Who does What
Many couples plan every aspect of their wedding, but spreading the responsibility can greatly reduce your stress levels. In New Zealand it’s quite common for everyone involved to lend a hand in some way, whether on a financial or practical level. These guidelines are based on traditional etiquette but they are not rules. In the past, the bride’s parents paid for the wedding. Today, often both sets of parents will share the costs with the engaged couple but often the couple prefer to pay for their wedding themselves.
Usually takes charge of planning the wedding with help from the groom and/or her mother. Plans key elements of the wedding such as the venue, photographer, celebrant etc. in consultation with the groom. Organises decoration of the ceremony venue and reception, helped by the florist, her mother or bridesmaids. Chooses attire and accessories for herself, her bridesmaids, flowergirls and pageboys. Sends out invitations if the bride’s parents prefer not to. Compiles the wedding gift list with the groom. Writes thank-you letters for the wedding gifts. Chooses the wedding rings with the groom.
Helps the bride plan the wedding. Chooses his bestman and groomsmen. Chooses wedding attire in consultation with the bride. Pays for the wedding rings and gives them to the bestman just before the ceremony. Organises transport from the ceremony venue to the reception for himself and his bride (unless it is more convenient for the bride or her father to order the transport). Arranges and pays for the honeymoon (many couples share this cost). Makes a speech at the reception in reply to the father of the bride’s speech, in which he thanks the parents and guests, and proposes a toast to the attendants.
the groom’s parents
May contribute to the cost of the reception in agreement with the bride’s parents.
the bride’s parents
Help organise and pay for: wedding invitations, Order of Service sheets and other stationery; flowers and music for the ceremony venue; the reception flowers, food, drink, wedding cake; the car/s taking the bride and her immediate family to the ceremony.
the bride’s mother
Helps with the wedding arrangements, including consulting with the groom’s family about invitations and keeping a checklist of replies. Can help the bride choose her wedding gown and the attendants’ outfits. Consults the groom’s mother about her choice of wedding outfit when choosing her own clothes. On the day, leaves the house just before the bride, usually with the attendants. She is the last person to be seated at the ceremony.
the bride’s father
On the day, is the last to leave the house and escorts his daughter to the ceremony. Walks up the aisle with the bride on his right arm and at the chancel steps stands on her left. Gives the bride away and takes his seat after the vows. Makes the first speech, proposing a toast to the couple.
Organises the groom’s stag night. Ensures the ushers know their duties and have their buttonholes and a seating plan for the family seats, as well as the Order of Service sheets. Helps the groom get ready and get to the ceremony on time. Stands on the groom’s right at the chancel steps as the bride arrives. Presents the rings to the groom at the appropriate moment in the ceremony. Liaises with the Master of Ceremonies or, if there is none, organises the order of wedding speeches and announces the cutting of the cake. Reads out some of the texts, faxes and emails from absent friends. Looks after the groom’s clothes (returning them, if hired).
the chief bridesmaid
Is called the matron of honour, if married. Helps the bride with wedding arrangements. Organises any pre-wedding parties for the bride. Is responsible for the bridesmaids, flowergirls and pageboys, and makes sure they know their duties. Helps the bride dress for the wedding. Helps the bride with her train and holds her bouquet during the ceremony. Helps the bride change after the reception and takes charge of the wedding gown (returning it, if hired).