Who’s in the Wedding Party?
It takes a team effort to put on a wedding, with each member taking on specific tasks. While other people may have significant roles, such as readers, candle lighters, and singers, they aren’t generally considered members of the wedding party. Look at our guide to who’s who.
Maid of Honor
Whether you call her “maid” or “matron” (if she’s married), this is your top girl, often a sister or best friend. Count on her to wrangle the bridesmaids, plan the bridal shower and bachelorette party, helping you get wedding-day ready, hold your bouquet at the altar, and make a toast at the reception.
“The maid of honor is often the bride’s calming voice on the day of the wedding, especially if there’s tension between the bride and mother of the bride,” says Rachel Ramos, a lead planner at White Dress Events in Detroit. “If that relationship is strained, more responsibility falls to the MOH, like making sure the wedding day is going smoothly so the bride isn’t the one solving any problems.”
She’ll also be the person you FaceTime with late at night to discuss whether leopard-print heels go with your dress.
His number one job: being a source of encouragement when the groom is stressed leading up to wedding and on the wedding day, says Ramos. The best man is also the key contact for the groomsmen and plans the bachelor party. He’s the guy who makes sure the groomsmen have their wedding-day attire together, hands out tips to vendors on the wedding day, holds the bride’s and groom’s rings, and keeps the crowd in stitches during his toast.
She’s another close friend or relative of the bride. You’ll likely have more than one, so divide up the tasks you need help with. They can address invitations, put together the favors, and stock goodie bags for out-of-town guests. Besides helping the MOH plan the shower and bachelorette, the bridesmaids make sure the reception is one fun-filled party by never leaving the dance floor!
A close confidante of the groom, a groomsman will help the best man plan the bachelor party. At the wedding ceremony, he can also distribute the programs and, if there is one, roll out the ceremony runner along with the other groomsmen. “Once the reception is underway,” says Ramos, “he and the other groomsmen will get out on dance floor and get the party started, if necessary.”
This wedding-day-only role involves escorting guests to their seats before the ceremony begins. If there are no ushers, the groomsmen can fill in.
This pint-sized attendant walks down the aisle right before the bride, often tossing rose petals from a basket. It’s best to choose a flower girl who’s between four and eight years old who understand what to do — walk.
“If you have a flower girl who’s lagging behind, everyone will be paying attention to this cute little child, and it can be a distraction from the bride,” says Ramos.
The other child attendant is the aptly named ring bearer: His job is to carry the rings (usually fake) tied to a small pillow down the aisle. He can walk alone or side by side with the flower girl. For formal weddings, he often wears a mini version of what the men in the wedding party are wearing.
If you want to include a tween or young teen in the wedding party, call them “junior.” Their to-do list echoes the older members of the group with one exception: They shouldn’t plan or attend the bachelorette or bachelor party if either celebration is expected to be anything other than PG-13.