Planning a wedding can be a little daunting when you consider all the boxes that need to be ticked. When it comes to agreeing on the wedding party, some thought should be given to who will play what role and what does it involve. To help with this task, we’ve created a list of ‘Who’s Who’ in your wedding party and given a brief description of what each member is responsible for. Bear in mind that most roles can be carried out by either gender and by more than one person. This may make your job easier when it comes to asking the key people to carry out their special roles!
The Bride’s role, apart from looking gorgeous on the day, is to plan the whole special event with the Groom, from agreeing flower arrangements to booking the wedding venue. She will also marry the Groom on the day!
The main responsibilities may include organising the wedding transport, selecting the evening entertainment, booking accommodation for out of town guests and doing most the groundwork for the honeymoon. Oh and let’s not forget, he marries the bride! This list is by no means limited.
The Maid/Man of Honour
This is the Bride’s right-hand support for the whole wedding planning process and is there to offer a second pair of eyes as well as emotional support if it is required! The hen party celebrations are generally arranged by the Maid/Man of Honour with the help of the other Bridesmaids from the wedding party. She/he will also coordinate certain things on the day from taking items to the ceremony (the bride’s make up for a quick touch up for example), adjusting the bride’s train, holding her bouquet during the vows and so on. The Maid/Man of Honour will sign your marriage certificate. It’s a good idea to agree early on what duties you want your maid/man of honour to do and what you’d rather do yourself.
The Best Man/Woman
This is the Groom’s right hand man/woman from start to finish of the wedding planning process and celebrations. He/she will arrange the stag party and will ensure the Groom makes it safely home in one piece! He/she will also be responsible for getting the Groom to the ceremony on time and holding the wedding rings for the husband-to-be. He/she will sign the marriage certificate and toast the Groom in his/her well rehearsed speech! The Best Man/Woman will join the first dance with the Maid/Man of Honour.
These are usually dependable friends and/or family members who support the Maid/Man of Honour as she/he supports the bride! They help with the hen party arrangements and looking after any young children in the bridal party. They can be called on to help with dressing favours, addressing invites and so on. They are often expected to party on the dance floor and ensure the guests are having a fun time!
The Groomsmen are a group of male friends and/or family members who support the Groom and Best Man with planning and preparing the special day. However, it’s fair to say that their main responsibility is to help plan and contribute towards the stag party and to ensure the Groom is in a fit state to marry on the said date! Groomsmen may also double up as Ushers and at the end of the evening, they ensure all the available ladies have a dancing partner and that all guests are taken care of.
Traditionally given to members of the Groom’s family (male or female) but today, it can include the Bride’s family members and close friends of the wedding couple. We suggest to every 50 guests, you should have one Usher. Pre wedding day, Ushers may be helped to ask arrange the stag celebrations and attend the dress rehearsal. On the day, the duties are generally:
- Arrive at the wedding venue before the Groom
- Collect Order of Service sheets from the minister and hand them out to guests as they arrive
- Greet guests as they arrive and direct them to their seats — traditionally the Bride’s side sits to the left and the Groom’s guests to the right, check with the Bride and Groom to know if this is what they would like at their ceremony — ensure all family members are seated to the front of the ceremony venue
- Escort the Mother of the Bride to her seat
- We recommend you seat any elderly guests and parents with young children at the end of the aisle to allow for easy access to the door, etc.
- Ladies wearing larger hats may be better seated behind other guests so views are restricted (however, if the lady in question is a family member, she will need to sit at or near the front)
- Hand out buttonholes at the entrance to guests
- Check with the venue about any restrictions regarding photography and confetti and advise the guests
- Ushers should place themselves to the back of the venue before the Bride and her Father/person giving her away arrives
- Direct any late comers to the nearest seat
- After the ceremony, ensure all guests have collected all of their belongings and have made their way to the reception venue
The Flower Girl & The Page Boy
These lovely little chaps and chapesses are generally between the ages of three to eight years of age who create oohs and aaahs from the guests as they walk down the aisle. The Flower Girl tends to walk in front of the bride, scattering petals from a basket as she does so. The Page Boy can perform similar roles as well as holding the bride’s train and carrying the rings on a wedding cushion to the altar. Once their important duty is over, they can sit with their parents/guardians as the ceremony proceeds.
Some things to consider when choosing the little ones:
- Will they understand what’s expected of them?
- Will you get frustrated if they don’t perform their duties 100%?
- Will your Flower Girl/Page Boy of choice be happy to play the role and will their parents be happy to let them do it?
The Mother of the Bride
The Bride may choose to involve her mother as much or as little as possible. She may be involved in all of the planning from start to finish or just add to the process here and there. The role of the Mother of the Bride is usually at the discretion of the Bride. Be careful to include her a little at least and share some responsibilities with the Groom’s Mother. The Mother of the Bride may attend the hen party celebrations.
The Mother of the Groom
The Mother of the Groom can assist the Bride’s Mother with some duties which will help to keep her involved and may avoid conflict! She may also attend the hen party celebrations. The Groom’s Mother should be escorted down the aisle at the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Her son should ask her to dance soon after the first dance, when she will brim with pride and shine in her role!
The Father of the Bride
Traditionally, this is the man who pays for most of the wedding day celebrations, however, today’s Brides and Grooms tend to lend a hand with this or may pay the bulk of it themselves. Other duties of the proud Father may include coordinating travel arrangements: directions, maps, etc. They may be the taxi driver for guests during the lead up to the big day. On the day, he will escort his beautiful daughter down the aisle and stand to toast her with the new husband as he makes his Father of the Bride speech. He may also prepare envelopes with tips for the wedding day staff on duty. The Groom’s Father may attend his son’s stag party festivities!
The Father of the Groom
In the past, the Father of the Groom had a quiet role when it came to wedding duties, however these days he may be involved a little more. Financially, he may pay for a few large items for the wedding day, one being the wedding rehearsal dinner. He may also make a speech and toast the Bride and Groom as well as dancing with the Mother of the Bride as the first dance is underway.
The Ring Bearer
Usually a girl or boy aged between four and eight. They will walk down the aisle in front of the Flower Girl if you have one. They carry the rings on small decorative cushions — you may wish to use fakes so there is no risk of losing the real ones!
The Candle Lighter
In some Christian services, a young person (usually between nine and twelve) will light the candles at the altar just before the Bride’s Mother is seated. They can be dressed as part of the wedding party or in their own clothes.
A Muslim name for male friends or family who help the Groom prepare for his wedding.
The Huppah Carriers
In Jewish wedding ceremonies, family or friends who are close to the Bride and Groom hold up the Huppah poles during the service. They are often part of the Shushavim, see below.
This is a Jewish term describing anyone who is close to the wedding couple. Many Jewish weddings have no traditional wedding party; however some members of the Shushavim may carry out similar duties.
The Koumbaro is the Eastern Orthodox Best Man, the Koumbara is the female version. In the past, the Groom’s GodFather performed this duty but today, any close friend or family member can take in this role. In traditional Greek weddings, this role is greatly symbolic. The duties may include placing the ceremony crown on the Bride’s and Groom’s head and then swap the crowns back and forth three times — uniting the two together.
This is the Greek Groomsen. In conventional Eastern Orthodox weddings, the Vratimi is a group of friends from the Groom side who support the Koumbaro as he carries out his role during the ceremony.
Usually a family member or close friend who has been asked to stand during the service to read a selected piece for the Bride and Groom -usually picked by the wedding couple, however they may ask the Reader to choose something. If this is the case, consider the personalities of the couple or try to find out if they have a favourite poem, book or song. Practice will help with this duty! Useful tips are: don’t stand too close to the microphone if there is one, avoid fidgeting, and enjoy — you’ve been chosen to do something very personal and touching!