Make your wedding party perfect! A guide for who’s who in your wedding.
BY REBECCA WILLIAMSON
Thousands of years ago, groomsmen were accomplices in the groom’s kidnapping of an unsuspecting bride. Thankfully times and roles have changed since then, but a groom’s men - as well as a bride’s maids - are just as integral to a modern wedding.
The fun begins once you have selected your A team. What will they wear on the day? How will they help in the lead-up? Who organises the pre-wedding events? These questions are likely to crop up as you design your dream day. Here’s our guide to ensuring your closet guys and girls stay happy and enthusiastic.
THE WHO, WHAT AND WEAR
How many people you have in your bridal party is up to you and it’s not necessary to have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen to limit your attendees to one sex- bride’s men and groom’s girls are perfectly fine! What is important, however, is selecting the appropriate attire so your teams feel confident and fabulous - the last thing you want is an uncomfortable bridesmaid hoisting up her strapless gown in photos.
Start investigating outfits at least six months prior to your wedding - you may even like to begin earlier, particularly if you want other elements of your day, such as your invitation, to incorporate the hue of the bridesmaid dresses. Consider the skin tones, body shapes and personalities of all your ladies, whether you’re having an indoor or outdoor wedding, as well as the season and the theme. Also think about your gown and what colours and styles would complement it - your designer or bridal-store consultant may have some ideas. Quiz each of your bridesmaids on what they like to wear: what necklines do they find flattering? Do they prefer short or full-length dresses? Is form-fitting okay, or would they feel more comfortable in something flowy? Plan to go shopping with them all together, if possible, and keep an open mind. What you initially envisioned for your bridesmaids may change once you see it on, and you may even consider finding a completely different dress to suit each individual. If you wish to have identical maids, however, A-line skirts and empire waistlines suit most figures, and bright colours tend to be more flattering than pastels on a range of complexions. Remember the little details, too - your ladies need to have appropriate underwear for their attire and comfortable shoes, as well as suitable jewellery and other accessories. Dresses may also need to be professionally altered to ensure comfortable and confident bridesmaids on the day.
Groomsmen also want to look good and feel great - some guys may want input on what they will be wearing, so invite them to try on suits, shoes, ties and other attire with you. There are two critical factors when choosing groomsmen’s attire: it should be appropriate for the weather (your guys don’t want to be sweltering in a cashmere suit on a hot summer’s afternoon) and everything must fit correctly, if your groomsmen are out of town and unable to shop with you, ask them for their suit measurements; this task is best undertaken by a professional tailor. Well-fitting shoes are imperative, as are appropriate socks. Other groomsmen accessories such as ties, cuff links, pocket squares, jewellery and watches may need to be discussed.
A HELPING HAND
You’ve chose your bridesmaids and groomsmen because they are caring and reliable and they love you to pieces. So naturally, every one of them will be willing to help you in planning your big day. There are many duties your bridal party can assist with, but keep in mind that they also have busy lives, so try not to put too much pressure on them. Traditionally, the bridal party takes care of both the stag do and hen’s party, as well as helping to organise (sometimes in conjunction with the couple’s mothers) other pre-wedding events such as the bridal shower or kitchen tea. They also assist in choosing your attire - you know you can count on your closest friend for honest advice!
Your attendees can be your saviours, both in the lead-up to the wedding and on the day. Some of their tasks include:
Your bridesmaids can go gown shopping and attend fittings with you
They are on call for stress relief and pre-wedding jitters: think long lunches, Skype sessions and relaxing pedicures
They help with crafty tasks and DIY such as sealing envelopes and making centrepieces
The ladies are also in charge of preparing an emergency wedding-day-kit - essential items include tissues, lipstick, floss, mints, heel stoppers and plasters
Your maid of honour will hold your bouquet at the altar and ensure your gown and hair look immaculate from all angles
They will keep you fed and hydrated throughout the day
Optional extras for the girls include making a speech at the reception or signing the register
Leave it to the ladies to mingle with your guests, get them dancing and serve the wedding cake
At the end of the festivities, your bridesmaids may be responsible for keeping a record of all gifts received and helping with the clean-up.
Your groomsmen are in charge of not only the stag party, but other pre-wedding activities, such as brunch or golf the day prior to the wedding
They are responsible for getting you to the ceremony on time
Your guys can act as ushers and escort the bridesmaids throughout the day
The best man holds and presents the rings and may also sign the register
At the reception, the best man may take on some light MC duties, deliver his much-anticipated speech, and read messages from guests who couldn’t attend
Traditionally, groomsmen were also required to decorate the newlyweds’ getaway car and be available to provide housekeeping information to guests, such as where the bathrooms are.