The Wedding Team
As soon as you and your fiancé decide out who you want to join the wedding party, ask them. There is a financial and time commitment involved, and it is best to give everyone enough notice to prepare for these commitments.
Keep in mind you want loving and supportive people around you. A wedding party is no longer about lining up the girls on one side and the boys on the other. There really are no strict rules anymore, as long as you use good judgment. The “new” wedding party includes those who are closest to you and those who are supportive and accepting and happy to be part of your special day — whoever they are.
Finally, the number of bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ushers you and your fiancé have is up to you, but in general, the more formal the wedding, the more attendants you have. The numbers do not have to be equal either. Don't ask your third cousin's daughter just because you need an extra bridesmaid; there are ways to work around uneven numbers.
Wedding Party Responsibilities
The wedding party should be made up of special people who want nothing more than your happiness. You should be able to lean on them for support because they have your best interests at heart. Be sure to consider the responsibilities that go along with each job.
Make copies of these lists and hand them out to your would-be attendants to clear up any confusion they may have about their duties.
DUTIES OF THE MAID/MATRON OF HONOR:
Helps the bride address envelopes, record wedding gifts, shop, and takes care of other prewedding tasks
Arranges a bridal shower
Helps the bride arrange her train and veil at the altar
Collects funds and organizes a group gift to the bride
Brings the groom's ring to the ceremony, and holds it until the ring exchange
Holds the bride's bouquet as she exchanges rings with the groom
Signs the marriage certificate
Stands in the receiving line (optional)
Makes sure the bride looks perfect for all the pictures
Dances with the best man during the attendants' dance at the reception
Participates in the bouquet toss, if single
Helps the bride change into getaway clothes
DUTIES OF THE BRIDESMAIDS:
Assist the bride and maid of honor with prewedding errands and tasks
Help organize and run the bridal shower
Assist the bride, in any way, on the wedding day
Participate in the bouquet toss, if single
Stand in the receiving line (optional)
DUTIES OF THE BEST MAN:
Helps the groom get ready and arrive on time for every wedding-related function
Drives the groom to the ceremony
Brings the bride's ring to the ceremony site
Gives the officiant his or her fee immediately before or after the ceremony (provided by the groom's family)
Holds the bride's ring during the ceremony
Escorts the maid of honor in the recessional
Signs the marriage certificate as a witness
Dances with the maid of honor during the attendants' dance at the reception
Proposes the first toast at the reception
Assists with distributing final payments and tips at the wedding
Drives the couple to the reception and/or the hotel if there is no hired driver
Oversees the transfer of gifts to a secure location after the reception
Returns the groom's attire (if rented)
Gives the groom moral support or assistance of any kind
DUTIES OF THE GROOMSMEN/USHERS:
Arrive at the wedding location early to help with setup
Assist in gathering the wedding party for photographs
Attend to last-minute tasks such as lighting candles, tying bows on reserved rows of seating, etc.
Roll out the aisle runner immediately before the processional
Direct guests to the reception and hand out preprinted maps and directions to those who need them
Collect discarded programs and articles from the pews after the ceremony
Help decorate the newlyweds' car (optional)
Escort guests to their seats as follows:
* Ask if they are guests of the bride or groom. The bride's guests should be seated at the left side of the church (facing the altar). The groom's guests should be seated to the right. (The reverse is true for Reform and Conservative Jewish weddings.)
* Seat the eldest guests first if a large group arrives.
* Escort female guests with the right arm as her escort follows, or lead a couple to their seat.
* Distribute programs to guests after they have been seated.
* Balance out the guests by asking arriving guests if they wouldn't mind sitting on the less-filled side.
* After the guests have been seated, escort special guests to their seats in this order (unless otherwise directed by the bridal couple):
General special guests
Grandmothers of the bride and groom
The Wedding Party Tracker
Keep all of your information organized and easy to find at a moment's notice with a roster of your wedding team.