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Roles and responsibilities at a wedding

Roles and responsibilities at a wedding

A successful and memorable wedding comes about as a result of careful planning and a lot of detailed hard work.

The more that this work can be delegated to reliable and competent helpers, the more the principal figures, the bride and groom, will enjoy the day.

The bride and her mother understandably play a pivotal part in organising both the ceremony and the reception.

Present-day grooms are far more involved in these preparations than was once the case.

However, the duties of the best man and chief bridesmaid remain as important as they always were.

So the selection of people to fill these two key positions should not be rushed into.

Ideally the best man and chief bridesmaid should be involved in the wedding planning from the beginning.

If work, the demands of a young family, or other factors are going to restrict their availability, it might be better to choose someone who can devote more time and attention to helping the wedding couple.

No one should underestimate the work involved in creating a wedding, though with proper delegation much of the pressure can be taken off the bride and groom, leaving them with more time to reflect on and savour the key step they are taking in preparing for a life together.

Their tasks and responsibilities head the principal roles in this section, which outlines what each participant can expect to do in playing their part in the run-up to a truly memorable wedding.

The Bride

One way of enjoying the build-up to your wedding is to delegate where you can.

Family and friends will want to rally round to help and the more you allow them to do this, the more stress you can avoid. Instead of trying to attend to every last detail yourself, let others play their part in dealing with the nitty-gritty, allowing you to take an over-view of what they do before making a final decision.

In the run-up to the wedding day the principal responsibilities of the bride (and her mother) are these:

  1. Choose the type of ceremony you would like, ?book the venue for the date and time you have settled on.
  2. Decide on the kind of reception you want; find and book the venue of your choice (if this different to the ceremony venue).
  3. Form a wedding party, which might include: best man, chief bridesmaid, bridesmaids, pageboys and ushers.
  4. Prepare a guest list.
  5. Select a florist and organise decorations for the ceremony venue, where appropriate, and the reception.
  6. Select caterers and plan the menu.
  7. Order the wedding cake.
  8. Select hymns, music and readings in consultation with whoever will be conducting the ceremony. Book any musicians who may be required.
  9. Decide who to invite to read at the ceremony and confirm that they are happy to do this.
  10. Arrange music and other entertainment for the reception.
  11. Select and book a wedding photographer and/or video maker.
  12. Prepare a list of wedding presents before the invitations are despatched and write thank-you notes as presents arrive.
  13. Order wedding stationery and despatch invitations at least six weeks before the wedding. (Some brides like to send save-the-date cards and some of these are sent up to six months in advance.)
  14. Draw up a seating plan for the reception.
  15. Decide on your wedding dress and your going-away outfit, then choose outfits for your bridesmaids and pageboys.
  16. Organise hair and beauty styling.
  17. Keep a list of replies and two weeks before the wedding follow up any guests who have yet to reply in order to finalise the guest list.
  18. Attend the wedding rehearsal.

The Mother of the Bride

The mother of the bride is, by tradition, the wedding hostess and while many of your duties overlap with those of the bride, the detailed organisation of the reception and to some extent the ceremony are your responsibility.

In preparing for the wedding, the mother of the bride should take care of the following:

  1. Contact the mother of the groom, if she hasn’t yet made contact herself.
  2. Arrange engagement announcements in the press.
  3. Help the bride and groom decide on a wedding budget.
  4. See that the guest lists are put together. Order stationery with the bride and groom and send out invitations.
  5. Make reservations for out-of-town guests invited by the bride’s family.
  6. Help choose your attire for the wedding day.
  7. See that instructions for the actual ceremony are given. This includes the seating schedule and the receiving line at the reception, as well as any special touches the bride may choose to have at her wedding.
  8. Organise a display of wedding presents at the reception (if that is desired) and make sure that someone is delegated to take charge of them when the wedding is over.

The Groom

Although the bride will take centre-stage on the wedding day, it is important for the groom to feel equally involved, particularly in the ceremony.

It is their day as much as the bride’s, a day to enjoy together and look back on with pleasure in the years that follow.

In the run-up to the wedding day the groom should:

  1. Select a best man and ushers (in consultation with the bride).
  2. Help with the wedding planning from the outset
  3. Ensure contact is made with the registrar and that all legal and other formalities are attended to.
  4. Pay all other fees associated with the ceremony.
  5. Purchase the bride’s wedding ring.
  6. Make a hotel reservation for the wedding night.
  7. Arrange the honeymoon, making sure you both have the correct documentation and inoculations.
  8. Arrange transport for yourself and the bride after the ceremony.
  9. Find an appropriate wedding suit and check that it fits correctly.
  10. Select presents for the best man, the chief bridesmaid, other bridesmaids and pages.
The Best Man

As well as acting as the groom’s traditional supporter at the wedding ceremony, the best man plays a pivotal role in dealing with a number of aspects of the wedding planning.

He is usually a brother or best friend of the groom who will need to work closely with the bride’s family and the chief bridesmaid.

In the period leading up to the wedding day the best man needs to do the following:

  1. Discuss the wedding plans well in advance with the bride and groom and keep in close contact with the bride’s family to lend a hand with the organisation.
  2. Arrange a stag night and make sure the groom returns home safely afterwards.
  3. Draw up a list of family members and any other guests who require special seating arrangements at the ceremony and give this to the ushers.
  4. Prepare a reception speech.
  5. Arrange overnight accommodation for yourself and the groom the night before the wedding.
  6. Make sure the groom has all the necessary documents for the wedding and the honeymoon – particularly, if they are required, an up-to-date passport, visas, inoculations and tickets.
  7. Attend the wedding rehearsal and check for any local activities (road works, diversions etc) that might cause delays on the wedding day.
  8. Make sure that the ushers know what they should be doing and arrange for them to have umbrellas to escort guests in case it rains on the wedding day.
  9. Arrange transport to take you and the groom to the ceremony.
  10. Arrange for the groom’s going-away clothes and luggage to be taken to the reception venue.
  11. If necessary, arrange transport to take the bride and groom away from the reception.
  12. Collect any hired items.
  13. Arrange to decorate the going-away car.
The Chief Bridesmaid

An efficient and thoughtful chief bridesmaid can take on many of the small details of wedding planning, leaving the bride with greater time to focus on what the wedding day is really all about.

The primary responsibilities of the chief bridesmaid in preparing for the wedding day are:

  1. Getting involved at the outset in planning the wedding with the bride, groom and best man.
  2. Helping the bride choose her outfit and those for all the bridesmaids (and pageboys).
  3. Arranging any fittings for the above.
  4. Helping to keep tabs on wedding guests: those who have accepted, wedding presents they have given and those who have yet to reply to their invitations.
  5. Checking that the bride has all that will be needed for her honeymoon.
  6. Chasing up details with suppliers, if needed, and helping the bride with any last-minute requirements of her own.
  7. Organising a hen party.
  8. Attending the wedding rehearsal.
  9. On the day before the wedding, collecting any ?hired items needed by the bride and her attendants.
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