By Rachel Derrig-Vanzie


Traditional wedding party roles and responsibilities

Now you’re engaged you are one step closer to saying I do! First you need to begin the fun, but sometimes challenging, wedding planning process! One of the first things on your list is usually to pick your wedding party.

It is completely up to you and your partner who is involved in your wedding party and every couple is different! You may want to stick to the traditional roles or think outside of the box and mix things up a little. It is your day and its you who ultimately decides who is who!

What is a wedding party and do I need one?

A wedding party is a group of people who are important to you and who you want to play a special role leading up to, and on, your big day. The groups role is to offer support, guidance and love throughout your wedding journey and often means the world to them to be offered a meaningful role.

Do you need a wedding party? The only person who can answer that is YOU. It is down to you and your partner to decide if you would like a wedding party or if you would like to mix it up and have no bridesmaids at all. You could choose to keep it all in the family, or even involve your pets!

Who to include in the wedding party?

This is where it gets a little bit tricky! You may have many important people in your life who you think would be more than fit for the roles, however the key is to keep it simple! You want to try and avoid leaving anyone out or offending anyone, so it is good to use family members, such as siblings, parents and children.

Best friends and the people who have been by your side for many years are also a good place to start. It is a personal decision and only one you can both make together.

Traditional roles and responsibilities

Traditionally women, bridesmaids are close friends or family of the bride. However mixed gender bridal parties are increasingly common. It is up to the bride as to who she chooses to be a part of her bridal party. Bridesmaids are expected to support the maid of honour and assist in planning appointments such as dress fitting, the hen party and sometimes help with finances for the bridesmaid dresses. On the day of the wedding, bridesmaids will walk down the aisle ahead of the bride. They may also have individual roles on the day such as handing out favours, helping with seating and keeping guests entertained.

Maid of Honour

This role is typically held by the brides best friend or sister and is the head of the bridesmaids. The brides right hand woman. The maid of honour is the biggest bridal party role and comes with various responsibilities. These can range from arranging all other bridesmaids, their fittings and dresses, planning the hen party, offering emotional support to the bride on the day and helping with the dress and veil.

Traditional wedding party roles and responsibilitiesPhotos by Field Photographic

Best Man

The best man offers the same role as the maid of honour does to the bride. He will typically be the groom’s brother or best friend. The Best Man will be there for emotional support and help with timings on the day, speeches, and planning the stag do. In some cases the best man may be in charge of holding onto the rings until the ceremony on the day as well.


The groomsmen are the support base for the groom, like the bridesmaids are to the bride. They hold the same role as the bridesmaids, where they will need to offer support in planning, and on the day help guests get seated for the ceremony and may partake in the speeches. The groomsmen will typically stand next to the groom during the ceremony. They can help with fun tasks such as the stag do and decorating the getaway car.

Traditional wedding party roles and responsibilitiesPhotos by Gemma Yeomans Photography

Mother of the Bride

The mother of the bride plays an integral part in the wedding. She will be there for her daughter through the whole planning process to offer advice and support. On the day of the wedding the mother of the bride will help the bride get ready to walk down the aisle and may also be involved in speeches during the reception.

Father of the bride

The tradition is that the father of the bride pays for the wedding. However times have changed and this is less common. Now the cost is split between to the two families or paid off by the couple. The father’s role is to give the bride away and walk her down the aisle and to take part in the father-daughter dance in the evening.

Traditional wedding party roles and responsibilitiesPhotos by Matt Selby Photography

Flower Girl

The flower girl is normally a young girl, who can be a niece, younger sibling or daughter. However, this does not have to be the case, the flower girl can be either gender or even the family beloved dog! The role is to walk down the aisle alongside the bride dropping flower petals as they go.

Ring Bearer

The ring bearer is the appointed person to carry the rings down the aisle. You can use the best man for this duty or the page boy or again you could put your trust in an animal to do this for you! This role is not set in stone and is up to you how you would like to get the rings safely down the aisle.

Traditional wedding party roles and responsibilitiesPhotos by Field Photographic

There are many other traditional and modern-day roles! As a couple it is up to you to do your research and decide what roles and responsibilities are important to you to have during your wedding planning process and on your big day. Good luck choosing your wedding party!

Rachel xx

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