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Roles within the wedding party

Your wedding party are the most helpful, important people on your special day, apart from you and your husband-to-be, of course! They will help you through all the stages from planning your wedding, organising the celebrations to making sure your big day can be as perfect as possible. Therefore, when you are choosing the people who will make up your wedding party, make sure you pick the people who you can really trust! Your wedding party should consist of the people who you and your husband-to-be cherish the most.

Here we have a list of the traditional roles played by members of the wedding party. Of course, they can be changed and roles can be shared!

The Bride

  • Chooses wedding date, type of ceremony, the theme of the wedding and her outfit
  • Chooses her attendants and their outfits
  • Co-ordinates and advises other members of the bridal party on any dress codes and colour themes
  • Throws her bouquet amongst the unmarried female guests
  • Writes thank you notes to helpers and for any wedding gifts

The Groom

  • Works out the budget
  • Buys the wedding rings
  • Arranges the outfits of the male members of the bridal party
  • Arranges the honeymoon and the wedding night accommodation
  • Buys gifts for the best man, bridesmaids and ushers
  • Makes a speech at the reception, on behalf of himself and his new wife

Mother of the Bride

  • Arranges press announcements
  • Compiles the guest list in consultation with the groom's family
  • Sends out save the date cards, wedding invitations and keeps a note of replies
  • Looks after gift list and makes arrangements to display the presents
  • Makes a list of the guests for the ushers
  • Travels to the ceremony with the bridesmaids
  • Attends the signing of the register
  • Sits directly in front of the ceremony and then once the ceremony is over, walks out first after the bride and groom
  • Unless bride and groom decide otherwise, acts as hostess on the day
  • The first in the receiving line
  • Sits at the top table during the meal
  • Makes sure all gifts received at the reception are taken home and stored safely
  • Sends cake to those unable to attend the wedding

Father of the Bride

  • Attends the wedding rehearsal
  • Travels with his daughter to the ceremony
  • Escorts the bride down the aisle
  • Gives the bride away
  • Attends the signing of the register
  • Sits directly in front of the ceremony and then once the ceremony is over, walks out first after the bride and groom
  • Escorts the groom's mother from the church
  • Stands alongside his wife in the receiving line
  • Sits at the top table during the meal
  • Dances with the groom's mother and the bride during the evening
  • Stays until the end of the evening, ensuring everything is paid for and complete

Bridesmaids

  • Helps the bride choose her dress and her attendants' outfits
  • Helps the bride keep her wedding lists up-to-date
  • Organises the "hen do"
  • Attends the rehearsal
  • Helps arrange and supervise a timetable for the bride on the day so she's not always watching the clock
  • Helps the bride and her attendants get ready on the day
  • Travelling with bride's mother and other bridesmaids to the ceremony
  • At the ceremony venue, before the brides entrance, checks brides attire and lines up the attendants
  • Escorted by the best man, attends the signing of the register (she is usually a witness)
  • Walks with the best man out of the ceremony
  • Takes her place in the receiving line
  • Places her bouquet, along with the brides, by the wedding cake
  • Helps serve the cake
  • Mingles with guests to ensure everyone is having a good time
  • Helps the bride prepare for "going away", takes charge of the wedding attire
  • Along with the best man, helps transport the wedding gifts from the reception to a safe place
  • Holds the brides bouquet during the ceremony

Ushers

  • Before the wedding day meets with the best man to work out duties
  • Plan parking arrangements and get to know where the nearest toilets are
  • Collect order of service sheets from the bride or best man
  • Provide umbrellas in case of rain
  • Arrive first at the ceremony venue
  • Organise parking
  • Ensure that the approach is clear for the bride's arrival
  • Greet guests and distribute buttonholes, order of service sheets and hymn books. (At a formal wedding the ushers have a list of guests so that close family and relatives are escorted to the front seats)
  • Make sure all guests switch off mobile phones
  • Explain situation regarding flash photography
  • Escort the bride's mother and elderly guests to their seats
  • Help photographer/videographer organise people for group shots
  • Help best man organise transport for the guests to the reception
  • Be responsible for a few tables each at the reception to check on a regular basis that everyone is happy
  • Make sure all guests are seated for the speeches
  • Greet evening guests
  • Get guests applauding during bride and grooms first dance and then get everyone up and dancing
  • Line up guests when bride and groom leave

Best Man

  • Helps the groom and wedding party men choose their outfit
  • Arranges the "stag do"
  • Meets at the ceremony venue, along with the ushers, to discuss seating and parking arrangements.
  • Collects hire wear for himself and the groom if necessary
  • Collects cards or messages from those who cannot attend wedding
  • Makes sure that ushers have order of service sheets and buttonholes
  • Helps the groom dress on the morning of the wedding and makes sure he gets to the church on time
  • On behalf of the groom, discreetly pays the church fees, tips and bell ringers fees
  • Produces the rings when required and gives them to the groom or the officiate
  • Escorts the chief bridesmaid to the signing of the register (he is usually a witness)
  • Escorts the chief bridesmaid from the ceremony
  • Checks arrangements with the ushers that all guests have transport to the reception.
  • In the absence of a Toastmaster, or Master of Ceremonies, announces events. (For example, calling for the first speech, the cutting of the cake and the departure of the bride and groom)
  • Makes a speech (after the groom and father of the bride) and reads out messages
  • Mingles with guests and makes sure everyone is having a good time
  • Decorates the "going away" car
  • Helps transport wedding gifts from the reception to a safe place
  • After the wedding, returns groom's hire wear if necessary
  • Attends the wedding rehearsal