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Choosing Your Bridal Party

Image by Kate Little for Harlow Garland - styling, planning and art direction by Harlow Garland

Maid of Honour

Whom to Choose: Sisters trump friends but otherwise, go for your oldest and most loyal pal – the one who knows when to tell you what you want to hear and when to be brutally honest. You need someone who isn’t afraid to reign you in when you’re going crazy and who will be supportive and available every step of the way.

Job Description: As chief ringleader, the Maid (or Matron) of Honour (MOH) plans the bridal shower and the bachelorette party and is also responsible for keeping the Bridesmaid machine running smoothly by staying on top of fittings and other tasks that the Bride has delegated. She may be asked to give a toast at the rehearsal dinner or wedding reception. She will also sign the register as a witness.

Caveat: Since organising and motivating are key duties of the MOH, choose your lovable but scatterbrained best friend only if you're prepared to do all the heavy lifting yourself.

Best Man

Whom to Choose: A brother or the best friend who won't party too hard after the rehearsal dinner – you do want him to make it to the ceremony after all. Someone preferably close to both the Bride and Groom and who can be trusted not to get the Groom or Groomsmen lost in a Las Vegas haze and who can be relied on to not lose the rings.

Job Description: Takes care of all bachelor events and provides support to the Groom. Keeps track of wedding rings, even if there is a Ring Bearer. Kicks off the toasts at the rehearsal dinner. Signs the register as a witness.

Caveat: Picking someone who gets along with the Bride and MOH is a plus. Can be trusted with jewellery.

Bridesmaids

Whom to Choose: Fun friends who will still be in your life long after you've thrown out that last chunk of frozen wedding cake. Negative, needy dramatic types need not apply. Once again, sisters and close cousins beat out friends for Bridesmaid status. Don't forget your fiancé’s sister. Always appoint those you’re comfortable with spending so much time with and sharing in your special day. Don’t feel obligated to appoint friends from school you haven’t seen in years over new friends, simply because you knew them first.

Job Description: As members of Team Bride, Bridesmaids participate in all pre-wedding events. They are also required to smile while purchasing their dresses, no matter what those dresses look like – Fritz-Bernaise or Walmart; dance enthusiastically to “Shout” at the reception; run errands; attend any tasting, site visits or meetings that the Bride asks them to and stay until the end of the reception to clear out stray guests allowing the happy couple to leave early.

Caveat: Out-of-town Bridesmaids get a pass on most parties but they must send a gift for the shower.

Groomsmen

Whom to Choose: Old friends, cousins and both the Bride's and Groom's brothers are good options.

Job Description: If necessary, seating guests, helping the Best Man throw the bachelor party and dancing with the Bridesmaids.

Caveat: If you're having a large wedding, you can also have ushers who will help with seating but won't walk down the aisle.

Flower Girl

Whom to Choose: An adorable moppet such as a cousin, niece, godchild or stepchild between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. Not to be confused with junior Bridesmaids who are older and wear tween versions of the Bridesmaids’ dresses.

Ring Bearer

Whom to Choose: Some couples opt to use a younger boy transported in a pull-along fire engine or car or even eschew humans altogether and strap the rings to the scruff of a faithful dog – preferably, a house-trained, obedient one. Keep the rings close by until right before the walk down the aisle to ensure no stomach upsets interrupt the festivities!