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[Guide] Wedding Roles & Responsibilities

The wedding party makes up… who? Who and what are the roles in the wedding? That’s the usual question that circulates among the wedding tribe, but the question that should really be asked is…. what are my responsibilities?

Choosing your wedding party can be really stressful but also, allowing the planning and roles to be spread out among the masses can cause some major anxiety too. And although we understand the fear, brides and grooms must allow their grips to loosen and trust their friends and family to do what they’re meant to do. And they really are meant to help. That’s why we have bridesmaids and groomsmen, to begin with.

Let’s take a look at all the roles and responsibilities of everyone included in the wedding party and dissect the expectations of each.

Who’s in the Party?

Before we dive into specific roles, allow us to outline who is included in the party itself.

  • Grandparents
  • Parents
  • Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Best Man or Best Woman
  • Groomsmen
  • Ushers
  • Officiant
  • Flower Girl
  • Ring Bearer

Wedding Party Roles (As A Whole Group)

There are some specifics that the wedding party is involved in as an entire group. Not sure what they are? Here are the bullet points for each of the tasks:

  • All Hands on Deck: The wedding party is expected to be on hand for all the various tasks that may pop up whether it be DIYing the invitations or boxing up the wedding day favors.
  • Proper Uniform: They are expected to wear what they’re told to wear – and there’s a small expectation that they should at least pretend to like it.
  • Pre-Wedding Assistance: The wedding party is also expected to be with the bride and groom on the morning of the event and help him/her get ready for the big day.
  • Photo-Op: Members of the party are also expected to skip out on cocktail hour to stay behind for photo opportunities. *Note: Formal pictures may also happen before any of the festivities take place.
  • Dance & Mingle: The wedding party is expected to be the life of the party. Be ready to dance and get the rest of the crowd moving while at the reception.
  • Party Planners: Members of the party are also the ones who usually take the reigns for all the various festivities leading up to the actual wedding day. They’ll plan the showers, lingerie parties, and even the bachelor’s big night.
  • Emotional Support: Overall, they’re positioned to be a lifelong support system to the bride and group.

The Grandparents

Depending on the cultures represented at the wedding could depend on what grandparents are expected to do before and during the event.

But in general, grandparents are seen as honorary guests. They should get special seating at the ceremony and reception, and maybe present your grandmothers with floral corsages as well.

In terms of actual roles and responsibilities though, grandparents should be let off the hook to just enjoy the festivities.

The Parents

Mother of the Bride

  • Support: The main job of the MOB is to remain a solid support system for the bride and groom. Help with the details when asked and always remain positive.
  • Wedding Dress Shopping: Be truthful and be respectful of her vision.
  • Venue Finder: Help search for the great locations to host the event. Think about both budget and photo-ops.
  • Choose Your Dress: Ask your bride what she envisions you to wear and try sticking to that within comfortable compromise. And the sooner you buy your gown the better, so you can let the mother of the groom know.
  • Guest List: Help to draw up your side of the list.
  • Budgeting: Discuss the wedding budget and what you’re willing to contribute to the fund.
  • Guest Lodging: Reserve a block of rooms at nearby hotels for family and friends who are coming from out-of-town.
  • Bridal Shower: Some mothers want to host the bridal shower, but at the least, attend and bring a gift.
  • Getting Ready: Help your daughter get ready the morning of her wedding.

Father of the Bride

  • Support: Dads should be supportive too. Remain present and as solid support for the bride and groom. Help with the details when asked and always remain positive.
  • Budgeting: Traditionally, fathers of the bride were to pay for the entire event, but those days are long gone. Discuss the wedding budget and what you’re willing to contribute to the fund.
  • Transportation: Figure out how everyone is getting to and fro for the night. Whether it’s renting limos or making sure the shuttle buses are gassed up.
  • Speech Prep: The main job of the FOB is to welcome and thank everyone for coming to the wedding in a knock-out speech.
  • Dance: Dance with the bride for the father-daughter dance.

Mother of the Groom

  • Rehearsal Dinner: The main responsibility of the mother and father of the groom is to host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. This includes securing a venue, managing the catering, and sending invitations.
  • Guest List: Help to draw up your side of the list.
  • Offer Help: Without crossing any boundaries or making decisions without consulting, ask the bride and groom if there is anything special or any vendor research they’d like for you to do.
  • Choose Your Dress: Ask the bride what she envisions you wearing and make sure you allow the MOB to make her selection first.
  • Bridal Shower: Attend, bring a gift, and make sure you offer up any help in the prep and planning.
  • Dance: Dance with the groom for the mother-son dance.

Father of the Groom

  • Rehearsal Dinner: The main responsibility of the mother and father of the groom is to host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. This includes securing a venue, managing the catering, and sending invitations.
  • Speech: The FOG is expected to make a speech during the rehearsal dinner. It sets the pace for the rest of the weekend.
  • Suit Up: Order or rent your tux for the big event.
  • Getting Ready: Hang out with the rest of the fellas on the morning of the big day. Help your son get ready, fix his tie, and say a few kind words before the ceremony begins.

The Bridal Party

Maid of Honor / Man of Honor

  • Support: The main job of the maid of honor is to remain a solid support for the bride whether it’s with planning, visiting vendors, or just being a shoulder to cry (and vent) on.
  • Ringleader: The maid of honor is the “head of the bridesmaids” and needs to help organize and lead the rest of the ladies.
  • Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party: Typically, the maid of honor helps to plan and host both of these events. Be prepared and start saving!
  • Speech: The maid of honor is expected to make a toast at some point throughout the festivities, pick your moment and prep.
  • Getting Ready: The maid of honor should be by the bride’s side the entire morning of the wedding to help with any whim or want.
  • Witness: Traditionally, the maid of honor becomes one of the witnesses on the newlywed’s marriage license.

Best Man / Best Woman

  • Support: The main job of the ‘best’ is to remain a solid support system for the groom throughout the entire experience – no judgment or pessimism allowed.
  • Ringleader: The best man is the “head of the groomsmen” and needs to help organize and lead the rest of the lads.
  • Bachelor Party: A favoured task, the best man is looked at to organize the bachelor party for all the boys.
  • Speech: The best is expected to make a toast at some point throughout the festivities, pick your moment and prep.
  • Getting Ready: The best man should be by the groom’s side the entire morning of the wedding to help with any whim or want.
  • Witness: Traditionally, the best man becomes one of the witnesses on the newlywed’s marriage license. And pass over the officiant’s fee as well.
  • The Tuxes: Make sure all the rental tuxedos get back to the shop in time!

Groomsmen

  • Suit Up: Rent or purchase tuxedos that the bride and groom have picked out for you. Get measured by a professional and have those shoes shined.
  • Bachelor Party: Follow the best man’s lead and help to plan and prep this event. Be there with bells and whistles to have a great time.
  • Gifts: Purchase a wedding gift.
  • Festivities: Attend all of the festivities leading up to the big day from the engagement party to the rehearsal dinner.
  • Decorate the Car: It’s the groomsmen's traditional task (and they can grab some help from the bridesmaids) to decorate the newlyweds’ car!
  • Pay for the Expenses: Groomsmen are expected to be able to pay for their own expenses. Be it the tuxedo rentals or the hotel accommodations, make sure you know what you’re signing up for when you agree to be a groomsman.
  • Getting Ready: The groomsmen should be with the groom throughout the entire morning of the main event. Pal around, grab a drink, and relax the groom.

Bridesmaids

  • Dress Up: Purchase the dress that the bride has picked out for you. Get measured by a professional and ask what shoes and accessories you’re expected to be wearing.
  • Bridal Shower & Bachelorette Party: Follow the maid of honor’s lead and help to plan and prep these events. Be there with bells and whistles (gifts).
  • Gifts: Purchase a wedding gift.
  • Festivities: Attend all of the festivities leading up to the big day from the engagement party to the rehearsal dinner.
  • Pay for the Expenses: Bridesmaids are expected to be able to pay for their own expenses. Be it the dresses and alterations or the hotel accommodations, make sure you know what you’re signing up for when you agree to be a bridesmaid.
  • Getting Ready: The bridesmaids should be with the bride throughout the entire morning of the main event. Pal around, grab a mimosa, and relax the bride.

Flower Girl

  • Dress Up: Traditionally, the parents of the flower girl will purchase the choice of dress but it seems as though more and more brides are deciding to gift this to their special little lady.
  • Getting Ready: Typically, the flower girl will be in the mix of bridesmaids getting ready on the morning of the big day (the photo-ops are priceless)!
  • The Walk: She’ll be expected to walk down the aisle right before the bride, scattering rose petals along the way.

Ring Bearer

  • Suit Up: Traditionally, parents of the ring bearer will rent or purchase attire that the bride and groom have chosen for the little guy. But there are more and more cases where the newlyweds make this purchase as a token of appreciation.
  • Getting Ready: Typically, the ring bearer will hang out with the rest of the guys on the morning of the big day. Grab an extra video game controller for him or an activity bag!
  • The Walk: He’ll be expected to walk down the aisle right before the flower girl, handing off the rings to the best man. When you pick your ring bearer, make sure you have a system for the rings so they don’t get misplaced and have a few test walks down the aisle to ensure all is well.

We hope you found this guide helpful, whether you are the bride, mother of the groom, or part of the wedding party!

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