Whether you have a big wedding party or a small one, it can be pretty confusing to delegate who does what. Here are some helpful guidelines to make it a little easier.
Maid of Honor: Although she has no pre-wedding responsibilities, she is expected to assist the bride whenever she can. She lends moral support and plays a big role in making sure the other bridesmaids are dressed to perfection and make it to the church on time. She is responsible for her own wedding outfit, excluding the flowers. She also attends all pre-wedding parties and may even give one herself. The maid of honor is usually one of the witnesses required by law to sign the marriage certificate. Walking down the aisle, she precedes you and your father, arranges your train and veil, carries the groom’s ring if there is no ring bearer, and holds your bouquet during the ceremony. She also stands next to the groom in the receiving line and sits on his left at the bride’s table.
Best Man: His duties are many and varied and carry a lot of responsibility to ensure the wedding runs smoothly. The best man serves as the personal aide and advisor to the groom, supervises the ushers, carries the bride’s ring and the marriage certificate, which he also signs, tips the altar boys in a Catholic ceremony, and acts as a right-hand man to the groom on his special day. The best man sits at the right of the bride and, as official toastmaster of the reception, proposes the first toast to the new couple, usually wishing them health, happiness, and prosperity. His final duties are to ensure the new couple takes off for the honeymoon without a hitch and that all the ushers return their rented formal wear on time.
Bridesmaids: Although they don’t have any pre-wedding responsibilities either, they often will volunteer to help with any errands or duties that need to be accomplished. They are invited to all pre-wedding parties and may also give one if they wish.
Ushers: Their responsibility is to seat guests at the wedding ceremony and act as escorts for the bridesmaids. To avoid seating delays, there should be at least one usher for every 50 guests. They also attend all pre-wedding parties the groom goes to and are required to provide their own wedding clothes, renting the proper formal attire if they do not own it. If formal wedding portraits are not being taken before the ceremony, ushers should arrive fully dressed in their formal wear 45 minutes before the ceremony and assemble near the entrance. As guests arrive, each usher should offer his right arm to each woman and escort her to her seat on the left or right of the aisle, depending on whether she is a friend of the bride or groom.
The Bride’s Mother: Your mother usually helps compile the guest list and arranges the details of the ceremony and reception. It is her responsibility to keep the bride’s father and future in-laws informed about wedding plans. She should also inform the groom’s mother of her wedding attire so that their dresses are similar in length and style. The mother of the bride is privileged to sit in the very first pew on the bride’s side. She is the last to be seated and the first to be escorted out of the church after the ceremony. She also greets all guests in the receiving line and sits in a place of honor at the bride’s parents’ table at the reception.
The Bride’s Father: Your father rides in the limousine or car with you on the way to the church and escorts you down the aisle. He is also seated in the first pew behind the bride during the ceremony and later stands in the receiving line greeting and thanking guests. At the reception, he should dance the second dance with the bride and will usually make a short toast or welcoming speech to all the guests.
The Groom’s Parents: Your fiancée mother should be invited to all showers and both his parents should be included in the rehearsal dinner, if they don’t host it themselves. They should also contribute to the guest list for the wedding and reception and may or may not offer to share expenses. The groom’s parents are honored guests at the ceremony and are seated, just before your mother, in the first pew on the groom’s side of the aisle.