Welcome to the second part in our comprehensive series on how to plan the perfect wedding. By now, you should be underway with the basics such as choosing a date and setting the budget and are getting ready to get down to the nitty gritty.

This second step isn’t groundbreaking stuff, but it’s still an important chunk of wedding planning. This post is about the people you choose – and need – to involve in your special day and the different roles they may have.

We will then move on to researching wedding venues in Step 3, food and drinks in Step 4 and wedding suppliers in Step 5.

Steps 2 and 3 go hand-in-hand so feel free to mix up the order and prioritise by what matters to you the most, whether it’s a particular venue which will in turn determine the amount of guests you are able to invite, or a list of people who have to be there, which means you will need to find a venue that can accommodate your numbers. Everybody is different, so start with what feels right.

Roles and Duties in a Wedding

Best-Man-Miltary-Salute
If you have particular friends and family who you would like to play key roles in your wedding day then there are numerous ways in which you can get them involved. The number of roles is up to you and will mainly depend on the amount of potential candidates and what your budget allows.

Your job is to select the best people for each job, so don’t feel obliged to ask anybody. Also, don’t expect anybody to guess their duties, the easiest thing to do is to run through what is expected of them beforehand. For example, it is likely be your best man’s first time at being a best man and you don’t want either of you to feel like he has let you down. It is just easier to let everybody know where they stand right from the beginning.

Best Man

Duties include:
Checkbox helping the groom choose the ushers
Checkbox ensuring the ushers understand their duties
Checkbox helping the bride and groom choose suits for the groom, best man and ushers
Checkbox attending suit fittings
Checkbox organising the stag party
Checkbox writing and practising the speech
Checkbox offering support to the couple throughout the wedding planning process
Checkbox visiting the wedding venues with the couple beforehand to run through the day
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox assisting the groom with anything he needs on the day
Checkbox helping the groom get ready on the morning of the wedding
Checkbox transporting the groom to the wedding venue (allowing plenty of time)
Checkbox taking responsibility for the ushers, ensuring they are in the right places, dressed correctly and completing their duties
Checkbox overseeing that button holes, corsages and the order of service sheets are distributed by the ushers
Checkbox taking care of the wedding rings
Checkbox looking after the certificate of banns (if required) or wedding licence
Checkbox settling any outstanding fees on the day (money organised beforehand by the bride and groom)
Checkbox standing with the groom at the altar while he waits for his bride
Checkbox acting as an official witness
Checkbox escorting the maid of honour out of the ceremony
Checkbox assisting the photographer by rounding up family members and friends for photos
Checkbox directing guests from the ceremony to the reception venue
Checkbox standing in the receiving line to greet guests on arrival
Checkbox mingling with guests, ensuring that everyone is having a good time
Checkbox offering drinks to guests
Checkbox delivering the best man’s speech
Checkbox reading out messages to the couple from guests
Checkbox looking out for and resolving any issues that occur on the day so that everybody remains happy
Checkbox coordinating suppliers and ensuring they are happy
Checkbox preparing the bride and groom’s car for when they leave
Checkbox arranging for the groom’s suit and wedding gifts to be taken home

Maid of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid

Duties include:
Checkbox assisting and advising the bride as much as possible with the wedding planning
Checkbox supporting the bride at all times
Checkbox taking responsibility for bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys, ensuring they are in the right places, dressed correctly and completing their duties
Checkbox helping the bride choose her dress
Checkbox helping the bride choose the bridesmaids’ dresses
Checkbox attending dress fittings
Checkbox organising the hen do
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox ensuring that the bride looks her best on the day
Checkbox carrying emergency supplies, such as tissues, make-up, hair clips and safety pins
Checkbox arranging the bride’s veil and dress before and during the wedding ceremony
Checkbox looking after the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony
Checkbox acting as an official witness
Checkbox standing in the receiving line to greet guests on arrival
Checkbox mingling with guests, ensuring that everyone is having a good time
Checkbox helping the bride change into her evening dress
Checkbox arranging for the bride’s dress and wedding gifts to be taken home

Father of the Bride (or the person chosen to give the bride away)

Duties include:
Checkbox attending suit fittings
Checkbox writing and practising the speech
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox escorting the bride down the aisle
Checkbox giving the bride away during the ceremony
Checkbox escorting the mother of the bride out of the ceremony
Checkbox standing in the receiving line to greet guests on arrival with the bride’s mother
Checkbox delivering the first speech
Checkbox proposing the first toast

Bridesmaids

Duties include:
Checkbox helping the bride choose the bridesmaids’ dresses
Checkbox attending fittings
Checkbox helping the bride at all times
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox following the maid of honour up the aisle
Checkbox following the maid of honour and best man out of the ceremony
Checkbox helping the bride with her dress throughout the day
Checkbox welcoming guests
Checkbox offering drinks to guests
Checkbox distributing pieces of wedding cake to guests
Checkbox looking after younger bridesmaids

Flower Girls

Duties include:
Checkbox attending dress fittings
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox scattering flower petals from a basket up the aisle for the bride to walk on

Page Boys

Duties include:
Checkbox attending suit fittings
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox following the maid of honour up the aisle
Checkbox following the maid of honour and best man out out of the ceremony
Checkbox distributing pieces of wedding cake to guests

Ushers

Duties include:
Checkbox attending suit fittings
Checkbox attending the wedding rehearsal
Checkbox helping the best man throughout the day
Checkbox escorting the bridesmaids during the day
Checkbox coordinating car parking and directing guests into the venue
Checkbox greeting guests on arrival and escorting them to their seats
Checkbox handing out the order of service sheets
Checkbox offering buttonholes and corsages to guests
Checkbox dealing with disturbances discreetly
Checkbox being armed with umbrellas to shelter guests if raining
Checkbox directing guests to the reception venue after the ceremony
Checkbox checking that nothing is left behind by guests at the ceremony
Checkbox clearing up confetti
Checkbox assisting the photographer by rounding up family members and friends for photos
Checkbox offering drinks to guests
Checkbox introducing guests to one another
Checkbox assisting with seating guests for the wedding breakfast
Checkbox distributing pieces of wedding cake to guests
Checkbox looking after younger ushers and page boys

Toastmaster or Master of Ceremonies (somebody charismatic with a loud voice)

Duties include:
Checkbox announcing when the wedding breakfast is going to be served
Checkbox introducing the speeches
Checkbox introducing the cutting of the cake

Other ways to involve friends and family

As well as the formal roles outlined above, there are a number of other ways in which you can involved loved ones in the ceremony.
Options include:
– ask somebody confident to give a reading during the ceremony
– ask any singers or musicians you know to play during the service or reception
– helping the bride and groom plan the wedding
– appoint somebody as the ring bearer
– choosing witness (you’ll need at least two)
– inviting people as guests, this is the easiest way to get everybody there

Still not enough roles? You could be a bit creative and make some up, this is your day after all, you don’t have to stick rigidly to traditions.

“Do I need a Wedding Planner?”

Bride relaxing
Firstly, this eight-step process is really a DIY guide to wedding planning, recommending steps that will overlap with the services included by wedding planners. However, this doesn’t mean that wedding planning services don’t exist or shouldn’t be used, so we shouldn’t ignore them.

The main reasons for hiring a wedding planner are: – if you don’t have the time to organise the wedding yourself – if organising doesn’t come naturally – if your budget allows – if you are planning a long-distance wedding then selecting a local wedding planner near the area where you are getting married will make your lives easier

Wedding planners can do as much or as little as you wish and their services typically include: creative ideas, event planning and management, venue finding, sourcing suppliers, support, expert advice and the ability to answer any questions.

Although hiring a wedding planner will come at a cost, a decent wedding planner should be able to negotiate better rates, introduce you to tried and tested suppliers and save you a lot of time.

Putting Together the Guest List

Empty chairs at a wedding ceremony
This part is where you are going to have to compromise – it is unlikely that you will be able to invite everybody. The amount of guests will depend on the size of your budget, the venue’s capacity, the type of wedding you are organising (for example, big and formal or small and intimate) and the amount of friends and family you both have.

Ideally, the ratio of guests will be a 50/50 split, half made up of the groom’s family and friends and half made up of the bride’s – but it doesn’t always pan out like that.

In a spreadsheet (saved in your wedding folder) construct a guest list starting with the wedding party, made up of those appointed to the key roles listed above and their other halves.

Then make a list of:
– who you first told about being engaged
– guests from the engagement party or drinks
– close family
– close friends
– colleagues
– friends
– neighbours
– relatives

In the spreadsheet, add two extra columns for Ceremony & Wedding Breakfast and Evening Reception, then tick which parts of the wedding you would like each guest to attend.

For now you are just putting a list together. You won’t be able to decide exactly how many guests to invite until you know the capacity of the venue. When it comes to cutting down the size of the list, this is where you are both going to need to compromise. If you need to cut the list down you could consider not inviting workmates, guests’ partners, babies or young children.

Lastly, if you have parents who are likely to create a fuss about who should be on the guest list then get them involved from the beginning and ask them to also construct a guest list of their own. Warn them that you obviously won’t be able to invite everybody on their list because you will be restricted on numbers, but tell them that you will try your best. This will not only help you avoid missing anybody crucial, but they will also feel involved and there are bound to be some of the same people on both of your lists.

Next Steps:

Coming up in Step 3, we’ll look at researching venues and sending a save the date card to guests. In the meantime, if you have created any special roles for your wedding or have any unique methods for putting together a guest list then please share them with readers in the comments below!

michael

Michael Chidzey is the chief juicer of eventjuice and heads up marketing at Chillisauce, an event company based in London, UK. He also blogs on several websites and is a visiting lecturer in events management at London Metropolitan University.Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelchidzey

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