Wedding Ceremony Participants
As most readers will be aware, there are a number of different roles which are traditionally part of a wedding procession and ceremony. These roles are typically fulfilled by close friends and relatives of the bride and groom. They each have their own functions, which help to to ensure that the ceremony proceeds gracefully. They also provide an opportunity for important friends and family members to take part in the ceremony. They are collectively referred to as the wedding ceremony participants, or wedding party, and it’s considered a special honour to be chosen for one of these roles.
For this week’s blog post, we’ll be explaining some of the roles typically included in a wedding party. However, you should be aware that not every wedding ceremony needs to include all of these. If you’re engaged to be married, have you given any thought to which of your nearest and dearest you’d choose to play these parts?
Parents of the Bride
Traditionally, the bride will be escorted down the aisle by her father at the very end of the wedding procession. Although this is usually done by the father alone, some brides may choose to have both their parents escort them, with one parent on each arm. In other cases, the bride’s mother may lead the wedding procession.
The father of the bride usually gives a speech on the wedding day, however this takes place at the reception, not the wedding ceremony.
Maid of Honour
The maid of honour is a close friend or relative of the bride. She will support the bride in the weeks and months before the wedding. On the day of the ceremony, she is responsible for assisting the bride with her wardrobe, as well as anything else she needs help with. She will also be responsible for ensuring that the other bridesmaid’s wardrobes are in order. By taking care of these matters, the maid of honour helps to ensure the wellbeing and happiness of the bride.
The maid of honour will walk ahead of the bride as part of the procession, following the bridesmaids. She may also be asked to sign the register as a witness.
The Best Man
As with the maid of honour, the best man is typically a close friend or relative of the groom. His most important role in the ceremony is to hold the wedding rings until they are needed. Where the ceremony includes a ring bearer, he may take the rings from the ring bearer when presented with them, or he may keep the actual rings safe while the ring bearer carries ornamental rings.
The best man usually walks ahead of the groom during the procession, and behind the ushers. He stands beside the groom during the ceremony. Like the maid of honour, the best man may be asked to sign the register as a witness. He will also give a speech at the reception, like the father of the bride.
The bridesmaid are friends or relatives of the bride, and they will assist the maid of honour in her duties. There can be any number of bridesmaids, but three to five is typical.
During the ceremony, the bridesmaids will form part of the procession, walking ahead of the maid of honour. They may follow the ushers, or walk arm-in-arm with them.
Sometimes referred to as groomsmen, the ushers will often be friends or family of the groom, but they may also be relatives or friends of the bride. The ushers’ duties typically involve greeting and seating the guests. They may also assist a wedding photographer in coordinating group photographs and photographs of important guests. The number of ushers required will depend on the total number of guests at the wedding.
Unless the bride’s mother is leading the procession, the ushers will often be the first to walk down the aisle. They may also lead the procession with the bridesmaids, walking arm-in-arm with them.
The flower girl is traditionally a young girl, usually no older than eight. The flower girl walks ahead of the bride, scattering flower petals from an ornamental basket. This role can be a charming way to include a younger relative in the wedding ceremony. Although there is often only one flower girl, there can be more.
The ring bearer is traditionally a young boy. He carries the wedding rings down the aisle on a pillow. The maid of honour and the best man will take the rings from the pillow and hand them to the bride and groom. As mentioned above, the ring bearer may carry ornamental rings, with the actual rings being kept safe by the best man. As with the flower girl, this role can be a nice way of including a younger person in the ceremony.
The ring bearer will usually accompany the flower girl, walking just ahead of the bride during the wedding procession.
Bear in mind that while we’ve written about a typical wedding party, none of this is definitive. You don’t need to include all of these participants, and you can certainly change the processional order to suit your preference. It’s your wedding, after all!
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