Wedding Tasks for the Maid of Honor

Since the marriage ceremony in our parish is always part of the mass, we call it a wedding mass. And because it has all parts of the Holy Mass, the wedding couple will also be receiving Holy Communion.

In the past, I've always noticed the mass assistants (MB's) assisting the bride whenever it's her time to receive Holy Communion. This is on instances where a veil fully covers the face of the bride. Now, I'm not talking of the matrimony veil that the Veil Sponsors bring as part of the marriage rites to cover both bride and groom. I'm talking of the bridal veil that forms part of the bridal gown or dress that the bride wears.

The matrimonial veil sometimes covers just the top of the bride's head, but sometimes covers her face as well. So when it's time for Holy Communion, the bride would need some form of assistance to raise the bridal veil, matrimonial veil and cord.

Although, it's been the assistants' responsibility to lift the bridal veil, they've indicated to me that the bridesmaids could also do the part since they are seated closer to the wedding couple. I saw the rationale for that proposal and so I accepted the suggestion that I give a brief announcement for the bridesmaids to assist the bride during communion.

Confused Bridesmaids

In a few weddings, my announcement worked reasonably well. It would be the Maid of Honor, upon prodding of the assistants, who assisted with the lifting of the veil. I suppose wedding practices, in as far as individual tasks are concerned, would vary from one church to another. And so bridesmaids, Maid of Honor included, are not fully aware of tasks where they could assist.

In this wedding, when I announced "bridesmaids, please lift the veil to assist the bride in the communion", a couple of the secondary sponsors stood up. I'm sure it was the Veil Sponsor who stood up immediately. But she wasn't sure what to do and was hesitant to approach the bride. Then I realized that she probably thought it was time to remove the matrimonial veil!

Fortunately, the assistants were quick to ask the Maid of Honor instead to go to the bride and lift the veil. It was a bit awkward for the two secondary sponsors to be standing but not knowing what to do.

Now I know better. I'd simply just ask the Maid of Honor to do the assisting. The secondary sponsors (Candle, Veil, Cord) have their already tasks cut out for them, anyway - at least inside the church. The Maid of Honor probably has other tasks, but I don't see them doing much else during the wedding mass.

Telling the Maid of Honor to Assist the Bride

The Maid of Honor could be informed beforehand to expect to be called for the task. But, that would probably just be optional. Other than the search for the mass readers, there's really not much more to do with the entourage before the wedding mass. Especially when the entourage isn't fully prepared and ready for the processional, sometimes it's just tiring to walk towards the church doors all the way from the lectern and look for the persons concerned.

Nonetheless, you could inform the Maid of Honor of the following:
  • To be alert, stand and approach the bride when called to assist.
  • To lift the bridal veil and keep the bride's face uncovered until the two forms: bread and wine, have been received.
  • To return to her seat after the wedding couple's communion.

Lessons Learned

To reinforce the announcement of the Maid of Honor's task during Holy Communion, the following could thus be announced:

"Maid of Honor. Please lift the veil of the bride to assist her in her Holy Communion". While this is being announced, make a hand gesture. Point to the Maid of Honor with an open palm, and then motion her to approach the bride.

The above announcement should be made once the the priest starts to approach the wedding couple.