Participating in a wedding party is an honor. Couples invite many people to their weddings, and the select few asked to be in the party are typically those individuals with whom the couples shares a strong and special bond. The role of the wedding party is not merely symbolic. Though it’s up to the happy couple to determine how involved they want their wedding party to be, individuals asked to be in the party should know that their acceptance of these roles carries with it a certain level of responsibility.
Maid of Honor
The maid of honor may bear the most responsibility of any wedding party member. Maids of honor typically help with the planning of the wedding, offering advice and opinions on everything from the bride’s gown to the bridesmaid dresses and anything else a couple might need help with. If the bride asks, the maid of honor may be asked to organize dress fittings and attend them as well.
A maid of honor typically plays an active, and often the lead, role in planning the bachelorette party. Come the day of the wedding, the maid of honor helps the bride prepare and may organize the bridesmaids to ensure everyone stays on schedule. A maid of honor typically toasts the happy couple during the reception as well.
Like the maid of honor, the best man has some extra responsibilities before the wedding and during the festivities. A best man may organize tux fittings, plan the bachelor party, help make arrangements if the groom requests help, and be asked to hold the rings on the day of the ceremony. A best man toast is common during the reception, and some grooms ask their best men to distribute tips to vendors at the end of the night.
Bridesmaids often help the maid of honor plan the bachelorette party, and they also help to organize the bridal shower if the bride chooses to have one. Bridesmaids can offer input on wedding planning, particularly if they’re already married, though that is not necessarily required. Bridesmaids also can help relieve stress on the bride by being as agreeable as possible when scheduling dress fittings.
Groomsmen help to plan the bachelor party and may be asked to provide some support prior to the ceremony. For example, on the day of the wedding, groomsmen may be asked to show guests, particularly elderly friends and family of the couple, to their seats. Like their bridesmaid counterparts, groomsmen can be especially helpful by doing what’s asked of them without resistance. Arriving on time to tuxedo fittings and offering insight when they think it might help are some simple ways groomsmen can pitch in.
Flower Girl/Ring Bearer
Often reserved for children, the roles of flower girls and ring bearers only require some simple participation during the ceremony. Flower girls drop petals as they precede down the aisle ahead of the wedding party, while the ringer bearer carries the ring down the aisle. If these roles will be filled by especially young children, couples may choose to have them walk down the aisle together.
Parents of the couple
Parents of the bride and groom typically play supportive roles but may be asked to give speeches during the rehearsal dinner or the reception. The father of the bride typically walks her down the aisle, while the mother will likely spend the day of the ceremony at the bride’s side as they get ready.
Parents of the groom do not have any traditional responsibilities, though the groom and his mother customarily share a mother/son dance during the reception.
Couples need not feel compelled to assign bridal party members these duties if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. However, sharing some of the responsibilities of wedding planning can help couples enjoy the process more and keep party members engaged.