Wedding Roles & Responsibilities: Who Does What?

One of my favorite Arkansas-based wedding planners, Michelle Khamis, owner of Dream Your Vision Event Planning, shared on her Facebook page a recent blog post she saw called: Wedding Roles & Responsibilities: Who Does What? on

The blog post covers, in great detail, who is responsible for what when it comes to wedding planning, financial responsibilities and roles of certain people. This is based on what traditional etiquette calls for, but of course, times and traditions have changed so each couple must adjust accordingly to suit their needs.

You can click any of the links about to see the origins of this blog post, but I wanted to share it below. Again, all credit is given to

It's time to gather the troops! Find out what the traditional roles are for everyone.

Bride and Groom

The bride and groom's big responsibility is to get married, of course, but here are myriad planning decisions to make first. Ideally the bride and groom work together on these decisions, to share the workload and to make sure both are happy with the plans. A small list of basics:

  • Set budget
  • Choose date, style and site for wedding
  • Meet with ceremony officiant to discuss details
  • Coordinate invites, flowers, photographer, etc.
  • Shop for wedding bands (each pays for the other's)
  • Write wedding vows if they choose
  • Send thank-you notes for all gifts.

In addition to their joint responsibilities, the bride and groom each traditionally handle certain details on their own, including each making sure his or her family compiles a guest list.

The bride chooses her bridesmaids and honor attendant. She plans and hosts the bridesmaids' luncheon and gives her attendants thank-you gifts, and buys a gift for groom.

The groom chooses his groomsmen and best man and picks their attire. He buys thank-you gifts for his attendants and for the bride. He arranges and pays for the marriage license and the officiant's fee, and he reserves a block of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.

Bride's Parents

In the past, the bride's parents usually had the dubious privilege of footing the bill for the majority of wedding expenses. Today costs are likely to be distributed among the bride's parents, groom's parents and the couple themselves, but there are still certain responsibilities the bride's parents hold.

Traditionally they host the first engagement party. They help the bride with the guest list; and offer assistance (and moral support!) with wedding details. The bride's mother chooses her attire, then informs groom's mother of her choice so they can complement each other.

The bride's father gets fitted for formalwear. On the day of the wedding, then he escorts her to the ceremony site and may walk her down the aisle (perhaps with her mother on the bride's other arm). He is the last to leave the reception, after saying goodnight to guests and settling outstanding bills with the caterer, bandleader and coat-check, restroom and parking attendants.

Groom's Parents

Customarily, the groom's parents contact the bride's parents after the engagement. They may host an engagement party (after the bride's parents do). They provide a list of guests to the couple - hopefully sticking to an agreed-upon number. They consult with the bride's parents on attire. They host the rehearsal dinner on the evening before the wedding, and they may contribute to some wedding expenses.

Maid of Honor

Out of all her attendants, the bride relies most heavily on her maid of honor. Traditionally, the maid of honor is the bride's sister or closest friend. FYI, a married honor attendant is technically referred to as a matron of honor, but that has taken a back seat in recent popular vernacular. 

Before the wedding, the maid of honor's duties include coordinating the bridesmaids' activities, such as meeting for a dress fitting and organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party. She also helps the bride and groom with any preparatory errands or tasks, like addressing the invitations and keeping records of gifts.

On the wedding day, the maid of honor helps the bride dress and accompanies her to the ceremony. She signs the marriage license as the bride's witness, arranges her veil and train during the processional and recessional, and holds her bouquet at the altar. At the reception, she dances with the best man and organizes the bridesmaids for formal pictures. Before the couple leaves for their honeymoon, she helps the bride change, and makes certain her dress and bouquet are kept safe until she returns.

Best Man

Like the maid of honor to the bride, the best man is the groom's biggest source of support. Generally, he is the groom's brother or best friend, and he can be married or single.

The best man's main role before the wedding is to organize the bachelor party. He helps coordinate the groomsmen's formalwear fitting, picks up the groom's attire before the wedding, orchestrates the toasts at the rehearsal party, and confirms the honeymoon travel reservations the day before.

On the day of the wedding, the best man makes sure the groom gets to the ceremony site on time. He brings the bride's ring, holds the officiant's fee until after the ceremony, and signs the marriage license as the groom's witness. Afterward, he organizes the groomsmen for formal pictures, dances with the maid of honor, and orchestrates the toasts during the reception. Finally, he makes sure the getaway car is ready, with the couple's luggage inside. After the celebration, he sees that all rented formalwear is returned.


You may choose as few or as many bridesmaids as you wish to be in your wedding (although generally 12 is the limit). Bridesmaids can be single or married and of any age, although girls between the ages of eight and 16 become junior bridesmaids and take on abridged responsibilities. The main role of a bridesmaid is to assist the maid of honor with her wedding-planning duties—especially the bridal shower—and help the bride as needed. Of course, bridesmaids walk in the processional and recessional. During the reception, they mostly mingle and dance with the groomsmen and other important guests.


The groomsmen (sometimes referred to as ushers) have very few responsibilities before the wedding. Mainly, they help the best man plan and host the bachelor party (oh, and get fitted for a fabulous tuxedo). Of course, they should periodically check with the groom and best man to see if they can handle any other tasks.

On the wedding day, the groomsmen should arrive early at the ceremony site, ready to greet (and perhaps seat) guests. They'll be involved in the wedding, and are expected to remain at the reception for its entire duration.

Flower Girl

The flower girl is usually between the ages of four and eight, depending on her level of maturity. During the processional, she walks ahead of the bride, scattering flower petals in her path or simply carrying a pretty bouquet or basket. She should also be included in the wedding rehearsal so that she is comfortable with her role. Her parents are expected to pay for her attire and arrange for her transportation.

Ring Bearer

The ring bearer is traditionally a boy who carries the wedding rings on a satin pillow (or symbolic rings, with the real rings being held by the honor attendants) down the aisle. The maid of honor and best man take the appropriate rings off the pillow (you may want to tie them on with an attached ribbon for safekeeping) and give them to the bride and groom. Like the flower girl, the ring bearer"s parents pay for his attire and arrange for his transportation.

A few side notes.

As I stated before, the roles and responsibilities listed above is solely based on traditional etiquette. I would strongly encourage all brides and grooms to think long and hard on who they choose as their honor attendants: Maid/Matron of Honor and Best Man.


Because just because someone has been your Bestie, BFF or whatever, since birth this does NOT mean they are responsible enough, or mature enough, to stand by your side, represent you and do their jobs accordingly.

I've seen best men who were nothing more than oversized kids who would lose their heads if it was not attached to their left the wedding rings at home, or they cannot find the marriage license.

I've seen MOH's who were nothing more than drama queens, cry-babies or attention-seekers who made the day about them and not about the woman they were chosen to represent.

On the flip-side, I've photographed and met stellar MOH's and BM's who were at the ready, before they were asked, to assist their brides and grooms no matter what. No matter the request. No questions asked.

Thanks for stopping by today!