The wedding team plays an important role in ensuring that the big day runs smoothly. Members should know you well, and the key players - the best man, bridesmaids and ushers - should be chosen carefully.
Be practical about the character traits of those you are considering. Are they able to handle responsibility? Can they cope with organisation? Are they easily overwhelmed? Sometimes close friends are unsuitable and more responsible people should be chosen instead; there will be plenty of other ways to involve all those you would like. At this stage, you should also decide whether you want children as bridesmaids or pageboys.
The most important positions to be filled are those of best man and chief bridesmaid. The people chosen need to be reliable, responsive and skilled organisers. They should also be able to delegate to the ushers and bridesmaids, as well as solve problems and mediate delicate situations.
The bride and best man should get on well. She should be confident that he will successfully perform his duties up to and on the day. Likewise, the groom should have confidence in the chief bridesmaid.
The numbers and composition of the bridal party should be carefully considered. A manageable bridal party could consist of, for example: a chief bridesmaid, two adult bridesmaids and then a pageboy or child bridesmaid; one chief bridesmaid and three children; or just three children. The options are endless, but bear in mind practicalities such as children needing supervision. Ideally the chief bridesmaid will be free to concentrate on the bride, holding her wedding shawl neatly in place.
Grooms may choose to have more ushers than are strictly needed to organise guests, so that they can involve close friends in the day.
Ushers and other bridesmaids will have limited duties before the day, but they should understand what is expected of them and be aware of the responsibilities they are taking on right from the start. It must never be assumed that members of the wedding party will know what to do. Time should be allowed to brief the team well before the wedding.
If members of the wedding team don't know each other, it is wise to arrange some get-togethers before the day, which will ease any unfamiliar awkwardness at the hen and stag parties. Also, the better the team know each other, and their traits, the better they will work together on the day.
Parents come as part of the package and their role is entirely dependent on how you decide to conduct your wedding arrangements. Parents' influence may be determined by their financial input. It is an added bonus, and will help the day go more smoothly, if the best man and the chief bridesmaid are familiar with your parents.