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Know Your Wedding Roles

Organising your wedding party
Bláithín O’ Reilly Murphy

If you’ve recently got engaged, after all the excited phone calls, glasses of bubbly and staring at your ring, you’ll need to start thinking about your wedding party.

Bláithín O’ Reilly Murphy

It may be that you have lots of close friends and relatives you want to include in your day or that you’re not sure what each wedding role involves. It’s important to make sure you and those you ask to be part of your wedding party are on the same page and understand what the role involves.

Bláithín O’ Reilly Murphy, wedding planner from The Wedding Expert, explains the wedding roles and how to include as many of your loved ones as possible in your wedding...

The Best Man

Ultimately the best man’s role is to help and support the groom through his engagement, in the lead up to the wedding and most importantly on the day itself. Their key tasks or duties include:

  • Being available for suit fittings prior to the wedding
  • Organising the stag party
  • Helping the groom with his speech
  • Escorting the maid of honour on the wedding day
  • In some cases making final payments to some wedding suppliers
  • In some cases looking after cards received by the couple from guests
  • In some cases acting as MC at the wedding reception
  • Giving a speech at the wedding reception

The Best Man

Credit: Photographed by Andrew O’Dwyer Photography

There are several ways that you can involve your close male friends in your wedding. You could have multiple best men, giving each a specific task normally spread over the one role, or nominate some of them as ushers, who are responsible for greeting and seating guests at the ceremony and distributing programs etc.

You could ask some of them to read passages, poems, prayers or indeed sing songs or perform at different aspects during the day, or ask one or two of them to give special toasts at different or significant points of the day. If you have more than one close friend you would consider then you can always ask them to be ushers.

Maid of Honour

Like a best man, a maid of honour is ultimately there to help and support a bride throughout the wedding plans and on the day itself, although her task list tends to be a little longer.

Although traditional, you do not have to elevate any of your bridesmaids to the title if choosing between them all is a little tricky. Traditionally the maid of honour is one of the official witnesses to your wedding, although this person does not necessarily have to be part of your wedding party at all.

Maid of Honour

Same for bridesmaids, they aren’t a necessity and some brides, because of enormous families and friendships, or because of a lack of significant women in their life, choose not to have either bridesmaids or maids of honour.

It’s absolutely no problem if the bride or groom’s best friend is a member of the opposite sex, either! While the roles do tend to be female for bridesmaids and male for best men, there are no rules to say you can’t have a man of honour, bridesman or best women! This is your wedding day, made all the more special by the inclusion and involvement of those who are important to you!

Mother of the Bride

Weddings are a joyous and difficult time for parents, and mothers in particular can become very emotional. While the day of course is about the couple and should be about their future and what they want from their wedding day, involving or considering your mother’s advice and opinions in the day will make her feel involved.

Mother of the Bride

It’s always nice, where possible, to include her in outings such as:

  • Venue visits
  • Dress appointments
  • Visits to the florist
  • Hair & make up trials

It’s more about keeping mothers in the loop as to what is happening than actually letting them make the decisions. Another nice way of involving your mother is by allowing her to invite a certain number of her own guests. As well as being a very emotional day for parents, it’s also a very proud day for them and they like to share this with their friends as well.

I always think it’s a lovely gesture to ‘include’ mothers just before the ceremony begins, and as the bride reaches the top of the aisle before she reaches the groom, she pauses to give her mother a quick kiss and to take a flower from her bouquet to give to her, the same for her future mother in law. It’s a simple gesture but means a lot to both mothers.

Like with the bride’s mother and parents, the couple could involve the groom’s parents in a similar way. It’s more about involvement with both sets than actually letting them take over.

How to Include Others

This really depends on what type of wedding day you are having.

Perhaps certain friends or family might have key roles or jobs when it comes to older VIPs, or travelling friends and family who might not be familiar with the area or indeed other guests.

You might ask people to perform special readings or songs or light candles to represent people who are no longer with us or couldn’t be there on the day.

Sometimes it’s just as simple as thanking them in front of everyone for their support during your lifetime or relationship or wedding plans.

For more ideas and information from Bláithín, visit her website.

To find out more about wedding roles, visit our wedding roles section.