Q&A: What are the responsibilities of the best man and the brides maid of honor at a wedding?

April 25, 2013 | By

Question by Jay: What are the responsibilities of the best man and the brides maid of honor at a wedding?
Just wondering cause I am getting married soon. And also so they don't slack off!

Best answer:

Answer by The Divine Bubba Blue
For your own peace of mind you can't go into this with an attitude that they owe you a certain amount of unpaid work. That will come across as entitled and selfish no matter how you mean it.

Here is what they must do if they agree to be your attendants:

1. Wear what you tell them to wear to the wedding, get it fitted when you tell them to, and pay for it the moment payment is required without whining. (Note that not being able to afford the outfit is not considered whining. In that case you as the bride/groom can chip in.)
2. Stand by you at the wedding, and do whatever is required during the ceremony.
3. Officially witness the ceremony.

That's it.

This is what they customarily do, but you had better not complain about them "slacking off" if they don't do some of it, especially if they have lives of their own or money troubles.

Maid of Honor:
1. Arrange for the wedding shower, if and only if she's not related to the bride.
2. Arrange for the bachelorette, if and only if the bride wants one. The cost of this and the above is usually shared by all the bridesmaids.
3. Have hair, nails, etc. done before the ceremony at her expense.
4. Propose a toast at the reception.

Best man:
1. Arrange for the stag, if and only if the groom wants one. Also included: making sure the groom doesn't make a total ass of himself or get so drunk that he can't stand up at the ceremony the next day. This is a big deal, because in some places the minister might be forced to stop the ceremony if the groom's that hung over.
2. Propose a toast at the reception.

Both: Walk up and down the aisle in whatever weird way the bride and groom want; be available for the pictures without wasting time fooling around joking; decorate the getaway car; be reasonably well-groomed and sober at all times; dance in the wedding dances if you are able; ooh and aah over the gifts the bride and/or groom gives them, no matter what.

What do you think? Answer below!

ca + rocky
best man speech don't know bride
Image by micah rich
it's five to twelve, and ca & rocky are long gone. this is the first wedding i've ever been to, and i cannot imagine how it can be topped.

it started out relatively stressful. i considered trying to buy an external flash before anything started this morning, but called around and couldn't find one. i took a shower kind of late, 10 am, when i was to pick sasha up at 10:30. i got dressed, in my white pants from vegas, my burberry tie, and a matching vest. it's important to look dapper, you know. got sasha, went over a few things at her house, and went to the church. we got there on time, but no one was really there yet.

at 11, i was supposed to take pictures of the guys getting ready, and sasha would take pictures of the girls getting ready, and when i was done, i'd come in and help. only, the guys were told to show up ready, so instead we wandered across the street and took some pictures in the garden. some serious, some goofy. rocky, the groom, thought it'd be funny to pretend to be running away, with his groomsmen chasing after him, so we commandeered the street for a minute. that was fun.

then, they went off to do things until it was time to start, and sasha and i went to photograph the gals. i was secretly trying to get some video of everything, hoping to make a short thing as a surprise for them. i got a few clips, but i got so busy taking pictures that i gave up on trying too hard. i probably should have left that to the videographer.

eventually, what seemed like days later, it was time to get started, so i worked my way to the front of the church, by the altar, and hung out for a minute. bridesmaids and groomsmen started coming down, and the lighting was low, but i did my best. and when they were actually getting married, i tried very hard. i didn't want to use my flash, partially because it's so harsh, and partially because it's so distracting. i was complimented multiple times on how wonderfully discreet i was, which was good to hear.

by the way. there was no "speak now or forever hold your peace" section. someone told me that was just in movies, and, at least today, it was true. just interesting.

so after all was said and done, we headed to CA's house, where her parents had spent weeks preparing the backyard to host the reception. we hung out in the front a bit, waiting for people, and got a few shots. and then when they announced the whole group of bridesmaids and groomsmen into the party, they wanted photos of all the goofy entrances. honestly, i didn't see most of the 3000+ photos i took today, but sasha was looking through a few as she was helping me unload onto the computer, and she got some fantastic entrance shots. im looking forward to seeing those in more detail.

so but check it out. just after we got to the party, both of my camera batteries got used up. from total charge to total drain. and, having never done a wedding before, it didn't occur to me to buy backup batteries. by unbelievable chance, maria, one of the bridesmaids, had a camera not very dissimilar to my own, and she told us we could borrow it, no problem. she saved our butts. so we were down to one camera, but it's better than none. but then! i had a 16 gig card, a 2 gig card, and a 1 gig card – it's just what i had – and i'd been using the 16 gig card all day so far. finally it got filled up, and the 2 & 1 gig cards shortly after. so fun things were starting to happen and we had one camera and no cards to shoot it with. so sasha ended up being computer nerd and unloading pictures from cards while i shot. we tried a few times to unload the 16 gig, but gosh, it just took so long that we couldn't spare the time. so we let it stay full, and switched out working with the 2 gig while she unloaded the 1 gig and vice versa. there were a few hiccups that i'm lucky she caught and we fixed, and soon enough it was a smooth operation.

we photographed dancing and speeches, cakes and partygoers. at one point, ¼ of the party was jumping into the pool with their clothes on, and some of those shots came out unbelievable. oh man, and at one point, there were a few kids that started freestyling – well, i might add – and CA came up, did a single two liner that brought down the house. so much fun, unbelievable fun. and when things started winding down, we did too, and sasha, being exhausted, wanted me to take her home.

so we packed up, and everyone was saying, "no don't go! or at least come back!" i promised i'd come back, but truthfully, i so badly wanted to talk to this super cute girl from the band. i had had so many good excuses to talk to her, but had been too busy, or too chicken, if i'm honest with myself. i totally could have, but gave myself excuses. ugh. so i hoped if i came back, i'd dance with her, we'd chat, and it'd be swell. i dropped sasha off, dropped my computer & cameras at home, and admittedly got a little gussied up before coming back, but i was quick about it. and i came back... and pretty much everyone was gone. they'd all gone to the hotel that they were staying at!

so melissa and laura, friends from highschool, and i followed some kids heading that way. i thought it was some big party at the hotel pool or something, but we ended up hanging out in their hotel room. we told jokes and elaborate worst-ever stories, and it was super fun. extremely entertaining guys. eventually we were all exhausted, and decided to call it a night. we wandered outside to leave, and... unbelievably... that super cute girl had been there the whole time, just not in the same place i was. but we were leaving, i think she's from ohio, and it was just too late to stay any longer, so as much as i wanted to kick myself for it, we left without me ever really talking to her. i'm so dumb sometimes, i really make myself angry.

but it certainly doesn't ruin the extremely fun morning, afternoon, and evenings. making friends, partying, taking pictures... it was insane, and an absolutely fantastic day. maybe in a week or two, after the bride & groom see the pictures, you guys can too. but for now, i'm gonna pass the hell out.

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Comments (2)

  1. SeaShells

    “So they don’t slack off!” Wow. They don’t have any responsibilities other than ones you specifically give them… and at that, you should *ask* them if they are available to do specific tasks. They are not your employees or servants. Determine in advance what things you need them to do. Give them ample time to do things and make sure they know what you want to have done. When it comes down to it, it’s YOUR wedding and your responsibility.

  2. globetrotter1

    Hey =) Congratulations and best wishes! Here’s some best man and maid of honor information including their duties. Hope you have a fabulous wedding and marriage! I looked at more websites but I couldn’t fit a lot of it in my answer so I’ve given you some google links as well, hope I helped you =) x




    Wedding Planning Duties:

    Help the bride shop for her wedding dress
    Visit reception sites with the bride as a “second pair of eyes”
    Help the bride choose the wedding flowers and reception decorations
    Shop for the bridesmaid dresses
    Ensure the bridesmaid dresses are ordered well before the wedding
    Address wedding invitations
    Help make wedding guest favors
    Purchase, address and send out bridal shower invitations
    Host a bridal shower
    Keep track of the gifts during the bridal shower (who gave what)
    Host a bachelorette party
    Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
    Help out during the rehearsal dinner
    Buy the couple a wedding gift

    Wedding Day Duties:

    Decorate the reception site (and clean up at the end of the night)
    Help the bride get dressed
    Either pick up or receive (if delivered) the wedding flowers from the florist
    Distribute the bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages to the wedding party and the couple’s parents and grandparents
    Ensures all the bridesmaids are ready (hair and makeup) and arrive at the ceremony on time
    Adjust the bride’s veil and train before she walks down the aisle
    Hold the bride’s bouquet during the wedding ceremony
    Hold the groom’s ring until the exchange of rings
    Witnesses the signing of the marriage license
    Participate in the wedding photos
    Bustles the bride’s wedding dress for the reception
    Help the bride in the washroom
    Give bride’s gift to groom if bride wishes
    Stand in the receiving line
    Give a maid of honor speech and toast
    Dance the first dance with the best man
    And anything the bride wishes, within reason

    Wedding Planning Duties:

    Get measured and rent tuxedo
    Host the “stag and doe” party
    Host the bachelor party
    Arrange the wedding day transportation (such as booking a limousine)
    Attend rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
    Buy the couple a wedding gift

    Wedding Day Duties:

    Bring any necessary decorations or equipment to the reception site
    Help the groom get dressed
    Help get the groom and groomsmen to the ceremony on time
    Drive the groom to the wedding ceremony if necessary
    Hold the bride’s ring until the exchange of rings
    Witness the signing of the marriage license
    Give the wedding officiant and vendors their payment envelop
    Participate in the wedding photos
    Stand in the receiving line
    Give the best man’s speech and toast
    Dance the first dance with the maid of honor
    Drive the couple to the hotel or airport following the reception
    Deliver the wedding gifts to bride’s or groom’s parents’ house
    Return the groom’s tuxedo to the formalwear rental store the day after the wedding
    Anything the groom requires, within reason