This is the specially selected group of close friends and family that has been asked to join the wedding couple at the altar. The wedding party also often gets to join the couple at the head table for dinner, depending on the family or cultural traditions as well as the number of people in the wedding party.
Selecting your wedding party
There is no set rule of the number of people you need, things to remember when deciding. It is best to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsman. It is a good idea to include your siblings, they are special and important people in your lives and would be honored to be apart of your selected wedding party. When selecting your friends, choose close and reliable friends and remember, they will be in your wedding photos too. A good tip from experience, if you are having a tough time deciding between two people, pick someone close to where you live, as you might need their help and it will be a lot easier trying to coordinate with them.
A traditional number is three bridesmaids and three groomsmen. This number works out well for many reasons, it makes a nice round number of eight, which is great for wedding photos, as well if you have eight people seated a table, this makes up a rounded off head table. Regarding tasks for the groomsman, it leaves two ushers to take the wedding guests to their seats leaving the best man as a spare usher.
Having less people in your wedding party will increase your chances of pleasing all the bridesmaids when it comes to selecting their dresses. It is also a lot easier to coordinate with less people. Lastly, if you plan on buying gifts for all of the people in your wedding party, it will be less expensive for you if you have less people.
Your friends should not feel left out if you did not include them in your wedding party, so do not feel obligated to. They will understand. There is no harm in letting them know you wanted to include them in your wedding party, but due to the numbers and space and other obligations you quickly ran out of space. Assure them they are still getting a great seat at the dinner and make sure you spend time with them on your special day.
Wedding party thank you gifts
It is best to show your thanks and appreciation to your wedding party by getting them a thank you gift. This should be something above and beyond the wedding favor as everyone gets those. They will appreciate the kind gesture. This can be something that they wear or use during the day. For instance it is okay to get the guys ties, or matching cufflinks to wear and then keep afterwards. For the women it is okay to get them accessories such as a shawl or handbags.
Other common gifts for the wedding party men are flasks, money clips and pocket knives. These things can all be engraved to help commemorate the special day. For the ladies of the wedding party, some smart gift ideas are taking them to the spa with you to get a facial or a manicure.
Roles and responsibilities
The bride and groom roles and responsibilities are little more obvious in this case, so let's jump down to the others in the wedding party.
Traditionally bridesmaids pay for their dresses, but the brides selects the dresses, or at least general style and color, it is becoming increasing more popular to let the bridesmaids select their style surrounding straps, strapless, halter etc. It is even becoming more popular that the brides just select the color and the bridesmaids just choose their own dresses.
As for the gentlemen, they will also be required to dress as the groom or more realistically, as the bride requests as well as having to pay for it too. For simplicity sake, it is easiest to just rent suits or tuxedos as well as the shoes. That way all the guys will match. This will really come through in your wedding photographs, although you might want to come up with a slight variation on the groom somehow, maybe regarding the tie, or vest just to make sure he stands out a little from the rest of the crowd. The last thing you want to do is make someone in your wedding party have to go buy a new suit, because their black suit was double breasted or did not have the right number of buttons.
Maid of honor
If you have been asked by the bride to be the maid of honor, you have had some important roles that have fallen on your shoulders. The largest responsibility you will have of the day is to sign the Marriage Certificate as a witness to the legal document. Don't worry, that is the only true responsibility that you have, the rest is all fun.
During the day of the wedding, you will be walked down the aisle, most likely with the best man. As you will be the closest one to the bride, you will have the great responsibility of holding her flowers for her at times during the ceremony. You will also be traveling about with the bride through most of the day, so you should be on your toes and ready to help the bride out as much as you can. Being in the wedding party you will also get to go on the exclusive wedding photo shoot. During the reception, you may or may not be asked to say a speech. It is okay to gracefully decline from saying a speech.
Prior to the wedding day there are also some tasks that will be required or requested of you. The bride will likely be looking in your direction when it comes to shopping for her wedding dress. You will also, or if not, should ask if you can be, involved in shopping for the bridesmaids dresses. You should definitely get at least some say, as you are the one paying for it. But remember, it is the bride's wedding day, so ultimately she will get the final say. On a more fun note, the planning of the bachelorette party will often fall upon your shoulders.
Many of the same responsibilities of the maid of honor will also fall upon your shoulders as well. You will likely be included in the shopping, helping the bride before the wedding day as well as the day of. You will also be apart of the wedding photo and helpful in planning the bachelorette party or wedding shower. On the wedding day you will be walking down the aisle with one of the groomsman.
Being the best man is not just all about planning the bachelor party, although that is typically an expectation, and getting first dibs on the single bridesmaids, it actually requires some effort and a little bit of work. If you have been asked by the groom to be the best man, you have had some important roles that have fallen on your shoulders. The largest responsibility you will have of the day is to sign the Marriage Certificate as a witness to the legal document. Your next most important job is to carry the wedding rings and pass them along when asked for them. The reason why this is so important is because think of the trouble you would get in if you forgot them, or even worse, lost them. During the ceremony, the best man will walk down the aisle with maid of honor. The best man, like all others in the wedding party, will be included in the wedding photos.
The best man usually also makes a speech at the ceremony talking about the groom and is usually expected to be a little entertaining. Traditionally, the best man acts as the MC for the evening, but it is not mandatory that this happens, as it is another simple way to include someone another close friend in the wedding day.
And on a lighter note, the best man is responsible for giving the groom his last chance to get out of the marriage commitment! (Just Kidding)
One of the main roles that a groomsman or usher has is the responsibility of walking the guests to their seat. They typically greet the guests and take the women, of the couples, arm and lead them to their seat. If you are seating people of bride and groom on each of their sides, it is important for the ushers to be aware of which side is which.
Groomsman like everyone else in the wedding party, will be part of the wedding photos. They will walk down the aisle with one of the bridesmaids and join the rest of the wedding party at the head table. They will also most likely all be dressed in the same attire as the groom and the best man. They will be expected to pay for their suit or tuxedo rentals.
If you are asked to be in the wedding party, graciously accept, unless of course you know you will not be able to attend the wedding, and enjoy yourself.