What’s the difference between an usher and a groomsman? Should you have bridesmaids or flower girls? Whose parents pay for what, and who make sure everyone’s in the right place at the right time?
As wonderful as weddings are, things can get confusing when you’re trying to factor in a whole cast of family and friends. So what are the specific roles at a wedding, and who of your wedding party should really be performing them?
SoGlos is here to help with a handy guide that should hopefully make planning for your special day run smoothly.
Whilst the main role of the bride and groom on their wedding day is to actually get married, there is a lot of planning to do behind the scenes that makes the wedding possible.
It’s your job to set a date, a budget and decide on the venue, as well as coordinating flowers, stationery and photographers, and buying thank-you gifts for your attendants. Depending on the sort of ceremony you’re planning, you might also want to write your vows and shop for wedding bands.
Most importantly, the bride and groom should relax and enjoy their celebration, and with this host of family and friends to help, you should be able to do just that.
Traditionally the bride’s parents were expected to cover the majority of the big day’s expenses, although fortunately for them, today these costs tend to be distributed more evenly between both sets of parents and the bride and groom.
These days the bride’s parents may throw an engagement party for you, make speeches at the reception, and assist with the guest list and planning. The bride’s mother has the all-important job of helping her daughter pick out her wedding dress, while the father of the bride gets to escort her down the aisle and present her to her new husband.
The groom’s parents are expected to do considerably less than the bride’s, although it’s customary for them to host the rehearsal dinner, and to consult on the guest list and wedding expenses.
The maid of honour, usually the bride’s sister or best friend, should liaise with the bride’s mother and coordinate the bridesmaids to arrange dress-fittings, hair and make-up tests, and the hen party.
On the day, she’s expected to help dress the bride, organise the bridesmaids, and hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony. Usually the maid of honour will sign the marriage license as the bride’s witness, and if you’re leaving for your honeymoon straight after the wedding, it’s her job to take care of the wedding gown until she returns.
A bride can have as few or as many bridesmaids as she chooses. Their role is to help her avoid as much stress as possible. They might help with tasks like addressing invites, keeping track of gifts, and organising the hen party. They’ll also walk in the processional, and mingle with important guests at the reception.
Normally the groom’s brother or closest friend, the best man is responsible for organising the stag party and making sure the groom arrives on time. If you’re going to be exchanging rings then he’ll take care of the bride’s ring until the ceremony.
The best man usually signs the marriage license as the groom’s witness, and after the ceremony he’ll help to organise the photographs, and give the final speech at the reception.
The groomsmen are the counterparts to the bridesmaids, and it’s their job to assist the groom and the best man where necessary. They might walk with the bridesmaids in the processional and recessional, and are expected to stay on at the reception until the end of the wedding.
A flower girl is normally only included if the bride or groom has a young relative or family friend they want to be part of their special day. Her role is limited to the processional, where she’ll walk ahead of the bride and bridesmaids, scattering petals or carrying a small posy.
Similar to the flower girl, the ring bearer is a young relative or friend of the couple (usually male), who carries the rings down the aisle and gives them to the best man and the maid of honour. Or, if you want your four-legged friend to be there, many couples now choose to have their dogs as ring bearers!
Sometimes couples will choose to have their groomsmen double as ushers, but if you have a particularly large guest list you might want to enlist some extra help when it comes to seating everyone.
Ushers are usually male friends of the bride and groom, not part of the wedding party, whose job it is to guide important guests to their seats for the ceremony.
By Anna Bailey
Wednesday 10 May 2017
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