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The Wedding Party

Who should be included?

Usually those taking part in the ceremony are close friends and/or relatives. It is a very special honor to be asked to be a part of the wedding party and it carries with it a lot of responsibility and often considerable financial cost. This should be important to keep in mind when asking these special people in your life to take on this role.

When deciding how may people to include in your wedding party, you need to keep in mind, where you would like to have the ceremony take place, and if there will be enough room for everyone. This might help you decided how many to include or where to choose to have the ceremony.

It's nice to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, although it's not totally necessary. It just works out better for escorting the bridesmaid down the isle and when it comes to the appropriate time for dancing at the reception. For pictures too, it's nice when the lineup is balanced. Usually the bride picks her bridesmaids and the groom picks the groomsmen. As far as how many to choose, it seems to work out best if you have one usher for every 50 guests, but this is just a suggestion. There are more important factors to take into consideration when choosing your lineup including the expense each will incur for their own attire. Make sure you give these special guests as much notice and lead time as possible for them to be able to determine if they can fulfill their role and responsibility so that if they can't, you will still have plenty of time to see about asking someone else.

What are the roles of each person in the wedding party?

Maid of Honor - This person has the biggest responsibility of all:

  • Helps the bride with invitations
  • Keeps a record of bridal shower and wedding gifts
  • Helps with shopping and other pre-wedding arrangements
  • Arranges a bridal shower (with the bridesmaids)
  • Helps the bride get dressed for the wedding (with the bridesmaids)
  • Arranges the bride's train and veil at the altar
  • Gives the bride the groom's ring at the appropriate time in the ceremony
  • Holds the bride's bouquet while the bride exchanges rings with the groom
  • Signs the wedding certificate with the best man as a witness
  • Stands in the receiving line (if there is one)
  • Helps the bride change clothes after the reception
  • Takes charge of the bridal gown after the wedding
  • Assists the bride in any additional planning

Best Man - Besides trying to keep the groom cool, calm and collected:

  • Organizes the bachelor party (which is optional)
  • Drives the groom to the ceremony
  • Gives the groom the bride's ring during the ceremony
  • Gives the payment check to the officiant either just before or just after the ceremony (the groom's family traditionally pays for this)
  • Gives the payment check to the other service providers like chauffeurs and reception coordinators (if the families wish him to do so)
  • Returns the groom's attire if rented

Bridesmaids

  • Keep a gift record at the shower (usually one bridesmaid only)
  • Help the maid of honor organize the shower
  • Assist the bride and maid of honor with any pre-wedding shopping or arranging they ask for
  • Help the bride dress for the ceremony

Groomsmen

  • Arrive early to the hall in order to help set up the room, especially with last minute little touches such as candles and ribbons
  • Escort guests to their seats
  • Meet and welcome guests of honor (such as grandparents) and escort them to their seats
  • Help straighten up after the ceremony
  • Make sure all the wedding gifts are put in a secure place after the reception
  • Help decorate the newlyweds' car

Children:

If you have children you would like to take part in the ceremony, here are some traditional roles:

Girls age three - seven often will carry the train behind the bride or go ahead of the bride sprinkling flower petals on the ground for the bride to walk on.

Boys can help carry the train behind the bride if there is more than one boy. Usually a young boy can be a "ring bearer" and will walk down the isle behind the flower girl carrying a satin pillow with two "fake" rings sewn into it. The maid of honor and best man have the real rings. Again, it is nice if there is an equal number of boys and girls. Be careful, these children can steal the show. If they are having a bad day, they could put a damper on the ceremony or delay it. The younger the children, the more adorable, but they also are more unpredictable. Usually the guests are extremely supportive, however, and get real pleasure out of seeing cute children take part. One thing that is important is to acknowledge the children right after the ceremony and to thank them for being a part of such an important ceremony and make them feel like they contributed a big part in the special ness of it all. They tend to be left out a bit when it's all over and everyone crowds around the bride and groom.


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