The bridal party is the group of people you and your partner have chosen to fulfil traditional roles at your wedding and be directly involved in your wedding day. While many different roles can be filled, ultimately your bridal party can be as big or as small as you want it to be.
If you’re not sure where to start or what the different roles are, here’s the low down on who’s who in the bridal party.
Maid or matron of honour
If the woman the bride chooses as her right hand gal is married, she is referred to as the matron of honour. If she isn’t married then she is the maid of honour. If you’ve chosen a man to be your wing-man on your big day, he can be known as the Man of Honour. This role should be given to someone whom you love and trust, as they will be helping you with your wedding planning and will be a support system for you throughout the process.
Traditionally the MOH plans the bridal shower, might toast the bride and groom, sign the marriage license, make sure the bride looks beautiful at all times, and hold the bride’s bouquet during the vows. The MOH is also in charge of planning the bachelorette party and keeping the bridesmaids on task, making sure they all have dresses and shoes on time for the big day.
Also known as the right hand man of the groom, the best man is charged with planning the bachelor party and many other duties. The best man, who is usually a close friend or relative of the groom, is also tasked with signing the couple’s marriage license and holding onto the bride’s ring at the altar. Along with all of these skills, the best man should be someone with dancing know how and the panache to make a funny, memorable toast. Once the party starts, there are still some final financial details that must be handled. The best man can take care of donating to the house of worship or hold onto any payment that’s still due to the venue.
Just as the bridesmaids are there to support the bride on her big day, the groomsmen are there to assist the groom. These are the men who will help the best man plan and pay for the bachelor party. On the wedding day, they will help decorate the getaway car, become a resource for confused guests, walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids and dance with the bridesmaids and other guests at the reception. These men are the groom’s support system; making sure he gets where he needs to go on time and keeping him laughing until the ceremony begins.
These women are the trusty gal pals and female family members who form the bride’s squad. As the support system to the maid of honour, these women are tasked with assisting the bride get ready on her wedding day, make sure her dress and veil are sitting well, and any other duties that may arise. They are also present for all of the formalities including the wedding photos, and walking in with the groomsmen at the reception. Some bridesmaids may also say a speech at the reception or present a reading during the ceremony, depending on what the bride and groom have requested.
If you want to involve any younger family members in the wedding party who are between the ages of nine and 16, this is the designation they will receive. As part of the bridal party and groom’s posse, they’ll attend major functions and help with the same responsibilities. Often they are not required to fulfill any particular duties or tasks.
Mother of the bride
As the bride’s support system, the MOB can fulfill any tasks assigned to her by the bride. The MOB is as involved as the bride wants her to be. Many MOBs may help with the wedding planning, receiving guests and mingling at the reception, and helping with the guest list and seating chart organisation.
Mother of the groom
If she’s up for it, the MOG can take on any of the same tasks as the MOB. The MOG will usually walk down the aisle with the rest of the wedding party and partake in a formal mother/son dance at the reception.
Father of the bride
Traditionally, the father of the bride will pay for the wedding, however this is not common in modern society. Many modern couples will pay for their wedding themselves or receive financial assistance from both sets of parents. The FOB can be assigned various tasks such as airport pick-up duty for relatives and guests, giving out directions to the wedding site, doling out tips to staff on the day of the wedding and making a speech, (usually full of ‘dad jokes’!). The most important duty of the Father of the Bride is to walk the bride down the aisle.
Father of the groom
Traditionally, the grooms father pays for the rehearsal dinner, however, this is not expected or common practice among modern couples. Some couples may opt to not even have a rehearsal dinner. The father of the groom may also help with other formal duties such as receiving and mingling with guests, saying a speech or toast at the reception, as well as helping with any other tasks that may arise throughout the day/evening.
Traditionally, flower girls are between the ages of four and eight are are a member of the bride or groom’s extended family, however, many modern brides will choose whoever they want to be a flower girl and fitting into a specific age bracket is often considered irrelevant. In saying this, flower girls are generally young, as girls 12 and above may feel more comfortable being given the role of junior bridesmaid instead. After the flower girl makes her way down the aisle in front of the bride, she will generally sit with her family.
The ring bearer is a child who carries the bride and groom’s rings down the aisle. If there’s a flower girl, the ring bearer will precede her. The ring bearer will often be given fake rings, just as a safeguard. The rings can also be firmly attached to a small pillow or other object while carried down the aisle.
Also known as train bearers, these children aged six through to nine, are in charge of carrying the bride’s train as she walks down the aisle.
This is the celebrant or religious cleric that leads the ceremony and marries the couple. The officiant will also assist the couple to sign the marriage certificate and help with all the paperwork.
These ‘very important extras’ are similar to ushers, but can have many different roles. These are people you may delegate tasks to on the wedding day, for example you may put someone in charge of getting the guest book signed, fielding guest questions or explaining a family tradition.