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We all know that the Maid/Matron of Honor and the Best Man have important roles in the wedding. They are the ones that talk the bride or groom out of not backing out....or in some cases, talking them IN to backing out. Okay, okay, I'm not serious. But really, we know that they are the bride and grooms second hand person, an assistant if you will. And we know the flower girl tosses the petals signaling the brides entrance and the ring bearer is in charge of the rings. But what is the rest of the party's role? What about the family?
I did some investigating and found out what is expected of each member of the bridal party and family. I also dug a little deeper and looked to see what each person is supposed to pay for. Remember these are the "traditional rules". I did not find any of it set in stone or wrote in blood. So if you don't agree or it's not how you did it or plan to do it I wouldn't worry too much.
We'll start with two of the most important people in this equation, the mother and father of the bride. As a couple the brides parents are the ones expected to fork out the majority of the money for the wedding. But these days you find the bride and groom covering a big part, if not all of the wedding costs. More commonly and depending on the situation, the expenses are spread among the bride parents, grooms parents, and the bride and groom themselves.
The brides parents are the ones who hosts the engagement party, and I thought those big fancy parties were only for the movies! They help the bride in preparing the guest list and assist with the wedding details. The mother of the bride picks out her outfit first and then lets the grooms mother know what she is wearing so the two can complement one another.
The mother of the bride acts as the wedding planner, guest list moderator, attends the bridal shower(sometimes hosting it) and rehearsal dinner. The brides mother pretty much just does what the bride asks of her.
The role of the father of the bride doesn't just stop at paying for most of the wedding, oh no no. He is STILL expected to do even more! Poor guy! Some of the other tasks the father may have are organizing directions to the wedding site, although now he's pretty much in the clear thanks to the good ole' GPS! So since he can mark that off his list he has time for airport duty for out of state guests. You probably thought that he had put his checkbook safely away at this point...nope! On the wedding day he is allocating tips to wedding day staff. He also has a variety of hosting and toasting tasks.
Finally on the day of the wedding the father of the bride escorts her to the ceremony. In my opinion the father of the bride has the most special role of the day, he gets to walk his little girl down the aisle. Sometimes both parents will walk her down the aisle. At the end of the night he is the last to leave the reception and make sure everyone has been paid...again with the money! lol
I was really surprised to read what the role of the grooms parents are. It is practically nothing compared to the brides parents list. After the engagement, the grooms parents contact the brides parents. This seems odd to me. I guess because it seems like the parents would have met before then. Once the brides parents have hosted the engagement party the grooms parents can then host one as well. They consult with the brides parents on the number of guests in order to supply them with a list of their family and friends and also consult about the attire. The grooms parents host and pay for the rehearsal dinner on the night before the wedding. They may contribute to some of the wedding costs. I wasn't able to find a reason why the brides parents traditionally do so much more than the grooms parents. I personally would really like to know the reasoning behind this. I'm going to assume it just goes back to the good old days of tradition.
The mother of the groom can partake in any of the responsibilities that the brides mother has if she feels like it. She attends the bridal shower. The biggest role she has is the mother/son dance.
The father of the groom has a bit more to do than the mother. Traditionally he will pay for some of the major items. Again, in today's world that would mean the parents, both the mother and father. But that's good to know because I thought the brides father would have to borrow money from the grooms father at some point!
The father of the groom may also help with moving tables, chairs, and escorting guests. It was also stated in an article I read for reference to the blog post that, "It's nice too if he checks in with the bride's dad occasionally to offer support". I was thinking it may be nice if he checks to see if he needs a loan! lol
Maid/Matron of Honor
The maid of honor is pretty much the brides assistant from start to finish. She is there throughout the planning, helping with details or acting as second set of eyes for the bride. The maid of honor attends bridal shows and goes dress shopping with the bride. She is in charge of setting up dress fittings and keeping the schedule of the dress alterations on track, along with the bridesmaids dresses and making sure the bridesmaids are on schedule of getting everything they are to get. She takes charge of the bridal shower and bachelorette party. The maid of honor helps the couple with tasks such as addressing invitations and keeping track of who got the couple what.
On the wedding day the most traditional and common things the maid of honor does is holding and fixing the brides dress and veil, signing as a witness on the marriage certificate, toasting the newlyweds, helping the bride get into her dress, holding her bouquet during the vows, and is in charge of the grooms ring. After the ceremony the maid of honor helps the bride change out of her wedding dress and keeps her wedding dress and bouquet for her until she gets back if the bride is leaving immediately after the reception for the honeymoon.
The bridesmaids assist the maid of honor with the wedding planning and helping the bride as needed. Some of the pre wedding tasks they may be asked to help with would be addressing invitations, making wedding decor, favors, and shower favors. They will also help the maid of honor with the bridal shower and bachelorette party. The bridesmaids and maid of honor typically take care of the cost of the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Usually all or some of the bridesmaids will go with the bride and the maid of honor when the bride is shopping for her wedding dress and other accessories. The bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, shoes, jewelry, etc. They also pay for their own transportation and lodging.
The best man's role is similar to the maid of honor's. The groom usually doesn't want much say in the wedding details so he just goes with what his soon to be wife says(smart!). The best man plans and organizes the bachelor party. The best man helps with getting the guys their wedding attire. Typically he will help with coordinating all of the groomsmen fitting for tuxes if tuxes are being worn. The best man also picks up the grooms attire prior to the wedding and confirms the honeymoon details and travel reservations the day before the wedding(this was a new one for me).
On the day of the wedding the best man is hopefully one that can take charge and be responsible because he is to keep all of the groomsmen in line. More importantly the best man is to make sure the groom arrives at the ceremony on time. He is in charge of the brides ring which is also a VERY important task. He holds the officiants fee until after the ceremony, signs as a witness on the marriage certificate, and says a toast at the reception. He is also in charge of returning all tuxes if tuxes were rented.
The groomsmen have it pretty easy before the wedding and during the wedding. They mainly help the best man with anything he needs. They all pay for the bachelor party and give their thoughts on plans. The groomsmen are responsible for being fitted and picking up their attire. At most weddings the groomsmen act as ushers and assist in seating guests. They are in charge of decorating the getaway vehicle. The groomsmen pay for their own attire and any transportation needs or lodging.
Typically the flower girl is between the ages of 3 and 8. The articles I read said that the flower girl should be mature and be able to walk down the aisle but personally I think it’s cute when they have the flower girl all dressed up and being pulled in a wagon if she is younger than 3. But along with everything else in this post it’s at the couples discretion. The flower girl usually scatters flower petals in the aisle before the bride walks down the aisle. Sometimes the flower girl will just walk down the aisle holding a miniature bouquet, basket, or pomander. The flower girls parents pay for her wedding attire and are invited to the rehearsal dinner.
The ring bearer is usually between the ages of 4 and 8. The ring bearer carries fake wedding rings (the maid of honor and best man already have the real rings) on a decorative pillow down the aisle. I have to stop and say, can you imagine if they were the real rings and the ring bearer wasn’t in the best of moods that day and just decided to toss the pillow?! I don’t care how confident you are that he won’t lose them please stick with fake rings! Something new I have seen is couples having their ring bearer carry cute signs down the aisle instead of the pillow. Some of the sayings on the signs I have seen say, "Here comes the love of your life", "Daddy here comes our girl", "It's about to get real", and "If you think I'm cute, wait till you see the bride". There are so many cute to sweet to funny sayings that you can have put on the sign.
I know there may be some tasks or other things that I missed for each role but I just listed the main things that each person is seen to be in charge of. Some other bridal party members that couples have are junior bridesmaids, junior groomsmen, ushers, and miniature bride. Also some couples choose to use a pet in place of the ring bearer or flower girl. There really are so many more options these days with what people can be in charge of on a couples wedding day.
Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts on the expected roles and responsibilities of each member of the bridal party? What do you think of what is expected of the brides family and the grooms family?