Weddings have such a wide range of moving pieces to them that it can be tough to keep everything straight! Whether you’re in the beginning of the planning process or getting close to the big day, you’ll definitely want a clear understanding of who’s who in your wedding party. Use the below descriptions as a go-to guide so that you know what responsibilities everyone will be covering.
Maid or Matron of Honor
A maid or matron of honor is an important part of the bridal party. This person acts as the bride’s go-to person throughout the entirety of the planning process. She is responsible for emotionally supporting the bride during planning and has a wide range of other responsibilities, too. These responsibilities traditionally include helping the bride get dressed before the ceremony, fixing the bride’s train after she walks down the aisle, holding the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony, signing the marriage license, and toasting the newlyweds at the reception. This individual is the last attendant to walk down the aisle prior to the bride. The maid of honor may also be the one to plan the bridal shower and bachelorette party and will likely play a role in wrangling all the other bridesmaids and wedding party the day of the big event. The matron or maid of honor should be someone very close to and special to the bride.
To counter the role of the maid or matron of honor, a best man is the groom’s go-to guy for the entirety of the wedding planning process and on the day of. He definitely wrangles the rest of the groomsmen and is responsible for holding the rings during the ceremony, handing them to the couple as they’re exchanging vows. The best man also toasts to the couple at the reception and signs the marriage license. The best man is also responsible for ensuring the groom is on schedule the day of the wedding. He is also likely to play a large role in planning the bachelor party.
Father of the Bride
The father of the bride actually plays a pretty significant role in a wedding. Although the father of the bride (along with the mother) traditionally pays for the majority of the cost of a wedding, that’s not always true in today’s time. More commonly, a bride’s dad is known for walking the bride down the aisle, giving a toast at the reception, and carrying out a father/daughter dance. Additionally, dads are known for acting as one of the hosts the weekend of the wedding and handing out vendor tips on the day of.
Parents of the Groom
The parents of the groom are traditionally the individuals who plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. They also traditionally pay for flowers and sometimes even the reception entertainment. They usually walk down the aisle together during the ceremony prelude, and they sometimes even walk the groom down the aisle. The mother of the groom dances with her son during the reception and also attends the bridal shower.
Mother of the Bride
The mother of the bride is another important member of the wedding party. She usually plays a large part in planning the wedding and may even host the bridal shower. A mother of the bride’s role is shaped widely by the mom herself and the bride, though. The mother of the bride will traditionally walk down the aisle with a male member of the family who may not be an official part of the wedding party, such as a cousin of the bride or even a family friend.
A bride may opt to have no bridesmaids or a whole slew of them. These will be women who are close family members or friends to the bride who play a significant role in her life. These ladies are responsible for whatever the bride needs throughout the wedding planning process and especially on the big day. This could be anything from getting ready with the bride on the wedding day to packaging up wedding favors to helping seal envelopes.
Groomsmen are the rest of the groom’s posse as he gets ready to be wed. They assist the groom with whatever he may need the day of and are there to get ready with him before he says “I do”. They help the best man plan the bachelor party, assist guests with whatever needed the weekend of the wedding, and are traditionally responsible for decorating the couple’s getaway car if they have one.
Junior Bridesmaids/Junior Groomsmen
These wedding party members are typically between the ages of nine and 16. They’re too old to be flower girls or ring bearers—but they’re too young to be groomsmen or bridesmaids. These individuals are basically just younger bridesmaids and groomsmen who attend the same events and have pretty much the same responsibilities as the other bridesmaids and groomsmen. (Of course, these kiddos don’t attend the bachelor or bachelorette parties, though!)
A flower girl is usually between the ages of three and eight years old, walking down the aisle prior to the bride. She will scatter flower petals from a basket for the bride to walk on. The parents of the flower girl will sit towards the front of the audience, waiting for their little one to come join them after walking down the aisle.
Ushers are commonly males, but can also be females, who are designated to showing guests to their seats before the wedding ceremony begins. Not every couple opts to have ushers for their wedding, but it’s a great way to involve more people in your wedding party. These can be younger friends or family members who are not quite old enough to be groomsmen or bridesmaids.
The ring bearer is the same age group as a flower girl—between three and eight years old—with the role of carrying the rings down the aisle for the bride and groom. However, they usually aren’t carrying the real rings, but rather placeholders. He will usually walk down the aisle prior to the flower girl, joining his parents in the audience for the remainder of the ceremony.
There are certainly a myriad of people who play a role in a bridal party, and it’s good to understand who they are and what they do prior to the big day.