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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 2
    • NBLondon
    • By NBLondon 20th Apr 17, 8:58 AM
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    NBLondon
    What mojisola said - it's up to each couple how they arrange it, depending on what they might need help with and how many relatives/close friends they have. A lot of "traditions" do appear to have been made-up in the last 25 years by the wedding industry - or by journalists desperate to fill the space in wedding magazines (or the free paper industry's annual wedding season).

    If you go back far enough - in some cultures, the groom is supposed to carry off his bride by force and the groomsmen are his backup to fight off rivals (or disapproving male relatives of the bride). Asking a brother/cousin of the bride to be an usher is therefore symbolic that the marriage is a peaceful one.

    In other cultures where the marriage is dynastic or based on land/wealth rather than choice, the chief bridesmaid is there to be a back-up if the bride fails to show up (or is suddenly discovered to be unsuitable). Hence, a married woman cannot be a bridesmaid (maid implies unmarried and assumed a virgin) but must be a matron of honour (matron implies married).

    Which all means nothing these days of course...

    Some families measure status by how big(expensive) the wedding is; how many bridesmaids and so on. So they possibly will consider it an honour to be appointed a role and expect work in return. If you're asked - you either go along with it or decide you don't care enough about the couple to play games. Or, sadly, if it's family, you might have to play along while hating the games.
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    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 20th Apr 17, 10:29 AM
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    Pollycat
    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.
    Originally posted by Dustyblinds
    I'm pretty sure pogofish knows there already is a Weddings/Special Occasions Forum.
    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 20th Apr 17, 11:32 AM
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    GlasweJen
    Our best men did a speech, passed the rings over to the humanist and got drunk and did a round with the guest book poster thing and got people to sign/mark it. One of them signed the register and organised the stag do because his friend runs the place where they wanted to go.

    Matron of honour signed the register and organised me a hen do (I hadn't really wanted one), other adult bridesmaid visited a lot and helped with preparations like coming to wine tasting and coming up with ideas for the table centre pieces. My other bridesmaids were all under 16 (my nieces) so they just got a pretty dress and their make up done, the youngest who can talk did a reading.

    The ushers wore a kilt and posed in photos.
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    • mgdavid
    • By mgdavid 20th Apr 17, 11:55 AM
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    mgdavid
    .........
    The ushers wore a kilt and posed in photos.
    Originally posted by GlasweJen
    They took turns wearing the same one?
    The mind boggles
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    • firebird082
    • By firebird082 20th Apr 17, 1:22 PM
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    firebird082
    Some of those roles sound completely over the top! My chief bridesmaid was the only one I had around in the morning to help out with my dress, and she also organised the hen do (with lots of input from me!), the others didn't do much.

    Best Man organises the stag do, does a speech and holds the rings until the appropriate moment. Ushers greet everyone on arrival, and make sure they have orders of service and somewhere to sit.

    Actually, the most useful people were my assorted friends and brother and sister-in-law, who rounded people up for photos, guestbook etc, and helped us decorate the venue the night before the wedding, and clear it down the morning after!
    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 20th Apr 17, 4:29 PM
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    GlasweJen
    They took turns wearing the same one?
    The mind boggles
    Originally posted by mgdavid
    You don't want to know, I'm dreading my photos arriving.
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    • GlasweJen
    • By GlasweJen 20th Apr 17, 4:34 PM
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    GlasweJen
    Even as a paraplegic I managed to get dressed (and my dress was fairly big), I don't know why grown, able bodied women have "help" getting into a wedding dress, maybe someone to zip up the back or tie them in but that doesn't take a team of bridesmaids.

    Decorating the venue and cleaning up? That's not a job for people you've invited as guests! If you don't want to decorate and clean your own venue then pay someone to do it, don't wrangle your guests to be taking off chair covers and taking down bunting at 2am.

    Paying for the stag/hen dos? That's not an individuals responsibility. If people want to attend then they should pay to do so, I've often been asked to chip in towards the brides place at a hen and I've happily done so but I wouldn't have expected my sister to Pan for everyone who attended my hen do!
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    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 20th Apr 17, 4:57 PM
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    seven-day-weekend
    My husband has been Best Man three times and my son has been an usher.

    As an usher, my son had to tell people where to sit and give out orders of service; also asking any general questions that people might ask as theyy came through the door. He also opened the doors after the service to let people out. That was the extent of his activities.

    My husband's role on all three occasions as Best Man was to look after the groom - to make sure he did not get too blotto on his stag night, to organise the Groom's wedding outfit and their own and the ushers', (but not necessarily pay for tehm), to make sure the Groom arrived at the wedding venue on time and suitably dressed, to look after the rings, to clam him down and try to keep him from stress and anxiety, and to make a speech at the reception. On one occasion, someone tried to gatecrash the reception, my husband took it upon himself in his role as looking after the groom, to get that sorted.

    Best Man is quite a responsibility - I think the Chief Bridesmaid fulfils a similar function for the Bride as the Best Man does for the Groom.

    http://www.theweddingcommunity.com/170/Expert-Advice/Article/Duties-of-the-Chief-Bridesmaid-and-Best-Man
    Last edited by seven-day-weekend; 20-04-2017 at 5:04 PM.
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    • ceb1995
    • By ceb1995 20th Apr 17, 5:30 PM
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    ceb1995
    The only expectation we have of the best men and bridesmaids are to turn up on the day, they are staying the night before as we offered to pay but would have be fine if they didnt take up that offer. Anything else if they want to do that's great, but if not then that's fine with us
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    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 20th Apr 17, 7:31 PM
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    Pollycat
    Hmmmm.
    'Wedding party duties'.
    Let's see.

    I went with my sister to choose here​ dress.
    The dress was stored at my house & that's where the fittings were.
    I had her dress hung up in my bathroom with the shower running for days & days to get the creases out.
    It didn't work & I ended up ironing it - the most stressful ​thing I've ever done.

    I paid for her wedding dress, veil, head-dress & shoes.

    I (and OH) did almost all the evening-do buffet, I planned purchase of the food & organised the family who were helping with the buffet.
    I stayed behind after the buffet to clear the left-over food away.

    I did this not because I was 'matron of honour' but because I love her.

    Does any of this really matter?

    OP - are you writing a new 'wedding etiquette' book?
    • Spendless
    • By Spendless 20th Apr 17, 11:14 PM
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    Spendless
    I was my sister's chief bridesmaid 20 years ago. The only duties I had were to hold her bouquet during the ceremony and once she was stood at the alter straighten her train. As I couldn't straighten her train whilst holding 2 bouquets (hers and mine) I gave one each to the other 2 bridesmaids to hold whilst I did it and then took them back. Nothing else was involved.
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