Wedding Roles – Choosing your Bridal Party

Wedding Roles – who does what?

You are engaged, you have a beautiful engagement ring and the wedding date and venue has been booked. What comes next? The next step is to decide on who you want to help you with the wedding planning arrangements and create your Bridal Party.  Wedding roles and who does what and when can be a bit of a minefield.   Of course, you don’t actually have to have anybody, you could make all of the arrangements yourself, but it can be extremely stressful particularly when you are planning a wedding around an already busy and hectic life.

It helps enormously to assign wedding roles and have support from people that you know well and can delegate tasks to in the knowledge that they can be trusted to carry them out. Most people are honoured and delighted when asked, and if they don’t appear to be, then they may not be the ideal member for your bridal party. Who should your bridal party consist of?  The key members are The Groom (obviously), The Mother of the Bride, The Chief Bridesmaid, The Bridesmaids, The Father of the Bride, The Best Man and The Ushers and a Wedding Planner if you are using one. Let’s take a look at each member of the team and see what they could be helping you with.

The Groom

It is fair to say that nowadays most Grooms have an equal hand in the wedding preparations. As wedding planning becomes more internet based, with online wedding planning websites, it is more usual for the Groom to manage the guest list, table planning and the like. The couple will normally visit the wedding venue together and arrange for further site visits with menu tastings. Traditionally the Groom’s responsibilities are:

• Choose wedding rings
• Appoint Best Man and Ushers
• Pays for church or registry fees
• Traditionally pays for the flowers and organises transport
• Hires any grooms wear
• Buys gifts for Ushers Bridesmaids and Bride
• Makes a wedding speech and toasts the Bridesmaids
• Books honeymoon
• Safeguards the Marriage Licence

The Chief Bridesmaid

Also sometimes known as the Matron of Honour. The Chief Bridesmaid may be a close member of your family or one of your oldest best friends. She is not the one who forgets you have a date to meet for shopping, or the one that says she will call you but never does. She is the one who will wear a dress she hates because you like it. She is the one who the bride will go to during the months of planning when the pressure is on, and also the one who will probably provide the best advice. Her duties include:

• Help with and attend the choosing of the Bride’s wedding dress and attendants’ dresses
• Organise the bridal shower and hen party
• Help the bride dress on the wedding day
• Assist the younger attendants throughout the day
• Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony
• Arrange the bride’s veil if worn over the face for the entrance
• Have an emergency pack ready for the bride (headache tablets, handkerchief, touch up makeup)
• Witness the signing of the register

The Bridesmaids

The other bridesmaids can play an important part of the wedding planning preparation. They can take some of the Chief Bridesmaid’s responsibilities by mingling with the guests at the reception, just keeping an eye on the finer details to make sure everything is running smoothly. If there are young attendants, it is a good idea to charge the bridesmaids with taking care of getting them ready and during the reception itself.

• If the wedding dress has a long train, arrange or hold the train as the bride walks up the aisle
• Assist during the reception with guests – particularly those who don’t know anyone at the wedding
• Ensuring all guests have drinks during the reception
• Take care of the flower girls/pageboys
• Help the bride with the wedding preparations on the wedding day

The Best Man

Whilst it is an honour to be asked to be best man, you should choose someone who can be supportive, trustworthy and above all sensible! He is the one who is charged with getting the Groom to the ceremony on time and in one piece. Not a Best Man who arrives with the Groom who has half an eyebrow missing, leg in plaster, or still drunk from the Stag night. There is great emphasis placed on the Best Man’s speech, and therefore do not choose someone who simply cannot stand up and speak in public, unless you are not having speeches.

• Is responsible for the arrival of any hired grooms wear and the return
• Organising the Stag party
• Checking transport arrangements
• Ensuring the groom arrives on time
• Keeper of the wedding rings during the ceremony
• Organise the guests for the photographs, and ensuring they have drinks
• Prepare a best man’s speech
• Witness the signing of the register
• May be trusted with the Marriage Licence after the ceremony

The Mother of the Bride

Most mothers are very involved in the planning of their daughter’s wedding, particularly if the Bride’s parents are paying for the majority of the wedding. Most Mother’s of the Bride get carried away and forget that it is not ‘their’ wedding that they are organising, so be patient. They just love the bridal wear choosing, and the girlie lunches that go with it too. They hate it when you change plans or you don’t want your cousin on your grandmother’s side three times removed sitting on the Top Table. Traditionally Mothers of the Bride have the responsibility of:

Choosing her own outfit (usually co-ordinated with the colour theme of the wedding)
• Arranging the printing of the invitations (if formal ones, from the Bride’s parents) and recording the RSVPs
• Ordering the wedding cake
• Booking the reception venue
• Hiring the photographer and videographer
• Floristry
• Evening entertainment
• Arranging accommodation for guests
• Paying the supplier deposits

The Father of the Bride

The Father of the Bride gets all the best bits of being part of the bridal party. He needs to soothe his daughter’s brow when it gets all too much, tell her she looks absolutely beautiful, deliver a tear jerking speech and welcoming the wedding guests.

• The most important bit of accompanying the bride to the wedding venue and escorting her down the aisle
• Preparing the Father of the Bride speech
• Socialising as host with the wedding guests

The Ushers

The job of the Ushers is not just to tie the naked Groom to the lamp post and desert him, there are some serious responsibilities here! They need to be the eyes and ears of the Groom, and act on behalf of the Groom as host

• Arrange and attend the Stag party
• Assist the groom before and during the wedding
• Custody of the wedding rings on the day
• Show guests to their seats at the ceremony
• Be on hand to show guests to their tables at the reception
• Assist the photographer in rounding up guests for photographs

The Wedding Planner

Wedding Planners take care of all those little details that make your day the one you imagined. They can organise the whole wedding or just a part of it for you, depending on your budget. You can recoup a lot of the cost of a wedding planner in the savings they bring you from using their trusted suppliers. But here is a list of some of the things a wedding planner can help you with:

• Finding a wedding venue
• Supplier sourcing (usually passing on any discounts)
• Managing your wedding budget
• Managing your guest list invitations
• Sourcing and creating wedding favours
• Designing a wedding theme of table decorations, colours, and flowers
• Venue decoration
• Evening entertainment, including table acts
• Setting up of your venue
• On the day coordination

Courtesy of Weddings in Surrey