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the roles of the bridal party
(attendants, guardian angels, inner circle… )

quotation markYour bridal party (whatever you decide to call them) can make your wedding at the very best, fabulous… and at the very worst, a nightmare… so choose well. Let’s look at the role of the best man (or best woman) and the chief bridesmaid (or chief bride’s man!) and what you might want them to do for you!

The best man and chief bridesmaid or matron/maid of honour will both play a key role in your wedding plan and of course, on the day. They will hopefully share the load and take some of the pressure of you.  I have witnessed awesome bridal support teams that have enhanced a wedding day with their hard work, attention to detail and genuine friendship…and I have seen, unfortunately, lots of challenges that would make your hair curl and, at those times, it upset the bride and groom, usually very close to, or on their wedding day.

Ideally, you want to choose people that are organized, dependable and reasonably confident… and have a sense of humour.  They will need to work well with you both and assist you to relax and enjoy the day!  You, in return, need to communicate clearly, be able to listen, delegate and trust your team.

Providing them with a detailed list of their tasks can ensure there are no misunderstandings about what is expected and when the task is to be done. Let’s look now look at each of the roles and the possible tasks.  Remember this is just a guideline. Some of the tasks listed here may be handled by your wedding coordinator, MC or a trusted family member or friend.

the best man or best woman...

Before the Wedding:
  • If necessary assist the groom with the selection of the other groomsmen or ushers
  • Arrange the hire or purchase of the men’s outfits (including shoes)
  • Attend pre wedding meetings at the venue or other selected service providers
  • Confirm the checklist and time schedule for the wedding plans and the day of the ceremony
  • Assist with the delegation of tasks and ensure people know what they are doing and when.
  • Arrange the stag party (this is better done weeks or months in advance). Make it a party that the groom will really enjoy and remember for all the right reasons.
  • Attend the ceremony rehearsal.
  • Make sure the groom has all his travel documents and clothes ready for the honeymoon.
On the Day:
  • Store the luggage for the honeymoon safely or arrange for its delivery to the honeymoon venue.
  • Help the groom to get ready and to the ceremony on time. It is important that the groom has something to eat before the ceremony. With all the excitement and things to do this can get easily overlooked. Make time for having food when planning your schedule for the day (even if it is a breakfast wedding have a small snack beforehand). Also make certain that the groom is well hydrated ensuring that alcohol consumption is kept to a minimum. If the groom arrives drunk the celebrant is legally within their right to refuse to conduct the ceremony.
Sam and his brother, Mike, arranged for a simple lunch at a local café with their widowed father on the day of Sam’s wedding. Even though it was short, it was a special time for the three of them.
  • Have a fully charged mobile phone and the contact details for the celebrant, wedding venue, chauffeur parents of the groom, chief bridesmaid and bride!
  • Check and distribute the buttonholes and/or corsages for the groom, groomsmen and family who will be picking them up at the ceremony area (parents of the groom, grandparents etc). Ask for help if you are unsure as to how to pin them to your lapels.
  • Greet the ushers and make sure they are organised. Ensure they have the order of service booklets or other items to be handed to guests. (TIP: For all extra wedding ceremony props – like the music player and CD’s, iPod, candles, special signing pen, delegate the bringing of these items to another reliable friend or family member rather than the best man).
  • Make any final payments (to photographers or DJ’s etc) although this is better done beforehand.
  • Greet and welcome guests offering introductions where necessary. This is also important after the ceremony and before the reception.
  • Look after the rings and make sure you bring them to the ceremony! Hand them over in the right order and at the right time with due respect. Or, if there is a designated ring bearer check they have the rings.
  • For the recessional (walking out of the ceremony) walk with the chief bridesmaid or matron/maid of honour.
  • Help the photographer to gather guests for photos (usually the groom will focus on gathering friends and the grooms family).
  • Before you leave the ceremony area make sure all guests are able to get to the reception venue (or if the bridal party is leaving before everyone else (i.e. for photographs) delegate this task to a trusted friend or family member).
  • Ensure things happen on time. For example, if the bride, groom and bridal party are leaving for photographs offsite encourage them to leave the wedding venue and return to the reception venue on time. Usually the MC is responsible for the timing once the reception starts. If there is no MC then managing the reception schedule is also an important duty.
  • Announce the entrance of the bride and groom into the reception venue (this can be delegated to the MC or father of the groom)
  • Make sure the wedding presents brought to the venue have a safe place to be stored.
  • Introduce the speeches (if there is no MC) and then make a short, respectful speech (usually after the father of the bride and the groom). Respond to the bridesmaid’s speeches if there are any and read the ‘telegrams’ (nowadays it is mostly emails!)
  • Invite the chief bridesmaid/maid or matron of honour for the first dance.
  • Relax and enjoy the evening… with only one more task later before the night is out.
  • Make sure the car is ready for when the bride and groom leave the reception and announce their departure to the guests…and say farewell.
After the Wedding:
  • Return the hire suits if necessary
  • Make sure the wedding gifts are stored safely for the bride and groom.
  • Assist with any follow up tasks if necessary.

chief bridesmaid or matron/maid of honour
(or bride’s man!)

Before the Wedding:
  • Go dress shopping and attend fittings for the bride’s and bridal party outfits.
  • Organise a bridal shower or hen’s party and look after the bride! Make it a special occasion she will happily want to remember.
  • Be attentive and enjoy the planning! Be a sounding board for your friend offering guidance and support through what can be an emotional minefield. Encourage the bride to have times of ‘non wedding’ social activities in the build up to the wedding day.
  • Organise a treat… a massage, facial or a cup of tea at your favourite café.
  • Attend the wedding rehearsal
On the Day:
  • Pick up the flowers from the florist (unless they are being delivered) and check the bouquets, corsages and buttonholes are all in order. Arrange for the corsages and buttonholes to be taken to the best man (he will give them to the respective family members)
  • Assist the bride to get ready and to the ceremony on time. Allow more time than you think is necessary and this will ensure that you are relaxed rather than running late and stressed.
  • It is important that the bride has something to eat before the ceremony as with all the excitement and things to do this can get easily overlooked. Make time for having food when planning your schedule for the day (even if it is a breakfast wedding have a small snack beforehand).  Also make certain that the bride is well hydrated ensuring that alcohol consumption is kept to a minimum. If the bride arrives drunk the celebrant is legally within their right to refuse to conduct the ceremony.
  • If the bride’s mum is present (and their relationship is healthy!) allow some time just for the bride and her mother.
  • Take the bride’s bag of essential items to the ceremony and then again to the reception.
  • Walk in before or after the bride (this will be determined at the rehearsal). Usually it is before the bride and after the bridesmaids.
  • Arrange the bridal train and assist with the veil during the ceremony.
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
  • Keep an eye out for the other bridal party members assisting them if necessary.
  • For the recessional (walking out of the ceremony) walk with the best man.
  • Greet guests in the time between the ceremony and the reception.
  • Help the photographer to gather guests for photos (usually the bride will focus on gathering the bride’s family).
  • Touch up bride’s make up if necessary for photographs and entering the reception venue.
  • Make sure the cake has been assembled properly.
  • Have the first dance with the best man.
  • At the end of the reception assist the bride if she is changing her outfit and take care of her wedding dress.
After the Ceremony:
  • Assist with any follow up tasks if necessary.
  • Enjoy looking through the wedding photographs when they come!
Wendy Haynes Signature

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what people say

Heidi, Cairns
Hi Wendy, I have been reading through your site and from feeling overwhelmed at the whole wedding planning now feel more relaxed!

Candy & Lincoln, Sydney, NSW
Your book gave us an insight as to what the important aspects of a perfect ceremony are. Had I not read your book I don’t know whether I would have put so much thought into the most memorable part of our wedding.
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