The Western bridesmaid tradition is said to have come from Roman Law. It is believed evil spirits would attend ceremonies and therefore 10 witnesses were required to attend the marriage, who would dress in identical attire to the Bride and Groom, in order to outsmart the evil spirits as to who was actually getting married. In England, as late as the 19th century, there was still belief that ill-wishers would curse and taint the wedding.
Some may choose not to have bridesmaids but for those that do they will be an integral part of your wedding planning and the wedding day itself. Choose those closest friends who you know will support you throughout. If you choose a Maid of Honour it goes without saying that this should be somebody who knows you inside out and is ready to be an important part of the planning and the day itself. She should know your loves, your hates, your quirks and be ready to predict your reactions to various situations that may arise on the day.
The Maid of Honours main duties are as follows:
- Helping in all pre-wedding planning as well as attending the dress fittings
- Planning the Hen party
On the day
- Helping the bride put on her dress and ensuring she is ready first, happy with hair and makeup
- Creating a small bag of essentials for the bride including Makeup, plasters, painkillers, hair grips, lipsalve, tissues and a piece of chalk (to cover any marks that appear on the dress during the day)
- Helping the bride in and out of her car
- Ensuring the dress and train is arranged perfectly before she walks down the aisle and for any photographs
- Taking the bride’s bouquet at the end of the aisle and lifting her veil
- Leaving the ceremony arm in arm with the Best Man
- Taking care of the bride’s veil and bouquet once at the reception venue and store in a safe place with the going away outfit if applicable
- Throughout the event keep a check on the bride, all guests and liaise with the Best Man to ensure all is running smoothly
Bridesmaids will be your help and support therefore it is nice to return the gesture by covering the costs for their dress, shoes and any additional parts of the outfit. Traditionally the bridesmaids are presented with a gift from the groom; this could be anything from an accessory or jewellery for the day to a keepsake gift or spa treatment. If your bridesmaids are very different shapes and sizes then one style will not necessarily suit them all. If you have a colour scheme then you could let them choose their own style of dress from the same material. Likewise with shoes it may be easier to set a colour scheme and let them find their own pairs according to their own comfort and heel height.
You may wish to have younger bridesmaids and pageboys who look very sweet and can have their own jobs such as handing out confetti. Explain to them what will be happening so they know to expect that they will be standing infront of lots of people. One of the older bridesmaids should keep a favourite toy or sweet at the ready – just in case! With regards to having other children at the wedding this is something that should be clearly stipulated on the Invitation Insert. If children are invited then it is a good idea to have a children’s table that is specially laid up with some forms of entertainment, click here for some ideas.
The Best Man & the Ushers
A groom may select however many ushers he would like; traditionally it used to be approximately two ushers per 100 guests but nowadays there is an abundance of jobs that ushers can assist with so the more the merrier. The groom is also likely to select a Best Man to act as his support and wing man throughout the day.
The Best Man’s duties include:
- Organising a Stag party
- Ensuring the team of ushers are prepared for the day checking parking arrangements etc
- Run through honeymoon details with groom double checking passports and visas etc
- Attend the wedding rehearsal
- Spending the evening prior to the wedding with the groom and family
- Prepare an emergency list of taxi numbers etc in case required
On the day
- Bearing the rings
- Getting the groom to the church at least 30 minutes early
- Overseeing the correct seating of guests and important family members
- Introducing himself to guests at the church and making himself known
- Leaving the ceremony arm in arm with the Maid of Honour
- Helping to coordinate the photographs after the ceremony
- Checking with the Maid of Honour and Mother of the Bride that everything is in order throughout the reception
- Making speech which includes thanking the groom for his words about the Bridesmaids on their behalf and finishes with a toast to Mr & Mrs X
- Check that the bride and groom’s departure goes smoothly with luggage in the car
- Being one of the last onsite to ensure everyone leaves the reception
- If a Master of Ceremonies is not specifically selected then this role is something that the Best Man will also have to take on and consists of helping guide guests are coordinate the movements of the day such as announcing supper, welcoming the Bride and Groom, cutting of the cake, first dance etc
The ushers should be responsible for sourcing their correct clothing for the wedding day. Often the groom will give his ushers a gift, this can be something related to their outfit which unites them such as a tie, socks or cuff links.