You’ve probably experienced the “herding cats” phenomenon when trying to arrange group meetings. For some reason, when it comes to weddings this task doesn’t seem as difficult, probably because if you plan your wedding far enough in advance people can commit more easily. Plus it’s a happy event, a good excuse to socialize and celebrate!
So who are the cats, I mean people, that you need on your wedding day, and in what order should you “book” them?
Duh. The first people you need to ask to be a part of your wedding is your wedding party. This group of people includes bridesmaids, maids/matrons of honor, groomsmen, best men, flower girls, and ring bearers. Your wedding party needs to know of your wedding date first because they are the people that you want by your side on that glorious day.
If you have a friend that is very noncommittal, unpunctual, or experiencing financial strains, have a private meeting with them to ensure that they can meet the demands of being part of your wedding. Do this before you have a wedding party get-together (if you have one) so you don’t embarrass them.
Note: You don’t have to have the same number of groomsmen as you do bridesmaids.
You can have more than one maid or matron of honor and/or best man.
These rules apply for ring bearers and flower girls too. Heck, you don’t have to have any of these people if you don’t want to! But where’s the fun in that?
See Emily Post’s article Inside Weddings: the Wedding Party may have a few helpful hints for you.
The next person you need is your officiant, especially if he is in high demand. Often times your officiant also requires or recommends that you attend premarital counseling with him. You want to book the officiant early enough to have him reserve the date and to squeeze in the required number of counseling sessions.
Note: Some officiants do not charge a fee. However, it is socially acceptable and pretty much expected that you provide them with a monetary gift on the day of the wedding. After all, he/she is giving up part of a Saturday for you, and marrying you – that’s a significant and life changing event!
Not required. No, not at all. Musicians are a nice detail that some people have, but not all. One bride I know just had her DJ come early and play a few songs over an amplifier for her ceremony. Other brides I know didn’t have music. Still other brides had vocalists, instrumentalists, or both. It’s up to you. Remember this, musicians may have family events, other weddings, or performances around the same time as your wedding date, so book them early.
Again, ushers are not necessary. Some people have them; others don’t. It’s all up to you! If you need a little guidance on this matter, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:
Do I want a formal or casual atmosphere? Ushers are more frequently used in traditional and formal weddings. That said, they are not required even if you are having a traditional or formal wedding.
Am I friends with enough people to have a bridesmaids, groomsmen, and ushers?
Emily Post is an excellent read if you have questions about wedding etiquette.