Although a wedding centers on two people, the bride and the groom, there are a variety of other participants that traditionally are included in the ceremony. The participants can vary from wedding to wedding. However, close family members and friends as well as critical wedding staff and vendors can help make the wedding that much more memorable and special.
The bridal party plays a highly visible and critical role in a wedding ceremony. The bridesmaids, maid of honor, groomsmen and best man all stand up at the front of a room or wedding space alongside the bride and groom to show their love and support for their soon-to-be-married friends. The maid of honor will tend to the bride throughout the ceremony, holding her bouquet, adjusting her train and even sometimes holding the groom's wedding band. The best man will hold one or both of the wedding bands for the groom. Flower girls, junior bridesmaids and ring bearers can also be involved in the wedding.
Some or all of the parents of the bride and groom are often involved in the wedding ceremony. Most notably, the father of the bride traditionally escorts the bride down the aisle in her grand entrance and gives her hand in marriage away to the groom. The mothers of the bride and groom are often chosen to participate in the unity candle aspect of the wedding ceremony, if applicable. Parents of the bride and groom can also be selected to give readings during the ceremony.
A wedding ceremony can be held with a minimum of three people: the bride, the groom and the officiant.The officiant plays a crucial role in the wedding ceremony and, besides the bride and groom, is the most important individual to be present. Whether the officiant is a clergyman or a justice of the peace, he leads the bride and groom through their marital vows and makes their union official.
The photographer is often an integral aspect of the wedding ceremony and the person that preserves the wedding ceremony memories for life. The photographer will be there to capture all the special moments of the big day. This can include the groom waiting at the altar, the procession of the bridal party, the bride's grand entrance, the lighting of the unity candle, the exchange of vows and rings and finally the highlight of the ceremony, the declaring of husband and wife that is sealed with a kiss. The photographer, ideally, unobtrusively creates a photo catalog of the wedding that can be appreciated for generations.