Your friend is getting married and has asked you to be a part of his/her wedding party! Congratulations! At first you are probably excited and touched. After all, standing up for your friend on his/her big day is an honor. After the excitement wears off a little, however, you are probably thinking "aren't members of the wedding party responsible for stuff? What all does being a maid of honor/best man/bridesmaid/attendant involve?"
As far as the wedding party is concerned, it is often the Maid/Matron of honor who bears the burden of the work. In addition to helping the Bride plan and coordinate the wedding, the Maid of Honor is often in charge of the bridal shower, the hen night (also known as the bachelorette party) and helping the Bride get ready on her special day. She is the woman who shows up at the wedding with safety pins, rubber bands, and is prepared for anything that could go wrong. She is expected to pay for her own wedding attire and is usually one of the witnesses during the signing of the marriage certificate.
The Best Man is, most famously, responsible for planning the Groom's bachelor party. While wedding etiquette often tells the Father of the Bride to give the first toast at the wedding reception, that duty has been falling to the Best Man more and more often. He is also supposed to help arrange transportation to and from the wedding and reception for any guests who are traveling from out of town. Before the wedding, the Best Man should help oversee the tuxedo rentals for other male members of the wedding party and should keep the groomsmen under control and on task. The Best Man is often the second witness when the Bride and Groom sign their marriage certificate.
Of course, even if you are not the Bride, Groom, Maid of Honor, Best Man or a relative of the happy couple, you can still have responsibilities.
Traditionally bridesmaids help the Maid of Honor organize the bridal shower and attend the hen party. They are also usually held responsible for the constructing of party favors and other wedding errands that the Bride and Maid of Honor are unable to do. They can be called upon for help addressing invitations, decorating the wedding venue—whatever needs to be done.
The groomsmen are expected to do quite a bit more than simply attend the bachelor party. Groomsmen are famous for decorating the happy couple's car before they leave the reception. They also help load and unload wedding gifts, help in the set up and break down of the reception site and act as escorts to the bridesmaids during the wedding ceremony.
Being a member of a wedding party is more than dressing up and standing at the front of a wedding venue while a couple takes wedding vows. They are the engine of the wedding machine and help take care of the little details that the Bride and Groom cannot do themselves! Being a member of a wedding party is a big responsibility!