Most weddings have wedding parties, but you might be wondering what their purpose is, and even questioning whether you need one. A wedding party, also known as a bridal party, is the group of close friends or family members you choose to play a role in your wedding. They are there to support you by helping you plan your wedding and to stand beside you on your special day. As many weddings become less traditional, the roles of the wedding party can be quite versatile, or even have much less responsibility than they used to. Wondering what you should expect from your wedding party? Read on to understand more about their purpose.

Maids and Men: Maid of Honor, Bridesmaids, Best Man, Groomsmen

These four roles can be filled by as many friends and family members as you wish and are usually the most involved in your wedding. These are people close to you who you feel will provide you with the support and assistance you need. This could be in the planning stages as you choose your gown and make incredible DIY creations, or on the day, making sure you eat for example.

The Maid of Honor and Best Man are your right-hands. They will typically carry more responsibility than bridesmaids and groomsmen, particularly when it comes to the official duties and event planning. Make sure you choose people who are close to you, but also have the time and excitement to help you on your wedding planning journey! They might assist you in these ways:


  • Helping you deal with stress or difficult family situations
  • Attending to the bride on her wedding day, for example, by ensuring she eats


  • Assisting the bride with any DIY projects/liaising with vendors
  • Assisting the bride with choosing her gown
  • Assist the groom with choosing his suit

Fun and friendship

  • Planning and hosting your bridal shower, bachelorette party and bachelor party
  • Attending all engagement and wedding-related events

Official duties

  • Witnessing the marriage licence
  • Recording a list of gifts and the guests who gave them so you can later write thank-you cards
  • Helping to seat wedding guests
  • Standing beside the couple in the ceremony, holding bouquets, rings and trains when needed
  • Making a toast and giving a speech at the reception
  • Interacting with the guests and encouraging dancing at the reception
  • Returning rental suits, the day following the wedding

The Bride’s Parents

The Mother of the Bride is her daughter’s biggest cheerleader and a much-needed ear while planning the wedding. She may help with the guest list, arrange accommodation for out-of-town guests and act as a hostess at wedding-related events. Sometimes the Mother of the Bride may escort her daughter down the aisle.

The Father of the Bride tends to have a more traditional role. This includes:

  • Walking the bride down the aisle
  • Giving a toast and making a speech
  • Dancing with the bride

Groom’s Parents

The Mother of the Groom can be just involved as the Mother of the Bride if you wish. She can assist with any wedding planning and may also take part in a mother/son dance.

The Father of the Groom gives a speech, makes a toast and assists with guests.


Ushers are also friends and family members of the happy couple. Their role is primarily at the ceremony, to:

  • Seat guests
  • Hand out programs
  • Carry out any last-minute tasks such as testing the sound-system

Junior wedding party roles

Junior wedding party members have specific roles. The flower girl walks ahead of the bride down the aisle. If there is a ring bearer, he will precede the flower girl and carry the rings. Pages will follow the bride, carrying her train as makes her way elegantly down the aisle.

So, now that you know the purpose of a wedding party think carefully about the loved ones you would most value in helping you prepare for the biggest event of your life. As to the size of your bridal party, you might consider having one that’s in proportion to the scale of the wedding you’re having. If you’re having a large wedding, we’re sure you will value everyone’s help!

Whatever you decide, enjoy having your loved ones with you and have a wonderful wedding!


Written by K. Cooper for The Wedding Planning Store

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