So, the bride and groom (or brides and grooms) got through the notoriously stressful part of narrowing down their wedding party and you made the cut. Congrats! As one of the couple’s biggest supporters, it’s obviously your goal to ensure the wedding day and events leading up to it are as entertaining, memorable, and free of any unnecessary anxiety as possible. This is certainly much easier said than done, especially when assigned the ever-so-important title of either maid of honor or best man (or man of honor or best woman). But, not every major duty should fall in the hands of these two special people.
“Delegate, delegate, delegate!” advises Olivia Nicoletti of Olive Fine Weddings & Events. “You’ve chosen to be in a wedding party because you are close to the couple, but no single person should assume all responsibilities leading into the big day.”
Meet the Expert
Olivia Nicoletti is the owner and lead planner of Olive Fine Weddings & Events, which is based in Chicago and Ithaca, New York.
To get a better sense of how to divide tasks between bridesmaids and groomsmen, we chatted with Nicoletti, who actually recommends focusing less on the details of duties (which a wedding planner can cover) and more on assigning larger roles in four distinct categories.
A Master Communicator
Whether it’s a close relative or childhood best friend, someone from the wedding should serve as the liaison between all distinguished guests and both sides of the family. This point-person typically has a connection to the majority of people who are invited and is an expert at communicating specific requests or demands from all fronts.
“This role is most commonly taken on by the maid or man of honor, only because they have been most involved in the wedding-planning process and have the best sense of everyone’s specific needs and to-dos,” says Nicoletti. “They will also be the go-to person on the actual wedding day to make last-minute decisions to put out fires if anything goes awry.”
Your master communicator will also be the person your wedding planner relies on to relay critical information about delays, last-minute changes, and where people need to be.
A Captain of Fun
“This is someone who can make sure beers get on a trolley, play music while taking photographs, and be an overall hype person,” says Nicoletti, who says it’s important to identify someone who is not just the life of the party, but a spirit-lifter who is outgoing and great at making people smile.
“The role often falls on a gentleman on the groom’s side because they have less to do on the actual wedding day while the bridal party is getting ready,” she adds. “So many couples worry about whether or not their guests are having fun. If someone is assigned ‘captain of fun,’ the couple can focus more on experiencing their wedding day, rather than trying to manage it.”
While the “fun role” is—you guessed it—fun, be sure to only rely on someone you can trust. You don't want this person to be so fun (a.k.a. inebriated) that they steal any attention from the happy couple.
An Emotional Chief
It’s no secret that emotions run high on a wedding day. Having someone serve as an emergency therapist and emotional bodyguard will be beneficial for everyone involved.
“Designate someone to check in with the couple to ensure that they’re not fending off timeline inquiries from a parent and that they’re feeling supported, happy, and hydrated,” advises Nicoletti. “This person can also keep an eye out for any big personalities that the couple may want to avoid talking to for too long.”
“Always remember that couples, and brides in particular, are at the center of a lot of emotional baggage from family drama and planning stress. Having a close confidant that can get a read on a bride well and know when she’s about to be overwhelmed can help to address any issues early on,” she adds.
A Logistics Champion
Covering logistics may seem like a role for a maid of honor or best man, but they typically already have too much on their plate to focus on the nitty-gritty details.
“I generally try to designate someone who is a natural-born planner for this role,” says Nicoletti. “Between buses, packing bags, carrying valuables from hotels to venues, and keeping the entire wedding party on track, this person is essentially ensuring that everything is running smoothly and organized.”
The "logistics champion" is a behind-the-scenes rule-follower who naturally cares a little too much about meeting deadlines, memorizing sequences of events, and keeping things orderly. Monica Bing from Friends would be a perfect example.
A Final Note
At the end of the day, it’s ultimately a couple’s responsibility to choose their wedding party wisely.
“Yes, it can be meaningful and ceremonial for siblings and long-time friends to be included, but I always recommend that a couple consider who will make the best day for them,” says Nicoletti. “Who will respect their boundaries? Who will listen to them when they need something? Who will encourage them when things feel overwhelming? These factors play a huge role in how a couple walks away from their wedding day.”