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Wedding PlanningOne of the most personal and important aspects of your wedding planning process will be choosing your wedding party! Your wedding party will include not only the people who will help you plan your big day, but they are also those you will want by your side when you walk down the aisle and say your vows.
Being in the wedding party is a special honor.  It can also be a financial obligation for those chosen. The people chosen for those responsibilities should be made aware of the financial and the time commitments before accepting.
There are many roles within a wedding party and it is important to know the responsibilities and duties required of each wedding party position.  Plus, clearly communicating these roles really help everyone know what needs to be done, the expectation, and helps make wedding planning and the wedding day go much smoother.

The Wedding Party

Maid/Matron of Honor  The maid of honor duties are perhaps the most demanding of anyone involved in the wedding – possibly with the exception of the bride herself. Being a maid of honor means, you are the bride’s closest friend or family member , her number one assistant and best girlfriend.  Tip:  Please remember that she is your closest friend not a wedding planner.  Her being involved is expected but not to take over and run the day for you.

Duties:

  • Assists with wedding and reception arrangements
  • Attends pre-wedding parties and events
  • Hosts bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Serves as witness to the signing of the marriage license
  • Communicates meeting locations and times to the bridesmaids
  • Helps the bride dress and prepare on the wedding day
  • Serves as the bride’s personal attendant during the ceremony
  • Carries the groom’s wedding ring
  • Performs wedding toast
  • Helps the best man organize the departure from the reception
  • Helps the bride dress and prepare for departure
  • With the best man, makes final farewells to the guests

Bridesmaids  Bridesmaids are also close friends and family of the bride.  Sometimes female relatives of the groom also fill these roles.  The groom should try to be understanding if space in the bridal party are limited and allow the bride to choose those closest to her.  Having women from the groom’s family; however, can help symbolize the true joining of two families.

Tip:  Please involve these ladies as much as you can.  I always encourage to spread out those small planning tasks among many in the wedding party so your not so overwhelmed with all that has to be done.

Duties:

  • Order and pay for their gowns and accessories
  • Assist in preparations when asked
  • Host and attend pre-wedding parties and events
  • Help decorate the ceremony and reception sites
  • Serve as hostesses at reception

Best Man  The best man is usually the best friend or brother of the groom. The main responsibility as the best man is to support the couple before, during, and after the wedding, meaning open communication is key. Talk to the groom, make sure he’s good to go, and relay information to the other groomsmen and the guests, if needed.  Tip: They are not just a glorified groomsmen! It is important to choose someone that will be supportive and helpful, wherever needed.  Not just a life of the party 🙂

Details:

  • Hosts the bachelor party
  • Serves as witness to the signing of the marriage license
  • Leads the groomsmen, making sure they arrive on time, dressed properly, and with all necessary items
  • Attends rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Helps the groom dress and prepare on the wedding day

Groomsmen  The groomsmen are also close friends and relatives of the groom. This would be the easiest job of all those in the wedding party.  But a groomsman does more than just stand around and look good.  alThey can serves as an advisor to the groom beforehand, helps the groom be organized, aids with any wedding planning details, and helps seat guests at the wedding.  Tip:  While a groom will want to have his best buddies and the men in his life that means the most to him, he should also make sure that he has a group that is responsible enough to handle their duties, or at least one person willing to pick up the slack for the others.

Duties:

  • Order and pay for their formal wear
  • Assist in preparations when asked
  • Attend pre-wedding parties and events
  • Escort bridesmaids during the ceremony
  • Serve as greeters at reception
  • Prepare vehicle for departure from the reception

Flower Girl The flower girl walks ahead of the bride, scattering flower petals in her path or simply carrying a pretty bouquet or basket. She should also be included in the wedding rehearsal so that she is comfortable with her role. Her parents are expected to pay for her attire and arrange for her transportation.     

Ringbearer  The ring bearer is at the head of the bridal party as it enters the church. His main role is to look extremely cute and elicit lots of “awwws” from wedding guests. In his ring bearer duties, he carries a pillow with ring or rings tied in the centre with ribbon that is attached to the pillow.

Tip:  I would recommend have the flower girl or ring bearer to be between the ages of four and eight.  If you go any younger, it is just more strain on everyone (especially the parents)and on a little one that does not really understand much about what is going on.    

One More Tip:  If at all possible, try not to have both parents in the wedding party.  It just puts so much pressure on the parents to get ready and make sure the little people are taken care of, while trying to enjoy themselves and the event, too.

Other Key Wedding Roles

Ushers  Ushers are to assist the bridal party. As a guideline, you need one wedding usher to every 50 guests. Usher duties are to direct guests to the appropriate places and ensuring the ceremony runs smoothly. Tip:  The guideline is pretty open ended as to what their responsibilities.  As a wedding planner, I requests small jobs from them that make a big difference that make the day run much smoother (ie.  taking item needing to be transfer to the reception or load gifts at the end of the night).

Personal attendant A personal attendant will be the person who can be trusted to take care of the bride, communicate to and for her to manage her stress level, keep the day’s schedule on track, bring the right items to the wedding ceremony and reception, and help with any issues that may arise on the wedding day.  Tips:  Just like your maid of honor & your bridesmaids are going to be with you all day, your personal attendant will be, too.  Please consider a person that has a will heart to help in whatever way maybe be needed.  (ie. running to the coffee shop to get coffee or black socks for the groom).

Always choose people for these roles that are important to you. It is important for you to fill the crucial roles with people you love and care about as well as trust. Asking people to step into these roles because it is the right thing or an obligation is felt rarely leads to a picture perfect experience.

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Marsha VanArk at Distinctly Yours Wedding & Events