During the years that I have been involved with weddings I have seen a demise of the mindfulness that attendants have responsibilities to the bride and groom. Most bridesmaids think that their sole purpose is to get manicures, pedicures, and hair-dos. Groomsmen think that their primary purpose is to party with the groom. While these things are definitely part of the fun of the experience, there’s more to being an attendant at someone’s wedding.
Bridesmaids are responsible for assisting the maid or matron-of-honor to plan a bridal shower. They are to run last minute errands for the bride. They should help address the invitations and dance with important guests and ushers at the reception.
All attendants should arrive at least an hour or two prior to the ceremony, or longer if they will be getting dressed there. They should be ready for pictures on time. The bridesmaids help the bride get dressed, hold her bouquet, and make sure she has her garter. Groomsmen assist the groom.
Groomsmen can run errands for the groom. They are responsible for greeting and seating the guests, dancing with the bridesmaids and other important guests, and for gathering the single men together for the garter toss.
Traditionally, the Maid/Matron-of-Honor and Best Man prepare a toast to the bride and groom to be given at the reception. Being prepared is much preferred to doing something off-the-cuff.
Above any of the responsibilities I have listed above, the attendant’s primary purpose is to witness the commitment of the bride and groom to each other, believing that their union is right. No one should be an attendant for a marriage that they are opposed to.
Attendants should be seen, but they should also be helpful.