Wedding Ceremony Participants – Who Should Be in the Wedding Party?

The wedding party is the people who actively participate in the wedding ceremony itself. Choosing who is to participate in your wedding depends on religion, location and the style of the wedding; you can also take into consideration any family traditions that have been carried down through the generations.

The wedding party may consist of only the couple marrying (or people marrying if it is a double wedding), maids of honor (or matron of honor), bridesmaids, junior bridesmaids, best men, groomsmen, flower girls, page boys and ring bearers.

Wedding Party Functions & Duties

Maids of Honor & Matrons of Honor:

First we’ll clear up that most asked question: “What is the difference between maid of honor and matron of honor?”

The difference is purely semantics. Traditionally the chief unmarried (never married) female attending the wedding would be the “Maid of Honor”. For the most part we have modernized this by calling her the “Matron of Honor” this term encompasses married or previously married women. Nowadays, most brides choose the woman she has the closest relationship with to fill this position.

The “maid of honor” is the #1 bridesmaid!

Choosing: Traditionally the bride has only one maid/matron of honor; however, in recent times it is absolutely okay to have more than one and since the bride may have several close women to select from you may choose to have two or even three maids of honor. In cases where there is more than one you will select one to be the “senior” maid of honor.

Duties/Functions: The main function of a Maid of Honor is to act as an attendant to the bride-to-be, but also to be the “crisis counselor” and take care of any problems. She helps with wedding planning: picking invitations, venues, apparel, guest lists, basically being a personal aid to the bride-to-be. She plans the all important Bachelorette party. On the day of the wedding she helps get the bride prepared, helping the other bridesmaids dress and prepare for the wedding, pass messages to the groom, witness the marriage license, keeps the grooms ring, gives a toast and most importantly be there for moral support.

Apparel: Traditionally the Maids of Honor’s dress should be subtly different than the other bridesmaids so that she/they is recognized as the #1 attendant. A great way to do this is to simply invert the colors of her dress (instead of lilac & gold make it gold & lilac). Or you can go a bit subtler like a different color sash, flowers or simply have her carry a different type of bouquet.


Bridesmaids are the women who attend to the bride-to-be on her wedding day. If there is a tween or teen girl (10-17 years old) you would like to be in the wedding party but are too old to be a flower girl she would then be a “Junior Bridesmaid”.

Choosing: Traditionally bridesmaids walk arm in arm with groomsmen up the aisle and they should be equal in number but it is okay if you have more bridesmaids than groomsmen. However, try to keep the number lean, too many may lead to undue ciaos.

Duties/Functions: The duties are basically the same as the Maid of Honor. Other duties may include assisting and seating guests.

Apparel: The bridesmaids will all wear matching dresses. The dresses can match the d├ęcor of the wedding. Keep in mind since the bridesmaids & maid of honor pay for their own apparel give them some choices and let them pick the dress they will wear from your selections.

The fresh innocence of a child adds a magical quality to a wedding!

Flower Girls

Selecting your flower girls is a little harder, pick girls who are old enough to take directions and remember what to do, try not to choose girls who tend to throw tantrums, show out or shy girls who get easily nervous.

Choosing: It is best to keep the flower girls ages between 4-10. The number of flower girls to have in the wedding party just depends on your personal preference and/or size of the wedding. You can choose just 1 flower girl for smaller weddings or 5 for larger weddings; it really is up to you.

Duties/Functions: The sweet flower girls can walk singly or in pairs with another flower girl or arm in arm with ring bearers for a cute couple look. The flower girls main objective is to scatter flowers before the bride & groom or simply carry a bouquet. They can also be assigned to lift the bride’s dress train while walking down the aisle if it is long.

Ring Bearers:

The ring bearers carry either a symbolic pillow without the actual rings (which can be held by the best man) or the actual rings can be tied onto the pillow. The ring bearer stay in the same age range as the flower girls.

Other Functions for Children

If you have other children you want in the wedding but have no room in the wedding party than they can be attendants. Most children’s do this very well and take their responsibility seriously. Their functions would be seating guests, taking hats & coats, handing out programs, fans, etc,. They can help during the wedding and then the reception. The best ages for this are 6-17.

Having children through the wedding give the entire service a heavenly feel and makes for adorable memories!