Getting To Know the Wedding Entourage: Wedding Party Members

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Two members of the bridal party and two wedding crashers
Two members of the bridal party and two wedding crashers
In most traditional Western weddings, the wedding entourage or the wedding party refers to a group of people chosen to participate in a wedding ceremony.

The wedding party members include the groom, the bride, the maid or matron of honor, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the best man, the flower girl, page boys and the ring bearer. The number of wedding party members varies according to the preferences of the couple and their family.

Some couples choose to forgo having page boys, a ring bearer and flower girls, while others choose to add junior bridesmaids to the list. To help you further understand the roles of the wedding party members, this article presents you with a list of the essential wedding party members and their designated duties.

A beautiful bride with her long wedding gown
A beautiful bride with her long wedding gown
The Bride: In any traditional heterosexual wedding, you can’t start the ceremony without the bride. Bride refers to the female participant about to get married. In same-gender weddings, particularly if both participants are female, both women can be referred to as brides.

In traditional weddings, the male partner of the bride is her bridegroom.

The Groom: The groom is the male equivalent, and in heterosexual weddings, the male partner of the bride. A more formal term for groom is bridegroom. The word groom refers to the male participant about to get married.

In some cultures and cities where same-gender marriages are accepted, two male participants who are about to get married can both be referred to as grooms.

The three beautiful bridesmaids.
The three beautiful bridesmaids.

The Bridesmaids: A bride is going to need a lot of help when planning her wedding. To help her out, the bride chooses some of her closest female relatives and friends to be part of her bridal party. The ladies chosen by the bride are called her bridesmaids.

The number of bridesmaids varies according to the bride’s preferences. Out of the whole lot, the bride chooses one of her bridesmaids to be her chief female attendant-the maid, if unmarried, or matron of honor.

Bridesmaids have a number of duties; the most important is to provide the bride with emotional and sometimes financial support before, during and after the wedding ceremony.

The maid of honor walking down the aisle
The maid of honor walking down the aisle

The Maid or Matron of Honor: The maid of honor, also known as the matron of honor if married, is the bride’s primary female attendant. She is in charge of planning the bride’s bachelorette party and bridal shower.

She may also be given a list of duties designed to help keep the wedding ceremony and the reception running smoothly. The maid or matron of honor’s duties may vary according to the bride’s needs or demands.

Some modern brides choose their closest male friends as chief attendant. The bride’s chief male attendant is called the man of honor.

The Groomsmen: If the bride has her own list of bridesmaids, the groom, too, gets

groomsmen
Groomsmen.
help from his own group of attendants-the groomsmen. Most of the time, the chosen groomsmen are close friends or relatives of the groom.

The groomsmen have one specific purpose, and that’s to make sure the groom is happy and the wedding runs smoothly. Compared to the bridesmaids, the groomsmen may have fewer duties to attend to. The number of duties varies according to the groom’s needs

Flower girls.
Flower girls.

Flower Girls: In most weddings, there is only one flower girl in the wedding procession. In more formal weddings, there can be as many as four flower girls in the wedding party. The number of flower girls wholly depends on the couple’s preferences.

Most of the time, the flower girl is a relative of the groom or the bride. If there are no little girls in the couple’s family, the couple can pick a friend’s daughter to act as the flower girl.

Flower girls have responsibilities that include walking before the bride carrying her basket or bouquet, and either sprinkling flower petals in the aisle or handing out thornless roses to the wedding guests.

The Best Man: The best man is the male counterpart of the bride’s maid or matron of honor. Out of the list of groomsmen, the groom picks out his closest friend or relative to be his best man or chief male attendant. The best man is in charge of the groomsmen.

It’s the best man’s responsibility to make sure the wedding runs smoothly and that the groomsmen are doing their assigned duties. There are some cases in which the groom chooses a female friend or relative to act as his best man. In this situation, the groom’s chief attendant is simply referred to as the best woman, best person or the honor attendant.

The Page Boys and the Ring Bearer: The ring bearer and page boys are the male equivalents of the flower girls. The page boy has the special task of carrying the bride’s train as she makes her way down the aisle, although this responsibility could also be given to the maid or matron of honor.

The ring bearer, on the other hand, has the special duty of carrying the large satin pillow where either the real wedding bands or imitation wedding rings are attached with thread.

The groomsmen at the wedding altar
The groomsmen at the wedding altar
The best man and his speech at the wedding reception
The best man and his speech at the wedding reception
A cute ring bearer together with the flower girl
A cute ring bearer together with the flower girl

Mother of the Bride: Although technically not an official member of the wedding party, we feel that it’s just right that the mother of the bride be included in our list of important wedding party members. Never underestimate the importance of the bride’s mother when it comes to planning the wedding ceremony with her daughter and making sure the guest list on the bride’s side is complete.

The mother of the bride is also responsible for booking hotel room reservations for out-of-town relatives in need of lodging.

For a glimpse of a wedding party processional, just watch the video below.

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