The Roles at a Wedding

Nov 9, 2021
outdoor civil wedding

I confess that I am approaching this subject tentatively. When I last wrote about it, a year or so ago, micro-weddings were almost the only type of weddings taking place. It made no sense to talk about wedding trains, processions, and the like.

Things have changed somewhat, although I dare not surmise for how long. As I write, weddings are unrestricted and many are back to being big events. So this may be relevant to more people.


The groom has probably the easiest job. He needs to welcome guests arriving for the wedding ceremony. Otherwise, he may only have a few words to say (“I do”, for example?), at least until he gives a speech at the reception.

He also may have the Best Man and ushers (groomsmen) to help him.


The bride does have the easiest job! She needs to look beautiful and negotiate walking in her bridal dress.

She may well do some socialising afterwards (and, nowadays, possibly, give a speech), but, mainly, she has to shine!


Depending on what has been agreed, parents may only have a welcoming job (after their financial contribution, perhaps), but the bride’s father may have to give a short speech. He has to welcome everybody and thank them for coming.

Best Man

The Best Man (or Woman) is there to support the Groom. One task is to keep him calm; another may be to fetch something for him or, perhaps, liaise with suppliers. The idea is to keep things moving smoothly. He may well have to look after the couple’s rings until called forward to present them.

His speech at the reception should be a highlight. He should avoid making it all groom-centered and being too rude; he should steer clear of politics, religion and crudity too!

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen/Ushers

All participants should be clear about their cue for entry, where they go to and what happens when they’ve got there! A rehearsal isn’t always possible, I know, but is a good idea. It should be stressed that they process in slowly. Their role is decorative, but important.

Ushers may direct guests to their seats and be of general help.

A potentially stroppy child usher can be entrusted with the task of marshalling any gifts that are brought.

The officiant can normally oversee what may be needed, but, if everybody knows their role, then the potential for disaster is significantly minimalized!