Just about everybody has seen the viral email a determined bride sent to potential bridesmaids listing the responsibilities they would be taking on if they agreed to fill the role. While her presentation certainly lacked an element of decorum, it was a stark, matter-of-fact reminder that there is indeed a level of responsibility that comes with a position in the bridal party. And let’s face it … you’re going to need all the help you can get along the way.
But who can you lean on for what tasks? And who is paying the bills these days? Here’s a modern look at the roles played in the bridal party.
Bride’s Parents – While they were traditionally responsible for the bulk of the wedding costs, bills are generally divided today among the both sets of parents and the happy couple. The bride’s parents must be available early on to help with the guest list. They are also hold the engagement party, covering the costs on their own. The mother of the bride hosts the bridal luncheon, often with the help of other female family members. The father of the bride is traditionally the last person to leave the reception, making sure to settle all debts and pay tips before his departure.
Groom’s Parents – The couple may also choose to host an engagement party, however, they should only do so after the bride’s parents have hosted a soiree of their own. Once the bride’s mother has chosen her dress for the day, the mother of the groom should consult with her on color and style so their attire complements one another. The groom’s parents plan, host and pay for the rehearsal dinner and in some cases, purchase the groom’s cake. Traditionally, the father of the groom pays the officiant’s fee.
Maid/Matron of Honor – This top bridesmaid should plan on being available during the bride’s dress fittings to assist the bride and help the bride dress if formal bridal portraits are scheduled. She is responsible for organizing the bridal shower and the bachelorette party and any special bridesmaids’ events. In addition, she helps with a variety of odd jobs as needed, like creating place cards, addressing invitations and keeping a list of gifts. On the day of the ceremony, she helps the bride get into her dress and holds her bouquet at the altar. Traditionally, the maid of honor signs the wedding license as the bride’s witness. She is responsible for the purchase of her own attire for the event.
Best Man – Like his female counterpart, the best man takes the lead in organizing the bachelor party. When appropriate, he may assist in coordinating the rental of formalwear for the men in the wedding and is responsible for the rental fees of his own. He may also help arrange the toasts at the rehearsal dinner. On the day of the event, he ensures that the groom arrives at the ceremony on time – and hopefully all in one piece – and he holds the bride’s ring. He signs the marriage license as the groom’s witness and makes sure that transportation is ready for the happy couple at the end of the night.
Bridesmaids – Working as support staff to the maid of honor and the bride, the bridesmaids may do a variety of tasks, from addressing envelopes to planning the bachelorette. Bridesmaids are responsible for the price of their dresses and shoes and must make themselves available for fitting and alterations as needed.
Groomsmen – They help the best man with bachelorette plans and serve as greeters and seaters during the main event. They pay for their own formalwear rental and are responsible for picking up and dropping off the attire. They are generally the first to arrive to the ceremony, to assist with seating, and the last to leave the reception.
Flower Girl – While this role is held by a child, the parents are generally responsible for the purchase of the necessary attire. The flower girl should be involved in all rehearsal events.
Ring Bearer – Like the flower girl, the rental or purchase of the ring bearer’s attire for the day fall to the parents. He, too, should be involved in all rehearsal events.