The role of your bridesmaids Part 2

November 24, 2022

Bridesmaid- Wedding day duties

The Big Day! Primarily all that is important is the happiness of the couple. Bridesmaids will aid that happiness in the best way they can, making sure everything runs smoothly. They are there, alongside their bride to provide support throughout the whole day from morning preparation through to the end of the evening.

Let’s have a look at the duties a maid of honour and bridesmaids will carry out on the wedding day.

Of course, some of these may be non-applicable to your wedding day, but others may be worth thinking about.

Bridal preparations.

The start of wedding day is the getting ready stage, or Bridal preparations (prep.). This may be at the brides' house, or the hotel where the wedding is taking place, or indeed anywhere the bride has decided she wants to start her day. The bridal party get ready together and then travel to the ceremony in unison.

Tradition has it that the maid of honour helps the bride with her dress, hair and make-up. These days though it is common place for the bride to hire a professional hairstylist and make-up artists for the bridal party. So, this is a bit less responsibility and stress for the whole party. Bridesmaids will also assist during the preparation stage by doing anything that helps the bride feel relaxed and happy. So fetching drinks, doing some tea or bubbly, or selecting some chilled music for the morning all helps. If any tasks pop up that need attending to, or any communications that need doing, bridesmaids can generally take care of these and make sure the bride stays happy. If there are younger bridesmaids or flower girls then the older bridesmaids will oversee the wellbeing and general preparations of these ones.

Arriving at the venue ahead of the ceremony

On arrival at the venue, the bridal party will arrive together or in separate transport, but generally at the same time.  The idea at this stage is to all be together. If arriving in separate transport then the bridesmaids will arrive ahead of the bride in order to be there for her arrival.

As wedding photographers, it pains us to see brides arrive at the ceremony only to have the venue coordinator and chauffeur aid the bride from the wedding car and hold the dress and bouquet and walk her to the ceremony entrance. How much more meaningful will the photographs be when looking at them in years to come if your maid of honour and bridesmaids are tending to your needs at this stage. So as a bride, be sure to request that your bridesmaids will be there to help you from the car, to the ceremony entrance. If a venue co-ordinator self-appoints themselves, remember who's day it is and request your bridesmaids carry out these tasks.

Don’t forget at this stage, if you have younger bridesmaids or flower girls then a bridesmaid will need to be assigned a duty in which they supervise them. Groomsmen will be taking care of the page boys. They will need directing as to where to stand, when it’s their turn to enter the ceremony and someone to make sure that they don’t wander off.

The bride will be standing, as a tradition, with her father on her left arm ready to enter into the ceremony arena.

Walking down the aisle

It’s the big moment for the bridesmaids. They get to have a walk down the aisle with the bride.

It’s tradition in the UK for the bride to walk down the aisle first (usually with her Father) and the bridesmaids to follow in tow behind. In recent times however, the US tradition has been more popular where the bridesmaids enter the ceremony arena one by one and walk down the aisle first, and the bride then makes her entrance. Personally, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to do this. It will always be your preference, or if the venue specifically asks for it to be done a certain way, such as in a Church.

Once the bridal party has all entered and are at the correct end, the bridesmaids will then take their seats, or remain standing at the front of the alter for the ceremony duration. Again, this will be venue dependent. When the time comes, the bride will hand her bouquet to the maid of honour.

A bridesmaid may have extra duties during the ceremony such as giving a reading or signing of a document. These will have been discussed previous to the wedding.

Mingling with guests

Once the ceremony is completed, and the confetti has been thrown (this is usually a groomsmen's responsibility) you might be forgiven in thinking that the rest of the day is party time for the bridesmaids. But there is still much to do and to be considered.

A duty of the wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) is to mingle and socialise with all the guests. To make sure everybody is happy and that if there are any special requirements that they are met. Some guests may be quieter than others so what better way to make sure everyone is all good than by having part of the ‘main stage’ of the day ask them if they are ok. A little thing, but it can go a long way. Rather than bridesmaids isolate themselves and the priority be the level of bubbly fizz in their glass.

When it comes to being seated to the wedding breakfast it is the job of the bridesmaids and the groomsmen to make sure everybody can find their seat.  

Once the evening shenanigans get started and the first dance has taken place, the bridesmaids and groomsmen have a duty to the rest of the partying guests to lead the way on the dancefloor. Most of the weddings we’ve been involved in, the bridesmaids particularly, don’t have to be asked twice on this.

Bride support all day

I think the most important thing for bridesmaids to consider is that their ongoing and continued support to the bride lasts all day and into the evening. To be there when the bride needs help. The bride may have a wide dress, or a long train. When she needs to visit the bathroom throughout the day, she will certainly need assistance with this. You want the bride to look her best all day too, so a bridesmaid that can touch up hair and make-up on and off throughout the day will be invaluable.

If an unexpected situation arises, or a small emergency crops up then the maid of honour, assisted by her bridesmaids can step in and deal with this before the bride is even aware, thus maintaining a happy day for the bride. Also, keep a close eye on the bride throughout the day. Make sure she has eaten enough food. Make sure she is hydrated enough, and make sure she takes rest periods throughout the day if she is feeling tired.  

End of day clean up

Say Whaaattt!? Granted, cleaning up at the end of the night isn’t something that is given much thought. Indeed, most venues will have their own cleaning teams that take care of this. But think of the things that aren’t general cleaning tasks. Taking banners down and clearing away decorations and general tidying rather than a full on clean up. Something that can relieve a bit of worry for the bride. Much better to know that a job has been done than to worry about whether it is a job that might need to be done.

In a situation where the newlyweds leave the reception and head away on their honeymoon, cards and gifts will need to be taken care of, as well as any hired items being returned to the suppliers. Whether the same day or the day after, delegating this responsibility to someone will save a lot of worry and maybe extra expense.

In summing up with the points and considerations made, it is fair to say that bridesmaids have a large amount of responsibility on the wedding day in order for it to run smoothly and maintain a happy bride all day. As a bride don’t forget to get a small gift for your bridesmaids as a thank you and in recognition of all they have done for you, and with you since day one of the planning stage.

Happy Planning.

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