When you’re planning a wedding, you want all your closest friends and family to be included. Couples want to share their special day with their families and closest friends. For some couples, struggling to know who to invite to a gay wedding is a big enough challenge, and having a wedding party often gives them the strength and support they need for the practical and emotional challenges gay wedding planning can bring. That’s why so many couples create a large wedding party as they begin to plan their wedding. It’s a way to bring those closest to you into your family, even if they aren’t related and, quite frankly, it’s also helpful to have the support of these people in a more practical sense as well.
Since traditionally wedding parties have consisted of females for the bride and males for the groom, creating a wedding party creates some interesting questions for LGBT couples when it comes to gay friendly wedding party options. Is it okay for the Best Man to be transsexual? Does the Maid of Honor need to be woman? Should two grooms share one Best Man? Can the Ring Bearer or Flower girl be anyone’s child, or do you need to be related to him or her? And do they have to be a boy and a girl? And for that matter, what exactly are all these people supposed to be doing?
The Wedding Party – A Brief Overview
Before we get into who does what and their role in the wedding, it’s worth mentioning that there are no rules about how many attendants you need or even where you want to stop. In 2013, one couple set a world record with 126 bridesmaids. Other couples stick to one or two people for each side, if they have any at all. But, should you choose to create a wedding party, it’s good to know what everyone is supposed to be doing.
Maid of Honor
- Assists the bride in selecting her outfit and ensures all bridesmaids have the right clothing, shoes and accessories.
- Organizes and often presents the bridesmaids gift to the bride before the wedding.
- Hosts Wedding or Bridal Shower as well as a Night Out if the Bride chooses to have one.
- Holds onto both the groom’s ring and the bridal bouquet during the wedding ceremony.
- Is a witness to the signing of the marriage certificate.
- Helps during the reception to gather guests for different events such as the cutting of the cake, tossing of the bouquet, etc.
- Helps the bride change into her leaving clothes and then takes care of the dress, veil and other accessories after she has gone.
- Offer support to both Bride and Maid of Honor for decorating, invitations, etc.
- Participates in Bridal Shower and Night Out (if applicable).
- Supervises flower girl or ring bearer if they are included.
- Contribute to a gift for the bride.
- Assists in general ways – anything from helping to control the kids at the reception to helping get the bride into her dress (along with the Maid of Honor)
- Sorts out the tuxedos for all groomsmen and presents Groom with a group gift.
- Organizes Bachelor Party if the Groom wants one.
- Delivers any pre-arranged payments from the groom to officiants, musicians, etc.
- Ensures all groomsmen are on time and that they are dressed correctly.
- Holds onto Bride’s ring during ceremony.
- Witnesses the signing of the marriage certificate.
- Assists with seating of guests.
- Drives Bride and Groom to the reception if no other transport has been arranged. He also drives them from the reception to the hotel or the airport for their honeymoon.
- Toasts the couple during the reception.
- Dances with the Bride, both Mothers in Law and the Maid of Honor.
- Handles the return of Groom’s rental cloths (if any) or cleans then returns the suit to the Groom’s home.
Groomsmen and Ushers
- Attends Bachelor Party.
- Contributes to group gift for Groom.
- Lays out aisle runners or seat backs if they are being used.
- Greet and help to seat guests.
- Hands out programs.
- Remove aisle runners, seat ribbons or discarded programs after the service.
- Offers directions and help for guests unfamiliar with how to get to reception venue.
- Assists Best Man as needed.
With this laundry list of duties, it’s easy to see how a large wedding needs this many hands on deck. So how can an LGBT couple get it done if they aren’t having a traditional wedding party? Actually, it’s fairly simple – once you know what you need to do, figure out how many people you want and need in your wedding party. LGBT couples can mix and match as they see fit since a wedding party is meant to be a reflection of the people closest to you as well as those who have supported, nurtured and helped your relationship blossom. That could mean having separate wedding parties or one shared party for the couple.
At the end of the day, your wedding is as unique as you are as a couple. That means the choices you make in creating your wedding party don’t need to conform to any sort of rules if you don’t want them to. Traditional roles can be a guideline for establishing responsibilities, but you should never feel as though your party has to fit in or conform to anything specific. In fact, this is an issue many couples – LGBT or otherwise – have to deal with as couples find they share friends and want to create one shared wedding party as opposed to two separate ones. So don’t be afraid to mix things up and have a little fun, your wedding isn’t about fulfilling roles or sticking to what’s expected. It’s about celebrating your union and including the people you consider family, no matter their gender.