A bridal party is a group chosen to walk alongside the couple getting married. Traditionally, it contains groomsmen, bridesmaids, flower girls, and page boys or ring bearers. There are maids (or matrons if married) of honour and a groom of honour. They specialised roles before and during the wedding, besides accompanying the main couple to the altar.
The duties of a bridal party
Before the bride walks down the aisle, the bridal party is the opening act. Some couples prefer the bridesmaids to be accompanied by groomsmen down the aisle. Flower girls then sometimes drop flower petals ahead of the bride while some carry her train, and a ring bearer precedes the bride, who her parents escort. The maid or matron of honour can also carry the bride’s wedding dress train or walk with the flower girls. This depends on the main couple’s expectations.
There are ways a bridal party can ensure they make the big day as fluid as possible and fun for themselves.
While some couples hire a professional wedding planner or plan it themselves, the bridesmaids can sometimes contribute to the planning process. When they are close to the bride, they help her choose the designs for the bridesmaids’ gowns. In addition, bridesmaids can help the bride select the best menu for the big day. Some may also be involved in fundraising efforts.
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To keep things smooth-flowing, when assigned these tasks, members of the bridal party should notify the couple what is within their capacity to contribute. This reduces the hassles of checking up on whether duties are done. Telling the bride in advance that you won’t be joining them for a menu sampling relieves them of the tension of looking for a replacement at the last minute.
The bridesmaids and maid of honour are also responsible for planning and hosting the bridal shower. They also invite the bride’s closest friends and family. The maid of honour is also responsible for accounting for the gifts delivered to the bride before the wedding.
Bridal parties are required to wear custom outfits for the day. Some brides may ask for input in the design of the clothes, while others only require you to show up at the tailor on time to get the measurements. On the days set aside for fitting, bridal party members should be punctual or courteous if the days clash with something else they’re doing. Agreeing to be part of someone’s bridal party means adjusting your schedule to accommodate the wedding plans.
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Some couples also require the bridal party to make contributions to their outfits. If this is the agreed arrangement, make sure your payment is on time. If the dress is a rental, don’t make unauthorized alterations and add extra costs to yourself or the bride.
Every bridal party member should show up on time for the dress rehearsal. This helps everyone know what their exact roles will be at the wedding. If there will be any dancing or coordinated steps, the rehearsal is the best day to practice and get the approval of the main couple.
4. Wedding day duties
The wedding is usually a foray of activity. The couple may be unable to ensure everything is working as it should. Some couples hire a planner, ushers, servers, and other go-betweens to ensure everything is seamless. However, members of the bridal party can still help. The maid of honour can ensure that the couple’s parents are comfortable. They can also help corral the children in the bridal party, keeping them occupied and from wandering off or damaging any centrepieces.
During the morning of preparations, the bridal party can be messengers between the bride’s and groom’s parties.
The maid and groom of honour may also be called upon to witness the couple’s marriage certificate signing.
The maid of honour is also responsible for the accounting of the wedding gifts. They also ensure all gifts are safely packed for transport to the couple’s home or their chosen location.
Sometimes, there may be acrimony between some family or friends. Bridal party members should run interference whenever they see any conflict brewing. Coordinate with the wedding planner to keep guests who may be at loggerheads far away from each other. Members of the bridal party who are close family and are privy to these conditions should help maintain peace and calm on the wedding day.
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Bridal party etiquette
Basic manners are necessary to ensure no mishaps on the big day. It may be best not to overindulge in alcohol until the afterparty is well underway. The bridal party may be called to help delegate duties among the wedding staff.
If the outfits given are rentals, ensure they are dry-cleaned and pressed before returning them to the bride.
Read also: Weddings: 4 Reasons Why You Should Let the Bridesmaids Choose Their Dresses
Members of the bridal party shouldn’t try to outshine the main couple. Unless directed by the couple, keep hairdos, makeup, and accessories understated. Don’t add a statement piece if the bride has assigned specific jewellery. This reduces any unforeseen animosity and helps keep the wedding focused on the main couple.
The wedding is an important day for the main couple. Being chosen to be part of the bridal party is an honour but also a vital task. Tact and grace are important to help reduce any stress from planning and holding the wedding. If the bridal party is a close group of friends, they can coordinate to get a special gift for the couple as a thank-you for being chosen to be a part of the wedding.
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