who would hold me accountable to my husband and if I came crying to them, they would kick me in the butt right back to my husband.
So with these HIGH standards...
I chose my maid of honor, Cristina. Always telling me the truth. Would give her very life for me. A marriage that I envied and studied far more intensely then I think she ever noticed. I could go to her with anything. The good, the bad, the ugly. A choice I will never regret making! :) Even though distance and different callings have put obstacles between us, I know heaven will be all the more sweet when we can swap all the stories of what the Lord has done. I know she still prays for my marriage, and I pray for hers also. She has forever impacted how my husband and I relate and worked to lay such a strong foundation for our marriage, I attribute our solidness to her.
My next bridesmaid was Kara. I've never been one to have a "best friend", but I would count Kara as one of them. She was truthfully blunt with me all the time. She accepted me for exactly how I came. Rough around the edges. She helped smooth me out. She was one I could call and count on. Not only count on, she would always go above and beyond. Her giftings, character, personality, and past were similar. She understood me. She was Pastor's daughter, where I was coaches daughter. Another person I will never, ever regret putting in my wedding. I miss her terribly. More then I think she'll ever know.
Third was Kate. My best friend. Her walk with the Lord always seems to be just a step ahead of mine. She's always challenging me to hear the Lord's voice and step out in exactly what He wants me to do. She'll pray, man! Oh she'll pray! And she'll tell me what the Lord told her whether I like it or not. Her submission to her husband is astounding. Her loyalty to him, unlike anything I've seen before. And she's honest with me about the struggles her and her husband have, which encourages me! Her vulnerability, her rawness, and her strength in it all. I hope to have many, many more years of growing along side her.
Lastly was my kid sister Mariah. Putting her in my wedding was an act of God... Mariah and I never got along. Ever! I didn't even like her until she turned about 15 years old, and even then things were rough. But, it was God's sovereignty! Mariah and I are VERY close now. We were pregnant together, have kids the same age, and raise them together. We do everything together now. I praise the Lord for her in my life!
I hope this illustrates my point.
Being chosen to be in a wedding party should mean SO MUCH MORE then just standing in a wedding. This is a marriage you're committing to praying over for the rest of your life.
Having recently been in my sister's wedding as the Maid of Honor, I realized there's a lot of things my husband and I have established as far as the kind of maid of honor, best man, bridesmaid, or groomsmen we wanted to be.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
(1) NOTHING is about YOU! - Don't like the colors? The dress and shoes too expensive? Will you NEVER wear them again? Do 4 inch heels sound very uncomfortable? Suck it up! This is her dream day, make it exactly what she wants, and do it with an excitement and joy in your heart.
(2) However, your honest opinion IS important - Is there a road block you want to bring to her attention? Is she going to be disappointed when something fails or is too extravagant to be realistic? Are her invitations looking more like a little kids birthday party then a wedding? She needs to know! However, if she disagrees, then follow her lead.
(3) Notice and address the stress, the doubts, the fears: I think most of the work of the maid of honor is listening to the bride talk, cry, complain, be excited, be frustrated. She needs your ear, your shoulder, your time. Notice what she looks like when she's overwhelmed and see what you can say or do to lighten her load.
(4) Think of what She needs, even if she doesn't think she needs it: Does she and her new husband need a few minutes alone in the back room to make out after their march away from the alter? Lead them right into the back room and guard that door until their done! Does she need a nice quiet night with her bridesmaids talking about the weather and watching Titanic just to get her mind off all the wedding agenda? Give it to her! Does she need to not be alone the week before her wedding? Clear out the kids room and make her a bed!
(5) The day of, nothing should get to them: "We ran out of food!" "The table cloths never showed up!" "There's no allergy free food!" Don't let any of these things get to the bride! Shield her! She only should be smiling and in complete bliss all day! Find a way to handle it. Between your crew of bridesmaids and groomsmen, you should be able to figure something out. Pool money together and go get Little Caesars! Run to the Thrift Store and get the best looking table cloths you can find!
Strive to be a blessing.
So much so, your bride will NEVER know what you labor, how much you did, just to give her peace of mind.
It's such a rewarding-exhausting-honorable position!
Do it with joy!