Getting engaged is such an exciting time. But when it comes to planning out the formal roles in a wedding sometimes there just aren’t enough to go around, or there might be some awkward conversations with family members or friends who assume they are going to be more involved in the day than they actually are. We’ve had several reader requests via Instagram to discuss this, and while we’ve covered some aspects in the podcast, we thought we’d share some more ideas here too. Here are some roles you can assign to people who you’d like to include in an informal way on your big day.
Have someone with a great speaking voice? Perhaps they'd be the perfect person to do a reading? Or if you have children who are keen to be involved, but you're not having flower girls or page boys, then ask their parents if they'd like to do a reading. While this can be terrifying for grown-ups, children present to their peers frequently and nerves don't seem to bother them half as much as us adults. Equally, if you have a wonderful bridesmaid or usher performing at your wedding, think about relieving them from other duties as they will probably have enough on their plates.
Children love having an official task to do - for the smallest of flower girls and page boys, simply walking down the aisle holding your train is enough. But for older ones, consider giving them a funny sign to hold, give them a disposable camera and ask them to capture the day, or get them to be in charge of making sure people sign the guest book. You may well end up with a book full of wonderful drawings, but it'll be really special. If the issue is that you don't want someone's child to be a flower girl or page boy, then you'll need to be honest. An early word with their parents will make things clear and by the time the wedding comes round, they will have forgotten all about it. If it's really going to cause difficulties for you, then consider just allowing the child to be involved but suggest that they meet you at the church, rather than joining you to get ready.
This is normally the responsibility of the ushers, but if you have an awkward teen or pre-teen who is not quite a bridesmaid, but definitely not a flower girl, consider asking them to be in charge of making sure everyone has confetti. Whether they place individual packets on seats, or hand out cones as people leave the church, this is an important job that will make them feel included.
Likewise, those beautiful order of service cards you've had printed will need to be set out - this is a great job for someone who is really keen to be involved in helping. Again either place one on each chair, or hand out to guests as they arrive.
Have a person in the family that really knows how to project their voice? Someone needs to MC or herd people around on the day. It can be really helpful to have someone introduce people before they speak, if they are nervous about silencing the room too. And don't forget if you're doing things yourself, someone will need to pour and share Champagne for the toasts, this is a great job for those who want to take on some behind-the-scenes usher duties. And while we're on the subject of speeches, if you're asking people to do these tasks - make sure you thank them in the speeches!
So someone wants to do a reading, but they are terrible at public speaking? Work out what they are good at and ask if they can contribute to your wedding day in another way. Perhaps they are a whizz in the kitchen and could help you make some edible favours? Or even your cake? Friends who didn't quite make the bridesmaids list but love to craft? Get them involved in making your place names or decor. The roles in a wedding are wide and varied so many strengths can be covered.
We know this is much easier said than done, but if you're planning a wedding without a planner or a coordinator, then having lots of help from family and friends is essential. If you're saying no to help because you want to do it all yourself, rather than because you actually don't want that person to be involved, then think about letting go a little because you really can't do it all. If however, you genuinely don't want a certain person to take on a formal role for your wedding day, then just be clear on this from the start about if/how they can be involved. Hopefully, the ideas above will help you with making suggestions for other things they could do. There are so many roles in a wedding and things to help with that no-one need feel left out, even if they aren't part of the official wedding party.