Maid of Honor Advice
What the Maid of Honor Needs to Know about the Bride's Dress: Fluffing, Bustles, and Bathrooms
While as maid of honor you have your own dress to worry about, you still need to be attentive to certain aspects of the bride's wedding dress. At various points in the wedding you will be needed to help the bride get into her gown, smooth the train, bustle the train, adjust or remove the veil, and, of course, help the bride use the restroom! With the elaborate (read large) quality of some of the most popular wedding dresses these days, here is a quick tutorial for the maid of honor of what will be expected of her and how to do it.
Before and During the Wedding Ceremony
As the bride is getting ready for the wedding ceremony she will undoubtedly need help getting into her dress. It's best to wait until the last minute to actually put the dress on so that it has less chance to wrinkle or get dirty. For silk or satin wedding dresses, I would suggest that the maid of honor have some scotch tape on hand. It may sound weird, but scotch tape can often pull up small stains on fragile fabrics (and soap and water is most likely a bad idea!).
Many wedding dresses, to the bride's delight and the maid of honor's horror, lace all the way up the back. This is traditional, aesthetically pleasing, and a big pain! With some patience and the help of another bridesmaid or the mother of the bride, you shouldn't have too much trouble with it.
Once the ceremony starts and the bride makes it down the aisle to stand beside her groom, the maid of honor should briefly step out of line to "fluff" the bride's train. Simply grab the end of the train and shake it like you would a bed sheet that you're trying to fold with one quick shake. Then lay it flat and smooth on the ground. The bride may also appreciate it if you step in to repeat the process during the picture taking following the ceremony.
After the Ceremony and During the Wedding Reception
After the wedding ceremony is over, the maid of honor will be called upon to bustle the bride's dress and adjust or remove her veil. When she is having her last wedding dress fitting, it's a good idea for you to go with her so that the dress alterer can show you how to form the dress's bustle. The purpose of the bustle is to lift up the wedding dress's train so that the bride can move about more freely during the reception. At this stage, she may also want you to either adjust the veil (so that it's no longer in her eyes) or remove it altogether. This should all be decided and practiced ahead of time.
Finally, the maid of honor should be available during the wedding reception to accompany the bride to the bathroom when necessary. Wedding dresses are quite unmanageable by oneself! You will either have to hold the dress up and look away, or (in the cases of particularly cumbersome dresses or shy brides) just carefully remove the dress while she uses the restroom and help her put it back on afterward.
The bride may ask the maid of honor to help her change out of the dress as well. Frankly, I think it's a lot more fun for the groom to do this, but what do I know? ;-)