Matron of Honor vs Coordinator

Greetings again people, it’s been a week too long.

As usual, we are still at it on weddings, planning, and everything in between.

At Masasestudio, we absolutely love weddings and, what more glorious place to enjoy this than in ?? South African? ….with all its diverse cultures and beauty, our work can never have a dull moment.

Today’s topic as hinted in our previous blog:

Matron of Honor vs Coordinator

The million dollar question is which of the two roles is more relevant in today’s wedding? And most of all, which one helps the bride and groom achieve their dream wedding best?

Let’s first take a look at the exact description of the roles, and what were they intended for.

South African brides and groom, let’s face it, a white wedding being an adopted European concept, has certain elements that we ourselves can’t even explain. (PS: I think I sense another blog in the pipeline… the very controversial topic on white weddings versus traditional weddings has made its rounds in the social media and judging from comments, South Africans are quite divided in thoughts in this regard)

Well, that’s a discussion for another day…

Matron of honour

As far as I’ve researched, there’s been a lot of questions about Matron of honour (Mme a munyanya in my home language) and Maid of honour (aka Best lady) in terms of what the difference is and whether they can coexist.

The two have simply been differentiated by the former being a Married person while the latter is not. This, of course, didn’t quite benefit me much as my interest is to understand why we need the Matron of honour in the first place, or what they are meant to do. Then we can better understand if the role still has its place in today’s weddings, in times when we have newer concepts like wedding coordinators.

In researching further on this, I kept hitting a dead end because several write-ups on the net keep referring to roles of a “maid of honour” not Matron of honour.

It was not too long that I realized that the two really have the same responsibilities in a wedding or it’s preparations. They are there to help the bride in planning and to support her from the engagement day right until the big day. Some writers even suggest for brides to split responsibilities amongst the two so that they both “feel involved”.

The two ladies are usually the bride’s friends, or one may be a sister.

Some of their responsibilities on the wedding day would involve:

#Helping the bride get dressed

#Making sure the bride is calm and attended to

#holding the bouquet for the bride

#Make sure the bride gets something to eat in the middle of the wedding excitement

#Assembling gifts after the wedding, ensuring they go to the correct place, etc.

The other little difference between the two is that the maid of honour is tasked to “head” all other bridesmaids, keeping them organized and leading them in planning events like bridal showers or bachelorette parties.

Of late, some brides have even chosen their own mothers to be Matron of honour attendants.

I have more questions than not after this, in exactly why one would need both Maid of honour and Matron of honour.

The fact that a bride has to split very manageable tasks between the two ladies so they both feel “involved” raises my eyebrows… Do we even need both of them?

Perhaps my question will be more qualified on the basis of the below passages…

Before we proceed, I’d like to share from personal experience.

I was recently honoured by a bride to be their Matron of honour (Married woman here??‍♀️), and no pun intended?

As a well-organized person, or at least I think I am, I made sure I spent sufficient time to understand exactly what the bride’s vision of the day involved. The bride and her family were also very organized, as they held monthly meetings during the period leading to the Big day, literally with an action list of everything. Each meeting would be convened by a chair who would then track the progress of each action with the parties responsible. I was fortunately invited to these meetings and must say I was quite impressed at how serious this family took the planning of their wedding. It is no surprise that their guests were stunned and well pleased on the day.

My only dilemma came on the day…

The morning was a handful with the “craze” of dressing up, checking on the bridesmaids, checking on the flower girls, and playing a dual role between helping the bride get dress and my favourite job…directing the morning photo shoot for Masasestudio.

As soon as we were done with the morning part, my role mainly reduced to looking pretty and keeping an eye on the little ones, ensuring they remember everything they were briefed to do as they walk on the aisle. I soon became their “go to” person for little requests like “can I have water?, I need the loo, I’m feeling hot”, and sleepy moments were part of it. This was another handful task as I had a mini squad on this wedding.

Soon before the matrimonial session started, I soon realized everyone expected me to know and answer a lot of questions regarding the procession of that part of the day. In some instances, this required me to quickly run and attend to the matter or run to the bride and confirm something then back to looking pretty with the little ones?

This continued throughout the day, especially when I would see something not going according to how the bride said it should, or simply something not being attended to. This was not easy in a long dress and heels…I then wished I was wearing my pair of sneakers or at least brought them with. Forget looking pretty, you don’t want a bride who’s cringing, directing people with her eyes and waving her head senselessly trying to get someone to fix something. Imagine the facial expressions on the photos??‍♀️. She has put so much effort into every little thing and is simply in no position at that point to stand up and fix or adjust things. She will helplessly look at things going the wrong way if there’s no one in a good pair of sneakers to save her from the misery?

On that humorous note, what is a wedding coordinator role all about?

A wedding coordinator is a person who facilitates the flow of events during the wedding, while behind the scenes. This is the “go to” person for any queries, be it from vendors or guests, instead of these being directed to the bride and groom.

They are not typically involved before the wedding or during planning, but rather come in when you have a plan in place and basically turn this into reality on the day. A coordinator would normally be met by the bride weeks or a couple of months before the wedding day to ensure the correct execution of the plan on the day.

In my view, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be involved from the start, especially if this is a person close to the bride or family, and not necessarily a contracted party. Typically the role of the coordinator becomes more prevalent in occasions where the bride is planning her own wedding without the services of a hired wedding planner. In instances where a planner is involved, they would most probably take the role of the coordinator on the day or provide such services as well.

A coordinator’s role includes amongst other things:

#Liaison with all vendors and ensuring they well set up for their responsibilities of the day

#Directing guests and ensuring they are seated according to the arranged plan

#Managing the day’s schedule and ensuring all parties are keeping to time

#After the matrimonial ceremony, the coordinator directs people to their seats in the reception venue

#Effectively managing any challenges or unplanned mishaps that may occur

The coordinator basically acts in proxy of the bride/groom to ensure every part of the wedding is according to the vision/plan.

At Masasestudio we certainly believe that a coordinator is a “CANNOT DO WITHOUT” person, ranking way above the Matron of honour role in the priority. If you want to be a stress-free bride and groom, a coordinator is a must.

We’ve seen all kinds of frustrations when certain elements of the wedding have not gone according to how the bride and groom foresaw their day. But the reality is usually that there was no one accountable to ensure certain things happen or don’t happen. People often make the mistake of assuming that things will just go according to plan but in reality, it’s a little more complicated than that.

A wedding plan is made intricate details that all come together to make a successful day. When one of these is missing or not in place, it can cause a big upset and affect the mood of the day.

Some brides/grooms put their faith on family members or church members to “take care of things” on the day, however, the absence of a dedicated person who is both capable and well informed, can turn out to be a big disappointment.

For those who do not have the budget to hire planner services or coordinator services, appointing a coordinator from a circle of friends or family should certainly be a priority.

Based on the earlier passages of this blog, it is clear that Maid of honour and Matron of honour duties can be fulfilled by one person.

In my observation, the Matron of honor( the experienced married person) could be of better use to the bride being a coordinator on the wedding day, instead of limiting this person to a simple walk down the isle, or walking flower girls down the isle.

Most of these children are very capable on their to do exactly what they have been briefed to do.

As a professional photographer, Masasestudio would be delighted to have little ones do their walk on their own as we simply get better photos without an adult obstructing them. “Perhaps a hint to the brides is to select children who are in an age mature enough to handle the expectations of the day”.

Brides and brides to be, i certainly hope this leaves you with a thought to ponder on, and perhaps make a more informed decision on important roles to assign for your wedding day.

Cheers for now.

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