You may know exactly who you want to be in your wedding party and what roles you would like to give each person, but have you thought about what responsibilities each of these roles comes with? The modern wedding ceremony can take many forms and fall anywhere on the spectrum of rigidly traditional to flexible and contemporary, and honor attendant duties ebb and flow accordingly. You have a unique vision for your special day, and without guidance from you, your loved ones may struggle to understand what is expected of them.
Nip unnecessary stress (and worse, disagreements) between you and your attendants in the bud by being honest and direct about your expectations. Below are guidelines for 10 traditional bridal party duties that you can adjust as necessary before discussing responsibilities with your crew:
Most of the time, the engaged couple selects the ceremony outfits and shoes for their honor attendants, and the latter pays. You may choose to gift jewelry or other accessories to your bridal party. Otherwise, they will pay for their accessories too.
The cost of decor, food and activities will fall to whomever is hosting, whether that means family or your honor attendants. There is some overlap in expectations here, and it varies depending on if your bridal party includes family or not. Ask these two groups to coordinate with one another (and share contact info), so everyone is on the same page about who is doing what.
Whether you and your sweetie are planning separate or combined hen/stag nights, the hosts of the party (traditionally the maid of honor and/or the best man) are responsible for all décor, activities, food and drink. These days, the pre-wedding bash frequently takes the form of a long weekend getaway. In this case, be sure to discuss the costs with your wedding tribe; you may need to chip in for your lodging and/or food.
Wedding and Shower Presents
Your honor attendants are committing great amounts of time, money and effort on your behalf. Keep in mind that it may be financially unrealistic for them to afford to purchase a wedding gift and/or a shower gift for you on top of everything else. If they do decide to give you a gift, do not be surprised if you receive one gift from them (often a larger gift that the group purchases together) at either the wedding shower or wedding reception.
Travel and Lodging
The cost of travel to and from the wedding destination, as well as accommodations for the week, falls on your honor attendants. Make sure you discuss this with any wedding party members who live far away, as this will affect their ability to contribute financially to the wedding in other ways. Reserving discounted hotel room blocks for your attendants goes a long way. Depending on your own budget, you can also offer to chip in for travel and accommodations.
Bouquets and Corsages
Bouquets and corsages for the honor attendants are traditionally ordered and purchased by the engaged couple.
Friends, family, and bridal party members may wish to throw you an engagement party (or two), a shower for work friends or some other sort of gathering in your honor. Let your honor attendants (and if appropriate, your family and coworkers) know if you really do not want any more attention. Otherwise, relax and enjoy more time celebrating with your favorite people!
Wedding Eve Lodging
If you want your honor attendants to spend the eve of your wedding with you in a shared hotel, you should cover the cost. Otherwise, your wedding crew members may end up paying for two nights’ accommodations–said shared hotel room, plus any other lodging reservations they made for the week.
Hair and Makeup
This depends on what you request of your honor attendants. If you want them to use professional hair and makeup services, you should pay. If your attendants are the ones to insist on hiring professionals, you can let them pay for themselves, offer to split the bill, or offer to pay and designate this as their honor attendant gift.
Wedding Day Transportation
Your bridal party has helped you tremendously in the months and weeks leading up to your special day. You should coordinate and pay for transportation to and from the wedding ceremony and reception for them.