Duties of the wedding party
The main responsibilities of any wedding lie squarely on the shoulders of the Bride and Groom, from setting the date, selecting a spectacular wedding venue, setting the budget, compiling the guest list, meeting with officials, organising rings, flowers, photographer and numerous other plans and decisions; but the other members of the wedding party have their own duties too and there is a list of responsibilities associated with each role.
From the Best Man and Maid of Honour, down to the flower girl and ring bearer, each has a protocol to follow and once the Bride and Groom have chosen who they want to bestow these roles upon, the selected people need to fulfil their duties according to etiquette and tradition.
One of the key wedding party members is the Best Man, who takes on the unenviable task of being responsible for the Groom; the Best Man is usually a brother or very close friend of the Groom and his duties include, assisting the Groom with selecting the Groomsmen and choosing outfits, making sure everyone attends the fitting sessions and wedding rehearsals, planning the Stag party (and ensuring the Groom gets through it unscathed) transporting the Groom to the wedding venue, holding the Bride's ring during the ceremony, witnessing and signing the Marriage Certificate, making the first speech and toast at the wedding reception, and to mingle with the guests at the reception, ensuring all goes smoothly.
The female equivalent of the Best Man is the Maid (or Matron) of Honour, who supports the Bride throughout, keeping her calm and collected during all processes. The Maid of Honour is usually a sister of very close friend of the Brides and her duties include; assisting the Bride with selecting the Bridesmaids, choosing the dresses and all wedding related shopping, planning the hen party (also ensuring the Bride gets through it unscathed) ensuring the Bridesmaid attend all dress fittings and rehearsals, planning and organising wedding favours and hair and makeup arrangements for the big day, assisting the Bride with dressing on her big day, holding the Bride's bouquet and Grooms ring during the ceremony, witnessing and signing the Marriage Certificate, looking after the Bridesmaids and encouraging guests to get on the dance floor at the reception.
Bridesmaids are usually selected from family members and close friends and they will assist the Bride and Maid of Honour in whatever way they can. They help arrange the hen party, attend rehearsals, follow the Bride on her walk to her Groom and are expected to mingle amongst the guests at the reception.
Previously known as 'Ushers', Groomsmen help the Groom and Best Man with pre-wedding arrangements, helping plan the stag night and attending rehearsals. On the day of the wedding the Groomsmen are expected to arrive early to greet and seat the guests and hand out ceremony programs. Along with the Bridesmaids, the Groomsmen should mingle with the guests at the reception and are responsible for 'decorating' the happy couples' get-away car.
Flower Girls are a lovely touch to any wedding, although not compulsory; traditionally, the Flower Girl is a young relative or close friend aged between 3 and 9 years. Their duties include attending the rehearsals and to walk down the aisle before the Bride carrying or sprinkling flower petals. Other than participating in the group photographs, the Flower Girl has no other duties.
Ring Bearers are traditionally a young boy aged between 3 and 9 years, who carry a cushion with decoy rings down the aisle ahead of the Bride and attend rehearsals. His duties end after group photographs have been taken.
The Bride's Father is the last, but by no means least, member of the wedding party with any duties to perform; he will assist the Bride on her way to the wedding, walk her down the aisle to 'give her away' to the Groom and make a speech to toast the happy couple.