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Results: What are you taking on when you agree to be someone's bridesmaid/usher?

Nothing beyond turning up on the day and enjoying yourself

12.77% • 6 votes

Emotional support and help getting dressed

61.70% • 29 votes

Arrange and pay for the stag and hen

4.26% • 2 votes

Keep all stress away from the bride and groom if possible

29.79% • 14 votes

Each role has specific responsibilities that I'll explain as a comment

21.28% • 10 votes

Set up and pack away the decorations

12.77% • 6 votes

You may not vote on this poll

47 votes in total.

  • FIRST POST
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 19th Apr 17, 11:32 AM
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    nkkingston
    Wedding party duties
    • #1
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:32 AM
    Wedding party duties 19th Apr 17 at 11:32 AM
    What would you say the duties of a wedding party (bridesmaids, ushers etc) are in a UK wedding? Do they have any beyond turning up? Are they essentially there to work? Where in between is reasonable?

    I ask because I got into a discussion recently with an american who was shocked and appalled by the idea that the wedding party have roles to play, and that it sullies the honour you offer someone when you ask them to be a bridesmaid/groomsman by giving them duties (even asking the best man to be in charge of the rings is bad etiquette!). My understanding had always been that the wedding party all had quite distinct roles to play in the day, and that asking the people who played those roles to be your bridesmaids/ushers was a way of thanking them for it. For example, ushers are called that because they help seat the guests at the ceremony, the best man MC's the speeches as well as giving one, the bridesmaids are the first point of contact for the vendors, and in general the wedding party works together to keep the day as stress free as possible for the couple. I wouldn't accept a role as a bridesmaid if I didn't think I'd be an asset to the couple on the day, and I'd be kinda insulted if I was told that all i had to do was turn up to the ceremony and stand there in a dress the bride had chosen for me; it'd make me feel like the couple didn't trust me. I've added some options to the poll that have been true of weddings I've attended, but I don't know if they were expectations or something the wedding party offered (like covering hen party costs, or packing up the venue at the end of the night).

    I'm curious as to how much this is a US / UK thing, and how much it's something that's been shaped by the weddings I've personally attended. Also, feel free to vent about the worst weddings you've been in, because that's always fun
    Last edited by nkkingston; 19-04-2017 at 11:46 AM.
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Page 1
    • hazyjo
    • By hazyjo 19th Apr 17, 11:48 AM
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    hazyjo
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:48 AM
    • #2
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:48 AM
    IMO, ushers stand at the back of the church and tell people where to sit and give out hymn books, buttonholes, whatever.


    Bridesmaids go on your hen night and are part of the wedding day. Some brides get them to arrange the hen night - although I can't think of anything worse personally - would rather go for dinner with everyone, or see a show or tribute act or something. One night out - not a wild weekend away.


    Wouldn't expect them to offer emotional support (maybe they can be there on the morning, but only if you're all spending the night together, I'd not expect them to come from home to help me get ready). I've had a friend stay, go for breakfast/lunch, and maybe zip up my dress but that's about it lol!


    Def not pay for stag/hen night.


    Def not to keep all the stress, etc away from bride/groom.


    Def not pack up after the party!


    Each to their own. I'm sure google has some other opinions.


    Jx
    2017 wins: Opera tickets; film preview; lipstick; Ideal Home Show tickets + afternoon tea & bottle of Champagne; 2 cases of NKD; notebook; bath rack; books; film Premiere; Broadchurch DVDs; lipbalms
    • lika_86
    • By lika_86 19th Apr 17, 11:58 AM
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    lika_86
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:58 AM
    • #3
    • 19th Apr 17, 11:58 AM
    Ushers might hand out orders of service but that's about it.

    Generally bridesmaids (or very close friends) organise surprise activities on the hen do (I assume the same applies for the stag do), but I wouldn't expect anything else, other than turning up for dress fittings for their own dresses. Anything else they do might be offered as a friend but should not be expected from the role.

    I'd be well annoyed if suddenly it was my job to make sure the couple had a stress free day - why would I be the first port of call as a bridesmaid for the vendors? The couple have booked stuff and know what they've paid for.
    • fairy lights
    • By fairy lights 19th Apr 17, 12:08 PM
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    fairy lights
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:08 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:08 PM
    the bridesmaids are the first point of contact for the vendors,
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    What?! I've never heard of bridesmaids taking on a roll like that.
    I was a bridesmaid last year and my duties were: organise the hen do (but not pay for it - everyone who came paid for their own share), keep the bride calm on the morning of the wedding by force feeding her croissants, talk her out of some terrible makeup choices, and make sure to be the first on the dance floor at the reception to get people dancing.

    The best man had similar duties, two of the grooms friends were ushers but people are generally pretty good at sitting themselves down without help so that was really only a symbolic role.
    I think you can be an asset to the couple without playing a major organisational role, just caring enough to be there and wear a hideous dress can mean a lot.
    • Torry Quine
    • By Torry Quine 19th Apr 17, 12:12 PM
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    Torry Quine
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:12 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:12 PM
    The usher helps people know what the seating arrangements are. My bridesmaid came to my home when i got ready but didn't help me get dressed! I didn't have a hen do but if i had wouldn't have wanted my bridesmaid to pay for it. Seems strange that vendors would contact anyone but the couple who organised it.
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    • KateySW
    • By KateySW 19th Apr 17, 12:13 PM
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    KateySW
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:13 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:13 PM
    I think I'd personally feel a bit miffed if I was asked to turn up in a dress picked for me but wouldn't have any impact on the day otherwise!

    I'm getting married soon, and have 5 bridesmaids (I have 3 sisters!), but to be honest, the priority with my maids is that they just have a fun time! But a couple of things to make them feel involved in the day:
    - We're all getting ready together in the morning, when someone comes in to sort my hair (I'm pants at hair and make up!) they'll have theirs done too. I'll pay for that of course.
    - They're involved in the ceremony - readings and we're also doing something called ring warming as it's a humanist ceremony.
    - Coming with me for the final wedding dress fitting and we'll do dinner altogether the night before. I'll also be setting up the venue the night before but I don't expect them to help me with that.

    I really didn't want them to organise a hen do for me but my sisters wanted to. Thankfully it's going to be very low-key, I really didn't want to do a mini break away or anything. Also I'll be paying for my share of the day, whatever that involves...

    I think it should all be tailored to the group of friends/family you have and how involved or not they want to be. I've tried to make them feel involved in decisions but also not wanted to put any pressure on them organising anything.
    Last edited by KateySW; 19-04-2017 at 12:17 PM.
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 19th Apr 17, 12:24 PM
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    nkkingston
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:24 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Apr 17, 12:24 PM
    I couldn't figure out how to edit out 'pay for' on the hen do - that's spending too much time on american websites where being a bridesmaid is a massive financial commitment (engagement party, wedding shower, hen do, buying your own dress that the bride picked out...).

    I'm interested in the getting ready thing - I've never been to a wedding where the bridesmaids didn't all get dressed and coiffured with the bride in the morning. I wonder if it depends on the time of day and the extent of the coiffuring and complexity of the dress? My sister needed someone to lace her into hers (who'd been to the fittings with her to find out how!) and one of my friends had to take a bridesmaid with her every time she went to the loo because she was in a full on Princess Di marshmallow of a dress and needed someone to help her hold the skirts up.
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    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 19th Apr 17, 1:47 PM
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    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 1:47 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Apr 17, 1:47 PM
    Do you mean ushers or best man?

    Emotional support and help getting dressed
    This ^^^^ is the only 'duty' I think a bridesmaid has.
    • cashewnut
    • By cashewnut 19th Apr 17, 1:56 PM
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    cashewnut
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 1:56 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Apr 17, 1:56 PM
    Other than keep me calm and give out some confetti boxes I didn't have any jobs for my bridesmaids.

    However during the evening of my wedding I realised no one had brought my overnight bag. One of my bridesmaids then drove a 20 mile round trip to collect it from my mum's! Luckily for me she was very early days pregnant so hadn''t been drinking. I never expected her to do this but was very grateful and sent her a bunch of flowers to say thanks
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 19th Apr 17, 3:02 PM
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    Mojisola
    What would you say the duties of a wedding party (bridesmaids, ushers etc) are in a UK wedding?
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    There are no rules.

    Each bride and groom can plan their wedding as they want and come to mutual agreements with members of the wedding party as to what they would like them to do.
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 19th Apr 17, 3:36 PM
    • 16,658 Posts
    • 41,799 Thanks
    Pollycat
    What would you say the duties of a wedding party (bridesmaids, ushers etc) are in a UK wedding? Do they have any beyond turning up? Are they essentially there to work? Where in between is reasonable?

    I ask because I got into a discussion recently with an american who was shocked and appalled by the idea that the wedding party have roles to play, and that it sullies the honour you offer someone when you ask them to be a bridesmaid/groomsman by giving them duties (even asking the best man to be in charge of the rings is bad etiquette!). My understanding had always been that the wedding party all had quite distinct roles to play in the day, and that asking the people who played those roles to be your bridesmaids/ushers was a way of thanking them for it. For example, ushers are called that because they help seat the guests at the ceremony, the best man MC's the speeches as well as giving one, the bridesmaids are the first point of contact for the vendors, and in general the wedding party works together to keep the day as stress free as possible for the couple. I wouldn't accept a role as a bridesmaid if I didn't think I'd be an asset to the couple on the day, and I'd be kinda insulted if I was told that all i had to do was turn up to the ceremony and stand there in a dress the bride had chosen for me; it'd make me feel like the couple didn't trust me. I've added some options to the poll that have been true of weddings I've attended, but I don't know if they were expectations or something the wedding party offered (like covering hen party costs, or packing up the venue at the end of the night).

    I'm curious as to how much this is a US / UK thing, and how much it's something that's been shaped by the weddings I've personally attended. Also, feel free to vent about the worst weddings you've been in, because that's always fun
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    I'm more in agreement with your US friend than you.

    However, hasn't the best man always kept hold of the rings until the appropriate point in the ceremony?

    The idea that the bridesmaids are first point of contact for the vendors is, quite frankly, bonkers to me.

    I suspect you've been reading this:
    http://www.countybride.co.uk/gloucestershire/wedding_etiquette/roles_duties/
    • peachyprice
    • By peachyprice 19th Apr 17, 4:25 PM
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    peachyprice
    Ushers show the guests to the correct side of the church, best man arranges stage do and looks after the rings/groom before the wedding.

    Bridesmaids arrange hen do, help the bride dress, look after the bouquet during ceremony and give out confetti for the photos.

    That's about it isn't it? Some of the things in your poll OP are way OTT. I certainly didn't expect any of our wedding party to 'work' for the privilege of being chosen.
    Accept your past without regret, handle your present with confidence and face your future without fear
    • nkkingston
    • By nkkingston 19th Apr 17, 4:31 PM
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    nkkingston
    I hadn't seen that one! Confetti.co.uk has an frankly impressive list for the chief bridesmaid (or rather, the wedding planner who appears to be masquerading as one) which inspired some of the more demanding elements in the poll. My own experience with weddings is that guests assume the bridesmaids know every last detail about the venue, catering, timings, family dynamics, and so on, and that vendors will approach almost anyone before they risk going to the couple with a problem. I'd always assumed this level of 'managing' the event was something that was built into the bridesmaids' roles, but it looks like I've just been to a lot of events where the ladies went above and beyond.

    I have fallen down an interesting history rabbit hole while exploring all this, including how the wedding party roles are named after servant roles. it's interesting that unlike the US we don't use maid of honour, which is explicitly a term for a high ranking noble acting as a servant, but we've kept maids, ushers and pages. It all implies that the couple are royalty for the day, which gives me a new appreciation for Posh and Becks' thrones. It wasn't tacky, it was a nod to wedding history!
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    • fairy lights
    • By fairy lights 19th Apr 17, 5:01 PM
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    fairy lights
    My own experience with weddings is that guests assume the bridesmaids know every last detail about the venue, catering, timings, family dynamics, and so on, and that vendors will approach almost anyone before they risk going to the couple with a problem.
    Originally posted by nkkingston
    I think quite often bridesmaids/groomsmen do have a good grasp of seating arrangements, timings, and family feuds, partly because as close friends of the couple they will have discussed these things but also because they need to know when and where to be on the day so know the schedule at least.
    If there are last minute organisational problems on the day, vendors probably aren't going to be able to contact the bride or groom because they will be busy getting ready, so in that instance they might approach someone who they can clearly identify as part of the wedding party as a last resort.
    • Serendipitious
    • By Serendipitious 19th Apr 17, 5:47 PM
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    Serendipitious
    I've been to a few UK weddings which had a 'maid of honour' and bridesmaids - in each of these weddings, all the bridesmaids were children, and the 'maid of honour' was the adult bridesmaid who was in charge of the little ones.
    “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

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    • pogofish
    • By pogofish 19th Apr 17, 6:19 PM
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    Wouldn't a Weddings/Special Occasions Forum be a wonderful innovation for MSE!
    • belfastgirl23
    • By belfastgirl23 19th Apr 17, 6:29 PM
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    belfastgirl23
    To me, 'run interference' is the main job description. Whether it's keeping an eye on an older relative (or a drunk relative!), keeping hold of cash gifts, as others said, help with hair/clothes etc. Within reason, whatever the bride/groom needs on the day and in the run up to it. If you're close enough friends or family that they ask you, then surely you'd want to help out any way you can?

    • Dustyblinds
    • By Dustyblinds 19th Apr 17, 7:25 PM
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    Dustyblinds
    Wouldn't a Weddings/Special Occasions Forum be a wonderful innovation for MSE!
    Originally posted by pogofish
    There's already one on the For who and where you are. Weddings and special occasions.
    Last edited by Dustyblinds; 19-04-2017 at 7:28 PM.
    • Dustyblinds
    • By Dustyblinds 19th Apr 17, 7:42 PM
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    Dustyblinds
    Dd was maid of honour for her cousin last week and took on her duties really well considering it's the first time she's ever been a bridesmaid.
    She organised the hen do, collecting money, making up goody bags etc. No wild weekend, we went for afternoon tea, which everyone enjoyed.
    She took the bride to dress fittings, hair and makeup rehearsals etc, even helped her choose the cakes, the cake maker used dd as her contact so as not to stress the bride, bit difficult to stress my niece as she's very laid back anyway, as is dd.
    Dd stayed over at the brides home the night before and on the morning they went to her mams where they had hair and makeup done before helping each other get dressed and dress the brides daughters who were also bridesmaids.
    The day went so smoothly because of how well my niece had everyone organised. At the end of the evening my sister was on babysitting duties for my nieces two children so me and my other sister helped with loading nieces taxi with presents, table decorations and the cake.
    It was a lovely day, made all the more special as we all had our own part to play in helping out.Like belfastgirl said above if your close family, why wouldn't you want to help out.
    • sillyvixen
    • By sillyvixen 19th Apr 17, 10:32 PM
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    sillyvixen
    As my only bridesmaid was 8 years old her only job was to follow me in and out of church and hold my flowers. Organising a hen night may have been beyond her - good job I choose not to have one.
    Dogs return to eat their vomit, just as fools repeat their foolishness. There is no more hope for a fool than for someone who says, "i am really clever!"
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