The roles we play
Once you’ve picked the members of your wedding party, what are they expected to do and what can you delegate to them to take off some of the pressure?
Although popping the question may seem like the biggest role for the groom, there is still plenty for him to do. As the groom arrives first at the venue, he greets guests as they turn up while waiting for the bride to arrive. During his speech he should thank all of the guests, both sets of parents and make a toast to the bridesmaids.
Being the centre of attention is the key role. Although the bride doesn’t traditionally make a speech, more brides are taking the opportunity to say a few words during the speeches.
The best man
After making sure the groom gets to the church or venue on time and keeping possession of the rings to hand over during the ceremony, arguably the most important role for the best man is his speech. The key is to make sure it is not too long, has a few jokes in it as well as some touching and embarrassing stories about the groom or couple. His role is also to organise the stag do as well as making sure the ushers know what they are doing on the day. You can relieve some of the pressure on yourself by getting the best man involved in the transport arrangements and returning the suits afterwards – as hopefully you will be jetting off on honeymoon!
The chief bridesmaid / matron of honour
On the day, the chief bridesmaid or matron of honour’s job is to help you get ready, organise any other bridesmaids and keep you calm. Throughout the day she needs to check you look your best at all times, touching up your make-up when needed, looking after the bouquet as and when required and, depending on the style of your dress, helping you go to the loo! It is also her job to organise the hen do and go to dress fittings with you – you can also ask her to take care of your dress and get it cleaned and boxed up afterwards.
The father of the bride
The key role is to give the bride away during the ceremony and then follow this up with a speech in the evening, telling stories of her as a little girl and throwing in a few embarrassing stories and jokes as well. The father of the bride can also be roped in as an usher to help guests know where to go.
Their key role is to make sure everyone knows where to go when they arrive for the ceremony and hand out any order of service booklets. Once the ceremony is over they need to ensure everyone has transport to the other venue, if you have one, or to point them in the direction of where they can wait while the photographs are taken. They will also help round up any groups needed for formal photographs and then show people where to go when it’s time for the meal. How many ushers you have is entirely up to you and may depend on how many guests there are to organise.
Order of the day
Drinks reception (if a civil ceremony) – a little tipple for the guests to get the day off to a good start.
Ceremony – held in the church with hymns and readings, at a registry office, or at your venue.
Formal photographs – either taken outside the church/registry office, at the venue or both.
Welcoming of guests at venue – the couple and family members greet guests in a receiving line as they enter the venue or dining area.
Sit down meal – a chance to relax.
Speeches – traditionally consisting of the father of the bride, best man and groom, but may include the bride.
Cutting of the cake – a key photo moment.
First dance – kick starts the evening’s entertainment.