What are the responsibilities of the bridal party?

Congratulations you’re engaged! Now you need to figure out who is going to be in your bridal party. Some of those decisions are easy, Mother of the bride – not a tough choice there, however some are a lot more difficult.

Before you rush to tell your friends their roles it is important to remember that each member of the bridal party has important responsibilities for the wedding. This means you need to pick people you can rely on.

There is no point having your brother’s long-term girlfriend or the groom’s cousin as one of your bridesmaids if you honestly don’t think that they will be helpful when it comes to putting together your wedding. There other parts they can play in the wedding to make sure they are involved but you need to think about what you will need for your big day.

To make things a little easier we have put together a list of all the people that make up a bridal party and, more importantly, what their responsibilities are.

Bride (and Groom’s) responsibilities

We wanted to include these tasks and think it’s important to highlight that they fall on both the bride and the groom. As the couple getting wed you will obviously have the majority of the responsibilities but it’s important to share the load between you!

The bride and groom should:

•    Look at your finances and decide on a budget for the wedding – stick to it.
•    Decide on the style and theme of the wedding.
•    Agree on the venues, date and time of the ceremony and then pay all of the relevant deposits.
•    Book your honeymoon.
•    Order or make your stationary – save the date, wedding invitations and thank you cards.
•    Select who will be in your wedding party.
•    Obtain your marriage license and any other documentation you may need.
•    Book your caterer, DJ, florist, photographer & videographer, wedding cake baker and any other industry professionals you need for your big day.
•    Compile guest list and send out invitations.
•    Organise transportation for the day for both you and your guests – also suggest any hotels to guests that are coming from out of town.
•    Purchase wedding bands.
•    Create seating plan for the wedding breakfast.
•    Plan rehearsal dinner and send out invitations.
•    Buy or make wedding favours.
•    Obtain all travel necessities for your honeymoon; passport, currency, injections, etc. and then pack.
•    Buy thank you gifts for the wedding party and present them at the rehearsal dinner.
•    Turn up on wedding day – get married.
•    Go through all your gifts and write personalised thank you notes.

Bride’s responsibilities

In addition to the tasks you will share with your future husband these following ones are also worth paying attention to.

The bride should:

•    Find a gorgeous wedding dress that fits you and makes you feel beautiful.
•    Pick bridesmaids dresses.
•    Decide how you are going to have your hair & makeup and who is going to do it.
•    Decide on any bridal jewellery.
•    Organise bridal bouquets, corsages and boutonnières for wedding party.
•    If you are taking you groom’s surname, file any name-change documentation – passport, driving licence, bank details etc.
•    Make sure you have something borrowed, something blue, something old and something new – if you’re feeling traditional!

Maid of Honour’s responsibilities

The maid of honour is the bride’s right-hand woman. Other than the groom, this member of the wedding party will probably be relied on most by the bride, both for practical advice and help, as well as rounding up the bridesmaids and being an emotional rock.

The maid of honour should:

•    Help the bride choose her perfect wedding dress – try not be too opinionated in this process.
•    Assist bride in picking the bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories.
•    Contribute to the wedding invitation process – write addresses, stick envelopes, post.
•    Help the bride organise the bridesmaids.
•    Plan and host the ‘hen do’.
•    Help with any wedding favours – make or collect and ensure they are correct.
•    Arrange a timetable for the bride on the wedding day, so she does not fall behind and arrives at the church on time.
•    Assist the bride getting ready on her wedding day and be the official ladies’ room attendant for the bride if she needs one!
•    Double check all the bridesmaids’ outfits before they walk down the aisle to make sure there are no wardrobe malfunctions.
•    Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
•    Help serve the wedding cake at the reception and mingle with guests to ensure everyone has a good time.
•    If the bride leaves for the honeymoon from the wedding take charge of the wedding dress.

Mother of the Bride’s responsibilities

The mother of the bride traditionally has a large role to play when it comes to helping plan your wedding. It’s up to you how much you want to involve her, which is why we have made some of these responsibilities optional.

The mother of the bride should:

•    Help the bride choose her perfect wedding dress – try not be too opinionated in this process.
•    If invited, assist the bride in picking the bridesmaids’ dresses.
•    Aid the bride and groom in their guest list compilation, with help from the father of the bride and the groom’s parents.
•    If requested, send out save the date cards and keep a note of formal invitation replies.
•    Make a list of guests for the Ushers.
•    If asked, assist in details of the ceremony and reception – ie. caterer, DJ, florist, photographer & videographer, wedding cake baker, etc.
•    Help the bride and groom create a seating plan, with advice from the father of the bride and the groom’s parents.
•    Organise a guest book and bring it to the venue.
•    Help serve the wedding cake and mingle with guests to ensure everyone has a good time.
•    Receive and take home all gifts from the reception.

Father of the Bride’s responsibilities

The father of the bride traditionally pays for the wedding, however this custom is quite old and some may say outdated – we’re remaining on the fence in this debate!

However, the father of the bride should:

•    Help the bride and groom in their guest list compilation, with input from the mother of the bride and the groom’s parents.
•    Purchase or rent a suit that matches/compliments the Groom’s wedding party.
•    If asked, assist in details of the ceremony and reception – ie. caterer, DJ, florist, photographer & videographer, wedding cake baker, etc.
•    Assist the bride and groom in the creation of a seating plan, with help from the mother of the bride and the groom’s parents.
•    Ride with bride to the ceremony – tell her how beautiful she looks!
•    Escort the bride down the aisle on left arm.
•    Write father of the bride speech (in advance!) and give speech at reception.
•    Dance second dance with the bride.
•    Help gather gifts after the reception.

Bridesmaids's responsibilities

These lovely ladies, however many you have, may not have quite as many responsibilities as the maid of honour but will still have an important part to play in your wedding.

The bridesmaids should:

•    Assist bride in picking the bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories – turn up for all appointments and fittings on time!
•    If asked, help the bride choose her perfect wedding dress – do not be too opinionated in this process.
•    Be the bride’s ‘errand girls’ – collect bridesmaids’ dresses, shoes, bridal bouquets, corsages and boutonnières, etc.
•    Support the maid of honour in planning the ‘hen do’.
•    Help with any wedding favours – make or collect and ensure they are correct.
•    Could be called upon to help decorate the venue.
•    Check for any items accidentally left by guests at the ceremony venue.
•    Be responsible for a few tables each at the reception to check on guests at a regular basis and make sure everyone is happy.
•    Mingle with guests to ensure everyone has a good time.

Junior Bridesmaids and Flower Girls’ responsibilities

We’ll be honest, these two sections of the bridal party don’t have an awful lot of responsibilities – if any. However, we felt it was important to include them as a lot of people debate at what point a girl is too old to be a flower girl, when she should become a junior bridesmaid and what the differences between the two are.

We thought we'd take a moment or two to clear things up.

Traditionally a flower girl wears a dress that is a similar colour to the bride’s with accessories, (ribbons, gloves, hair accessories, etc.) of a similar colour to the bridesmaids’ dresses. The flower girls are also usually between the ages of four to eight while junior bridesmaids are older children or young teenagers.

This is just a general rule of thumb and we would like to highlight that we think it is perfectly normal for a girl aged nine to ten to also be a flower girl if that is what you would prefer at your wedding.

However if a young girl is eleven or older, being a flower girl may not be the right role for her as she may consider herself to be more mature than the title indicates. Also, if you have much younger children as flower girls she may feel a little put-out that you have placed her with the ‘babies’.

This is where having a ‘junior bridesmaid’ role may be perfect for an older girl in your family that you want to include in your bridal party. The junior bridesmaid doesn’t often have any more responsibilities than the flower girls but the title acts as a distinguisher between the age groups.

Junior bridesmaids also tend to wear an outfit that is similar to the bridesmaids in colour and design but this can obviously depend on what the bridesmaids are wearing – a strapless, floor-length gown may not be the most practical idea for a child!

A lot of this is up to the bride and groom’s preference but we thought it was important to mention if you are considering what roles people can play in your bridal party.

Feeling particularly organised? Why not take a sneak peek at our Wedding Party Gifts for future inspiration. Also, if you need any more help with your wedding planning then take a look at Knots Villa’s planning advice blog post – it’s definitely worth a read!