Prairie Hive

What Is an Honorary Bridesmaid?

An honorary bridesmaid is the additional bridal party member that the bride chose herself. The duties of honorary bridesmaids vary depending on the preferences of the bride. Honorary bridesmaids, for example, often walk down the aisle but they don’t necessarily stand at the altar. An honorary bridesmaid is usually used for bigger weddings that have larger guest counts.

Types of Bridesmaids

Maybe you are a busy bride planning your big day and putting your bridal party together. Maybe you have recently received your invite to be a bridesmaid. Whatever the case is, read on below to know more about honorary bridesmaids.

woman in white wedding gown holding bouquet of flowers

Difference Between Honorary Bridesmaid and Bridesmaid

When a woman is asked to be an honorary bridesmaid, it is a great honor. This means that she is not required to do any of the traditional duties of a bridesmaid, such as help with planning or attending the shower or bachelorette party. However, she is usually still included in all of the pre-wedding festivities. An honorary bridesmaid may be a friend of the bride, her sister, or even her mother.

A bridesmaid, on the other hand, is someone who is officially involved in the wedding. She typically helps with planning and attends all of the pre-wedding events. Bridesmaids are also responsible for helping to get ready on the day of the wedding and for walking down the aisle with the other attendants.

Who Can Be an Honorary Bridesmaid?

Honorary bridesmaids are most often a part of the wedding when the bride chooses to only include the immediate members of the family, such as the siblings and sisters-in-law, in the official bridal party.

In these instances, the honorary bridesmaids can be close friends that the bride would have included in the bridal party if they broadened the circle. It can especially come in handy if a young member of the family serves as the maid of honor. Older and closer friends of the bride can also take on the traditional tasks like being in charge of planning the bachelorette party.

Honorary bridesmaids can also be the brides’ important friends but are not part of her basic group of friends. The bride, for instance, may have a small group of high school friends who will be part of her bridal party.

More recently, however, she might have made friends at work that she wants to be part of her wedding day. The bride’s new friends at work can be named as honorary bridesmaids to ensure that they will still be with her together with her old and more longtime friends from school.

What Honorary Bridesmaids Do

An honorary bridesmaid’s duties will vary depending on the bride and the wedding as a whole. At the end of the day, what honorary bridesmaids do is up to the bride’s discretion, her personal wishes and preferences, and the specific type of wedding she plans to have.

bride holding bouquet of assorted-color flowers standing on grass field

This may sound a bit vague, but this is actually the truth. Some brides expect their honorary bridesmaid to do the following:

  • Attend the dress fittings
  • Participate in the bachelorette party
  • Be included in all the photos of the bridal party
  • Ensure that the wedding reception flows, take part in the dances, and invite the rest of the guests to be up on the dancefloor
  • Assist during the wedding shower

However, these duties are not set in stone. None, all, or just some of these duties might be expected from an honorary bridesmaid.

Some honorary bridesmaids might not even be expected to have an active role in the wedding altogether.

This is why it is strongly recommended for the brides to sit down with their selected honorary bridesmaids to talk about their roles to ensure that the communication is clear and open all throughout.

Setting expectations must be done ahead of time for everyone to know exactly where they stand in the event, literally and figuratively.

When Should You Get an Honorary Bridesmaid?

Getting one or several honorary bridesmaids is the best way to go if you find yourself in any of the following situations:

  • You have family members or friends who might be unable or unavailable to perform all of a bridesmaid’s duties.
  • You wish to include someone as your way of honoring them, but you don’t necessarily need them to take part in all the events for your wedding.
  • Your wedding party has already gotten much bigger than you need it to be to offer you support during your big day.

Benefits of Having a Honorary Bridesmaid

Here are some of the best benefits you can enjoy if you have an honorary bridesmaid:

  • If you think you need assistance that goes beyond the usual duties of bridesmaids, having an honorary bridesmaid is an excellent way to have an available backup ready who won’t mind helping with smaller tasks since they are already part of the wedding celebration.
  • It is a great way to include more of your circle if you got plenty of loved ones and friends that you are trying to find a suitable spot on your big day.
  • Having someone as your honorary bridesmaid is a meaningful and genuine gesture that will be treasured and remembered for life.

Drawbacks of Having a Honorary Bridesmaid

Just as how there are many good reasons to name someone as your honorary bridesmaid, there are also reasons for you not to have one.

For instance, you might want to name an honorary bridesmaid just to balance out the groomsmen with your wedding party. if you like to have more bridesmaids, you can do so to feel better supported. However, see to it that you always consider what matters most to you.

Having some of your bridesmaids stand or sit throughout the wedding ceremony and including them in other aspects of the ceremony such as singing a song or reading are also great alternative ideas. While it is a nice thing for your wedding photos to be balanced, don’t forget that the coupe is what matters the most here. In particular, the bride should feel well-supported during her big day.

Another reason to avoid getting an honorary bridesmaid is when you don’t like to deal with all the work required to have bridesmaids. If the bridesmaids alone are already too much for you to handle, it just wouldn’t make sense to add more.

Cost is yet another reason why you might want to avoid assigning an honorary bridesmaid. Whether you are the one to shoulder the cost of the dresses, shoes, and accessories of your honorary bridesmaid, or you will ask them to pay for the expenses themselves, both can be a bit expensive.

How to Ask Someone to Be an Honorary Bridesmaid

Honorary bridesmaids are a great way to include friends and loved ones in your wedding ceremony without adding extra stress to your day. Here are a few tips on how to ask someone to be an honorary bridesmaid.

  1. Choose someone you know will be excited and honored to participate in your wedding ceremony.
  2. Draft a simple request letter or email explaining why you would like this person to be an honorary bridesmaid and what their role would entail.
  3. Be sure to include any important details, such as the date of the wedding, rehearsal times, and if they will be expected to purchase their own dress or accessories.
  4. Send the request well in advance of the wedding so that the person has time to prepare for their role.
  5. Thank them again for agreeing to participate in your special day!

What Does an Honorary Bridesmaid Wear?

When a friend or family member is asked to be an honorary bridesmaid they may be wondering what they are supposed to wear. The answer to this question can vary depending on the bride and groom’s preference, as well as the location of the wedding.

In most cases, an honorary bridesmaid will wear something similar to what the other bridesmaids are wearing. This might be a dress, skirt and blouse, or slacks and a blazer. If the wedding is taking place outdoors or at a location that is more informal, then the honorary bridesmaid may want to choose something less formal than the other attendants.