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The Roles And Responsibilities Of Your Wedding Party

Nov 17, 2007
The wedding attendant role is fun yet also carries a large amount of responsibility, which is why the bride and groom should choose persons they are close to and trust to handle important details before, during and after the ceremony.

Maid (unmarried)/Matron (married) of Honor Checklist

* Share the bride's excitement and joy of the wedding

* Help choose dresses at the brides request (and pay for her own attire including dress, shoes, jewelry and other accessories)

* Throw a bridal shower and bachelorette party (if the bride desires one) for the bride

* Help with any other details of planning and preparing for the wedding (as required by the bride)

* Purchase shower gift

* Attend all pre-wedding parties (per invitation)

* Help bride with any last minute details

* Purchase wedding gift

* Stay by the bride's side at the ceremony site to assist with any preparation details

* Precede the bride down the aisle during the ceremony, hold the groom's ring, the bride's bouquet, fold back the bride's veil and straighten the train as needed.

* Stand in the receiving line next to the groom immediately following the ceremony. Sign the marriage license as an official witness

* Sit to the groom's left during dinner at the reception. Attend to any details to help the bride, accompanying her to the washroom, bustling the train and taking part in special dances with the bridal party

* Attend gift opening party

Checklist For A Bridesmaid

* Share the brides excitement and joy of the wedding

* Help choose bridesmaids dresses if the bride requests and be fitted once the choice is made by the bride (and pay for her own attire including dress, shoes, jewelry and other accessories)

* Help with any other details of planning and preparing for the wedding (as required by the bride)

* Assist the maid of honor in throwing a bridal shower/bachelorette party for the bride

* Purchase shower gift

* Attend all pre-wedding parties (per invitation)

* Purchase wedding gift

* Help bride with any last minute details

* During the ceremony, lead the procession down the aisle, usually return down the aisle after the ceremony escorted by a groomsman

* Following the ceremony, stand in the receiving line next to the maid of honor

* At the reception, sit at the head table during dinner in an alternating pattern with the groomsmen. Attend to any details to help the bride. Take part in special dances for the bridal party

* Attend gift opening party

Checklist for A Personal Attendant

While this may be the least glamorous of all positions, it can be the most important in helping the bride relax and enjoy her wedding day, knowing this trusted friend/relative is there to help. The bride should make a list of tasks up ahead of time for which the personal attendant will be responsible for, these duties may include:

* Assist the bride in getting dressed and ready
* Pin on the corsages and boutonnieres
* Prepare the bride to walk down the aisle, last minute touch-ups, fluffing the train
* Gather people for pictures
* Make sure the wedding party has their belongings after the ceremony
* Keep track of the toss bouquet until it's needed
* Oversee transportation of the gifts to the gift opening site or the couple's home
* Attend the gift opening party and keep a record of gifts

Checklist for the Best Man

* Be measured for formal wear (pay for rental of his own formal wear including shoes and accessories)
* Organize the bachelor party
* Buy wedding gift
* Be sure the groom arrives at the wedding site on time
* Carry the bride's ring
* Stand by the groom's side at ceremony
* Sign the marriage license as an official witness. Give clergy member payment (provided by groom)
* At the reception, sit to the bride's left during dinner. Offer the first "toast" to the bride and groom
* The day after the wedding may gather all rented clothing from the groom's wedding party and return it to the formal wear store

Groomsman Checklist

* Be measured for formal wear (pay for rental of his own formal wear including shoes and accessories)
* Assist the best man in organizing the bachelor party
* Buy wedding gift
* Stand by the best man during the ceremony
* Escort bridesmaid down the aisle
* Decorate the wedding couple's "getaway" car (as guests file through the receiving line)
* At the reception, sit at the head table during dinner in an alternating pattern with the bridesmaids. Take part in special dances for the bridal party.

Ushers Checklist

* Be measured for formal wear (pay for rental of his own formal wear including shoes and accessories)

* Buy wedding gift

* Attend the rehearsal, practice lighting and extinguishing the candles, familiarize himself with entrance, exit and bathroom locations for the guests' comfort and learn seating arrangements

* Arrive at the wedding site an hour before to get boutonnieres, ready the programs and help with any last-minute details

* If guests of the bride and groom are to be seated in separate sections, ascertain the guests' relationship to the couple. Once this is established the right arm is offered to the lady, who is then escorted to the open pew closest to the front of the church. The farthest-forward pews are traditionally reserved for immediate family members

* Usher in the mother of the groom then the mother of the bride last, and then unroll the aisle runner. Stay in the back of the church during the ceremony, directing late guests to back or side seats

* Immediately after the wedding party has walked down the aisle, escort out the mothers of the bride and groom, and sometimes direct the departure of guests in an orderly manner

* Decorate the wedding couple's "getaway" car (as guests file through the receiving line)

* At the reception, sit at the head table and enjoy the rest of the reception as a guest

Ring Bearer, Flower Girls, Junior Bridesmaids, Miniature Brides, etc.

Children assume these roles which differ from wedding to wedding, largely depending on the bride and groom's desires and the maturity and capability of each child. Feel free to incorporate children into your ceremony and celebrations as desired, or elect to let the children enjoy themselves as guests.

Attendants' Gifts

After the bride and groom have chosen their attendants, they have yet another decision to make: buying the attendants' gifts.

Tradition dictates that bridesmaids should receive similar gifts, as should the groomsmen, although special gifts are sometimes given to the best man and maid of honor. Similar need not mean exact, however. Local gift shops offer gift baskets or boxes which can be filled with an assortment of treasures, such as soaps, perfumes, lotions, bath oil beads, powders, shower gels, candles, cheeses, crackers, or liqueurs, just to name some of the choices. Baskets and boxes can be decorated with lace, linens, dried flowers or bows. Each basket or box can thus be personalized to fit the recipient without giving "different'' gifts.

Other, more traditional, selections abound. Consider wallets, pen and pencil sets, belt buckles, pewter mugs and silver key rings for men; chains, necklaces, disc charms and silver bangle bracelets for women.

More contemporary gifts might include exotic plants, recreational accessories or handmade (preferably by the bride or groom) crafts. Some couples prefer to pay for the rental or purchase of all clothing and related items their attendants will wear.

A gift is a meaningful token of appreciation. It says "thank you" for sharing, celebrating and attending the most joyous ceremony a man and woman will ever plan together. After many years have passed, the responsible attendants can look back at the wedding and smile, proudly remembering the contributions that helped make the wedding a success.
About the Author
Rebecca Serman is an editor at ModernWeddingPlanner.com. Try our online wedding planner to keep your wedding day organized.
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