You're engaged and one of the best jobs wedding jobs is undoubtedly asking your nearest and dearest to be in your wedding party. Depending on how you want to manage your wedding will affect which roles and responsibilities you might like to assign to your wedding party. You know your friends best though, so you don't need to stick to any rules! Choose jobs that will suit them and that you know they can manage around other commitments. Here's just a few ideas of what tasks can be assigned where...
Maid of Honour - Help look after other members of the bridal party to organise dress fittings, hair and make up, shoes etc. She may accompany you to choose your own dress too. They should also be someone you really trust to bounce ideas off, vent any frustrations and generally be a shoulder to lean on throughout the planning process! She's usually responsible for arranging your hen-do which can require a lot of planning so if your maid of honour has a busy schedule or doesn't know many of the 'hens', then consider having this as a joint task with another bridesmaid. Importantly, she'll also be the one on your big day to look after you - make sure you've eaten, calm the nerves, fix your hair /make up before the photos, hold your bouquet while you say your vows. It's not unusual these days for the Maid of Honour to do a speech too should you wish.
Best Man (or Men!) - It seems the days of being tied naked to a lamp-post on your Stag-do are thankfully over, but do ensure you and your Best Man are on the same page in terms of what you'd actually like to do before he starts planning your Stag! The Best Man is also responsible for helping to round up any other male members of the wedding party to go and try on suits. It's important to discuss with him any financial contributions required up front. It can be useful for the best man to have a trusted person to run his speech past - there's a fine line between funny and offensive! They can help pick up any hired items in the lead up to the big day and perhaps do any prep on the morning of the wedding if needed. He'll be responsible for distributing the button holes on the morning of the wedding and most importantly, looking after the wedding rings ahead of the ceremony! Depending whether you have Ushers there may be other tasks - an arm for an elderly relative between ceremony and reception, giving out umbrellas should it rain, directing people towards the gift table etc. They may also be the ones to help collect items from the venue on the morning after the wedding.
Bridesmaids - It's important to be upfront about any costs for bridesmaids. They would generally expect to pay for their own dress, shoes and perhaps accessories but this depends on your budget and their financial situation. If you are asking them to pay, you may need to be a little flexible in your choices. Bridesmaids can be a great help with any DIY tasks you have such as assisting with favours table plans, styling ideas etc. The may be able to assist your Maid of Honour with the Hen party too. The day before the wedding they can help style the venue, collecting any hired items, check in with flower girls/page boys. On the day tasks can include giving out confetti, looking after the bouquets, managing your make up bag, assisting you on bathroom trips (it can be tricky in a big dress!) and generally making sure you have the best day ever!
Ushers - The key roles for Ushers is often ahead of the ceremony. They'll be looking after parking, seating arrangements, order of service booklets, escorting guests to their seats, holding umbrellas. They're also key to finding the right guests and helping manage the photos so they need a list of key guests so they can have them ready and lined up! They also should be ready to greet any evening guests too.
Whoever you choose, make sure it's enjoyable for them and you too. This is a super fun day you're planning and the most important thing is to be really clear from the start if you have certain events or tasks you need them to commit to. Lastly, there might be occasions when they need to turn you down - perhaps the Groom's best friend's hates public speaking and he's too nervous to do a speech. Or perhaps your best female friend is pregnant or with a young baby and you were planning a wild weekend in Ibiza for your Hen Do. Remember there's no set rules to all this - you can have someone else do a speech or arrange a special lunch with you and your MOH instead. Make it work for you and most of all - have fun! It's one special day coming up and how fabulous to be able to share it with your best friends. Victoria x