Maid of Honour
Your chief bridesmaid, often abbreviated to MOH. This is likely to be a relative or very close friend. She’s your go-to gal for practical and emotional support. She’ll organise the hen party, help you shop for the dress and co-ordinate the other bridesmaids on the day, as well as keeping an eye on your outfit (such as holding your bouquet at key moments, watching out for your train, etc.). Is your top pick for this important role male? No problem – just call him your Man of Honour.
How to choose: This should be someone reliable, calm in a crisis and a good listener.
These are the ladies you love spending time with, whether they’re family or friends. In theory, there’s no limit to the number of maids you can have, but if you’re paying for their hair, make-up and dresses, think carefully about who to include. Their main role is to support you on the day; if you want them to contribute during the planning, set out your expectations from the very beginning and assign specific jobs (hemming bunting, setting up tables, handing you glasses of nerve-calming champagne). Male best friends? Appoint them bridesmen.
How to choose: Divas, drama queens and attention-seekers need not apply; anyone who’s super-fussy about their appearance could cause trouble when it comes to picking their outfits.
Flowergirls and pageboys
Adorable little moppets whose key job is to provide the ‘aww’ factor. If there are any family or friends’ children you’re particularly close to (or if your bridesmaids have kids), this is the role for them.
How to choose: The better-behaved the child, the less likely they’ll scream, ‘But I don’t LIKE her’ in the middle of the vows (true story). If you’re asking them to act as ring bearers or scatter rose petals from a basket, make sure they’re not at that putting-everything-in-their-mouths stage, to avoid an unexpected trip to A&E.
Friend, brother, cousin: this is the person who knows the groom best of all. His main responsibilities are organising the stag do, looking after the rings and giving a speech.
How to choose: Someone who hates public speaking or has a tendency to lose things – like, say, the rings – probably won’t be right for this role.
No, not a collective of R&B superstars; these are the groom’s right-hand-men, and usually act as guest-wranglers: everything from showing people to appropriate seats and escorting elderly relatives to handing out orders of service.
How to choose: Male relatives from either side of the family or close friends are the usual picks; ideally not too shy, but at the same time unlikely to shock your grandma with any risqué jokes.
Want to make someone feel part of your day but already filled those key slots? There are other great wedding roles.
Being a witness This involves signing the register to confirm the legality of your marriage – so a pretty important job. You need two, and can often have more.
Doing a reading or song Asking someone to read out or sing some meaningful words during the ceremony is a lovely way to incorporate them.
MC Announces dinner and the speeches; the perfect role for someone with a big personality.
Someone blue Request that your closest pals add a dash of navy or sapphire to their big day outfits (think tie, jewellery, corsage), so they can be your ‘something blue’ lucky charms.
Less fun roles Manning the guestbook, handing out drinks, taking coats – anything that implies unpaid labour. Sometimes you just have to let guests be guests.