The Bridesmaid Abroad Series – The role of MOH from right across the globe

It’s no secret that the world has been made a whole lot smaller these days with technology and travel, but it’s during special occasions that being far from loved ones can really have an impact.

If your family and friends are spread around the world like mine are, chances are, you’ve had to learn to celebrate special events via FaceTime and Facebook comments. But as much as it hurts to have distance between you, staying close and keeping a friendship alive has truly never been easier.

My bestie and I have been friends for over a decade since our university days and even though we now live on opposite ends of the earth, we keep in touch almost daily despite the time zones between us. I’m currently living in Burlington, Canada with my husband and cutie one year old, while she is building a beautiful life in Cape Town, South Africa with her new hubs.

Early last year, she showered us with glitter at a special high tea and I was honoured to say yes to standing next to her as her MOH. She also asked nine of her other closest friends and family to stand up there with us which made for one big, beautiful bridal party…but there was a catch. Most of us were spread across four continents, different cities and several time zones.

To some, this might sound like a wedding nightmare. But here’s how we made it work and managed to wow our bestie bride.

Katie Shuler Photography
Photography: Katie Shuler

  1. Get connected

We chose to set up a group chat for easy planning. We did this on Whatsapp but you can make use of Facebook Groups or Google Hangouts or a group email thread too. We found that the group app gave everyone chance to set things up for their own time zones and catch up on ideas and info whenever they got a chance.

  1. Be prepared

As the MOH, you’ll be “in charge” of the group so it’s a good idea to be prepared and plan things as soon as you know the wedding details. Delegating the individual tasks that go into planning a bachelorette and kitchen tea is also a good idea. Because there was such a large group of us, we split everyone into “bride teams.” The sisters and moms were put in charge of the Kitchen tea, while the party pals put some fun bachelorette plans into place. Those travelling in from afar were put in charge of online admin planning and coordinating and as MOH, I oversaw all the finer details and made sure we didn’t miss out on anything along the way. We shared a Pinterest board pretty early on and got everyone to pin ideas and then polled which top three we thought would work best. We kept things sweet and simple, with a LOAD of sparkle for our glitter-loving bride.

  1. Make the most of separate events

Having more than one event in the build-up to the wedding may sound like more hard work for most of you, but it will actually give you more flexibility for fun. Having two or more separate events allowed for different groups of guests to partake in the activities they wanted to. We did a bridesmaid/mom only event before meeting up with the bigger group for dinner and cocktails. The next day we did the kitchen tea for the more mature guests and elderly family members. This split of the guest list worked well.

  1. Get sweet & sentimental.

With time and distance to deal with, it takes a bit of planning but it’s a lovely idea to do something sentimental from the group that your bride can look back on with love after the wedding frenzy has calmed down and she is back to reality after her honeymoon. A recipe book collection is always a lovely idea, or if your bride is a photo-lover like ours, make sure you have your Instax camera and lots of film at the ready to document each special moment to add to a photo album for instant reliving of the lovely memories of the day.

  1. Speak from the heart.

The biggest responsibility you will have as a Maid of Honour will be giving a speech in honour of the bride. Make sure you carve out the time to craft the perfect speech that speaks from the heart about your friendship and how it’s stood the test of time and distance. Make sure to toast to the other bridesmaids and mention her parents and new husband too. Keep personal anecdotes to a minimum and make sure it’s short and punchy to hold the attention of guests who want to get onto the dance floor.

Want more tips on giving the perfect Bridesmaid speech? See next week’s installment of bridesmaid abroad for a free printable and layout tips.

Christine Watters is a South African photographer and writer now based in Burlington, Ontario. She’s a hopeless romantic and loves documenting life’s most precious events through the art of storytelling. You can find her at Christine W Photography.

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