Recently I’ve been hearing more and more rants from couples that their wedding party isn’t stepping up to the plate. They aren’t assisting with wedding planning tasks, asking about the wedding or being there for every event.

While I like to think I’m always understanding of others’ needs, these rants usually leave me scratching my head. Why you wonder? Because none of those things are the responsibility of your wedding party.

Wedding parties first originated in ancient Roman times when the law required ten witnesses to be present at a wedding. The wedding party would dress the same as the bride and groom to confuse vengeful spirits and potential jealous suitors. Over the years, the purpose behind a bridal party has shifted.

It used to be the case that you choose your wedding party based on the skill set they possessed. Who could make the dress, do the flowers, assist with food and so on. But now that weddings have grown into a multi billion dollar industry, your wedding party is simply a symbol of support.

The sole responsibility of your wedding party is to show up, support you emotionally and provide assistance on the day of the wedding where they can. It is not the responsibility of your wedding party to act as a planner in any way, to find and vet vendors on your behalf, attend vendor meetings, help make design or decor decisions or host/plan showers and other wedding events.

Additionally, your bridal party should not be expected to attend every wedding event. Over the years, the number of events leading up to the wedding have have quadrupled in size. There is now an engagement party, bridal shower, couples shower, stock the bar party, group dress shopping excursions and more. And on top of that, bachelor and bachelorette parties have grown from a single night on the town to luxury weekend vacations. It’s a lot to ask of your friend’s time and money.

If you have expectations for your attendants, then be upfront about what you expect them to do and what you expect them to be present at. You can’t expect them to do things, say things, and attend things if they don’t know about them upfront. This also gives them the option to gracefully decline if they know they can’t match your expectations.

You should be choosing your wedding party because you love them and want them standing next to you on your wedding day. Decisions like this should not be determined by who lives closest or has the most money to contribute.

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