If you’ve having a traditional wedding party, including a group of the groom’s closest friends and relatives that will stand by him and serve as groomsmen, then you might be wondering what exactly this fraternal posse does. It’s generally understood that the groomsmen are there to help out the groom, bride, and/or wedding hosts before, during, and after the wedding—but what are the groomsmen duties, specifically?
To help your groom’s crew achieve wedding party perfection, here’s a total rundown of both traditional and lesser-known duties that the groomsmen can handle to make your day a breeze.
Pre-Wedding Groomsmen Duties
There are five main duties that are typically handled by the groomsmen in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding:
1. The Bachelor Party
The groomsmen work with the best man to plan all aspects of the bachelor party. While the groom may have already spoken up about where he’d like the party to be held, it’s up to the groomsmen to figure out accommodations, activities, and transportation, as well as divvying up the costs between each groomsman so the groom’s expenses are covered.
2. A Wedding Gift
It is customary for the groomsmen to offer a gift to the groom, usually given at the bachelor party. We suggest all the groomsmen pitch in to get him one knock-his-socks-off gift.
3. Groomsmen Attire
After the groomsmen’s wedding attire has been selected and communicated, it is each man’s responsibility to get fitted for a tux or suit, or if they’re wearing something more casual, to track down and purchase (with their own money) all necessary wedding day attire.
Tuxedo Tip: Whether all groomsmen are being fitted for suits at the same time and place or individually, it is best to have everyone’s measurements sent to the shop and/or tailor two to four months before the wedding, especially if the wedding is during peak season. This ensures that everyone receives their attire without complication or rush orders.
4. Wedding Weekend Logistics
The groomsmen are also in charge of booking their own travel and hotel accommodations for the wedding weekend and, whenever transportation is not already provided, figuring out how they’ll get from place to place during the wedding festivities.
This one might go without saying, but all groomsmen should be at both the ceremony rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. If someone is going to be involved in the ceremony, it’s best that they are present for the rehearsal so that all the small details are ironed out—such as where members of the wedding party will enter and exit, their order as they process, and whether they should stand or sit for the duration of the ceremony.
Wedding Day Groomsmen Duties
Often overlooked, there are a number of ways those dashing groomsmen lend a hand to ensure the big day goes by smoothly. Factor the following groomsmen duties into your day-of plan, and rest assured knowing everything will be taken care of.
1. Get ready with the groom.
The groomsmen should arrive at the venue early to help the groom get dressed and to ensure he is calm and collected in the hours leading up to “I do.” They should do whatever they can to make sure he is feeling great before he walks down the aisle. Also, make sure the groom is hydrated and that he eats something.
Note: The groomsmen may also be responsible for driving the groom to the ceremony location, but find out from the planner or groom himself what transportation plans are for the wedding day.
2. Be the groom’s go-to.
Overall, on the day of the wedding, each groomsman is responsible for assisting the best man and groom leading up to the ceremony, while also being a point of contact for guests and vendors. Here are some great ways to get the groomsmen involved in the day’s proceedings:
- Have groomsmen ensure that the couple, members of the wedding party, and important family members have corsages, bouquets, and/or boutonnieres prior to the ceremony.
- Have groomsmen familiarize themselves with the venue in order to help guests. For example, groomsmen should be able to direct incoming guests to parking, restrooms, handicap accesses, exits, and if applicable, the bar or refreshments station.
- Place a few groomsmen near a place you’ve designate for wedding gifts, and ask them to assist guests with carrying gifts and depositing them in the right spot.
3. Greet and escorting at the wedding.
Traditionally, groomsmen act as ushers to help guide guests to their seats before the ceremony. They also hand out ceremony programs, if applicable.
4. Participate in the ceremony.
Groomsmen should be in place and ready to go in the right place, at the right time, for the ceremony. (Since they attended the rehearsal, this should be easy.) No one wants to have a delayed start due to missing or chit-chatting groomsmen. Be quiet, attentive, and follow all cues provided by the planner or officiant. Stand or sit where you’re supposed to, pay attention, and perform any other duties during the service that have been arranged. Process out of the ceremony according to the rehearsed plan.
5. Pose for photos.
If the wedding party didn’t pose for photographs with the happy couple before the ceremony, typically these group photos occur right after the ceremony at the beginning of the cocktail hour. Groomsmen should stay alert, be ready to follow the photographer’s directions, and smile on cue. Don’t be the guy making twelve other people wait around while you’re in line for the bar.
6. Be great guests.
During the cocktail hour and reception, groomsmen should be model wedding guests: they should mingle and chat with other guests, enjoy the food and drinks offered, sit down at their dinner table when asked, participate in guest-related activities like signing the guestbook or visiting the photo booth, listen to and applaud any speeches, witness the special dances, and boogie down (tastefully) when it’s dance floor time.
7. Maintain a stress-free send-off.
After leaving your amazing wedding, the last thing you want is to be worrying about whether everything is taken care when the festivities end. This is where the groomsmen come in:
- Car, limo, or horse-drawn carriage: in whatever mode of transportation you leave your reception, the groomsmen are traditionally in charge of decorating it. Lewd paraphernalia need not apply, however.
- If you’re leaving for a honeymoon directly after the reception, designate the best man or a few groomsmen to ready the luggage so you and your new spouse can hit the road right away.
- Have groomsmen transport all the wedding gifts to an appropriate place so you don’t have to worry about leaving any precious cargo behind.