Roles, Responsibilities, and How to Choose Members For Your Entourage

The maid of honor, the best man, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the principal sponsors… Let’s talk about your entourage! We’re going to go back to the basics today, and talk about the roles and responsibilities of the different people in your entourage. And if you’re not sure whom to pick for what role, we’re going to help you with that too! Ready? Let’s go!

Everything You Need to Know About Your Entourage Photo: Artystafoto
Photo: Artystafoto


Principal Sponsors Rock Paper Scissors Photography

Believe it or not, the principal sponsors are the only people you legally need at your wedding. Their primary purpose is to act as witnesses to your marriage and sign the marriage contract. Besides the legal aspect, your ninongs and ninangs also act as godparents to you and your fiance. When choosing your principal sponsors, think of couples whose marriage and relationship you admire. You also want to choose people you can easily talk to and ask advice about your married life.


Secondary Sponsors Chestknots Studios

For Catholic Church weddings, you’ll need to have three pairs of secondary sponsors. The candle sponsors light the wedding candles before the rite of marriage, the veil sponsors drape the veil over the groom’s shoulder and the bride’s head (they will also remove it after the cord is removed), and the cord sponsors tie or place the cord over the bride and groom (they will also remove it after Communion). If you have close friends who are too busy to be either a bridesmaid or groomsman, then you can entrust them the role of secondary sponsor.


Best Man Jeff & Lisa Photography

The best man is the #1 go-to person of the groom. He’s in charge of attending to the groom, planning the bachelor party, having a speech ready for the wedding reception, and keeping the wedding rings safe. For a more complete and detailed list of the best man’s duties, you can check this out! Who chooses the best man? The groom of course! You want your best man to be someone you can trust and rely on to help you out. Usually, this role is bestowed to the groom’s brother or best friend.


Maid/Matron of Honor OneCarlo Photography

Like the best man to the groom, you have your own #1 go-to person too! The maid or matron of honor will help you with everything wedding related. From the dress fitting and bridal shower, to helping the bride with her train or makeup on her big day, you’ll want to make sure to entrust the role of maid or matron of honor to someone you can trust, someone who can handle the multiple responsibilities you’ll be giving her, and of course, someone you will definitely want to share your wedding planning journey with. (Psst, we’ve got a more complete and detailed list of the maid of honor’s duties too!)


Groomsmen Toto Villaruel

Besides giving support to the groom, the groomsmen typically also help the groom with whatever last minute errands he needs to run. They also help the best man with his duties, usher in guests before the ceremony, and escort the bridesmaids during the ceremony. Groomsmen are usually close friends and family of the groom.


Bridesmaids Artystafoto

Much like the groomsmen, the bridesmaids are your central support system while you plan your wedding. They’re there to help you and your maid of honor with all the wedding related tasks you need to get done. Your bridesmaids can also help receive guests during your wedding reception, as well as help hand out your favors. Bridesmaids are usually close friends and family of the bride. (While there’s no limit to the number of bridesmaids you can have, just take note that you’ll have to match the groomsmen number to the number of bridesmaids you choose.)


Bearers Paopao Sanchez

In traditional Catholic Church weddings, there are usually three types of bearers. The ring bearer, the coin bearer, and the bible bearer each carry their specific item down the aisle, and present it either to the priest or the couple. However, we’ve also been seeing little boys (and even girls) who carry wedding signs too! Usually, bearers are within the age range of three to eight years old, and can manage to carry their specific item down the aisle. You can choose your nephews, godson, or sons of your friends.


Flower Girls Nicolai Melicor

Traditionally, the flower girl’s main duty is to scatter flower petals as she walks down the aisle. But you don’t have to go with flower petals. Your flower girl can hold a sign, blow bubbles, or just hold a bouquet as she walks down the aisle. She is also usually between three to eight years old, and can be a niece, goddaughter, or daughter of your friends.


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    1. Hi Ella,

      The only required role in a wedding is really just the sponsors. For other roles, you can modify depending on your preference.
      Happy planning!

        1. Hi Barby, it’s usually not included because you can mention them in the ceremony missal. But no problem if you want to include in your invites! Happy planning!

          1. Hi! I am getting married here in Canada. Can we have one of principal sponsor as the parents of the groom?

    1. Hi Neil, there is no strict rule about this but one thing to consider in choosing your principal sponsor is if he/she can guide you through your married life. If you trust that that person can give you sound advice when you need it the most then he/she is a good choice. Happy planning!

    1. Hi there, assigning your secondary sponsors will really depend on your relationship with them. There are no restrictions on their civil status to be a secondary sponsor. Happy planning!

    1. Hi Alyssa, there are no required number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. You can even opt not to have any. It really depends on your preference. Happy planning!

      1. hello! what a relief to read this! i’ve been ruminating over having our groomsmen and bridesmaids be secondary sponsors as well. I also only have 1 niece in the family as flower girl so i might just have one flower girl walk down the aisle too. thanks for this helpful article.

  1. I’m an excited groom-to-be but most of my closest friends are female – is it going to be a challenge to have them on ‘my side’ of the entourage? Similarly, my fiancee’s closest friends (save for her sister, who will be maid of honor) are male. Do we need to have them switching side to maintain groomsmen / bridesmaids split between the groom / bride?

    1. Hi Joseph, there’s no fixed rule when it comes to this so it really depends on your preference and what setup will work for you. Happy planning!

  2. Hi, Can you customize the order of the processional or does it have to stick with the western or filipino order? Thank you

    1. Hi Joreen, there’s no strict rule about the order. Best if you consult with your planner or if it’s a drastic change, you can also ask the Church admin just to be sure. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jane, while there is no age limit required for secondary sponsors, it would be better if you assign adults for this role since they will be required to put the veil, cord, and light the candle for you. Happy planning!

  3. Hi, my best friend is a transgender female and I wish for her to be my maid of honor. Will this be okay in a church wedding? Thank you!

  4. Hi ma’am Pia,
    We’re still on a planning stage, may I ask on how many should we list on our wedding entourage, like how many pairs of principal sponsor, secondary, and etc?

    1. Hi Jeff, there is actually no required number for wedding entourage. The only requirement is for you to have a principal sponsor who can act as a witness to your marriage. Other than that, you are free to decide on how many secondary sponsors, bridesmaids, etc. you want to have. Hope this helps!

    1. Hi Kaye, there is no strict rule about this so we think it will be okay. You can check with your Church just to be sure. Thanks!

    1. Hi Daisy, there is no strict rule about this. You can opt to make it the same or different, depends on your preference. Happy planning!

  5. Hi! Can we assign the brother of my groom-to-be as one of the principal sponsors? To be paired with his brother’s wife as well.

  6. Hi, my sister got married last year and she have my uncle as a Godfather, would it be fine if I will have the same uncle as a Godfather?

  7. Im planning to have my brothers whose 22-30yrs of age to be my bearers and my bestfriends as flower girls.. Would it be ok?

    1. Hi Nigel, yes it is. You can opt for a no entourage wedding if you’re more comfortable with that as long as you have at least 2 principal sponsors.

  8. Hi. If both the maid of honor and best man position is taken, where should your unmarried brothers/sisters usually be assigned to? Do they usually act as secondary sponsors or bridesmaid/groomsman? What’s the norm for Catholic weddings?

  9. During the ceremony, where are we going to put the veil, cord, and candle? The secondary sponsors, are they going to take those things with them at their seats?

    1. Hi Marfe, yes, it will be easier if you give the veil, cord, lighter/match to the secondary sponsors at the start of the ceremony for safe keeping. Thanks!

  10. Hi, is it true that little bride & little groom are already not allowed in a catholic wedding?

    1. Hi Merlinda, what do you mean by little bride and little groom? If you’re pertaining to flower girls and bearers, it will depend on the Church you’ll get married in. To preserve the solemnity of the ceremony, some Churches prefer children who are old enough to walk down the aisle without guidance, but there is no strict rule about this. Thanks!

  11. Hi! what do i call to the two kids holding a sign of “here comes the bride” i dont know what to put in their names in my invitation. pls help. thanks

  12. I have friends who got married first. And I still want them to be part of my entourage. Is this still possible?

      1. Hi! I’d like to know if this entourage is fine and correct..?
        And have few questions below.. I hope you can help me. TIA

        1 ninang & 1 ninong


        1 ninang & 1 ninong

        1 made of honor & 1 best man

        1 ninang & 1 ninong

        1 ninang & 1 ninong

        1 young girl

        1 young boy

        So I have 10 Total of sponsors 5 men & 5 women..

        So the sponsors are like partner partner or pairings
        Is this correct?

        And what is the duty of the primary sponsors?
        do they just sign the paper as a witnesses to make the marriage legal?

        I hope you understand this and the word “ninang & ninong”. And gave me answers for my questions.

        Thanks in advance! God bless!

  13. I’ve seen an entourage with a Matron and Maid of Honor, but not 2 Maids of Honor. Is it okay to have 2 MOHs?

  14. Is it possible if you have five pairs for the secondary sponsors? E.g. (1) one pair for lighting the candles; (2) one pair for the draping the veil: (3) one pair for tying the cord; (4) one pair for removing the cord; and (5) one pair for removing the veil?

    1. Hi Belle, there are no strict rules about this so it is possible, but maybe not advisable. It might be confusing for your entourage and you might have difficulty wording it in your invites. Maybe it will be better if you assign them other roles as part of your entourage? Whatever you decide to do, just always think of why it’s important for you. It’s your wedding day after all. Happy planning!

  15. My fiance and I are both Filipino and want to incorporate Filipino wedding tradition into our wedding. As far as Principal Sponsors go, do they have to be married couples? Can my fiance’s divorced auntie walk down the aisle with my divorced uncle? Or should our Principal Sponsors be married since they are people we admire and can seek advice from? Also, can my fiance’s married auntie walk down the aisle with my married uncle (not married to each other)?

    1. Hi Krystle, there’s no strict rule about the status of principal sponsors. You can choose someone whom you look up to and pair him/her with another person even if they’re not married. Happy planning!

  16. Hello! do you have the required entourage for a Christian wedding? 🙂 We really want an intimate wedding if possible only our immediate families but good thing that I saw in your blog that we need principal sponsors to be present. 🙂 Hoping for your response on my question. 🙂

  17. Hi! Is it okay not to have bridesmaid and groomsmen? We are only planning to have one maid of honor and one best man.

    1. Hi Clariz, yes it’s okay! Having an entourage is not really a requirement for weddings so you can opt not to have one. But, make sure that you assign (2) principal sponsors to make your wedding legal. Happy planning!

    1. Hi Lei, yes this is possible. You’ll just have to brief them of their tasks so they know what their responsibilities are during your wedding.

  18. Hello there, i would like to ask for help,
    Do you know any terms for Bridesmaid and Groomsmen?
    Since I will be choosing some of my lgbtq friends and married friends in the entourage.

    1. Hi there, if you’re more comfortable with using “Bride Tribe” and “Groom’s Side”, feel free to. You can also just say “entourage”. Hope this helps. Thanks!

  19. Hi, what is the correct distance in between those who are part of the entourage when they walk down the aisle?

  20. Hi! Is it okay if our best man and maid of honor are also our cord sponsors? How to put this on the invites? Thank you!

  21. Hello, is it really necessary to have secondary sponsors? Can I just used my Bridesmaid to do the task of Secondary Sponsors? Thank you

  22. Hi! Just a quick question, is it really necessary to have the same count of groomsmen and bridesmaid?

  23. Hi! If I am having a garden wedding and will have a judge officiate my wedding, are the prinicipal sponsors still necessary? Or the entourage?

  24. Hi! Wanna know if we are going to have intimate church wedding. What are the roles that are very needed and other that may not be included? Thank you!

    1. Hi Sirkhent! While some Churches are strict with the ages of the younger entourage members to minimize difficulties and delays, most are rather accommodating. It’s best to check with your chosen ceremony venue beforehand for their respective guidelines. Thanks!

  25. Hi.. qwanna know if the maid of honor,best man, bridesmaids and groomesmen are part of principal sponsors or secondary sponsors? Im confused because most of the invitations i see included them on the principal sponsors

    1. Hi Crisia! The Maid of Honor, Best Man, Bridesmaids, and Groomsmen are not a part of the principal sponsors or secondary sponsors. They are separate members of your entourage, and they typically listed after the principal sponsors (but not a part of) in wedding invitations. Thanks!

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