Your wedding day will be one of the single most important days of your life. You will remember and cherish that day for the rest of your life from the people that shared it with you so the day you promised a life with that one, special person. For many couples, once the engagement is official, they begin selecting the wedding party. Most often, the bride selects her maid / matron of honor and bridesmaids and the groom selects his best man and groomsmen.
Selecting your wedding party is not something you should take lightly. After nearly 15 years working in the wedding industry, some of the biggest sources of anxiety when planning their wedding comes from the wedding party either overstepping or under-performing. Whether you’re the bride or groom-to-be or one of the honored wedding party, it’s important to understand the role you play in the upcoming wedding.
Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor
Traditionally this special role is given to a sister or very close friend. Maid of Honor typically stands for an unmarried person while Matron of Honor is used for a married person. While this role is most often thought of for a woman, this role can also be a male (Man of Honor).
Of the bride’s wedding attendants, this person assumes a very important role. They are traditionally responsible for coordinating all of the bridesmaid’s activities including meetings for fittings, planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party, etc. The Maid of Honor may also help with tasks leading up to the wedding that help the bride and groom such as running wedding related errands, helping with addressing the invitations, and keeping track of the wedding gifts.
On the day of the wedding, the Maid of Honor us typically responsible for helping the bride with getting dressed, making sure the bridesmaids have arrived and are ready on time and sometimes serve as the witness for the bride as she signs the marriage license. During the ceremony, she will adjust the veil and/or train and hold the bouquet. Following the ceremony she may also help organize the bridesmaids for photos and other events throughout the evening.
As Maid of Honor, there also comes a financial responsibility. Traditionally the Maid of Honor is responsible for paying for her own attire and transportation. She is also responsible for helping cover costs for the bridal shower and bachelorette party as needed.
As a bridesmaid, the role isn’t quite a demanding as the Maid of Honor but there still comes some responsibility. Bridesmaids typically help the Maid of Honor plan the bridal shower and/or bachelorette party. They are responsible for attending dress fittings and other events associated with the wedding. They are also responsible for covering the costs of their own attire and and travel arrangements necessary for the wedding as well as help with costs associated with the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
Jr. Bridesmaids & Flower Girl
Junior Bridesmaids typically range in age from about 9-13 years old and flower girls are typically 4-8 years old. These roles obviously are primarily just for the wedding itself with the parents being responsible for the costs associated with attire, travel, etc.
Similar to the Maid of Honor, the Best Man assumed the biggest set of responsibilities to help the Groom. The Best Man is often a Brother of Best Friend to the Groom and is traditionally responsible for planning the bachelor party and coordinating other events with the groomsmen such as fittings. The Best Man is also often responsible for orchestrating the toasts for the rehearsal. In some cases the Best Man also helps the groom with confirming the honeymoon travel arrangements a day or two before the wedding.
On the day of the wedding, the Best Man is in charge of making sure the groomsmen have arrived on time and are ready to go. He is often in charge of the rings and organizing the toasts at the reception. He is also often the witness for the Groom as he signs the marriage license.
After the wedding the Best Man helps organize the groomsmen for photos and other evening events and is usually the point of contact for returning all the men’s rental attire.
Like the ladies, the best man is responsible for paying for his own attire and travel arrangements as well as helping cover costs for the bachelor party.
Like the Bridesmaids, the Groomsmen have a slightly reduced list of responsibilities leading up to the wedding. They are of course responsible for helping the Best Man plan the bachelor party and for attending fittings. They should also be willing to help out other areas as needed like assisting the Best Man with organizing the getaway car if the bride and groom are leaving for their honeymoon from the reception.
The day of the wedding, groomsmen often serve as Ushers as well. This means they need to be on time and dressed so they can meet guests and seat them appropriately. Financially, they are responsible for paying for their attire and travel arrangements as necessary.
Jr. Groomsmen and Ring Bearer
Like the Jr. Bridesmaids and Flower Girl, aside from the wedding day, the parents assume most of the responsibility with these roles making sure their child attends required events as well as paying for attire and any travel arrangements.
As a Bride and Groom, your wedding day is important. You want to be surrounded by all those special people that mean the world to you. Your wedding party represents the most special people of all but when making your selections be sure they are reliable as well. Your aren’t just offering a great party, you are asking for them to take on an important responsibility that contributes to the success of your day.
If you are the honored recipient of an invitation to be a Maid of Honor, Best Man, Bridesmaid or Groomsman, don’t answer in haste. Make sure you understand your responsibility both in giving of your time but also willingness to offer financial support both in your own attire and travel but in helping pay for some of the parties and events leading up to the wedding day. Saying “yes” is making a commitment that should not be taken lightly to both the Bride and the Groom.
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