You just got asked to be in a wedding! But wait. What is your role? Where are you supposed to be? What are you supposed to wear? What else should you be doing for the bride?

Being a part of a wedding involves dozens of traditions and customs, and we’ve broken down the traditional responsibilities by role to help ease some of your stress.

Being a part of a wedding is a special honor! We hope you have a wonderful time.


  • Get your outfit: You’re in charge of paying for your outfit (read: dress/heels or tuxedo rental) for the big day. Be sure to get fitted at the specific store in plenty of time! Ask the bride if there are any special requests for jewelry or shoes, etc.
  • Plan the bachelor/bachelorette party: Try to divvy up the costs of this night or weekend out between the wedding party members so that the bride or groom does not have to pay for anything.
  • Gifts: Purchase a wedding gift and possibly a shower gift, too. Bridesmaids may also have to purchase a bachelorette party gift.
  • Show up: You’ll need to attend an outfit fitting, pre-wedding parties, rehearsal dinner and, of course, the wedding. Ask the bride what you can do to help at any or all of these events!
  • Offer support: If the bride/groom turns to you at the last minute needing a bit of reassurance before the walk down the aisle, be prepared to offer it!
  • Dance: The wedding party members set the tone for the reception, so when it’s time to dance, help get the party started and get out there on the floor!

Maid or Matron of Honor/Best Man

In addition to all the roles listed above, these special people have additional jobs.

  • Hold the ring: When the preacher asks for the rings, be ready!
  • Make a speech: You’ll be expected to make a speech that’s both funny and touching at the reception. This is your greatest honor, so try to plan ahead. There are lots of articles out there that give suggestions about how to prepare a great wedding speech. Read a couple.  🙂
  • Planning: As the maid/matron of honor, count on the bride asking for your opinion on wedding planning details along the way. Offer your honest opinions and encouraging advice.

Mother of the Bride

  • Help plan.
  • Discuss the budget.
  • If you haven’t already met the groom’s family, it’s your job to reach out and organize that meeting after the engagement.
  • Quickly draw up your lists of guests and family when the bride and groom ask.
  • Select a dress that coordinates with the theme for the wedding. Send the bride a photo so she can keep tabs on colors, style, etc. If possible, discuss your outfit with the mother of the groom so your outfits are similar in elegance, but not matching.
  • Act as the hostess of the reception, making sure that everyone is comfortable and the bride and groom greet all guests.
  • Be the wonderful mom you already are, offering support along the way.
  • Did you know that the entire ceremony takes YOUR cue when to stand for your daughter to walk down the aisle? You’re the first to stand, signaling the rest of the guests to rise for the bride’s entrance.

Father of the Bride

  • Talk to the groom: Hopefully, prior to the engagement, the groom asked for your daughter’s hand in marriage. Their engagement period is a great time for you to pass on any advice or expectations about your daughter’s marriage.
  • Discuss the budget.
  • Prepare for the father-daughter dance: Pick out your song together and practice dancing!
  • Walk your little girl down the aisle.
  • Host the reception: Prepare your speech or toast in advance. Don’t wing it!

Mother of the Groom

  • If you haven’t already met, reach out to the bride’s parents to meet prior to the wedding.
  • When asked, quickly provide an accurate and organized guest list that meets the couple’s guidelines.
  • Coordinate with the bride and/or mother of the bride on your outfit.
  • Offer help, but then step aside. Planning the wedding is a special job for the bride, her close friends and her mother. Traditionally, the mother of the groom has limited interaction, but the bride will let you know when she needs advice/help/opinions and more.
  • Attend pre-wedding festivities.
  • Plan and host the rehearsal dinner.
  • Mother and son dance: Be prepared to dance with your son at the wedding reception. Pick a song together.

Father of the Groom

  • Get fitted for your tuxedo!
  • Help plan and prepare for the rehearsal dinner.
  • Share any marriage advice with your son. (Example: Don’t criticize her cooking! She’ll get better with time.)
  • Attend pre-wedding festivities.


  • Prior to the wedding weekend, talk with the bride or groom to make sure you understand your role at the wedding. The role for an attendant can vary greatly, so your best option is to talk with the couple.
  • Get fitted and pay for your wedding day attire.
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Give a gift to the couple.
  • Assist the bride and groom whenever possible.
  • Ushers, know the etiquette for which family is seated on which side of the aisle.
  • Stay present for the wedding photographs. (It’s always an usher that we have to wrangle up who’s gone missing for the photos.)  🙂

Parents of Ring Bearer or Flower Girl

  • Have your little one fitted and pay for his/her attire.
  • Attend the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and wedding.
  • Give a gift to the couple.
  • Stay with the flower girl/ring bearer until he or she has walked down the aisle successfully (depending on age, of course) in case there’s a meltdown JUST before he/she walks.


If you have additional questions about the roles of different family members at weddings, please contact us. At Hitch Design Studio, we specialize in midwestern wedding etiquette. We are happy to provide style, etiquette and wedding advice.

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