How to Choose Your Groomsmen

Read this guide to find out how to determine whom to ask to act as groomsmen in your wedding.

By Deanna deBara

How to Choose Your Groomsmen
Photo by Mei Lin Barral Photography

When you’re planning your big day, one of the most important items to check off the wedding to-do list is, for many couples, building the wedding party—and for grooms, that means choosing their groomsmen.

Figuring out who you want to be groomsmen in your wedding is a big decision; these are people who are going to throw your bachelor party, stand by your side as you say your wedding vows, and play a huge role in your wedding day.

So, the question is, how to pick groomsmen for your special day?

Here are the questions that you want to ask when figuring out whom you want to consider to act as groomsmen on your wedding day:

Who Are the Men That Play the Biggest Role in My Life?

How to Choose Your Groomsmen Photo Credit // Sonju Photography

Don’t know how to choose groomsmen? Think about the people in your life who mean the most to you. Because the wedding party plays such a big role in your wedding day, you want the people that ultimately hold the “groomsman” title to be people that also play a big role in your life. So, the first question you want to ask yourself when choosing groomsmen is “Who are the men that play the biggest role in my life?”

Make a list of all the men that you consider an important part of your life—both past and present. (So, for example, your list might include your brother, a close cousin, your best friend from high school, your college roommate, and your closest friends from the office.)

Now, not every man that plays a big role in your life is necessarily going to be the right fit for your wedding party. For example, your grandfather might play an integral role in your life, but it would probably make more sense for him to enjoy your wedding from the audience. But, taking stock of the most important men in your life can give you a good jumping-off point when you’re trying to figure out who you want to be a groomsman on your big day—and it can help guide your decision-making process as you’re building your wedding party.

Are There Any Men That Play a Big Role in My Partner’s Life?

When you’re thinking about who you want to act as groomsmen in your wedding, it’s important to think about the men that play a big role in your life—but you should also consider the men that play an important role in your partner’s life.

For example, does your partner have a brother or a close friend that they’re extremely close to? He or she may want that brother to be a part of the wedding party—and, as such, you should consider asking him to be a groomsman at your wedding ceremony.

Have I Acted as a Groomsman for Anyone Else?

How to Choose Your Groomsmen Photo Credit // Zola

Acting as a groomsman in someone else’s wedding doesn’t automatically mean that you need to ask the groom to be in your wedding party, too—but it’s something that you want to consider.

For example, if you were at a close friend’s wedding a few months ago, they may be expecting to be a groomsman at your wedding, as well. (Again, not saying that you have to ask them, but it’s something that you want to take into account when choosing your groomsmen for your wedding ceremony). On the flip side, if you were a groomsman in a high school friend’s wedding a decade ago—and you and that friend have lost touch over the years—you probably don’t need to consider them as a groomsman. Unless that is, you want to, in which case, have at it.

Bottom line? Being at someone else’s wedding doesn’t mean that you have to ask them to be a groomsman in yours—but if you want to avoid hurt feelings, it’s a factor that you may want to consider when wedding planning.

Is There Anyone That Would Feel Hurt or Left Out?

Speaking of hurt feelings, the last question you want to ask yourself when choosing groomsmen is whether there is anyone that would feel hurt or left out if they weren’t asked to be in your wedding party.

For example, if you have three brothers—and you only ask two to act as groomsmen in your wedding—chances are that the other brother is going to feel pretty hurt. Or, let’s say that you have a tight-knit group of six friends from college. If you ask five to be in your wedding party, the sixth man might feel left out when he isn’t asked to be a groomsman.

Now, again—other people’s feelings or reactions shouldn’t dictate your decisions. But, you do want to be aware that whom you do or do not ask to be your groomsmen is going to impact your loved ones—and if anyone is going to feel hurt or left out during the process.

If you do suspect that someone’s feelings are going to be hurt if you don’t ask them to be a groomsman, you may want to have a separate conversation with them to help smooth things over. (For example, if you have a friend who asked you to be a groomsman, but you’re keeping your wedding party to family only, you may want to take him out for coffee to explain the situation and to avoid any hurt feelings or rift in the relationship.)

There’s no right or wrong way to choose your groomsmen; ultimately, you need to choose the people that you want to be by your side on your wedding day, whether that’s your brothers, your buddies, or other loved ones. But, if you’re not sure whom to ask to be in your wedding party, ask yourself these questions. It’s a great place to start.

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