Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities

This post on Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities covers the dos and don’ts of how you choose and treat your wedding party. Initially, the hardest part about the wedding party is figuring out who should and should not be part of it. This isn’t an impulse decision. You need people on whom you can depend, and individuals whose presence makes the day even more meaningful for everyone. From a practical standpoint, how many ushers will you need? How many bridesmaids? Remember that the answer to these questions also affects your budget for flowers and gifts.

Maid of Honor & Best Man

The key roles to consider are the Maid of Honor and Best Man. The Maid of Honor is usually a best friend or sister. This person has the most responsibility on the bride’s side of the aisle. Likewise, the Best Man is a friend or brother who becomes the support unit for the groom and acts as a symbolic protector for the bride. Make a list of the best possible individuals for the job with a few extra in case someone cannot accept for whatever reason.

Once you have the list assembled, then wedding etiquette dictates finding a special way to ask each person individually. This isn’t a time for the chat room, list-style announcements, or a group email. Handwritten notes make the greatest impact. Remember you want your wedding party to feel honored, not obligated.

After you assemble the wedding party, begin thinking about their attire and accessories. The bride is supposed to pay for bridesmaid dresses. However, many modern weddings have bridesmaid pay. Communicate with your members and let them know what’s expected from the get-go financially, and then try to keep it reasonable.


Also, discuss each person’s role in the wedding plan. Following wedding shower etiquette, for example, your maid of honor may want to start planning that event or help with making wedding favors. The best man could begin thinking about his reception toast, following wedding toast etiquette (a little practice goes a long way). Keep everyone involved and maintain strong lines of communication throughout your planning process. However, try not to make every single conversation about your wedding. That can become dull and can put your party members off. They have lives too – find out about what they’re doing while all this business goes forward.

On the day of the wedding, wedding party etiquette focus shifts to the party itself. It’s time for all of them to fulfill various duties as assigned. The party members should stay close to the bride and groom to quell any wedding day jitters and handle any emergencies that come up.

Rehearsal Dinner

Finally, either just before the ceremony, at the rehearsal dinner, or at the reception, have a small token of appreciation for each member of the wedding party. You can thank them face-to-face noting specific things that they handled. What you give is up to you. Some people choose different gifts within a specific cost range that suit individual tastes and interests. Others find tokens for the bridesmaids and the groomsmen that have a common theme. Examples here include personalized makeup bags or scarves for the women and engraved mugs or flasks for the men. The token need not be big – just thoughtfully chosen. It reminds everyone, in true wedding party etiquette style, that they were a very important part of making your wedding so special.

Wedding Party Gift Ideas

Another element of wedding party etiquette is the gifts to the bridal party. The bride and groom typically give the wedding party a gift to remember their wedding and to thank them for making their big day special. The gifts are usually handed out at the rehearsal dinner. Here are some ideas for your bridal party gifts. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name to go directly to the store’s website to search more easily.

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