What You Need to Know About the Wedding Party

CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PARTY

We all know that there are a few unspoken rules when it comes to deciding who’s in and who’s out of your wedding party. If your fiancé’s parents are covering part of your wedding expenses, they might expect you’ll include your future sister-in-law in your group of maids and the same goes for the opposite scenario. If your parents are paying, it might be a huge gesture of gratitude for your man to include your brother in his team of groomsmen.

Even if you don’t need help figuring out who you want in your wedding party, let’s spend a little time thinking about what you want in a wedding party. So before you make the ask, figure out what it is you’ll be looking for from the people you select. Do you want a team of people by your side from beginning to end, tagging along for your dress fittings, planning the bachelor party, or setting aside the next 30 Saturdays for crafternoons? Or are you just looking to have a few loved ones stand alongside you on your big day?

As you ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to be a part of your big day, find out what their needs are, too. These are the folks who will be working tirelessly to do their part in pulling off your celebration, and chances are they’ll spend a good amount of time, energy, and your money to do so. Even our lifelong besties have limits, so communicating your needs early on and remembering to say thank you throughout will go a long way in making sure everyone’s feeling the love as they walk down that aisle.

Sometimes narrowing down choices is tough. Your Maid of Honor and Best Man can help! Ask yourself who has been a major part of shaping you into who you are. Who is going to be part of your life going forward?

THE MAID OF HONOR

Your Maid of Honor should be someone who can stay calm under pressure and help you do the same. An irresponsible Maid of Honor causes tremendous wedding stress – you need someone dependable! Pick someone who not only loves you, but someone who’s organized and can cover for you in conversations with the vendors, wedding planner or designer, and venue on the day-of. She may take the lead on planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party, and will make sure the rest of the bridal party has what they need in time to walk down the aisle ahead of you on your special day. Not to mention she’ll hold both the groom’s ring and your bouquet as you stand at the altar.

If you have your heart set on asking your sister to be your Maid of Honor, but you know she couldn’t be organized if her life depended on it, there’s no harm in recruiting a day-of point person for this role instead. This should be a person who can read your mind and make decisions in your place should any bumps occur on your big day.

THE BEST MAN

The best man is the groom’s right-hand man from the time you start planning your wedding until the moment the two of you ride off into the sunset. Traditionally he’ll organize and pull off the bachelor party (with the help of the other groomsmen), he’ll be by the groom’s side at the rehearsal dinner, show up early to help prep on the day-of, keep him calm before he walks down the aisle, and of course hold onto the bride’s ring at the ceremony.

Once the rings have been swapped and the I do’s have been exchanged, you can look to the best man to give a simultaneously hilarious and “I love you man”-style speech, to get your guests on the dance floor, and probably join in with the rest of the wedding party in scribbling “Just Married” across the back of the couple’s car.

Who loves your fiancé, has his back, and loves the two of you together? That’s your best man.

OTHER WEDDING PARTY RESPONSIBILITIES

While your wedding party’s number one job is cheering you to the finish line, there are a few other tasks you might tap them to perform – such as participating in a wedding party recessional before the reception (groomsmen escort bridesmaids into the venue and are announced by your DJ or bandleader), toasting / roasting you during dinner, holding onto and distributing your vendor envelopes and checks at the reception, making sure all gifts and cards make it into the couple’s car after the reception or to another predetermined location (such as the couple’s house or even deposited into the couple’s bank account), signing the marriage license as witnesses of the ceremony, and assisting in arranging accommodations for out of town guests. Have these conversations between the two of you early on and determine who could be a good fit for these roles.

WEDDING PARTY GIFTS

Some couples give small gifts to their wedding party members as a way of saying thank you for the hard work and support that goes into planning a wedding. As the cost of being a bridesmaid or a groomsman goes up, it becomes more common to give gifts related to their participation in the wedding – cover the bridesmaids’ hair or makeup, gift jewelry you want them to wear, or you could give each groomsman the tie or cuff links they’ll wear on your wedding day.

Whatever the case, don’t sweat the details. Buying a gift for your wedding party doesn’t have to be another big line item in your budget. A simple thank you card and hug of appreciation could be all they need to know that you value their support and hard work.

Want even more tips for planning your wedding? Our weekly countdown walks you through the entire wedding planning process from beginning to end, telling you exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Check it out HERE.