Q: What does the wedding party actually do?

A: The honor attendant is usually a close friend or family member who not only organizes and hosts a shower for the bride, but also helps her get ready on the wedding day. She wears a dress that she usually pays for, which matches or coordinates with the other bridesmaids, and she sometimes carries a slightly more elaborate bouquet than the other attendants.

The bridesmaids are select friends and family, who are usually about the same age of the bride. They attend pre-wedding parties and also help out with some wedding preparations. They wear matching or coordinating dresses (usually paid for themselves) to the ceremony and are customarily given a gift by the bride as a token of appreciation.

The best man is often the groom's best friend or a close family member. His formalwear matches the ushers' and he pays the rental fees himself. He hosts the bachelor party, holds the ring during the ceremony and leads the other men in the well-wishing.

Ushers are also close in age to the groom. They are usually chosen by the groom, and their primary function is seating guests at the wedding. They each wear and pay for matching formalwear, and the groom usually gives each man a present as a thank-you for participating in the wedding.

Children between the ages of 9 and 14 are best suited for the duties of candlelighters, junior bridesmaids or junior ushers. These attendants wear coordinating dresses or formalwear. Flower girls are usually family members, or a friend's child between the ages of three and nine, and they carry a small bouquet or basket down the aisle in the ceremony. The ring bearer is often a boy, but the duty can certainly be carried out by a little girl as well. Boys under age four wear an Eton suit or may be dressed in a similar fashion to the ushers. Parents pay for their children's attire when asked to be in a wedding, unless otherwise notified by the bride or groom.

See all questions about wedding party etiquette

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