Who Does What at the Wedding Ceremony

A guide to the roles played by all the attendees on the wedding day

Who does what – the bride, the groom, the best man, ushers, chief bridesmaid or maid of honour, bridesmaids, page boy, flower girl, mother of the bride and father of the bride – otherwise known as The Wedding Party. We are all familiar with the roles but what is each one responsible for?

The Bride

  • Chooses the wedding date, type of ceremony, the theme of the wedding and her outfit.
  • Chooses her attendants and their outfits.
  • Co-ordinates and advises other members of the bridal party on dress codes, colours, etc.
  • Writes thank-you notes to helpers and to the guests for wedding gifts.

The Groom

  • Works out and keeps track of the wedding budget.
  • Buys the wedding rings.
  • Arranges the formal wear of the male members of the bridal party.
  • Arranges the honeymoon and the wedding night accommodation.
  • Buys gifts for the best man, bridesmaids and ushers.
  • Makes a speech at the reception.

The Best Man

  • Helps the groom choose his outfits and those of the male attendants.
  • Arranges the stag night.
  • Meets at the ceremony venue, along with the ushers, to discuss seating and parking arrangements.
  • Collects the formal wear for himself and the groom and arranges it’s return after the wedding.
  • Collects cards or messages from those who cannot attend wedding.
  • Makes sure that ushers have order of service sheets and buttonholes.
  • Helps the groom dress on the morning of the wedding and makes sure he gets to the church on time.
  • On behalf of the groom, pays the church fees, tips and bell ringers fees.
  • Produces the rings when required and gives them to the groom.
  • Escorts the chief bridesmaid to the signing of the register.
  • Checks arrangements with the ushers that all guests have transport to the reception.
  • In the absence of a toastmaster or master of ceremonies, announces events (for example, calling for the first speech, the cutting of the cake and the departure of the bride and groom).
  • Makes a speech and reads out messages. The best man’s speech introduces the groom to the bride’s family. This speech is expected to contain funny stories about the groom, but should not be too risqué. He also reads out any cards or telegrams from absent friends.

Bridesmaids

  • Help the Chief Bridesmaid arrange the Hen Night.
  • Attend rehearsals.
  • Get everyone involved at the reception.

Chief Bridesmaid or Maid of Honour

  • Helps the bride choose her outfit and her attendants’ outfits and helps the bride to get ready on the wedding day .
  • Helps the bride keep her weddings lists up-to-date
  • Organises the Hen Night.
  • Helps arrange and maintain a timetable for the bride on the day so she’s not always watching the clock.
  • At the ceremony venue, before the bride’s entrance, checks bride’s attire and lines up the attendants.
  • Holds the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
  • Escorted by the best man, attends the signing of the register (she is usually a witness).
  • Walks with the best man out of the ceremony.
  • Places her bouquet, along with the bride’s, by the wedding cake.
  • Helps serve the cake.
  • Helps the bride prepare for “going away”, takes charge of the wedding attire.
  • Along with the best man, helps transport the wedding gifts from the reception to a safe place.

Flower Girl

  • Walks ahead of the Bride carrying a basket of flowers or flower petals which she scatters to the floor.
  • Joins in the procession with the other attendants.
  • Can, also, carry a bunch of thorn-less roses to be handed to guests a she passes by.

Page Boy or Ring Bearer

  • Less common nowadays, but a way of including a young male relative.
  • Traditionally, carries the bride’s train or can act as a Ring bearer.

Ushers

  • Plan parking arrangements, get to know where the nearest toilets are and provide umbrellas to guests in case of rain.
  • Ensure that the approach is clear for the bride’s arrival.
  • Greet guests and distribute buttonholes, order of service sheets and hymn books.
  • Escort the bride’s mother and elderly guests to their seats.
  • Provide a guard of honour.
  • Help photographer organise people for group photos.
  • To prevent a long queue, arrange for a few guests at a time to go along the receiving line. Be responsible for a few tables each at the reception to check on a regular basis that everyone is happy and make sure all guests are seated for the speeches.
  • Get guests applauding during bride and groom’s first dance, and then get everyone up and dancing.
  • Line up guests when bride and groom leave.

Bride’s Mother

  • Arranges press announcements, compiles the guest list, sends out invitations and manages the RSVPs.
  • Organises the gift list and makes arrangements to display the presents.
  • Makes a list of the guests for the ushers.
  • Travels to the venue with bridesmaids.
  • Attends the signing of the register.
  • Acts as hostess on the day.
  • She is the first in the receiving line.
  • Sends wedding cake to those unable to attend on the day.

Bride’s Father

  • Travels with his daughter to the ceremony.
  • Escorts the bride down the aisle.
  • Gives the bride away.
  • Attends the signing of the register.
  • Escorts the groom’s mother from the church and stands alongside her in the receiving line.
  • Makes the first speech, introducing the bride to the groom’s family and raises a toast to the married couple.