Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities: Who Does What?

It’s time to rally the troops! Take a look at this guideline to better understand each traditional role of the wedding party.

1. Bride's Parents

Traditionally, the bride’s parents were usually responsible for covering a majority of the wedding expenses. Today, it is more common for the costs to be distributed amongst the couple, the bride’s parents, and also the groom’s parents. However, there are certain tasks that the bride’s parents should still take responsibility for.

The bride’s parents typically host the first engagement party. On the wedding day, father of the bride will escort the bride to the ceremony and walk her down the aisle, give a speech at the reception, and he is the last to leave after saying goodnight to guests.

2. Groom's Parents

By tradition, the groom’s parents contact the bride’s parents after the engagement news. They may choose to host another engagement party after the bride’s parents host the first. They will provide a guest list of their parts for the couple, host a rehearsal dinner on the evening before the wedding day, and if they wish, financially assist the couple by contributing to wedding expenses.

3. Maid of Honor

The bride relies the most on her maid of honor out of all her bridal party. Generally, the maid of honor is either the bride’s sister or best friend.

The maid of honor’s duties may include: hosting the bridal shower and bachelorette party, coordinating dress fittings; assisting with wedding preparatory tasks such as addressing invitations, wrapping favors, keeping records of wedding gifts, and paying for her own wedding outfits and travel expenses.

On the wedding day, the maid of honor will help the bride dress and accompany her to the ceremony site. She will sign the marriage license as a witness, hold the bride’s bouquet at the altar, and arrange the bride’s veil and train during the ceremony. At the reception, she will gather the bridesmaids for formal pictures, mingle and dance with the best man and other important guests.

4. Bridesmaids

It’s completely up to you to choose how many bridesmaids you wish to be in your bridal party, though 12 is generally the limit. Bridesmaids can be single, married, and of any age, but girls between 8-16 years old become junior bridesmaids with a reduced number of responsibilities.

The bridesmaids’ main focus is to assist the maid of honor with wedding planning duties and to assist the bride whenever it is needed. Addressing invitations, planning the bridal shower or bachelorette party, and contributing to the cost of wedding related events, are a few examples. The bridesmaids, along with the maid of honor, all pay for their own attire, transportation, and lodging.

5. Junior Bridesmaid

A junior bridesmaid is typically between the ages of 9 and 13. She will wear a dress in the same color and fabric as the adult bridesmaids, but one that is more age appropriate for the wedding day.

Junior bridesmaids do not attend the bachelorette party or have the same financial obligations as the adult bridesmaids, her parents will usually cover the expenses for her dress.

6. Flower Girl

Flower girls are usually between 4 to 8 years old. She walks ahead of the bride during the processional, either carrying a bouquet or basket, or scattering flowers along the aisle. The flower girl should be included in the wedding rehearsal so that she becomes comfortable with her role on the wedding day. Her attire and transportation are taken care of by her parents, who should also be invited to the rehearsal dinner.

7. Best Man

The best man is the groom’s biggest support system. Usually, he is either the groom’s brother or best friend.

The biggest role of the best man is to plan and host the bachelor party with groomsmen. He also takes responsibility for coordinating formalwear fittings, picking up the groom’s tux before the wedding, and making toasts during the rehearsal dinner.

On the wedding day, the best man ensures that the groom arrives at the ceremony site on time. He brings the bride’s wedding ring, holds the officiant’s fee until the ceremony is over, and signs the marriage license as a witness. He also organizes the groomsmen for formal pictures, dances with the maid of honor, and gives the toast during the reception dinner.

8. Groomsmen

The groomsmen help the best man plan and host the bachelor party. During the wedding planning process, they should check in with the groom and best man to offer assistance with any wedding related tasks. 

Groomsmen are responsible for scheduling their tuxedo fittings, picking up their formalwear, and paying for their own attire and travel and lodging expenses. On the wedding day, the groomsmen arrive early to the ceremony site to greet guests. As members of the wedding party, they are expected to stay at the reception the entire time. 

9. Junior Groomsman

A junior groomsman is the male counterpart to a junior bridesmaid, between the ages of 9-13 years old. Junior groomsmen attend the rehearsal and walk down the aisle, but do not attend the bachelor party. The junior groomsman’s parents will pay for his attire.

10. Ring Bearer

The ring bearer is typically a boy at the ages of 4 to 8 years old. He carries the wedding rings on a ring pillow down the aisle. Like the flower girl, the ring bearer”s parents pay for his attire and arrange for his transportation.

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