Bridal Party Q&As

Guidelines about the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, from maid of honor on down.

Q: What exactly is a best man supposed to do? My fiancé says his only responsibility is to organize the bachelor party.

A: While the bachelor party may be what your fiancé and his best man considers the most important task, there are indeed other duties he is expected to perform. As the maid of honor is to the bride, the best man is the groom's biggest source of support. Generally he's the groom's brother or best friend (the groom's father is another popular choice).

In addition to staging the bachelor party, the best man helps coordinate the groomsmen's formal-wear fitting, picks up the groom's attire, confirms the honeymoon travel reservations, and orchestrates the rehearsal-party toasts.

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. Afterwards, he organizes the groomsmen for formal pictures, dances with the maid of honor, and makes the initial toast during the reception. Finally, he makes sure that the getaway car is ready and the couple's luggage is inside. After the celebration, he sees that all rented formalwear is returned.

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Wedding etiquette is a popular subject because they are so many horror stories. It's expensive to be in a bridal party, and it's expensive and stressful to have a large one. One budget line item that often gets overlooked by the future Mr. and Mrs. is the THANK YOU gift for each bridal party member. You should plan to spend at least half the amount of the cost of the bridesmaid dress/suit rental for each person. So if the dress they bought is $300, then be prepared to thank each one with ~$150 worth of gratitude. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, flights/hotels, hair/shoes/makeup/hair styling -- all these things add up, and some bridesmaids spend over $1000 just to be in your wedding party. These are your most important witnesses to your wedding. And chances are they supported you before, during, and after the big day. Thank you gifts are not the area to skimp. Good luck! Lisa |

I've selected my matron of honor (and asked her) who is engaged and was supposed to get married before me but then had to postpone her wedding. Can she still be my matron of honor??