Be sure to make the people chosen for each role feel important. Explain that not everyone can be in the bridal party and people who are trustworthy are needed for these other tasks. For those chosen for the bridal party, be sure to fully explain their responsibilities before they accept. Weddings join two lives forever but they can also end friendships.
Some people have an abundance of family and friends who want to help on the wedding day. In these cases it is impossible to put everyone in the wedding party. Here is a list of roles that can be handed out. Sometimes multiple roles are handled by the same person, other times there are barely enough positions for everyone. Some of these roles are traditional and others are newer or just a matter of a convenience for guests.
Being in the wedding party is a special honor and those who agree to do so also honor the bride and groom. It can also be a financial obligation for the people chosen. The people chosen for these responsibilities should be made aware of the financial and time commitments before being allowed to accept.
Maid or Matron of Honor- This should be the woman who is closest to the bride. Whether it be a sister or a best friend. A sister shouldn’t be chosen over a friend or vice versa to avoid hurt feelings. This role is special and should be awarded to the person most deserving.
Bridesmaids- Bridesmaids are also close friends and family of the bride. Sometimes female relatives of the groom also fill these roles. The groom should try to be understanding if space in the wedding party will be limited and allow the bride to choose those closest to her. Having women from the groom’s family; however, can help symbolize the true joining of two families.
Best Man- The best man is usually the best friend or brother of the groom. The best man is chosen the same way as the maid of honor and is a special position. In some countries the father of the groom will serve as the best man.
Groomsmen- The groomsmen are also close friends and relatives of the groom and are chosen in a similar fashion to the bridesmaids.
Junior bridesmaids and groomsmen-Young relatives and siblings of the bride and groom, too old to be flower girls and ring bearers or pages, but too young to be groomsmen or bridesmaids.
Flower girl- Flower girls are usually a relative of the bride or groom, or one of their attendants. Flower girls should be ideally between the ages of three and eight.
Ring bearer- Ring bearers should also be between three and eight and are young male relatives of the bride, groom or one of their attendants.
Readers- Anywhere from one to three readers may be needed at a wedding ceremony. Consult the officiant to see how many will be needed. Older relatives who weren’t chosen as attendants are good for these roles. Also older children who were not used as junior attendants such as older teens can fill the roles of the readers.
Candle lighters- Older children can be asked to light remembrance candles or other ceremony candles. The mother of the bride can light one unity taper while the mother of the groom lights the other. They remain lit until the unity ceremony when the couple uses them, or fire taken from them to light the unity candle.
Gift bearers- In some Christian ceremonies gifts will need to be carried to the altar before communion. People of any age above about eight can be asked to fill these roles.
Pages- Pages help carry the brides train or just walk with the bride up the aisle. This role is perfect for young boys who were not chosen as ring bearer.
Program attendant- Ask someone to hand out programs at the ceremony to each guest. Give them a special basket. Any friendly guest can be chosen for this task.
Ushers- Ushers are male guests dressed alike and chosen to escort people to their seats. When escorting a couple or group they escort the oldest woman and the rest of the party follows. If no separate ushers are used the groomsman may do this role.
Bubbles or rice attendant- Make sure someone is asked to hand out the bubbles or rice after the ceremony and explain what is to be done to the guests, if this tradition is being done.
Guest book attendants- Have someone with the guest book directing people to sign it as they arrive. Two people may be beneficial as one may get caught in conversation and miss people arriving.
Reception site liaison- Make sure someone calls the reception site to inform them the ceremony is over and guests will be arriving, especially if the schedule has been altered. Someone to notify the MC or DJ that the couple has arrived can also be beneficial.
Always choose people for these roles that are important to the bride and groom. It is important for the bride and groom to fill the crucial roles with people they love and care about as well as trust. Asking people to step into these roles because it is the right thing or an obligation is felt rarely leads to a picture perfect experience.