Not just supporting cast

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 11:11pm


For most couples, the big day is the chance to celebrate their relationship with family and friends. Members of the wedding party play a vital role in ensuring the occasion goes without a hitch.

Selecting people for these roles is a personal but important decision.

Most couples stick to tradition when assigning these roles. The closest friends of the bride and groom act as maid of honour and best man, and both are legal witnesses to the marriage ceremony.

The maid of honour also assists in shopping for the gown and choosing flowers, while the best man's duties include safe keeping of the rings, getting the groom to the ceremony and taking charge of other key roles such as organising ushers. He also often acts as master of ceremonies.

Other close friends act as bridesmaids and ushers. Bridesmaids usually help with wedding plans when needed and ushers make sure everything is in order on the day, handling last minute crises and escorting guests to seats.

'Parents are important in the entire wedding ceremony and reception,' says Katemagg Chau, who runs event and wedding planning company Katemagg Event & Wedding.

'The maid of honour and best man maintain their roles to take care of and escort the bride and groom.'

These days some of the roles are more in name than action with wedding planners taking on the organisational duties traditionally given to members of the wedding party.

'Couples want the wedding party members to enjoy the day as well. They prefer them to join in as a guest, not a helper,' Chau says. 'In some cases couples will assign their sisters, brothers or other relatives to assist with the day's logistics and work closely with the wedding planning team or venue to make sure the wedding is smooth.'

Occasionally, couples divert from tradition. 'One time an 11-year old boy of the bride's sister acted as the best man and ring bearer, and also gave a speech and toast to the couple. I wrote the script and trained him and it was very special,' Chau says.

On another occasion, a couple included seven groomsmen and seven bridesmaids, and the best man and maid of honour. 'It equalled nine pairs and in Chinese this means live and love together forever,' Chau says.

Dajinjie, or matchmaker, is a role unique to traditional Chinese weddings who steps in after the door crashing games to introduce the bride and her father to the wedding party.

'A Dajinjie hosts the part when the father of the bride brings the bride out to meet the groom, the tea ceremony for the bride's family and escorting the bride with the groom at her side to depart from the bride's home to the groom's home,' says Conway Lau, director of wedding planning specialist, Pink Wedding.

The hair combing ceremony by a lucky man or lady on the eve of a Chinese wedding remains popular. 'This lucky person should be someone the bride and groom may wish to be like,' Lau says. 'By combing the hair, this person would pass luck to the couple.'