Roles of the White Wedding Bridal Party and their Duties
Weddings follow many traditions which vary from culture to culture and country to country. Traditional wedding colors for countries and cultures also vary enormously so for the purpose of this piece we are focusing on the traditional white wedding which is popular in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The wedding party is all individuals who are directly involved in the wedding ceremony. It is also referred to as the bridal party. The wedding party comprises some of all of the following: Bride, Bridegroom or groom, bridesmaid, chief bridesmaid, maid of honor or matron of honor, best man or best men, ushers, flower girl, page boy and ring bearer.
Europe (PRUnderground) March 8th, 2010
The bride of course is the lady who is about to be married, and the term can be used if she has just been married. The groom or bridegroom is the man who is going to be married.
One of the most important traditions for the bride is the wearing of a wedding dress or wedding gown. She may also wear a veil and carry a bouquet of flowers. In the western world the bride usually wears something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
A bridegroom’s outfit on the day in is a formal suit and servicemen may marry in their military uniform. A formal suit may be a morning suit for the ceremony followed by a tux in the evening.
Bridesmaids are normally young ladies who are close friends or sisters of the bride. Bridesmaids attend to the bride on the day of the wedding ceremony.
The head bridesmaid is known as the Matron of Honor if she is married or chief bridesmaid if she is unmarried. In the United Kingdom, the Maid of Honor originally referred to the female attendant of a queen. The Matron of Honor is the female equivalent of the best man.
The duties performed by the Matron of Honor may be as many or as varied as she allows the bride to ask of her. They usually include duties at the wedding ceremony including organization of the wedding itself and the invitations, organize the hen party. She may also help immediately prior to the wedding by helping the bride to dress, and get ready for the special occasion.
Bridesmaids over the age of 18 may be legal witnesses who sign the marriage license after the wedding ceremony. If there is a reception after the wedding, the maid of honor may be asked to offer a toast to the newlyweds.
A groomsman or usher is one of the male attendants to the bridegroom in a wedding ceremony. Groomsman is more common a term in the United States and usher is more commonly used in the United Kingdom. Usually the bridegroom selects his closest friends and relatives and it is considered a great honor. One of the groomsmen will be chosen to be the best man.
The duties of the groomsmen are to help guests find their places before the ceremony and to participate in the wedding ceremony ensuring that everyone is comfortable.
Best man duties may include the following
1. Planning and arranging the Stag Night or Bachelor party
2. Making sure that the groom arrives on time to the wedding venue.
3. Church fees paid on behalf of the groom.
4. Issuing of buttonholes and Orders of Service or delegation to the ushers
5. Looking after the wedding rings and presenting them to the vicar when required during the service.
6. Being an official witness to the signing of the marriage register.
7. Escorting the maid of honor or chief bridesmaid down the church aisle.
8. Arranging transportation from the ceremony to the reception and sometimes decoration of the wedding car.
9. To make Best man toast at the reception this ideally is to be funny but respectable.
10. Organizing clothing and changing logistics for the bride and groom at reception and if required for honeymoon departure.
11. Arranging to have the wedding presents collected.
12. The old tradition of the first dance with the chief bridesmaid or maid on honor.
13. Generally ensuring that the wedding goes without a hitch and the guests are happy
The flower girl walks in front of the bride during an entrance processional. She may spread flower petals on the floor before the bride or carry a bouquet. Once the processional is over, a young flower girl will sit down with her parents. If the ceremony will not be particularly long, an older child may prefer to quietly stand at the altar with the other attendants.
The couple may decide to have more than one flower girl, especially if the bride has several young female relatives and does not want to leave any of the girls out. This practice is popular at British royal weddings, or at Victorian-themed weddings.
The flower girls male equivalent is the page boy who is a young male attendant at the wedding ceremony. The page boy usually carries the brides train. A page is often involved in British royal weddings.
The ring bearer if used would carry a large satin pillow on which imitation rings are sewn, while the real wedding bands are kept in the safekeeping of the best man. If the real rings are used, they are secured with thread to prevent their accidental loss.
Ring bearers are usually between 4 and 10 years of age and may be male or female. If the couple have had children before marriage, then one of their own children may be the ring bearer.
It is traditional for the happy couple to show thanks and appreciation to the wedding party by presenting each person with an individual thank you gift. Parents of the bride and groom are usually given a gift also. Traditional gifts for the male party are pocket watches and tankards whilst the females are given trinket boxes, crystal or glass keepsakes. All of these may be personalized with special messages from the happy couple to that individual member of the bridal party.
The type of information which is usually engraved is the wedding date, location, role that the person played, and photographs can also be engraved or laser engraved onto gifts. This service is provided free of charge by many reputable gift companies.