How do we Choose our Wedding Party?

Jul 11, 2023 | Wedding

Imagine that your wedding day has arrived, and you’re standing at the altar readying yourself to make the biggest and most important commitment of your life. A few smiling souls surround you and your spouse-to-be. Their eyes twinkle with love, and they’ve also shown their care by being there at every step of the way to help you organize and prepare for the wedding. These are the people in your wedding party. Who did you imagine in your mind’s eye? 

 

Generally, a wedding party consists of your closest family and friends who play a significant role in supporting and celebrating your special day. Selecting the people to whom you want to allocate important roles is a delicate matter. It’s also extremely important on a practical level, because the people you choose will have some responsibilities to uphold. Below we’ll take you through everything you need to know to confidently select the right people to be a part of your wedding party as well as how to ensure a harmonious and memorable experience for all involved.

 

Wedding Party Roles and Responsibilities

Here’s a breakdown of all the roles plus what they’re typically responsible for. Feel free to customize all of this. Include new roles if you so choose, or allocate responsibilities in a way that makes sense for you.

 

Maid of Honor
This is usually a close female friend or sister of the bride. She is responsible for providing emotional support, assisting with wedding-related tasks, and organizing pre-wedding events such as the bridal shower and bachelorette party. She may also be tasked with giving a speech at the wedding reception.
Some of the wedding-related tasks the maid of honor helps with include wedding dress shopping, serving as a point of contact for bridesmaids and coordinating bridesmaids’ activities such as dress fittings, and helping with DIY projects and/or decorations. 

 

On the wedding day itself, the maid of honor helps the bride get dressed, ensures her appearance is flawless, and assists with any last-minute needs or requests. The maid of honor is a constant source of support and helps the bride feel at ease on her special day.

Note that while we’ve used feminine pronouns to refer to the maid of honor, it’s also acceptable for a bride to choose a male maid of honor if she so chooses.



Best Man

The best man acts as the groom’s right-hand man and is usually a close male friend of the groom. His duties include planning the bachelor party, giving a toast at the reception, and assisting the groom throughout the day. He provides emotional support, helps the groom get ready, and takes charge of some of the logistical responsibilities. For example, he may help coordinate transportation services, keep track of timing in order to ensure the groom arrives at the ceremony on time, and manage any last-minute details or issues that arise. The best man is also responsible for holding the rings during the ceremony until it’s time to give them to the couple.

While the best man is traditionally male, the groom is free to select a female best man if he prefers.

 

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen
These are typically close friends or siblings of the couple, and they play supporting roles. They help with various wedding preparations, offer moral support, and participate in wedding-related activities. Here are some examples of what they do:

 

Planning: Bridesmaids and groomsmen often lend a helping hand in the wedding planning process. They may assist with tasks such as researching vendors, scouting potential venues, or creating DIY decorations. 

 

Dress Shopping and Fittings: Along with the maid of honor, bridesmaids may accompany the bride to dress shopping appointments in order to offer support and feedback, and they also contribute to the search for the perfect bridesmaid dresses. Groomsmen, on the other hand, assist the groom in selecting and fitting their suits or tuxedos.

 

Wedding Rehearsal: Bridesmaids and groomsmen attend the rehearsal to familiarize themselves with the ceremony proceedings, ensuring they know when and where to enter, where to stand, and how to perform any specific tasks assigned to them.

 

Ceremony Support: During the wedding ceremony, bridesmaids and groomsmen provide support and assistance. They may walk down the aisle before the bride, stand alongside the couple during the ceremony, hold bouquets or rings, or assist with other ceremonial elements. Their presence makes the ceremony more meaningful for the couple getting married.

 

Guest Management: Bridesmaids and groomsmen also help manage guests and ensure a smooth flow of events. Ask them to assist with seating arrangements, guide guests to their seats, distribute programs or other wedding materials, and provide any necessary information or directions.

 

Reception Assistance: Your bridesmaids and groomsmen should contribute to the overall enjoyment of the reception by actively engaging with guests, participating in traditional activities such as the bouquet or garter toss, and making sure everyone is having a good time and encouraging guests to dance and join in other festivities.

 

Flower Girl
Appoint a young family member or friend (typically between 3 and 8 years old) to act as the flower girl. Her main role is to walk down the aisle before the bride, scattering flower petals along the way. This sweet and traditional act adds a touch of whimsy and beauty to the ceremony. Traditionally, the flower girl symbolizes the innocence and purity associated with the bride’s journey towards marriage. She should be dressed in a cute and age-appropriate dress that complements the wedding theme or colors.

Ring Bearer

The ring bearer’s primary responsibility is to carry the wedding rings down the aisle and deliver them to the best man. He is typically dressed in a miniature suit or tuxedo that matches the groom or bridal party’s attire. He may wear a boutonniere and carry a pillow or box designed specifically for holding the rings.

 

Selecting the Maid of Honor and Best Man

This is a complex and potentially contentious decision, and such things are best left up to fate. Pull out a coin from your wallet and think of two friends off the top of your head. Assign one friend as ‘heads’ and the other as ‘tails’, and flip the coin. Problem solved!

 

Just kidding, absolutely don’t do that–or anything else hasty. Choose your maid of honor and best man carefully, as these positions require individuals who can be relied upon and trusted with important tasks. It’s also essential to consider the personal connection and emotional support these individuals provide. They should be people who know you well, understand your vision for the wedding, and are excited to help bring it to life. 

 

Importantly, they should have strong organizational skills and attention to detail. If your best friend is flaky and scatterbrained, maybe choose your second-best friend instead. Include them in the wedding party, but select people who are really cut out for the important responsibilities that come with being a maid of honor or best man.

How do we Choose our Wedding Party?

Choosing Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

Selecting bridesmaids and groomsmen is more straightforward than selecting a maid of honor and best man, as these other wedding party members don’t have as many responsibilities as the maid of honor and best man. Follow the process below to select your bridesmaids and groomsmen and put together a stellar wedding party:

 

Identify Your Important Relationships

Firstly, consider the obvious choices. Who among your closest family members and friends would you like to include? Next, ask yourself who else outside of that circle has also played a significant role in either of your lives. Some less obvious choices might be a perfect fit. For example, what about your old colleague with whom you spent many a rainy night with a bottle of wine, indulging in office gossip? If there’s someone who played an important role in your life at one time but from whom you’ve since drifted apart, inviting them to participate in your wedding party is an excellent way to reconnect. 

Manage Expectations


Next, ask yourself whether there’s anyone who expects to be included or who will be disappointed if they’re not included. Can you give roles to these people? If you can do so confidently, consider giving them a chance. However, this does not mean you should include anyone who you suspect will be problematic or to whom you don’t really feel close enough to want to include in your wedding party. 

Think Practically

Your wedding party should be composed of individuals who are not only willing but also available to fulfill their duties. Factor in the schedules and commitments of your potential wedding party members to ensure they can dedicate the time and effort required.

 

Consider Compatibility
This step is exceedingly important. Think about the compatibility between the chosen individuals themselves as well as between them and the two of you. In doing so, pay special attention to gauging what their work and organizational styles are like. 

While wedding planning is thrilling, it is also tense at times, so make sure you’re putting together individuals that are likely to have a harmonious dynamic and whose work styles you mesh well with. When there are major incompatibilities in the wedding party, the planning process feels more akin to detonating a bomb than to putting together a special day. Don’t let that be your dynamic.

 

Size Matters 

While there are no hard and fast rules about how many people you should include in your wedding party, it’s essential to consider the size and style of your wedding. A larger celebration can accommodate a larger wedding party, while a smaller, more intimate affair calls for a more modest group.

 

For example, the party of a wedding with 50 guests would likely consist of a maid of honor, best man, and just one or two bridesmaids and groomsmen. A wedding of 100 guests, on the other hand, might call for two to four bridesmaids and groomsmen. In large weddings of 400+, the wedding party would be larger and potentially even include multiple flower girls, best men, and maids of honor. That said, ultimately all of this comes down to the two of you and your preferences.

 

Think about Gender Dynamics

Traditionally, wedding parties have been divided into bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, modern weddings are breaking away from these gender norms, allowing for a more inclusive and diverse wedding party. Consider whether you want a mixed-gender wedding party or if you prefer to stick to traditional roles. There’s no wrong answer, except the one that doesn’t reflect your own desires.

 

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, go with your gut. If someone you’re considering checks out on paper but you don’t have a good feeling about including them in your wedding party, lean into that feeling, find out why it’s there, and pause before making a decision. Gut giving you a resounding ‘yes’ for some of the people you’re considering? Include them in the wedding party. It should be filled with individuals who will make your day even more special and memorable.

 

Involving Loved Ones who may not be in the Wedding Party

While the wedding party consists of a select group of individuals, there are still ways to involve loved ones who may not be part of the official entourage. You can assign special roles or tasks to important individuals, such as giving a reading during the ceremony or leading a toast at the reception. Honorary positions and acknowledgments can also be given to close family members or friends who are unable to take on an active role. Furthermore, involving them in planning pre-wedding events and activities helps create a sense of inclusion and shared excitement.

 

Handling Difficult Decisions and Potential Conflicts

Choosing and working with wedding party members sometimes leads to challenging decisions and conflicts. In order to navigate these situations with tact and consideration, communicate openly and honestly with potential members, explaining your vision and expectations. Be receptive to their opinions and concerns, and strive for a compromise that aligns with your overall plans and priorities. At the end of the day, however, remember that it’s your wedding, and ultimately, decisions rests with you and your partner. If someone is offended over not being included in the wedding party or over you deciding to do something in a way that they don’t agree with, that’s too bad–but it isn’t their wedding. 

 

The Importance of Clear Communication

Clear communication is essential throughout the process of choosing and working with your wedding party. Once you’ve finalized your selections, take the time to explain the roles and responsibilities to each member. Discuss financial responsibilities such as the cost of attire upfront, ensuring that everyone understands their obligations. Providing guidance and support to the wedding party will enable them to fulfill their roles with confidence and enthusiasm.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Choosing Your Wedding Party:

Q: Can I have more than one maid of honor or best man?

A: Yep! It’s your wedding, so it’s up to you. Some couples choose to have multiple maids of honor or best men to honor several important individuals in their lives.

 

Q: What if someone I want to include in my wedding party is unable to commit due to other obligations?

A: If someone important to you cannot commit to the responsibilities of being in the wedding party, consider involving them in other special roles or tasks. Their presence and involvement, even in a different capacity, will still be meaningful.

 

Q: Should I feel obligated to include family members in my wedding party?

A: While it’s natural to feel a sense of obligation to include family members, it’s essential to remember that your wedding party should consist of those closest to you, regardless of blood relation. Choose individuals with whom you genuinely want to share this milestone.

 

Q: How do I politely decline someone’s request to be in my wedding party?

A: Honesty is key. Express your appreciation for their support and explain that you have carefully chosen your wedding party based on specific criteria. Be kind but firm in your decision, and assure them that their presence at your wedding is meaningful to you.

Q: Should I choose my maid of honor or best man based on seniority or friendship?

A: Friendship and compatibility should be the primary factors when selecting your maid of honor or best man. While seniority can be a consideration, it’s most important to choose someone who knows you well, can support you throughout the process, and is reliable.

 

Q: Can I include friends who are not part of the wedding party in other important roles?

A: Yes! There are a multitude of meaningful roles you can assign to friends who may not be part of the wedding party. They can be readers, ushers, or even take on a special role during the ceremony or reception.

 

Q: Should I consider financial obligations when selecting my wedding party?

A: It’s essential to be mindful of the financial obligations your wedding party members may face. While it’s not necessary to choose solely based on financial ability, it’s thoughtful to consider the potential expenses involved and have an open conversation about expectations.

 

Conclusion

When you’re standing at the altar, you should be surrounded by people who have shaped your life and will continue to support you long into the future. Choosing which individuals to include in this group is an important and personal decision. Consider factors such as close relationships, availability, compatibility, the roles each person will play, organizational skills, and what your instincts say in order to assemble a supportive and enthusiastic wedding party. With careful thought and consideration, you’ll end up with a crew that works well together and provides both emotional and logistical support.

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