How does the concept of celebrating a marriage because it is a picture of Christ and His bride, the church (see Why Celebrate? posting) guide us in the duties of the attendants?
Most certainly they are witnesses to the vow, sometimes legally. But to continue the biblical picture, just like elders and deacons of a church are to be diligent about the protection and beauty of the church, so the attendants, especially the maid of honor and best man, should be diligent about the protection and beauty of the bride and groom.
This is often missed in both young and older bridesmaids and groomsmen. These duties involve more than paying for a one time use outfit and showing up for a big party. The overall attending is standing with the couple in agreement and joy in the union with the desire to guard this union. This guarding should continue far beyond the ceremony day.
Here is a list of wedding duties for attendants gathered from etiquette books and good wedding planners.
1. Encourage and relieve stress for bride and groom: which could include party planning, but also could include encouraging words and proactively taking on assignments.
2. Arrange for physical details: which could include returning tuxes, moving furniture, providing transportation for relatives, delivering food for the wedding party before ceremony
3. Make sure bride is beautiful at all times: for the maid of honor this can include arranging the bride’s train and veil at ceremony and holding the bride’s flowers.
4. Draw attention to the union during ceremony: this is why the wedding coordinator will instruct to keep your hands to your side, no gum, smile, and at all times keep your eyes on the bride.