Most of us are quite familiar with the typical wedding roles for friends, such as the maid of honor and best man, bridesmaids and groomsmen, and are most excited to pop the question to the important people in our lives whom we hope will take on these very special responsibilities. Deciding exactly who we want to be a part of the wedding party, however, can be tough. Most often, the role is extended to close friends and family—siblings, cousins, best friends, etc. The best way to judge whether or not to ask someone to be a part of your wedding party is to question whether or not he or she will likely be a part of your life in 10 or 20 years down the line. If the answer is a resounding “yes,” you can feel rest assured that you’re making the right decision in asking him or her to be a part of your wedding party.
How many people you ask is, of course, up to you. According to the WeddingWire Newlywed Report, the average wedding party consists of about 10 people. If there are certain individuals whom you don’t want to be a part of your wedding party, but would like to honor them with a specific role on your big day, there are several lesser-known titles you can bestow upon them.
“Weddings today offer many opportunities for family and close friends to get involved even if they’re not part of the actual bridal party,” explains Deb Erb of Simply Events Inc. in Lititz, Pennsylvania. “Their help is mostly needed on the wedding day itself and not so much prior to the big day.”
Here are some of the potential options for wedding roles you can give you friends who are not bridesmaids, groomsmen, bridesmen, groomswomen, and the like.
If your ceremony consists of special readings, you can consider asking a loved one to be called up during the ceremony to recite one or more reading or blessing. Marlie R. Vodofsky of Marlie Renee Designs, in Jersey City, New Jersey, asked her husband’s godmother and one of their good friends (also wife of their best man) to give readings at her wedding. “This way they were a part of our wedding even though they weren’t specifically in our wedding party,” she says. “They came to our rehearsal dinner and got ready with us the day of, so it was still very special.” A ceremony reader a great wedding role for non-bridesmaids or non-groomsmen.
Flower girl or ring bearer
This wedding party role tends to be occupied by a young child who is close with the couple. The role could be filled by a relative or family friend—it is truly up to you and who you feel will fill the shoes best. It’s also a great way to include young children in your wedding day if you’re opting to have a kid-free reception.
Many times guests are not always sure where a gift or envelope should be placed, but having someone designated to point guests in the right direction can be beneficial, explains Erb. “Couples usually have a card box or some sort of container to hold the cards that guests bring, but it is very helpful to have one or two people help guide the guests, take a large gift out of someone’s hands and place with the rest of the gifts,” she says.
Ushers play an important role—helping guide guests to their seats during the ceremony. Since those in your wedding party will be busy helping you get ready and preparing to walk down the aisle ahead of you, you’ll want to give the wedding role to a friend or family member. “In addition to standing by the guest entrance to ask if anyone needs assistance to their seat, ushers can also monitor where guests are sitting to make sure they don’t sit in a reserved seat,” explains Erb.
If you have a loved one who’s familiar with most of the people you’ve invited, you may consider giving them a great wedding role for friends or family member—greeter, or someone to greet the guests as they arrive to the ceremony site. “This person can take on the responsibility of welcoming guests as well as asking them to sign the guest book,” says Erb. “They can also help guide guests to the ceremony seating area or direct them to ushers to be seated.”
Assist with decor
If you have a handy aunt or cousin who’s looking for a task she can assist you with on your big day, consider asking her to help with the decorative elements on the tables or down the aisle. “This usually happens for more DIY weddings; however, sometimes a florist may bring in centerpiece decor, but a friend is asked to set-up candlesticks or a dessert or candy display,” says Erb.