They're the unsung heroes of the entire celebration.

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Sure, it's an honor just as the name implies, but being the maid of honor also comes with its fair share of hardship. No one knows that better than professional bridesmaid Caroline Bright, who shared some of the main reasons why taking on the role of maid of honor is a full-time job that requires careful preparation. To help you be the best attendant ever-and to commiserate with how you're feeling-she's sharing the reasons why the maid of honor has the hardest job out of everyone in the wedding party, plus what you can do to get yourself ready for this very important position.

You have all of the pressure but none of the control.

It's a happy time, sure, but the months leading up to a wedding are also jam-packed with stress. "There's the weight of tradition, expectations from other people, and the pressure to make everything look perfect," says Bright. As the go-to sounding board for the bride's concerns, often times you'll get sucked into stress without the power to do anything about it. When these times come, remember that listening is doing something-and more often than not, it's all the bride really needs you to do.

You're expected to be happy all the time.

Maid of honor is often synonymous with "head cheerleader." After all, your attitude sets the tone for everyone else, and this is especially true in tricky situations, like when you're trying to rally everyone behind what you all know is a less-than-flattering bridesmaids' dress. Plus, there's a plethora of personalities to deal with, some of whom, as Bright points out, might be battling their own inner jealousy or demons during what should be a joyful time. But you're only human, and it's totally fair if crafting bridal shower centerpieces doesn't whip you into a frenzy on the inside as long as you're as enthusiastic as your bride deserves on the outside.

It's a logistical nightmare.

Have you ever tried to organize a bachelorette party or bridal shower? Finding one weekend that a large group of women all have free is a Herculean task. Divvying up the workload and tracking down payments is another thing entirely.

It's expensive.

This part applies to all members of a bridal party, but the maid of honor is generally the one person who's expected to make ends meet or go the extra mile when it comes to planning or décor. "It can be expensive paying outfits, makeup, hair, travel, and often times multiple parties like the bachelorette party and bridal shower," says Bright. "It's easy to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the wedding of a close friend."

And the kicker? You need to keep it together on the big day.

Though there's a lot you'll be expected to do in the months leading up to the wedding, the number one hardest task associated with being the maid of honor takes place on the wedding day: You'll be expected to keep it together, both pre-ceremony as the bride's support system and during the celebration itself. Whatever you do, you'll want to avoid ugly crying as you watch your best friend marry the love of her life. Photos are forever, after all.


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