Your wedding day is all about celebrating the love between yourself and your partner and making a commitment to each other in front of friends and loved ones.  There’s almost nothing more special in life than the day that you and the person you love most stand up before all the people you care about and promise to love, honor, and support each other for the rest of your lives. 

As special as this day is, it can also be stressful, with many moving parts and essential responsibilities and people involved.  Two of the most important people in the wedding party are the Best Man/Woman or the Maid/ Man of Honor. These roles come with quite a bit of responsibility before, during, and after the wedding ceremony.  So what do you do if one of them gets sick or has some sort of emergency that prevents them from fulfilling those duties? 

First, don’t panic! If your Best Man/Woman or Maid/Man of Honor becomes ill, do everything you can to give them the most amount of downtime you can. If you’re lucky, maybe sitting out the rehearsal dinner or pre-wedding activities will provide them with the extra rest they need to rally for the big day.  If not, here are some things you can do to cover for them.

Ask Someone Else

If you have a large wedding party, you could simply ask another Groomsman or Bridesmaid to step into the role that has been left vacant. If this is not the case, you can request a friend or family member to join your wedding party and move someone else up into the role of Best Man/Woman or Maid/Man of Honor and shuffle the new person at the back of the line, so everyone in the wedding party still has a partner. 

Another good alternative is to have a parent take over the role. Having your Mother or Father stand up with you as Best Man/Woman or Maid/Man of Honor is an excellent alternative if you have to replace someone at the last minute.

Reassign Tasks

Make a list of tasks your MOH/BM was supposed to be in charge of for your wedding day. Some of the more common tasks include:

Pre-Wedding Tasks

Best Man- 

  • Plan a Bachelor Party
  • Help the Groom Choose Formal Wear
  • Organize Groomsmen’s fittings for Formal Wear
  • Organize Travel Arrangements for out of town Groomsmen
  • Organize the couple’s departure from the Reception
  • Attend the Rehearsal Dinner
  • Organize Rehearsal Dinner Toasts
  • Give a Toast at the Rehearsal Dinner
  • Take charge of the Rings
  • Make sure the Groom has the Marriage License
  • Get the Groom to the Wedding Venue on time

Maid of Honor-

  • Plan a Bridal Shower
  • Plan a Bachelorette Party
  • Help the Bride with Wedding Planning
  • Help the Bride Choose a Dress
  • Coordinate Bridesmaid’s dresses and fittings
  • Keep a record of gifts received at said parties
  • Attend the rehearsal dinner
  • Be the point person for guests to answer any questions

Wedding Day Tasks

Best man-

  • Make sure the Groom and Groomsmen are all in attendance and on time
  • Make sure all Groomsmen have their formal wear and accessories (boutonnieres or pocket squares) in place.
  • Make sure ring bearers know what to do and attach the rings to the ring bearer pillow or hand the Groom the Ring if there is no ring bearer
  • Escort Maid of Honor Down the aisle
  • Sign the Marriage Certificate as a witness
  • Organize Groomsmen for pictures
  • Give a Toast at the Reception

Maid of Honor-

  • Coordinate Hair and Makeup for Bridal Party
  • Make sure Bridemaids have their dresses and bouquets
  • Hold the Groom’s Ring
  • Hold the Brides Bouquet during the ceremony
  • Assist the Bride with using the restroom
  • Make sure the Bride is fed and hydrated
  • Arrange the Bride’s train and veil when she gets to the altar
  • Sign the Marriage Certificate as a witness
  • Be the point person for any Reception questions or needs
  • Give a Toast at the Reception

As you can see, the list of duties can get pretty long! So you’ll have to divvy these tasks up to other Bridal Party members or family members who are willing to help out!

Reorder Processional/Recessional

Most of the time, a bridal party has an even number of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen so that each member of the Bridal Party has someone to walk down the aisle with before and after the ceremony begins. If a member of your Bridal Party cannot attend your wedding, you will have to reorder your processional so that one or more members of the bridal party walk down the aisle with someone else or alone to make up the difference.  

Alternatively, you can have all of the bridesmaids walk down the aisle alone while the Groomsmen stand at the front with the Groom. Or you can choose to have the entire Wedding Party wait at the front, and only the Bride walks down the aisle.

Ask Someone Else to Give the Speech

One of the essential duties of the Best Man/Woman and Maid/Man of Honor is giving a speech at the Reception. So if your Best Man/Woman or Maid/Man of Honor is unable to attend the wedding, this is one thing that you’ll have to have a replacement for. If they have already written a speech for the Reception, you easily ask someone else to read it for them. If they haven’t written anything, you can either ask someone else to say a few words, have only the remaining person give their speech or opt-out of having speeches at all. 

To avoid undue stress on your big day, you should always have a backup person who will help out with any unforeseen circumstances that may arise. It’s a good idea to have a parent, sibling, friend, or wedding coordinator in place to assist with these things should anything happen and someone cannot attend. No matter what, just remember that this day is about you and your significant other making a commitment to each other and your future together. Try to focus on the love and the excitement, and let the rest roll off your back. At the end of the day, if you and the person you love are together, happy, and starting on your new journey, the rest doesn’t really matter!

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