You’ve got the date, theme, colors, hair stylist, dress, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ring-bearing dog picked out for your big day. But wait, what is everyone supposed to do again?
Here’s the low-down on duties of the bridal party and tips for the week-of.
Mother of the Bride (MOB)
- Let her host her own shower
- Yes, we know that it would just be so much easier to have one big shower. However, let Mom have this one thing to plan out and prepare. You’re planning your wedding day, and she wants to be involved in a big way. So, what’s the harm?
- Give her some invites to dish out
- Make a little room on the guest list for your mom’s closest friends (who you’ve most likely grew up with) to show how much you appreciate her help!
- Assign her an important task (or two) for the week-of
- Even if it’s organizing the table assignments or putting together welcome bags, it’s time to let mom take ahold of the reigns for a bit.
- Actually listen to her ideas
- Hold back the cattiness for a bit and lend Mom an ear. Although this is your big day, it’s a big day for her, too! She just wants you to consider her ideas, even if they blatantly go against the color scheme and style of your wedding.
- Ask for her opinion
- Again, this is a big day for your mom, too. She’s probably been through the same situations a time or two, so hearing her out may iron out the crinkles on your big day!
- Keep her posted
- Want to score major brownie points? Keep your mom posted on wedding happenings! Shoot her a quick text update when you settle on a stylist, decide on the first dance song or promise your fiancé that there will be no choreographed mob dance.
Bride or Wedding Planner Duties
- Over-communicate with your vendors
- It doesn’t hurt to confirm and re-confirm arrangements with your vendors the week of the wedding. Chances are, plans were set in place with them months ago and things could have gotten switched around or forgotten about since then!
- Designate your go-to problem-solving people
- To avoid having to deal with sticky catering situations while you’re getting your hair done, appoint one of your attendants (or wedding planner) to be the go-to person for every situation.
- Have attendants on ready for ceremony items, finances (writing checks and/or settling any final balances that have yet to be paid), the reception, and miscellaneous questions.
- Expert tip: Provide all wedding professionals with an emergency contact to call on the day of the wedding. This can be your wedding planner, maid of honor or bridesmaid.
- Take your time to pack
- This isn’t a spur-of-the-moment weekend road trip with your college buddies. This is your once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon. Whether you’re getting hitched down the street or across the globe, you should take great care in what you toss into your suitcase! A beauty emergency kit, day-of present and matching bathing suit are musts.
- Expert tip: Make a checklist for items that you will need throughout the week of your wedding during beauty appointments, rehearsal dinner and vender confirmation meetings. Then make another for what you’ll need on your big day and the honeymoon!
- Schedule beauty appointments (bride and groom)
- Stress can take a lot out of a person, and their looks, while planning a wedding. To stay on top of things, beard trimming, nail shaping and painting, waxing, hair coloring and massages should be scheduled the week of your wedding.
- Arrange help for wedding guests who need it
- Whether your 100-year-old great grandfather is in attendance, or the cousin that just broke her foot, show your love by making sure they have transportation and a helper. Assign one of your attendants to help with any airport pick-ups and drop-offs!
- Handing off important items/gifts
- Give your marriage license to your officiant.
- Present parents and attendants with gifts at the rehearsal dinner.
- Provide wedding bands to your best man and maid of honor to hold onto during the ceremony.
- Give any place cards, menus and wedding favors to the caterer and/or reception site manager.
- Dressing the part
- Make sure everyone has his or her wedding attire! Have an attendant pick up your wedding dress, bridesmaid gowns and/or groomsmen tuxes.
- Hand out these lists to bridal party members if they need a reminder. 🙂
Personal Attendant or Wedding Planner Duties
- Dealing with the obnoxious toaster
- If someone is getting particularly long-winded or harsh-worded during their speech for the happy couple, wait for a natural pause in the speech and start an enthusiastic applause. Quietly let your fellow bridal party mates know so that you aren’t a loner as you loudly slow clap. Then signal the couple to give the speech giver a big hug and gently usher them off stage to keep the party moving!
- Being there for the bride and groom
- Be prepared for any situations involving garments on the wedding day. For instance, if the bride’s wedding dress has a million delicate buttons on the back of her dress, bring a crochet hook to quickly fasten them. Also, have a straw close-by for the groom or bride if they need a quick drink. That bottle of water may have other plans of backsplash onto perfectly ironed button downs and crisp eyeliner.
- The go-between
- If the wedding couple has decided not to see each other before the ceremony, you might have to field messages and/or gifts between the two. Be prepared! This may not be the time to wear your brand new stilettos.
- Offer to grab the mimosas and lunch for the bridal party
- Everyone will need a bite to eat before the ceremony, so offer to pick up the sandwich platter, chips and waters for everyone!
- Help straighten and fluff the bride’s veil before she walks down the aisle
- All other bridesmaids will be in the processional, so this duty lands to you!
Maid (or Matron) of Honor’s Role
- Plan the bridal shower and bachelorette party
- You are the head honcho on this one! The bride picked you because she obviously thinks you know her the best, so gather your helpers (bridesmaids) and get to work! 😉
- Shop for dresses with the bride
- The bride needs her right-hand woman by her side for this one—and that’s you. Remember, keep the feedback honest but kind!
- Reel in the bridesmaids
- It is your duty to keep track and deliver bridesmaid duties. When things get a little crazy, you might have to reel them in and do some damage control!
- Prepare a few words
- As the bride’s right-hand woman, it is customary for you to prepare and say a few words as a toast for both the rehearsal dinner and reception. Don’t worry—you’ve got this.
- Buy the dress, shoes, accessories—and don’t complain about it!
- So, maybe you’re not too keen on wearing a long dress on a boiling hot July day. Or maybe the bride wants you to buy a pair of cowboy boots to wear on her big day, which you’ll probably throw into the corner of your closet the day after to gather dust for the rest of time. Even though steam may be rolling out of your ears while you stare at your empty wallet, don’t complain!! This is not your day—it is her big day, and she will muscle through those sweat-inducing outfits when you get married, too.
- Help out with the bridal shower and/or bachelorette party
- Although the maid (or matron) of honor is in charge of organizing the whole shebang, bridesmaids are expected to help decorate and pitch in a few dollars.
- Attend all events leading up to the wedding (unless unforeseen circumstances arise)
- Bridesmaids are expected to show up for the bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner!
- Be there for the bride
- In addition to being there in a physical sense, bridesmaids also need to be there mentally for the bride. Weddings most often bring crazy urges to drink a full bottle of wine, uncontrollable tears and hugs of joy, makeup crises and broken buttons or torn thread. If you’re there for her, hopefully the bride (or you) won’t go through those situations!
- Ushers are usually friends or family of the couple who would like to be apart of the big day in some way. However, this job isn’t a small one! There are many things to consider before handing this job off to a candidate.
- Try to pick someone who isn’t on the shy side – they will have to interact with the guests as they seat them, so it’s best to pick someone who is friendly and not afraid to strike up a conversation.
- At a formal ceremony, guests will be lead by the usher to their designated seat or side of the aisle. At an informal ceremony, the usher will let guests know what side of the aisle to sit on (if it matters) and if any seats are reserved for immediate family.
- The usher(s) may also hand out programs of the wedding to the guests. If not, you might want to assign an attendant with this task, or at least present the programs in a well-seen place to make it easy to grab and go.
- Depending on the type of processional and the usher’s relationship to the guests, he or she may also be escorting an elderly family member down the aisle to their spot.
Black Tie Etiquette
- When planning a black tie affair, be thinking of your venue. Shiny dress shoes and heavy suit coats don’t do well on the beach! Consider a site that has air conditioning – it will save your perfectly set makeup and heavy clothing material.
- Be considerate of your guests’ budgets. If the guests that you’re inviting most likely don’t own a tuxedo, or won’t be able to afford to rent one, you might want to reconsider.
- The band doesn’t have to be a quartet of classical musicians playing Canon in D. Pick a group (or DJ) that can accommodate your guests’ various tastes in music.
- Contrary to the popular Texas belief, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to centerpieces. Because everything else will probably be ten times classier at a black tie event, you can go with a crisp, simple centerpiece design.
- If you decide to go black tie, it will be an all-or-nothing event. Treat everything as if it were for the Royal Family. Valet, classy dining, premium bar, etc.
Overall Wedding Etiquette
- Don’t directly ask your parents to contribute a specific amount of money. Instead, ask them if they would like to sit down with you and your significant other to talk about the wedding budget.
- Don’t over share on social media. Yes, this is a very special day for you and you would love for your 700 Facebook friends to know all about it. However, those 700 “friends” may eventually realize that they weren’t invited, and you just keep on blabbing about what would be the greatest event of their lifetime.
- Don’t get upset with every guest that mumbles about how they don’t like your choice of colors or centerpiece design, and then says, “But it’s not my wedding!” Just swallow your pride, and say to yourself “You’re right. It’s not your wedding. It’s mine, and it’s awesome.” Then move on with your awesome day!
Phew. We know that’s a lot to consider when putting together and carrying out bridal party duties, but it will go by in such a blur that you might not even remember the stress headaches or long to-do lists afterwards! Just remember that this is a special day that you should relish, not fret about.