I am sure you have had dozens of people offer to help you with your wedding plans and although you might feel you should take care of everything yourself, there are lots of jobs you can hand off (with lots of instructions) to your well meaning friends and family. It can be overwhelming when you realize how many details and decisions need to be taken care of, and having to manager all of the ready and willing helpers can send anyone into a tailspin.
We all know that one person who just can’t enjoy themselves if they aren’t helping, puttering, and making things better- they will rearrange the flowers or place cards, meddle with the bar station, and really, they just want to make you happy in their own special way. We also have those friends who aren’t quite wedding party level, but are close enough to want to include them in some meaningful way.
Here is a list of my favourite ways to include the helpers, busy bodies, and special friends and family members, and keep them busy while they are waiting for the festivities to kick off! Remember…delegating will actually help you have a more relaxing wedding, as long as you match tasks to the right people.
Don’t forget your special friends and family members who are helping at your wedding when you order your flowers and pick your dress colours. Invite them to wear the same colour as the bridesmaids and groomsmen and gift them a corsage or boutonniere.
1. Wedding Transportation
If you have a friend or loved one who owns a car you love, ask if they will drive you to your wedding and for photos. If not, you can always hand off the task of booking cars to your favourite car lover!
2. Airport Runs
I go to so many weddings where there are guests from other cities and countries, and they all need to get from the airport to their hotels, Airbnb’s, and family homes. Ask your helpful friends and family to do pickups at the airport for you. Arm them with a sign with your visitors’ names, and have them sort the details with your visitors ahead of time so they all have each others; contact info.
3. Picking up and delivering bridal items
Ask a capable and trustworthy person to pick up your dress, flowers, dry cleaning and any other items that need to make it to your wedding venue ahead of time. This will save you a lot of stress when trying to figure out how to complete all of those last minute tasks the night before. Just make sure your vendors know who will be picking everything up, and let your venue know someone will be dropping them off.
4. Performing at your ceremony
Do you have a talented singer or musician in your life? Ask them to perform at your wedding at times such as when your guests are arriving, as you walk down the aisle, during the signing of your licence and marriage registry, as you walk back down the aisle, during the cocktail hour and dinner. If you have lots of musicians, let them all have a turn!
5. Taking part in your ceremony
As an Officiant, I always welcome friends and family taking part by doing readings during the ceremony. I find out from you ahead of time who will be reading, what they will be reading, and have it all printed and ready for them when their time comes. I also connect with them when I arrive to make sure I know who they are and let them know when to be ready. We can also practice their piece as well if they need a quick run through to get past their nerves. Trust me, I know what it takes to speak in front of a big crowd when you aren’t used to it!
6. Looking after the children
If children are to be part of your big day, it’s a good idea to ask a friend of family member to keep an eye on them (and wrangle them!) during the ceremony. Remember you as asking them to walk up the aisle, through a crowd of big people, to me, a total stranger. Kids and dogs do what they want in these moments and sometimes make a run for it! Have some ready round them up, keep them quiet, entertained during the ceremony and photos, and on the ready to chase after one who has made their great escape!
7. Confetti and other thrown objects
This is a really fun job! As your friend or family member to find unique confetti to go with your wedding theme. There are so many fab online vendors of wedding items, they should have no trouble finding a maker to create something perfect just for you. Ask your loved one to plan a confetti bar with little bags so your guests can arm themselves before they take their seats, or have the packets pre-made and your friend of family member can hand them out as guests are being greeted. Make sure you ask your venue about confetti as not all halls allow this!
Other options are paper planes, bubbles, wedding wands…the list is really endless!
8. Tips and day-of payments
It’s rare these days to hire any vendors who don’t require payment before your wedding day. Should you be paying vendors during your wedding or just before, have a trusted friend take care of that. Have all the envelopes ready so they are organized and easy to keep track of. This suggestion also applies to tips – ask someone to handle that for you and you just need to write the thank you cards and put the cash in them. You will be so busy on your wedding day it is likely you wont have time to speak to all of your vendors to thank and tip them.
A great rule of thumb for tipping – tip the people who work for the vendors you hire. Don’t tip the owners of businesses you hire (unless you are so impressed by them that you can’t not tip them – most of the time a great review and referrals is all the tip we need). Also, don’t forget to review your contracts as some of them will already include tips and gratuities.
9. Moving flowers and décor from the ceremony to reception site
This is a job that can be done by just about anyone! Make sure your FFM (friend or family member) know exactly which pieces go where and when to move them! I find maps and floorplans help a lot when trying to figure out where something is meant to be moved to.
10. Baking for the dessert table
If you have bakers in your life, ask them to make pies and other desserts for your wedding. Imagine how proud and puffed up they will be to see their work being served to all of your guests! Don’t forget to ask a FFM to organize the dessert table, receive the baked goods as they arrives, label all of the desserts, and communicate with the venue about refrigeration and cutting tools. Don’t forget your dairy/gluten/nut free guests!
11. Your own personal DJ
If you don’t have a DJ, ask a music loving friend to create playlists for you and to keep the music going through the day and into the evening. Think ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, then fill the dancefloor! Ask them to create getting ready playlists including lots of wedding themed songs!
When my cousin got married he cranked Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys when we were getting ready and now any time I hear that song, I think of those special hours with him and his best man as we polished ourselves up and had a wee drink before making our way down the road to the wedding. You could even make CDs for your crew to enjoy and relive those hours!
12. Make lots of bunting or garlands
So many venues are simple, plain rooms and you need all the décor you can get your hands on. Ask your crafty FFMs to help make bunting in your wedding colours or greenery garlands to string up from the ceiling. It’s a great way to add colour and atmosphere and you can even string in some twinkle lights for an extra special effect!
13. Collecting décor items before your wedding
Need jam jars, gin bottles, antique candle holders or other items to dress your dining tables with? Ask FFMS to save any they have, and you’ll have your supply in no time. Make sure to appoint someone to collect and return them, keeping track of who provided what!
14. Decorating your venue or tent with twinkly lights
If you are planning on using twinkly lights in your space, you will need LOTS of them. People usually have a few sets in their house, so it might be possible to borrow rather than buy hundreds of strings of lights. Delegate the job of arranging this if you can – untangling hundreds of fairy lights is the last thing you want to be doing the day after the wedding!
Recruit your FFMs to bring ladders and step stools to all pitch in and string up the lights ahead of time so when you walk in, it’s pure magic!
If you’re doing all of the reception decoration setup yourself, you’ll probably need an able-bodied crew to help do everything from arranging the tables and chairs to setting down the place cards. Make sure to have breakfast or lunch delivered for everyone.
15. Guest book and photos
Ask a FFM to take Polaroid photos of all of your guests. Pop the pics into a box or have your FFM clip them to a string of lights so everyone can enjoy them!
If you’re having a guest book or alternative, take the confusion out of signing in and have a lighthearted FFM man it for a small amount of time at the beginning of cocktail hour to make sure your guests know where it is, and what they are supposed to do. Choose somebody who’ll get the expensive pen back, and will cheerfully do a lap of the tables to make sure your guests have all signed.
16. Secretarial and admin work
There is a lot of paperwork when it comes to your wedding day. Why not get a meticulous FFM to help address the envelopes, organize the replies, sort through the place cards or compose a thank-you list? Don’t forget to keep a file of your vendor contracts organized and ready to pack in your wedding day boxes.
17. Ceremony programs
Have a FFM who is handy with document design and layout? Ask them to create your wedding ceremony programs and hand them out as your guests arrive. They get to be front and centre and enjoy each time someone says how fabulous the programs are! Once the ceremony begins their job is done and they can relax and enjoy the day.
This is often considered a “guy” job, but here we are in 2020 and anything goes! Don’t think you cant ask your female friends to help usher your guests to their seats and welcome them to your big day!
19. Train bearing
I love love love watching my brides walking down the aisle, their dresses and veils are always so beautiful and unique! And those trains! WOW! But here’s the thing no one ever thinks about – once the bride gets to the alter…who is going to help her adjust her dress, train, and veil before we start the ceremony? Remember she doesn’t just walk in a straight line, she has to turn around and often gets tangled up in her train and veil. I do my best to help my brides look perfect for the photos, but I always have my book in my hands so I can only do so much, and we can’t expect our bridesmaids (who are often wearing spaghetti strapped dresses and holding heavy, awkward bouquets of flowers) to bend over and fix the bride.
Ask a FFM to be ready to take care of this during the ceremony, the signing, and once we are back at the altar after the signing. In fact…this is a lovely job for the aunt or mother of the bride if they are on good terms.
20. Licence signing
There are no rules to say your best man and maid of honour must be the ones to sign your marriage paperwork. You could invite a FFM to join us at the signing table to take care of that detail and feel special and included.
21. Present patrol
Put a bubbly FFM in charge of fielding the “Where does this go?” looks as gift-giving guests arrive at your reception. Look for a someone who’ll know most of crowd and can greet people by name while steering them toward the gift table and card box.
22. Handing out your favours
Ask a FFM to make sure all of your favours are set out at each place setting, or to make sure they are given out as each guest goes home for the evening. You could also have your favours in a basket and have your FFM join you (to carry the basket) as you go table to table to give each favour to your guests.
23. Photo Wrangler.
Delegate one of your more assertive FFMs to herd your families for photos. This will allow the photographer to spend more time focused on taking photos and less time worried about waiting for the right people to get to the photo location! Make sure this FFM has a cheat sheet of who’s who, including cell numbers just in case someone wanders off. Ask me for my photo list before your wedding so you can make sure you have every photo you want!
24. Blessing Giver
I am often invited to stay for dinner with my couples’ friends and families. On the occasions I do stay (as my schedule permits) I always offer to do the blessing before dinner as a gift to my couples. If I’m not there, this is a great task for one of your FFMs if you know someone who is good with public speaking and they will be so pleased to be included in such an important part of your wedding.
25. Taking Home Centerpieces.
Decide which FFMs you’d like to give your centrepieces and flowers to. Make a list of the people you want to take flowers so that your wedding planner (with the help of your FFMs) can give them to guests are they are leaving the reception. This will make them feel extra special and allow your flowers and décor to be enjoyed for days and even weeks after your wedding day! If you’re renting your floral containers from your florist or decorator, ask them if they are willing to come back an hour before the reception ends and repackage the flowers into containers for guests to take home, or ask if your centerpiece can be built with a disposable container placed inside the pretty rented container, so its easy to grab the flowers, and not the containers at the end of the night.
26. Day-of contact for wedding vendors
This is a big one! Your vendors need to know who they can call in case something happens – they could be late, stuck in traffic, broken down, lost, sick, have a cake or flower disaster or any number of issues that can come up on your wedding day, and it isn’t always easy to reach the bride or groom.
Give the job of being the wedding vendor contact to an organized and trustworthy FFM, and make sure they have all of the information they need. If any of your vendors need to be paid or tipped, get well labeled checks or cash envelopes to this person before the wedding day, so you can relax knowing your vendors are taken care of!
27. Tidy up the getting ready room/space
Don’t forget you will be taking lots of photos while you and your crew are getting ready! Assign someone who is good at tidying and organizing to help keep the room picture perfect while you and your girls are getting hair and makeup done. This same FFM can also dab tears, zip dresses, and slide on shoes.
Ask one of you FFMs to be your timekeeper for the day. One delay can throw the whole day off and it’s a good idea to have someone wearing a watch, maybe even with alarms in their phone for the whole day, to keep you on track. One thing I know is that brides rarely wear a watch on their wedding day and never have any clue what time it is. Add in a few glasses of champagne and good times with the girls…and poof, you are running an hour late! Your time keeper should be able to help nudge you along in a fun and festive way so you aren’t late for your hair and makeup, ceremony, photos, cocktails, dinner, cake cutting and toasts.
Your Officiant could be on a tight schedule (check your contract for your timing obligations) and being late could mean your ceremony is cut in half, your parents need to pay the Officiant to stay, or…your Officiant might have to eventually leave to stay on schedule for the rest of their day. Your time keeper will keep everyone on schedule and happy!
29. Wine and cake tastings
If you’re bringing in outside items to your wedding like wines or desserts, host a tasting night with your FFMs to pick which bottles you’ll be ordering by the case, or pick up cupcakes from your bakery and have sweets and champagne. Have a great night with wedding movies in the background or your wedding playlist so you can all practice the fun dances….Macarena anyone?! Invite these FFMs to all of your pre-wedding events (engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette party) to really make them feel like part of the celebration even though their aren’t in the wedding party.
30. Welcome bags
Local friends are the perfect people to turn to for both choosing items and assembling the bags. Don’t forget to include menus from local restaurants with your recommendations, directions to the closest grocery store, LCBO, drug store, and Walmart. You could also include contact information for spas, estheticians, massage therapists (for those sore legs after a night of dancing), hair salons, your favourite brunch spot, and of course…directions to your wedding! Does your town have local delicacies? Add those too!
31. The rehearsal dinner toast and blessing
Bridesmaids and the maid of honour often speak at the reception, and the rehearsal dinner is a great time to have other friends participate. Ask your FFM if they’d make a toast while you’re all getting excited for the big day ahead. You could also ask them to say the blessing before the dinner.
32. Invite them to get ready with you
Just because you special FFM isn’t in your wedding party doesn’t mean they haven’t been a huge support to you in the lead up to your big day. Invite them to get ready with you and if it fits in your budget, pay for her hair and makeup too as a thank you for everything they have done for you.
33. Grown up flowers girls
Invite your favour female FFMs to be flower girls if you aren’t having children in your wedding. They can dress to match your wedding, come down the aisle in the processional, throw flower petals like rock stars, then sit in the front row with your families. In fact…why limit this to just your girlfriends? I’m sure the guys will have lots of fun with this too if you are planning a light hearted wedding.
34. Have them sit at the head table
You don’t have to follow the tradition of having your wedding party sitting at the head table. Invite your special FFMs to sit with you instead chat with them about the day and which songs you all want to dance to later! This is such a sweet way to honour your close friends and let your bridesmaids and groomsmen have a breather while they blend in at other tables.
35. Personal protection
As I always say, every family has a dynamic, and it’s not always a good one. I was at a wedding where I knew the bride and her sisters were not on speaking terms with their mother so I was able to keep an eye on things and make sure the mother wasn’t upsetting anyone, especially the bride. Narcissists and other toxic types love to cause a scene at big events and unfortunately, we can’t always get away with not inviting them. If this is your situation, ask someone close to you, who knows and understands the situation, to keep an eye out for your problem person starting trouble – your FFM can easily slip in, take you by the arm, say “You’re needed for some photos”, and whisk you out of harm’s way.
If you need serious personal security at your wedding, just let me know…I know a guy.
And lastly…when you’re doling out the wedding tasks, it’s a good idea to create a spreadsheet listing who’s doing which task as you’d be surprised at how easily you can forget these things when you’re in the throws of planning!
And don’t forget to thank your special FFMs in your speech and thank you cards!
You might also like:
The Care and Feeding of Your Officiant
When Should You Book Your Officiant?
Who Let The Dogs In?
The Money Talk – Who Pays For What?
Honouring Your Loved Ones In Their Absence
Questions I Never Get Asked…And Wish I did!