Meet the Members of the Bridal Party

It's time to think about your bridal party. He popped the question, you accepted and now you have a wedding to plan. You might already be thinking about flowers, dresses and venues for the ceremony and reception. But planning your wedding party may be even more important than all of that. The members of the wedding party should provide you with support and help so your big day will run smoothly.

Who are the members of the wedding party, and what roles do each of them play? Find out about the roles in the wedding party that you need to fill, the duties assigned to each position and desirable qualities for the person who will be in that role.

The Maid of Honor

The maid of honor plays a crucial role in the wedding. She is usually the bride's dearest friend, or she may also be a relative. If she is married or older than the bridesmaids, she is often called the matron of honor. Next to the bride, she will carry much of the responsibility for wedding planning, and she can take much of the planning load off the bride. Along with the bride, the maid of honor often helps oversee the rest of the bridal party, flowers and wedding set-up. After the ceremony, she stands in the greeting line beside the best man. The maid of honor holds the bride's flowers during the service, helps the bride with her veil and dress and signs the marriage certificate as one of the witnesses.

The maid of honor may also fulfill such duties as planning the wedding shower, making sure the bride has everything when she leaves for the honeymoon and helping purchase and coordinate the dresses for the bridesmaids and flower girls.

The Best Man

As with the maid of honor for the bride, the best man is a close personal friend of the groom. He is often a family member, such as a brother. He is responsible for the bachelor party, decorating the honeymoon car, holding the groom's ring at the ceremony and acting as a witness for the marriage.

The best man's other duties may include helping with travel arrangements for both guests and the bride and groom, coordinating transportation to and from the wedding, paying the clergy for the groom and seeing that the groom's tuxedo gets back to the rental place. The best man also proposes the first toast at the wedding reception, makes any announcements and acts as the speaker for the evening.

Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids are more close friends or family of the bride. They provide further support for the bride by being available to help with the wedding where they are needed. They purchase their own gowns and help the flower girls get ready for the wedding. The bridesmaids should be willing to help with gathering up flowers after the wedding, keeping children under control and decorating for the wedding. Although many of the tasks the bridesmaids perform may seem small or insignificant, they are immensely important in keeping the bride worry-free.

Ushers or Groomsmen

Like the bridesmaids, ushers or groomsmen provide invaluable assistance to the bride and groom. They help seat the guests on the appropriate sides as the guests arrive at the wedding. If you have a large wedding, then ushers or groomsmen will be invaluable for maintaining order. They also perform pre-wedding preparation, help with parking and transportation, walk down the aisle alongside the bridesmaids, decorate the car and participate in the bachelor party. Ushers should be willing, just as the bridesmaids, to handle small problems or situations that arise on short notice. Their goal is to keep the groom focused on his own tasks.

Flower Girls

Flower girls are often young girls who are family members of the bride. They precede the bride and the bridesmaid down the aisle. Many times, they will carry flowers, or they will scatter rose petals along the wedding path. They are often the cutest part of the wedding, as long as they understand their role. When choosing a flower girl, keep in mind the age and personality of the child. A shy child may balk and panic during the actual ceremony, so give careful consideration to which child receives this position.

Ring Bearer

As with the flower girl, the ring bearer is usually a younger member of the groom's family. The ring bearer has the responsibility of carrying the rings down the aisle tied on a pillow. Again, age plays an important role here. Ring bearers are usually no more than ten, and consideration should be given to very young boys who are likely to get rowdy or be shy on the wedding day. You may also want to give the ring bearer fake rings to carry and entrust the real rings to the best man to avoid the possibility of the rings being lost.

Mother and Father of the Bride

The parents of the bride traditionally pay for the wedding. The mother of the bride helps the bride prepare for her special day. She helps choose the wedding gown and helps with the planning. On the wedding day, she is given a special place of honor at the front of the church.

The father of the bride is responsible for walking the bride down the aisle. He then gives his daughter to her husband at the appropriate time of the ceremony and takes his seat beside the mother.

Mother and Father of the Groom

In a traditional wedding, the groom's family pays for the rehearsal dinner. They are also honored and recognized at the wedding. During the ceremony, both mothers may light a single candle, representing the joining of the two families. They, along with the bride's parents, stand in the receiving line after the ceremony.

Others in the Wedding Party

Weddings differ in so many ways, and your wedding may include people that other weddings do not. Other important members may include friends assigned to clean up after the wedding and reception, someone responsible for recording gifts, a DJ at the reception or a host and hostess for your reception. You will also need to take the time to choose the officiant who will marry you, as they will join the bride and the groom as the center of attention during the ceremony.

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