A Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen
Everything You Need To Know To Assemble Your Squad
When writing A Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen, it made me think about what it felt like when I was a groom. It reminded me more specifically of how I felt when I had just recently proposed to my wife, Rhoda. I had NO idea what I was getting into. There’s so much that I wasn’t expecting. If you’re reading this, you probably feel the same way, right? Fortunately for you, I’ve got your back. In addition to getting married and having over 5 years of experience as a wedding DJ, I have friends that work in the wedding industry. Just last week, I wrote a blog about how to a bride can nail her look when working with her 30A Wedding Hair and Makeup Artist. Let’s face it. Most things “wedding” tend to be for future brides. So, I’m going to bring a male perspective to a wedding blog than what you would expect to be more bride-centric.
Here’s everything you would need in a groom’s guide to groomsmen from selection to their responsibilities to etiquette!
At the time of this writing, if you are planning a fall wedding (6-8 months away), you’re slightly behind the power curve if you haven’t selected your groomsmen yet. Your bride-to-be has most likely picked her bridesmaids, hired the planner and photographer, maybe* a videographer, purchased her dress, and selected her (or should I say your) wedding registry. She’s been doing a lot, right? Now’s your chance to Get In The Game.
*change maybe to strongly consider or definitely. More on that at another time in a different blog
Author’s note: I realize this blog doesn’t include the Best Man because I feel that the Best Man is such an important part of the bridal party that he deserves his own blog.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
A Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen: Assembling Your Squad
I would be remiss to write a Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen and not include the most important, and possibly challenging, part: deciding who to select as your groomsmen. For some of you, this will be incredibly easy. If you’re like me, I didn’t have a wide network of friends. If you have a wider friends network, your work is a little bit more cut out for you. But, don’t worry. When deciding who your groomsmen are, you want to keep a few things in mind.
You’re Tight With Them
Don’t feel like you are obligated to have someone as your groomsmen because you were his groomsmen for his wedding years ago but you have since drifted. Me and my groomsman, with the exception of my brother, have faded from each others’ lives because life happens. Passions, locations, careers, etc change. I wouldn’t expect any of them to have me be their groomsmen based on the fact that I had them in my wedding party because we just aren’t close anymore. Your groomsmen need to be guys you know are in your corner. The more excited they are for you, the better the celebration will be during the reception.
They’re Reliable and Mesh Well With Others
Trust me. Enough things go wrong on the day of a wedding without having to deal with someone who isn’t very reliable. These are your top-tier guys and should be trusted as such. Also, you want guys who mesh well with the rest of the bridal party. Good bridal parties create great memories together and because the bridal party spends a lot of time with the bride and groom, you don’t want to have the possibility of drama surfacing on such an important day. Enough can go wrong at a wedding. The last thing you want is to be in close proximity to drama if it WERE to erupt.
Think About Family
And, I don’t just mean your own. Absolutely consider your closest brother as a groomsman. Mine was my best man. But could your future wife have a brother she is close to and would like to have in the wedding party? If you’re not sure, ask her. Communication is essential in any relationship, plus if you’re being thoughtful enough to ask that’s likely to earn you kudos with her. And, ladies, don’t get insulted if he asks when “he should already know.” Maybe he should, but at least he is including you in the decision and not just making it thoughtlessly.
Are you tight with your sister? Do you see her close enough to be a Maid of Honor but your bride has already selected someone for that position? Why not include her as a groomslady? Or even the Best Ma’am? The great thing about weddings is there is a lot of lee-way to really make them customized to what makes sense to you as a couple.
What If There Are More Bridesmaids?
Don’t feel like you have to have the same amount of groomsmen as bridesmaids. It would be better to have a smaller core group that is comprised of the best choices than to add more simply because your fiance has chosen more bridesmaids. A good rule for the minimum number of groomsmen is one groomsman per 50 guests because one of their responsibilities is seating guests for the ceremony.
It’s OK To Say “No”
It’s your wedding. Your decisions shouldn’t be dictated by those that are close to you. If they love and care for you, they should respect your decision. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t be tactful about not including someone as a groomsman. 😉
Think one or a few guys might feel slighted if they aren’t included as groomsmen? Here are a couple of ways you can handle this delicate situation.
1. Invite Them To the Bachelor Party
Bachelor party attendees don’t have to just be groomsmen. For this kind of party, the more the merrier! This could be an easy way to include those who you care about and might dull the sting of feeling excluded from the bridal party.
2. Include Them In the Ceremony As Ushers
This option allows them to play an important role in the wedding. They usually wear the same or a similar outfit that the groomsmen wear for the wedding. Going beyond the ceremony, you could even include them in the grand entrance with the bridal party.
A Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen: What Do They Do?
Great question. I’m glad you asked!
The next step in the Groom’s Guide to Groomsmen is going to cover their roles in the wedding process. It is probably much more involved than you (or they) might have expected. I’ve already touched on seating guests for the ceremony, so we can skip that important day-of-the-wedding responsibility. Let’s go a little bit earlier in the wedding planning process, shall we?
The Bachelor Party
The bachelor party is probably the highlight of the wedding planning process for grooms. It’s also a great time for your groomsmen to bond if they all don’t know each other very well. The best man is going to take the lead for planning the bachelor party but feel free to add input on how you’d like it to go. Also, go back “How To Handle If They Didn’t Make The Cut” and include specific guys you’d like on the guest list. Here’s an idea that I recently came across: The Batch Party. It’s a party for the entire bridal party. This could be a good idea if your bridal party is smaller, you have a bridesmaid and groomsmen who are in a relationship, or you all just want to celebrate together. BUT, I totally get it if you want to keep the tradition of the bachelor party fellas only.
Attending Pre-Wedding Festivities
I’m talking engagement party, bachelor party (duh!), and the rehearsal dinner. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, it is understood that they will be present for all the aforementioned events. They don’t HAVE to attend the bridal shower unless you’re planning on having a Couple Shower to continue the inclusive trend that goes along the lines of The Batch Party.
Assisting Week-of/Day-of The Wedding
Things happen. This is why you want to pick reliable guys as your groomsmen. Sometimes last minute things pop up that need to be taken care of and you won’t be able to break away to handle them.
Help Keep You Calm
We don’t always know how we are going to react to a situation until we are in the middle of it. Because of everything that goes into a wedding, it’s good to have guys by your side that will help keep your nerves calm and allow you to live in the moment. Your wedding is pretty important. Being able to be in the moment is a challenge when you have to deal with the constant bombardment of #allthethings as the wedding unfolds. Think of them as your anchor.
And now we get to my favorite part of a wedding. Not all of your groomsmen will give toasts but, usually, it is the best man and another groomsman that has this honor from your side of the aisle. From my experience, the magic number of toasts at a wedding is 4. Just make sure that the guys you are planning on giving toasts know they are going to give toasts. As a DJ, I’ve run into this problem more than I would expect.
If you think other people attending your wedding might want to give toasts, allow time at the rehearsal dinner to open the floor to allow anyone to give a toast for you both. Open mic toasts are NOT a good idea because allowing people the option, even if they hadn’t planned it, they are more likely to take it. Let’s face it, there may be some people attending the wedding that you may not want on the mic. Plus, the more toasts that happen, the less time you, and your guests, will have to get out on the dance floor
Your groomsmen are basically the party ringers. From the grand entrance (I HIGHLY recommend including the bridal party in the grand entrance) until the time everyone is out on the dance floor, they will help set the tone for the night. The energy they bring to your reception can be infectious to the rest of the guests attending, and they can really amp up the energy to the event.
A Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen: Things To Consider
The final stop for the Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen is going to be things you could do for them. Your groomsmen are going to be there for you throughout the wedding planning process. If this is a destination wedding, they will be taking care of travel expenses (airfare, hotel, etc). Here are a couple of ways you can express your gratitude for them playing such a pivotal role on the biggest day of your life.
Cover the Cost For Their Wedding Attire
Whether you are going for a tux, something semi-formal, or a casual Tommy Bahama outfit, this is something to consider. Unless you are just giving them guidelines on what to wear and allowing them to pick out their outfits, it’s a great gesture to show how much you appreciate them being your groomsmen. This is going to be a budget-dependent option but, if you can afford it, definitely consider it.
Come Bearing Gifts
Just like the bride traditionally gives gifts to her bridesmaids, you should also add this to your list of things to take care of. You can go with gifts customized to each of them or you can opt for gift sets for all of your groomsmen. Here are a few sites you can find good gift ideas at:
As to WHEN to give them, here are a few options:
The Engagement Party
Your groomsmen should already be selected by this point for obvious reasons. Also, make sure they will all be there as you don’t want to leave anyone out. A reason to give them gifts at this point is the budget tends to get tighter as you get closer to the wedding, so it is far enough out to where you don’t have that constraint.
The Bachelor Party
If it’s just going to be just your groomsmen, why not give them their gifts as well? There are a few negatives to using this time to give the gifts. If it’s going to be a night out kind of thing, carrying gifts/gift bags can be a little encumbering. Also, if you’re including guys who aren’t going to be part of the bridal party, it could come across as rude to them.
The Rehearsal Dinner
Here is another event they’re going to be attending anyway, so it would be easy to do especially if you’re going to have a pow-wow about what to expect on the day of the wedding. A major drawback with giving gifts at the wedding location, if you’re having a destination wedding, it will require you to budget more room for the gifts in your suitcases. A solution to that would be having them shipped to your hotel or your wedding coordinator (another great reason to have one!).
Morning After Brunch
Having brunch after the wedding is something that is becoming more common for weddings nowadays. The morning after brunch serves as the time where the bride and groom host a celebration after the wedding. It is typically when guests are staying at the same location but the guest count can be streamlined to just immediate family and the bridal party. Giving them their gifts at this point only works if you are not planning on including items you’d like for them to wear during the wedding. You could consider breaking up the whole gift into two smaller ones if that’s the case.
What’s one more meal to celebrate the success of your nuptials, right? The lunch can be used similarly to the Bachelor Party but after the wedding as a way to relive the great memories that you all had from your awesome wedding. Keep in mind to break up the gifts if you’re planning on having your groomsmen wear something you’ve picked out for them.
A Groom’s Guide to Groomsmen: That’s A Wrap!
And, there you have it. Here is A Groom’s Guide To Groomsmen. Was there anything that stood out that you think would be great to incorporate into your wedding? Were there any parts you were surprised about? Did I forget to include anything? Please comment below! Also, future brides, share this with your soon-to-be husband ;). I think he might appreciate the insight and advice. If you have any additional questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to the photographers who were gracious in allowing me to include their BEAUTIFUL images for this blog. They are in order of appearance.