For those who are trying to find ways to include not just your best friend but five other best friends as well as three sisters, a brother, two nieces, and a nephew, we've come up with a list of the many roles -- almost all of them optional -- that you may choose to use in your ceremony.
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Pick your girls wisely.
Maid of Honor
Usually one close friend or sister is chosen, but sometimes brides choose to have two Maids of Honor. Perhaps the most honored role a friend can play, the Maid of Honor (or Matron of Honor, if married) stands by the bride during the ceremony and is usually involved in throwing the bridal shower and bachelorette party. When a bride's best friend is a male, sometimes they nonetheless choose to have him play this role. In these cases, the role can be referred to as the Honor Attendant.
Like the Maid of Honor, usually the groom's best friend or brother is chosen to play this honored role. Also like the Maid of Honor, more and more grooms are choosing to include two Best Men, especially when one of them lives out of town and is unable to perform the duties inherent in the role.
Some brides choose to have only a Maid of Honor, but most choose to have at least one and sometimes as many as eight or more bridesmaids.
For those too young to be a full-fledged bridesmaid and too old to be a flower girl, the junior bridesmaid is a perfect role. Most often the junior bridesmaid walks down the aisle unaccompanied by a groomsmen, but can be so accompanied if your wedding parties are uneven.
Like bridesmaids, the number of groomsmen can range from zero to eight or more. These are the men closest to the groom, whether they are brothers, best friends, cousins, or a combination.
Usually filled by a favorite niece or cousin, the flower girl is generally between the ages of four and eight. She follows the bridesmaids down the aisle, carrying a bouquet or basket of flowers. Usually, brides choose to have between one and three flower girls.
Like the flower girl, the role of ring bearer is often filled by a favorite nephew or cousin, usually between the ages of four and eight. The ring bearer carries a pillow with the wedding rings attached (although many couples attach faux wedding rings, available at party supply shops, to the pillow and entrust the real rings to the Best Man). This is a very important role and for a smooth ceremony, the ring bearer should be someone who is comfortable in front of an audience.
There are usually at least two ushers (almost always men), who escort guests to their seats. Sometimes it is the groomsmen who fill the roles of the ushers, but if the groom has a lot of men in his life, be they brothers or just good buddies, these roles can be filled by non-wedding party members.
Guest Book Attendant
This role can be filled by either a man or a woman. The guest book attendant stands next to the guest book and shows guests where to sign and answers any questions the guests may have. Sometimes, the guest book attendant may also accept wedding gifts on behalf of the bride and groom.
If you have a talented friend or family member, why not showcase them before an audience? Ask them to perform either during the ceremony or at a point during the reception. Whether soprano or baritone, guitarist or flautist, the addition of a musician can only enliven the day's proceedings.
Often, the ceremony will include one or two readings, either from Scripture or from a favorite poem of the bride and groom's. You can either have one, two, or even three readers, depending upon the number of passages being read (or you can have one reader read all of the passages). Be sure that when selecting your reader(s), the chosen individual has a voice that carries well. The beauty and meaning of a passage read aloud is more effective when your guests can hear it properly.
Finally, there is the officiant. Just because neither friend nor family is a priest, rabbi, city official, or sea captain doesn't mean they can't become qualified to marry you. While untraditional, it is nevertheless perfectly legal to have a friend act as your minister, provided that they have taken the necessary steps.
See More: Bridal Party , Bridesmaids , Planning , Kids , Groomsman