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Wedding Party Roles & Responsibilities You Need To Know

Wedding Party Roles

Maid of Honor  |  Bridesmaids  |  Best Man  |  Groomsmen  |  Mother of Bride  |  Mother of Groom  |  Father of Bride  |  Flower Girl  |  Ring Bearer  |  Ushers & Attendants  |  Wedding Officiant

Every Wedding Role + Responsibility Checklist

Having a role in a wedding is always fun but also a big responsibility! From the maid of honor to the ring bearer, everyone needs to know where to be and when. If you’re the bride, make sure you choose the right people for each role by considering how much time, money, and enthusiasm they have. If you’re a friend or family member preparing for a role in a wedding, make sure you keep a list of all your duties and try to stay on top of everything. With everyone on the same page, the wedding and the pre-wedding events can all run smoothly.

Each wedding party title is important in its own way and comes with its own list of responsibilities and duties. We created this handy guide to help everyone in the wedding party understand their role. 

Wedding Party at the Alter

Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses | Mike Zawadzki

1) The Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor

The maid of honor is one of the most respected roles at a wedding. Traditionally you would call her your maid of honor if she’s unmarried or matron of honor if she’s married already. This role is essentially the head bridesmaid. She takes on all the responsibilities of a bridesmaid plus more. Her counterpart is the best man who is the highest ranking groomsman.

a) Who Is the Maid of Honor?

Your maid of honor could realistically be anyone you want but it should be someone who: you feel very comfortable with, has the time to help you plan events, can organize your other bridesmaids, and you can rely on to be punctual. Most importantly, your maid of honor should be someone who actually wants the role and is enthusiastic about taking on the responsibility.

Maid of Honor and Bride

Rosewood Bridesmaid Dresses | Tonya Hjort Photography

Traditionally, the maid of honor would be your sister or your closest female friend. Just remember, if you have a sibling they may be expecting this role. If you feel like your best friend is better suited for the role of maid of honor, you’ll need to let your sister down politely.

A lot of modern brides are ignoring tradition by choosing man of honor, person of honor, or honor attendant. If your best friend happens to not be a woman, a non-traditional wedding title might be your best bet. 

b) Maid of Honor Pre-Wedding Responsibilities

The maid of honor’s role is essentially to be the bride’s second in command. The bride needs her bestie on her big day and all the days leading up to it. If the bride is stressed about certain parts of wedding planning, the maid of honor is who she can turn to for help. The maid of honor should try to offer her help with wedding planning and pre-wedding events whenever she can.

Pre-wedding maid of honor duties checklist:

Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses

Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses | Afton Joy Photography

c) Maid of Honor Responsibilities for the Wedding Day

The maid of honor stands next to the bride at the altar on her big day. She’s her right-hand woman, literally. The maid of honor should be the bride’s go-to for anything she needs. She assists the bride all day with everything from helping her lift her dress in the bathroom to telling the caterer the bride needs a snack.

Maid of honor duties on the wedding day:

Maid of Honor Speech

Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses | CR Photos

2) The Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids are specially chosen by the bride to stand with her on her wedding day. Being chosen as a bridesmaid is a special honor. Whether the bride has 10 bridesmaids or just 1, it’s incredible to know you’re one of her favorite human beings. The role of bridesmaid is so much fun but also comes with plenty of responsibility and duties.

a) Who Should Be a Bridesmaid?

When choosing bridesmaids, the bride typically starts with family members like sisters and cousins, then moves to close friends. These chosen bridesmaids are usually and traditionally all the bride’s favorite women in her life.

Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses

Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses | Jenny Jolley

If you’re the bride and you are close with people of other genders, you can also choose to have a mixed-gender bridal party. You aren’t forced to stick with traditional wedding choices, so why not mix in a bridesman or bridesmate? Just make sure to choose the people who really want to be there for you during wedding prep, who won’t be financially burdened by the costs, and who you can rely on during your big day.

b) How Many Bridesmaids Should There Be?

Usually brides choose 3-5 bridesmaids. You can choose however many bridesmaids as you want, just keep the logistics of your wedding in mind. If you have 10 best friends and want them all there besides you, you’ll have to make sure the venue has space for them and the photographer can fit them all in your photos. If you only have 1 best friend, I’m sure she’ll be ecstatic to be your one and only.

Rosewood Bridesmaid Dresses

Rosewood Bridesmaid Dresses | Tonya Hjort Photography

c) Pre-Wedding Responsibilities for the Bridesmaids

Being a bridesmaid isn’t just about wearing a matching dress on wedding day. The bride needs to know you’ll be there for her on the days leading up to her wedding, so make sure she knows she can come to you for honest advice, emotional support, and the occasional favor. Bridesmaids are expected to attend all the pre-wedding events like the bachelorette party, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner.

There’s also a financial commitment involved. Bridesmaids need to purchase their own bridesmaid dress and accessories. Be sure you’re honest with everyone about your availability and budget! If you can’t afford an expensive dress, won’t be able to make a long-distance bachelorette, or other potential issues, make that known to the bride and other bridesmaids. 

Pre-wedding bridesmaid duties checklist:

  • Try on bridesmaid dresses
  • Pay for your dress and alterations
  • Ask the bridal shower host if they need help
  • Be there for the bride emotionally
  • Attend all pre-wedding events (bridal shower, bachelorette, rehearsal, etc.)
  • Help plan and execute the bachelorette party
  • Offer to help the bride with wedding planning & errands

Bridesmaid Pajamas

Bridesmaid Pajamas | Allie Atkisson

d) Bridesmaid Duties on the Wedding Day

Bridesmaids are the bride’s support system on wedding day. Make sure you know exactly where you’re supposed to be for different parts of the wedding so the day can run smoothly. Try to be available to the bride and maid of honor the entire event in case they need a helping hand. Your main goal for the day is to be enthusiastic, supportive, and reliable.

Wedding day bridesmaid responsibilities:

  • Arrive early for wedding preparations
  • Get ready with the group
  • Stand in line next to the bride during the ceremony
  • Pose for photos
  • Greet the bride’s family and friends
  • Participate in the grand entrance to the reception
  • Assist the maid of honor
  • Keep the energy up on the dance floor
  • Help with any post-wedding clean-up

Bridesmaid Duties

Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses | Afton Joy Photography

3) The Best Man

The best man earned that title for a reason. If you’ve been chosen for this special honor, congratulations, you really are the best. The best man is responsible for everything from making sure the groom is ready on time to planning an entertaining bachelorette party. Let us help you learn everything you need to know about the best man role.

a) Who Is the Best Man?

The best man is usually the groom’s brother or best friend. While the role is typically served by a man, we encourage grooms to choose the person closest to them regardless of gender. If you’re the groom, choose someone who: will be stoked about planning a bachelor party, is always on time, and has been a long-term figure in your life.

Best Man on Wedding Day

Color Coordinating Groomsmen Ties in Deep Sea | Valen Lee Photography

b) Best Man Responsibilities Leading Up to the Wedding

On the journey from engagement to the wedding day the best man should be along for every step. The best man’s main role is to be there for the groom in any way he’s needed. The bachelor party is the most well known duty for the best man but he should also be involved in any other wedding preparations that the groom needs help with.

Pre-wedding best man duties checklist:

  • Plan the perfect bachelor party
  • Order your suit, tie, & other accessories
  • Make sure your suit is properly tailored 
  • Provide support and advice to the groom
  • Attend rehearsal dinner and all pre-wedding events

Groomsmen Bowties

Slate Blue Groomsmen Bowties | Allyson Flinner Photography

c) Best Man Day of Wedding Duties

On the wedding day the best man is the groom’s right hand man (almost literally). The best man will be standing directly next to the groom during the ceremony as his number one supporter. He should also be ready to help with anything the groom may need during the hectic wedding day. The best man is responsible for the wedding rings, keeping all the groomsmen in line, and some other incredibly important details.

Wedding day best man responsibilities:

  • Make sure the groom and groomsmen are ready on time
  • Help the groom calm his nerves
  • Be a messenger between the groom and bride if needed
  • Hold onto the rings before the ceremony
  • Stand next to the groom at the altar
  • Sign the marriage license as a witness
  • Give a speech at the wedding reception
  • Keep everyone entertained on the dance floor

Best Man Speech

Rosewood Bridesmaid Dresses | Tonya Hjort Photography

4) The Groomsmen

The groom chooses a few of his best friends that he wants standing next to him as he marries the love of his life. These chosen few are his groomsmen. Groomsmen are meant to support the groom through his journey to the altar and beyond. Being a groomsman involves partying with the groom at the bachelor party and wedding reception but it also comes with some important responsibilities.

a) Who Should Be a Groomsman?

The groomsmen are specially chosen by the groom out of everyone he knows. The group is typically made up of the groom’s best friends, brothers, and close family members. While groomsmen are typically only men, nowadays we’ve seen plenty of groomswomen and groomspeople. If your best friend is your sister, why not include her in your wedding party? Choose groomsmen who will be excited to be part of your wedding, responsible enough to show up on time, and will be a big part of your life for a long time.

Taupe Groomsmen Ties

Gold Satin Groomsmen Ties | Kylea Wares Photography

b) Pre-Wedding Duties for the Groomsmen

The groomsmen should be ready to attend every pre-wedding event, support the groom on his way to the altar, and make sure they have the right suit and accessories for the big day.

Pre-wedding groomsmen responsibilities:

  • Help the best man plan the bachelor party
  • Attend the bachelor party and wedding rehearsal
  • Be ready to run errands for the groom if needed
  • Purchase the correct suit (and help pick it out)
  • Make sure your suit is properly tailored
  • Emotionally support the groom

Moss Green Groomsmen Ties - Groomsmen laughing

Moss Green Groomsmen Ties | Lavender Linen Photo

c) What Do Groomsmen Do? Day of Wedding Responsibilities

The groomsmen should be available to the groom during the entirety of the wedding day. The best man may delegate some tasks to the other groomsmen as needed.

Groomsmen duties on the wedding day:

  • Arrive early to get ready with the group
  • Greet guests as they arrive
  • Be ready for photos
  • Support the bride and groom as needed
  • Keep guests entertained during the reception
  • Help clean up after the wedding

Moss Green Groomsmen Ties

Moss Green Groomsmen Ties | Moss Green Bridesmaid Dresses | CR Photos

5) The Mother of the Bride

If you’re the mother of the bride your role is to be supportive in all the ways you normally are plus more. Let’s be honest, you’ve probably been going above and beyond for your daughter for her entire life. Bring that energy to her wedding planning and the big day. Just make sure you always ask her which ways you should help so you don’t overstep.

a) Mother of the Bride Duties Pre-Wedding

Before the wedding, your daughter will need you to help her with anything and everything to do with the planning process. Remember to be a rock she can lean on when her bridesmaids can’t be there.

Pre-wedding mother of the bride checklist:

  • Help the bride shope for her dress
  • Provide heirlooms and answer questions about family traditions
  • Purchase your mother of the bride dress
  • Edit the guest list and provide names/addresses
  • Host the bridal shower if necessary
  • Coordinate with the mother of the groom when possible

Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride Dresses | Reigh Walker Photography

b) Wedding Day Mother of the Bride Duties

In between your tears of joy on your daughter’s wedding day, you’ll have some important responsibilities to take care of. The mother of the bride should always be aware of what the wedding schedule is supposed to be like and which vendors should be where. Try to do what moms do best and keep everyone in line and on time.

Mother of the bride wedding day checklist:

  • Help the bride get ready
  • Keep the bridal party organized and on schedule
  • Greet guests, introduce different groups
  • Pose for photos with the bride and groom
  • Walk the bride down the aisle (if asked)
  • Participate in reception entrance if necessary

Mother of the Bride Dress

Mother of the Bride Dresses | Reigh Walker Photography

6) The Mother of the Groom

The mother of the groom often plays just as important of a role as the mother of the bride. If your son is getting married, get excited! Ask him and his future bride how you can be helpful during the wedding planning and on the big day. If you’re willing and able, you should also offer to host or assist with any pre-wedding events.

a) Mother of the Groom Expectations Leading Up to Wedding

The mother of the groom’s duties leading up to the wedding are flexible. Traditionally, this list would include planning and hosting the rehearsal dinner. Generally, try to be available to the bride and groom for emotional support and coordinate with the bride’s mother and bridesmaids to help with pre-wedding events.

Pre-wedding mother of the groom responsibilities:

  • Attend and/or host the bridal shower
  • Provide addresses, names, and suggestions for the guest list
  • Help the bride with wedding dress shopping (if asked)
  • Purchase a mother of the groom dress
  • Plan and host the rehearsal dinner AKA groom’s dinner
  • Coordinate with the mother of the bride on events and attire

Mother of the Groom and the Groom hugging

b) Traditional Mother of the Groom Wedding Day Duties

The wedding day will be an emotional day if your son is the one getting married. Since the mother of the groom doesn’t have too many specific duties on the wedding day, make sure you take time to enjoy this special occasion. Offer to help in any way you can and make sure you remember where you’re needed for photos, dancing, and entrances.

Mother of the groom wedding day responsibilities:

  • Be supportive of your son and daughter-in-law
  • Pose for photos with the bride and groom
  • Greet and help direct guests
  • Know the plan for the reception entrance
  • Participate in a mother-son dance
  • Help the bride and groom when asked

Mother of the Groom

Mother of the Groom Dresses | Reigh Walker Photography

7) The Father of the Bride

Few people will be more emotional on the wedding day than the father of the bride. If you’re the father of the bride: don’t forget you have a few responsibilities to take care of for the wedding. 

a) Traditional Father of the Bride Responsibilities

Although rare in modern weddings, traditionally, the bride’s father would pay for the wedding. If your daughter is getting married and you have the means, you should offer to help pay for a portion of the wedding. You could also offer help the couple negotiate their vendor contracts. One of several important tasks the father has is finding the perfect song for the father-daughter dance.

Father of the Bride walking down the aisle

Father of the bride responsibilities:

  • Offer financial assistance for the wedding
  • Be supportive during the planning process
  • Walk the bride down the aisle
  • Give the bride away at the altar
  • Pose for photos
  • Participate in reception entrances
  • Give a toast (if asked)
  • Dance the father-daughter dance

8) The Flower Girl(s)

The flower girl walks down the aisle before the bride tossing flower petals along the way. This role is typically filled by a little girl anywhere from age 3 to 8 from some part of the bride or groom’s family. You could even have multiple flower girls if you have a few cuties who would love to be included as part of the wedding. 

Flower Girls on Wedding Day

To choose a flower girl, think about which kiddos in your life could make it from point a to point b with minimal distraction. Then, ask their parents if they want their child participating in the wedding. As a special surprise you could get your flower girl a gift to thank her for being such an adorable part of your big day!

9) The Ring Bearer(s)

The ring bearer is traditionally a little boy who walks down the aisle with the bride and groom’s wedding rings. The ring bearer is usually 3 to 8 years old, so watching them walk around with the wedding rings can be nerve wracking. Make sure they only need to be responsible for the rings from beginning of the aisle to the altar, the best man will hold the rings before that.

Wedding Ring Bearers

Often, couples will tie the rings to a small pillow to make it more difficult for the rings to get dropped or lost. To make things easier, try to choose a ring bearer who is responsible for his age and won’t get lost walking to the altar. You could even give the ring bearer a sign or an empty pillow to hold instead of letting him hold the real rings.

10) Ushers and Personal Attendants

Ushers and personal attendants are both optional wedding roles. While having both is nice, you can use your own judgment based on your wedding venue and your needs. The ushers essentially greet guests as they arrive and make sure they know where to go. A personal attendant is specifically tasked with taking care of the bride’s needs such as making sure she’s fed, helping her adjust her dress, and communicating with other guests.

Wedding Personal Attendant Role

Black Satin Bridesmaid Dresses | Asher Gardner Photography

Check with your chosen wedding venue on their policies with these roles. Sometimes they have a personal attendant and/or ushers included in their wedding packages. If not, the ushers are often just family members or friends who want to help out during the wedding. The personal attendant can be hired as a professional or could be a chosen friend who gets to be a bonus member of the bridal party.

11) The Wedding Officiant

The officiant is the person who makes your wedding official. They are the person who speaks during your vow ceremony. They should be well spoken, respectful of your traditions, and legally ordained by the state.

a) Who Can Be the Wedding Officiant?

In the past, the wedding officiant was almost always a priest or other religious leader. Nowadays, there are a wide range of officiants at weddings. There are 3 types of officiants you can choose to make your wedding official on your big day.

Religious officiants: If you and your spouse are religious you can have your priest, rabbi, or other spiritual leader officiate the wedding. These ordained ministers will usually participate in the wedding free of charge, only expecting a donation to the church or temple.

Wedding Officiant Reading to the Couple

Professional officiants: Some people love officiating weddings and do it professionally. Hiring a professional ordained minister is the best way to make sure your ceremony is perfect. You can read reviews of their services to make sure the officiant is a good match for your wedding.

Ordained friends or family: Anyone can go through the process to become an ordained minister. You may have a friend or family member who you would love to be the person who stands with you at the altar. In this case, you just need to make sure they become officially ordained before your wedding.

Wedding Officiant at Altar

Taupe Satin Bridesmaid Dresses | Coordinating Satin Groomsmen Ties | Kylea Wares Photo

b) Wedding Officiant Responsibilities & Duties

The main goals of the officiant are to explain the sanctity of your marriage, read your vows or at least introduce them, and sign your wedding license. They will stand in front of you and your future spouse at the altar and talk you through your vows. Make sure they know exactly how you’d like your ceremony to go so they can create the perfect speech and include your favorite quotes, bible verses, or religious scripture.

Wedding Ceremony

Black Satin Bridesmaid Dresses | Asher Gardner Photography

Prepare Your Friends and Family for Their Wedding Roles

Make sure everyone in your wedding party and beyond know their roles for your wedding. The rehearsal the night before the wedding is when everyone will practice where they stand for the ceremony. Before that, there are a bunch of other events to organize, tasks to complete, and purchases to be made. As you ask your loved ones to participate in your wedding you can explain what their responsibilities are so they know what they’re agreeing to.

Bridesmaid is an especially complex and exciting wedding title. We’ve created a guide to being the perfect bridesmaid to help your besties understand their role!

Guide to Bridesmaid Duties

The Ultimate Guide to Being a Helpful Bridesmaid | Deep Sea Bridesmaid DressesValen Lee

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