One of the biggest tasks ahead of your wedding planning involves selecting the perfect mix of individuals that will help you get to the altar—and stay there! The wedding party isn’t merely made up of a bunch of decent-looking stand-ins there to make you look better (though that is a plus), instead, these are the people you’ll rely on most to get some things done on your special day.
In essence, the bridal party is a group chosen by you and your partner that are meant to fulfill certain traditional roles at a wedding and, in some cases, are directly involved in some aspects of the weeks leading up to the wedding and even the day itself. While many different roles inhabit the conventional wedding party, your particular group can be as large or as small as you desire.
Since the wedding party could potentially be incredibly important to how your nuptials go, selecting this team should require some thoughtful reflection. But before you think about how to select the wedding party, let’s take a quick look at who usually makes their way into a typical wedding party for the bride and groom.
Maid Of Honor
Traditionally chosen by the bride to aid and assist in all manner of tasks, the maid of honor should be someone you know extremely well and trust implicitly with a number of responsibilities. This person will helm much of the wedding planning with you, and will also be a major cog in your wedding-planning survival support system. The Maid of Honor has been known to plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, while also toasting the couple at the wedding, signing the marriage license, holding the bride’s bouquet during her vows, and, of course, making sure she looks beautiful at all times. The Maid of Honor also has the responsibility of keeping all the other bridesmaids in order in the lead up to the wedding day.
Usually a close friend or relative of the groom, the best man plans the bachelor party and should be the one to police the groom and ensure he keeps his eye on the prize as the wedding day approaches. Famously, the best man holds onto the bride’s wedding ring, handing it to the groom when the officiant asks for it. But beyond that, the best man also signs the marriage license. Perhaps most important, the best man should be affable, generally fun to be around, and always willing to do everything from helping the bride’s grandma up a flight of stairs to ensuring the dance floor is always packed and lively. He’ll also be expected to make a funny and memorable toast to the newly married couple during the reception.
This group, composed of friends and family members, comes together to form the bride’s main squad. Mainly a support system to the maid of honor, the bridesmaids help the bride get ready on the day of her wedding, keeping a close eye on the veil, dress, and any other details. They also make their way into all of the wedding-day formalities, like the photos, the ceremony, and leading the bride and groom into the reception. Depending on what the couple requests, some select bridesmaids could also provide a reading at the ceremony or a speech at the reception. And during the wedding planning process, bridesmaids should help with any tasks that arise, at the direction of the maid of honor.
Take everything that the bridesmaids do for the bride and assign all of that to the groomsmen for the groom. They help the best man plan and pay for the bachelor party, while also making sure the groom makes it back from said bachelor party. Groomsmen make great ushers on the day of the wedding, assisting confused guests as they arrive at the wedding venue. Just like the bridesmaids, the groomsmen lead the procession down the ceremony aisle and into the reception, paired with a bridesmaid in both instances. This group makes up the groom’s support system, keeping the mood light and ensuring a true party atmosphere at all times.
Tips To Selecting Your Wedding Party
Take Your Time: It’s normal to feel excited about your impending nuptials, but planning a wedding is a big deal. Your wedding party should consist of people who are responsible, ultra-reliable, and excited to see you marry the love of your life. You should absolutely not feel any pressure to name your wedding party immediately after getting engaged. Instead, take a few weeks to think it over and talk about it with your trusted inner circle of friends and family.
You Don’t Need Even Numbers: Chances are you and your partner aren’t going to have the same number of people on both sides of your wedding party. If this is the case, don’t feel like you have to even things out and forcibly select someone who wouldn’t normally make the cut. You can have four bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen in your bridal party if you want to. Also, your bridesmaids don’t have to be female and your groomsmen don’t have to be male. What’s more, your maid of honor and best man can also be gender-swapped. Don’t be afraid to mix it up!
Consider Siblings And In-Laws: It’s not a good idea to cause unrest within your family or in your new family. You wouldn’t want to be left out of your family’s wedding party, so you should keep that in mind when considering who to include in your wedding party. This is by no means mandatory, but it should be on the table for discussion.
Choose Responsible People: Do yourself a favor and keep your wedding party full of responsible people who you know you can count on. There will be plenty of stress during the wedding planning and on the actual wedding day, so the last thing you need is someone in your bridal party flaking on their responsibilities or causing any sort of drama at all. Be smart and selective!
Involve Your Partner: This wedding is about both you and your partner. It’s a special occasion that should include input from both of you. Sure, there’s a chance one side will be more involved in the planning than the other, but both of you should contribute to the building of the wedding party. Consider who your partner wants—or doesn’t want—in the wedding party, and make the ultimate decision of who to include together. Remember that you want both sides of your wedding party to get along famously, and your partner might have some insight into who’s an ideal pick and who should be skipped.