Wedding Party Duties: Everything You Need to Know
What does a wedding party do? Learn more about various wedding party duties so you know what’s expected if you’re given the honor of standing beside a loved one on their big day.
One of our favorite things about celebrations, weddings included, is they invite those you love the most to join together to make you feel special. In the case of weddings, some of the people who will make you feel celebrated the most are the members of your wedding party. They’re usually your family and your closest friends – they’re the group of bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, and kids (hello, ring bearer and flower girl!) who represent your innermost circle. They’ll attend all (or almost all) of the events leading up to your wedding day. In fact, they’ll likely plan quite a few of them! And, your wedding party will also band together to make sure you and your love feel supported throughout your celebration.
Being asked to be part of a wedding party is most often viewed as an honor, but your group should also fully understand the roles they will play (and what’s involved). So, before you officially invite your crew to join your wedding party, we thought it would be helpful to run through the roles each person will play. Specifically, we want to highlight what each person will do beyond attending the rehearsal, getting ready together beforehand, and posing for pictures. Think of it like a cast list for a production or a playbook for a big game. Here’s the lowdown on wedding parties!
The Leading Roles:
The below are the people who will have the biggest roles in the wedding day, other than the couple!
Maid of Honor/Matron of Honor:
The MOH, as she’s often referred to in the wedding industry, is most often a best friend or sibling of the bride. Her primary role is to act as team captain for the bridesmaids.
She’s typically in charge of planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Plus, she also acts as a sounding board for the bride when the bride is deciding on bridesmaids’ dresses, shoes, and accessories. The MOH will also help to direct what the bridesmaids will gift the bride on her wedding day and assist with any day of planning duties (she should be ready to be the wedding day’s point of contact!). Finally, the maid or matron of honor will be one of the last to walk down the aisle during the ceremony before the bride, she will likely help to bustle the bride’s dress, and she’ll give a speech during the reception. Then, the MOH should be ready to dance!
The role of the best man is very similar to the role of the maid or matron of honor. The key difference is the best man is typically a best friend or sibling of the groom! Like the MOH, the best man acts as team captain. But, this time, it’s for the groomsmen.
The best man should be ready to plan the bachelor party, and the best man may also be asked to offer guidance on attire for the gents. He’ll also become a main point of contact for the groomsmen, so he should be excellent with details.
On the wedding day, the best man should make sure the groom is ready and having fun, and he’ll also want to make sure he has the rings before the start of the ceremony. Once the ceremony is complete, the best man’s next big task is to give a speech during the reception. Then, like the maid or matron of honor, he should get ready to bring the fun!
The bridesmaids are the first gals the bride calls or texts when things are great or when they could be better. They’re her closest family members and friends, and the number of bridesmaids included in a wedding party can vary greatly (the choice is up to you)!
Generally speaking, bridesmaids attend all of the events leading up to the wedding day. This includes the engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party. Bridesmaids should also come prepared with ideas for each to help the maid or matron of honor! Additionally, the bridesmaids may be asked to attend appointments with the bride when she’s shopping for her dress. They should also know there will be expectations, financially, for each bridesmaid. Typically bridesmaids pay for their bridesmaids’ dresses, shoes, jewelry, hair, and makeup.
Once the wedding day arrives, bridesmaids will spend the morning getting ready with the bride. As a tip, make sure everyone has breakfast and lunch before the ceremony! Then, bridesmaids should be prepared to walk down the aisle during the ceremony, support the bride throughout (words of encouragement go a long way!), and celebrate during the reception.
The groomsmen represent the groom’s closest family members and friends, and their goal is to support the groom throughout planning and celebrating his wedding day.
The groomsmen should be prepared to attend the engagement party and bachelor party prior to the wedding day. Like the bridesmaids, the groomsmen also have a financial responsibility to pay for their wedding day attire, including renting or purchasing a suit or tux and taking care of their shoes and socks. They’re also looked to as the gents who will make sure there are plenty of refreshments available throughout the day (stock a cooler, guys!), and they tend to bring plenty of energy.
The groomsmen will walk down the aisle, capture photos, and celebrate after the vows. Overall, the groomsmen are viewed as a fun, supportive group there to make the groom feel loved.
The ring bearer is most often the nephew of the bride or groom or the child of a close friend. He’s typically under the age of eight (though he can be slightly older!) and able to confidently go down the aisle without fear of becoming shy.
The ring bearer will typically attend the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding, and his parents will want to keep in mind that he will need to wear an outfit specified by the couple.
The ring bearer’s primary job is to walk down the aisle before the bride and sometimes with the flower girl. But, there’s a fun fact to keep in mind: most ring bearers don’t actually carry the rings! They might carry a decorative ring pillow or ring box as a symbolic gesture. That high-profile job is typically reserved for the best man who has age and sturdy pockets working in his favor.
Like the flower girl, the ring bearer is a part of a wedding party to up the cute factor.
Like the ring bearer, the flower girl is most often under the age of eight, a niece of the couple or the daughter of a close friend, and able to confidently walk down the aisle. She’ll be the final member of the wedding party to make her appearance before the bride, so she’ll have quite an audience! But, everyone looking on will support her.
A flower girl will attend the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding day. Before the celebration, she’s also often invited to the bridal shower. Her parents will have a financial commitment to keep in mind because she will need to wear a dress specified by the couple. The basket, sign, or wand she carries down the aisle will be provided by the couple.
Unlike the ring bearer, the flower girl typically does the job that’s in her title – she tosses flowers! So, a love for flowers and making those she loves most feel special is helpful.
The parents of the couple are some of the most celebrated people at a wedding! Their roles are all high-profile (as they should be!), but they do differ slightly.
The parents of the bride are typically known as the hosts of the wedding, whether they’re contributing financially or not. They’ll be invited to all of the events before the wedding, including the engagement party, bachelor/ette parties, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner. And, they’re most often very involved throughout the wedding planning process as they help the couple to make wedding day decisions.
On the wedding day, the parents of the bride may share in first look photos with the bride (plus plenty of family photos!). The bride’s mom will also be among the first to walk down the aisle during the processional, or she’ll join with the bride’s dad to walk down the aisle with the bride. During the reception, the parents of the bride also offer a welcome speech (again, they’re the hosts!) before the bride’s dad shares a dance with his daughter.
On the flip side, the parents of the groom serve as the hosts of the rehearsal dinner. Plus, they may also be invited to all of the pre-wedding events, including the engagement party, bachelor/ette parties, and bridal shower.
On the wedding day, the parents of the groom may share a first look with their son, and they will also walk down the aisle first during the ceremony’s processional. Post vows, the parents of the groom will be in plenty of photos, they’ll walk in together during introductions at the reception, and the groom’s mom will share a dance with her son.
The Supporting Roles:
We would be remiss if we didn’t highlight a few more wedding day roles that are important but not as much in the spotlight.
The officiant’s primary role is to lead the wedding ceremony. He or she will plan the ceremony with the couple, including welcoming guests, choosing readings, and guiding the couple through reciting their vows, exchanging rings, and pronouncing the pair as married. He or she will also guide the group through the rehearsal the day or night prior to the wedding. Sometimes officiants also attend the wedding reception as honored guests, but they do sometimes have one final job – lead everyone through a blessing before dinner.
Ushers are family members or friends of the couple who help to guide guests to their seats at the ceremony. Their other chief job is to welcome guests with programs as they arrive. These roles are great for cousins of the couple or those who might be too old to be a flower girl or ring bearer but a little too young to be bridesmaids or groomsmen.
While planning your wedding ceremony, your officiant will often ask if you would like scripture, a passage from a book or poem, or song lyrics read during your ceremony. Rather than the officiant reading these meaningful words, you can look to a family member or friend to read them. Most ceremonies will include at least one reading, though sometimes there are two or more. The big thing to keep in mind with this role is the reader(s) should have a certain level of comfort with public speaking as they will be reading in front of a larger group.
Do you want to keep the wedding party conversation going? Let’s keep chatting in our Budget-Savvy Wedding Planning community!
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