Who’s Who in the Wedding Party

Photo copyright Joanna Thyer

Story by Debra Bell
Bride: The leading lady.
Prior to the Big Day: She’s the gal with the plan and the honored attendee of many parties.
On the Big Day: She should be tasked only with being the lovely leading lady. No more, no less.

Maid (or matron) of Honor: Support goddess.
Prior to the Big Day: The Maid/Matron of honor (MOH) will be the bride’s paige, her confidant, her shoulder to cry on, her conscience, and her biggest cheerleader. In cahoots with the bridesmaids, she’ll help plan the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
On the Big Day: MOH is Captain on the wedding day. Her role is ensure smooth sailing right up to the altar and through the reception. MOH will also oversee the bridesmaids and make sure the bride EATS and doesn’t stress out. She’ll also sign the wedding license.

Bridesmaid(s): The bride’s best gal pals and conspirators.
Prior to the Big Day: Bridesmaids are called upon pre-wedding to attend parties, help plan showers and ladies night out, as well as help the bride in any way possible (including stuffing invitation packages or making favors).
On the Big Day: The day of, bridesmaids help the MOH keep the bride on time and stress-free. As a bridesmaid, they also stand up with the bride and her MOH at the ceremony and play hostess to guests at the reception.

Flower Girl(s): Cuties with a floral mission
On the Big Day: Drop petals, leaves, or whatever the bride has selected on the aisle for the bride’s entry. They’ll sit with mom and dad during the ceremony. Typically, these are children ages 3-8.

Junior Bridesmaid(s) and Junior Groomsmen: Attendants in training
Prior to the Big Day: These younger attendants, ages 9-16, will attend pre-wedding parties, and help out however they can.
On the Big Day: On the Big Day, their responsibilities will be limited to helping out when asked, and lending support to the key players of the day.

Groom: The leading man.
Prior to the Big Day: He pops the question, helps the bride plan the wedding, offers advice, provides insight and suggestions where needed, and helps the bride keep sane during wedding planning. Traditionally the groom plans the honeymoon.
On the Big Day: Be on time. Eat. Don’t imbibe (much) before the ceremony. Stay focused on the reason for the event. Send your bride a love note or present prior to the ceremony (delivered by a groomsman. Relax and enjoy the day.

Best Man: The groom’s right hand.
Prior to the Big Day: Is the groom’s best buddy and confidant. Plans the bachelor party with help from the groomsmen. Ensures that the groom is grounded and helps out wherever he is needed.
On the Big Day: Keeps the groom on track and on time. Rangles up the groomsmen and family. Ensures that all final bills are paid in full before the end of the night and distributes tips. Will also sign the marriage license.

Groomsmen: The wingmen.
Prior to the Big Day: They are the buddy squad. Plan on these guys keeping it cool while the craziness of wedding planning ensues. Attends the bachelor party and keeps the groom happy.
On the Big Day: These guys will help keep the groom happy, relaxed, and provide backup to him at the altar. At the reception, they’ll mingle with guests and keep the party going.

Ring Bearer(s): Little men charged with “the rings” of honor.
On the Big Day: Little dudes ages 3-8 will carry the “rings” down the aisle to the groom. Then they’ll sit with mom and dad during the ceremony. Most of the time the “rings” are decoys, just in case.

Ushers: Guys and gals ready to help.
On the Big Day: The ushers will help seat guests and answer questions that may arise.

Other wedding day helpers
You can pull other family and friends into your celebration by allowing them to read a poem, play a song, manage the guest book, circulate with food or beverage. Whatever will bring you joy. If you’re not using a wedding planner or if your venue doesn’t have someone in charge, ensure that things stay on track by hiring a “day of” coordinator. They’ll handle all the less glamorous parts of the wedding day.