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      Thursday, 22nd March

Traditional Roles of Members of the Wedding Party

Traditionally, everyone in the wedding party has certain roles and duties in the lead up to, during, and after the big day. However, tradition is slipping, and roles are constantly shifting. Some family members aren't available, or personalities may dictate them not suitable for certain positions. As an overview though...

Father of the BrideFather of the Bride

Gives the bride away. Ceremonies can actually include the bride's father handing his daughter's hand over to the register. There's also the small matter of the speech at the reception...

If the Bride's Father is not available, the Bride has many options - a brother could give her away, or perhaps her Mother. Or she could just walk done the isle alone, needing no one to 'give her away' in this day and age.

Mother of the BrideMother of the Bride

Everything! Arranging the venue, caterers, transport, invitations, hosting the reception with her husband, distributing cake to anyone who couldn't attend the function, taking the dresses to the dry cleaners afterwards - when does this woman rest?!

However, although the bride may call on her mum's wisdom and experience now, less is left solely to her.

One important aspect however, is a bride's mother helping her dress on the day. Whilst a Chief Bridesmaid/Matron of Honour may also be included on this task, it is convetionally the last sign of a mother helping her daughter... except for with the grandkids that is!

Chief BridesmaidChief Bridesmaid

Basically, the bride's dogs body! Traditionally unmarried, she may help her dress, and will certainly help with last minute arrangements of hems/hair/bouquets when they arrive at the ceremony.

She follows the bride and her father down the aisle, and passes her posy to the nearest bridesmaid as she takes the bride's bouquet from her.

If she is over 18, the chief bridesmaid is often a witness to the signing of the register with the Best Man.

Generally, the Chief Bridesmaid offers support to the Bride on her big day, ensuring she has nothing to worry about, and is totally comfortable and happy!

Matron of HonourMatron of Honour

As above, except the role is for a woman already married, perhaps an older sister.

Traditionally, the Bride had a 'Matron of Honour' instead of a Chief Bridesmaid and entourage - just the one faithful companion to help her through her day.

Best ManBest Man

The pressure's on! Write a speech for the reception (humurous, but suitable for parent's ears), arrange the stag night, REMEBER THE RINGS! But if tradition dictates, you may get a kiss from a bridesmaid at the end of the night (if both are single)!

A Best Man needs to be organised and dependable - as so much (conventionally) relies on him. He is responsible for calming any last minute nerves and getting the Groom to the ceremony, looking after any valuables - as well as the rings, the marriage license, the fees for the ceremony (may include organ and choir fees in the wedding is in a church) and any tickets/passports if an immeditate departure from the reception is scheduled for the honeymoon.

If the ceremony is in a church, he will accompany the Chief Bridesmaid/Matron of Honour to the vestry, and possibly act, with her, as a witness.

And then his role as MoC (Master of Ceremonies) begins! Assembling everyone outside ready for the photographs, seeing the new Mr. & Mrs to their car, ushering all other guests to the reception (starting with the couple's parents, and working through - closest family first), and then initiating the speeches from the top table, and thanking the Bridesmaids.

Again, he is traditionally unmarried, but more importantly he is the Groom's closet friend, and ideally, lives nearby, or can be around in plenty of time for the wedding. And, as we begin to hurtle through the 21st Century - he can, of course, be a she!


Their task is to organise guests as they enter the ceremony, seating them according to whether they are from the Bride of Groom's family.

Normally male relatives or close friends, it is normal for them to ask guests 'Bride or Groom?' as they enter, but nicer if they just know!

Oh yes, this role means they have to be at the Ceremony before anyone else - so perhaps don't ask someone notorious for being 30 minutes later to everything!

For more information on seating your guests both at the ceremony and at the reception, and for conventional arrangements of the wedding party leaving the ceremony, view our 'Structuring the Wedding Party' page

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