When planning your wedding, one of the big questions is who you’re going to ask to be in your wedding party—and, more specifically for grooms, who you’re going to ask to be your groomsmen. But, when you ask someone, you begin to wonder, “what does a groomsman do?” Or, in other words, what are the groomsmen’s duties, etiquette, and responsibilities—before, during, and after your big day? For your need-to-knows and top priorities, read on.
Generally, when you ask someone to be a groomsman, you ask them well before your actual wedding day. And so, one of the groomsmen’s biggest responsibilities is supporting you in the months, weeks, and days leading up to your wedding.
What that support looks like will depend on you, your groomsman, and what kind of support you need. It could be something as small as hopping on the phone and listening to you vent about things when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by wedding planning—or it could be something more involved, such as helping you choose a wedding venue or finalize your wedding attire.
How your groomsmen support you as you plan your wedding is a completely personal and individual experience—but supporting you during the wedding planning process definitely falls under the “groomsmen responsibilities” umbrella.
This is often the first duty that comes to mind at the mention of groomsmen—and, many believe, the most important. One’s bachelor party is meant to celebrate, well, the bachelor and his upcoming wedding. That said, it also breaks up wedding planning, gets everyone excitement for the wedding, and can act as a great stress-reliever. Most often, the bulk of the planning will come down to the groom’s Best Man/Woman/Person. However, the smoothest way this can go over is if every member of the groom’s party helps in one way or another. If possible, assign each party member a task—or have them sign up for one each, themselves. From hotel and AirBnB research, to booking meals, to planning activities and logistics, there’s a lot to go around.
Groomsmen duties include planning to attend any and all of your pre-wedding events. This includes your engagement party, your bachelor party, and your wedding rehearsal. (Depending on the size of your wedding party, how close you and the groomsman are, and how involved they want to be in the process, your groomsmen might also help the best man plan your bachelor party.)
Now, your groomsmen should do everything they can to be at all your wedding-related events—but if there are extenuating circumstances that prevent them from being there (for example, if the date of your engagement party conflicts with a family wedding, or if your bachelor party is a five-day affair and they can’t get off of work), it’s important to be understanding.
The only exception to that rule is the rehearsal dinner. You need your entire wedding party, including your groomsmen, to be at your wedding rehearsal dinner; that way, everyone knows where they’re supposed to be, when they’re supposed to be there, and what they’re supposed to be doing, which will ensure that your wedding ceremony goes smoothly.
On your actual wedding day, it’s customary to get ready with your groomsmen, whether you’re all going full-blown tux or a bit more casual.
“Getting ready” can mean a lot of different things. If you’re having an afternoon wedding, you might get together with your groomsmen in the morning for breakfast, then spend the rest of the day hanging out before changing into your wedding attire and walking down the aisle. You might make time for groomsmen photos or have a pre-wedding toast—however you want to spend the day with your groomsmen is up to you. In any case, your groomsmen should plan to make themselves available for the entirety of your wedding day.
Your wedding day can be a stressful time. Between nerves, last minute logistics, and demands from family and guests, it can be overwhelming, which is why one of your groomsmen’s most important day-of wedding responsibilities is to make sure that your wedding day is as stress free as possible.
For example, if your groomsmen notices that you’re nervous, they might ask you to go for a walk or to play a quick video game to get your mind off your nerves. If there’s a logistical issue (for example, if the bartender is missing an ingredient for your signature wedding cocktail), your groomsmen can step in and take care of it so that you don’t have to.
The point is, your groomsmen are there to support you on your wedding day—and a big part of that is making sure that you’re as stress free as possible in the hours leading up to your “I do’s.”
You asked your groomsmen to be in your wedding party because you wanted them to be a part of your big day—so it goes without saying that your groomsmen need to participate in all parts of your wedding, including your wedding ceremony, wedding photos, and wedding reception. More specifically, you may ask them to stand at the alter, hold your wedding rings throughout the ceremony, help rally everyone (the wedding party, bridesmaids, family) for photos, or get people out on the dance floor.
If specifically asked, a groomsmen should prepare and be ready to deliver a speech at the wedding ceremony. Typically, this task is given to the best man and, thus, requires a best man speech, but can really be asked of anyone in the wedding party. In the case that you request a speech from a groomsmen, they should put the time and effort into writing in well before the day of the wedding. You might even consider asking them to time it (or give them a time limit), so that you and/or your planner can incorporate it into the reception’s events smoothly.
Not every wedding takes place at a professional venue. Whether yours is in an AirBnB rental, your own backyard, or similar, your groomsmen should offer to stick around after the celebrating is done to help clean up. This is typically a large task best handled when specific to-dos are delegated. Ask that different wedding party members pick up cups and drinks, take down decorations, put aside wedding gifts, and anything else that tidies up the space.
Whether you, the newlyweds, are staying in a hotel or driving home, you’re going to need a hand (or several) getting your gifts out of your wedding venue. Request that your groomsmen aid in collecting, transporting, and storing said gifts either in your room or car. If your car isn’t big enough, don’t hesitate to ask if anyone else can lend their car and time helping transport things (of course, only ask those who are safe to drive at the time).
As a member of the wedding party, it’s a groomsman’s duty to make an appearance at the post-wedding brunch—typically, the following morning. If the majority of the wedding party or guests are staying in the same hotel, AirBnB, or similar accommodations, it may also be up to the groomsmen to seek out attendees, knock on their doors, and remind them of the celebratory event. This morning can be rough, after all, and some people might really appreciate the literal wakeup call.
When you ask someone to be a groomsman, what you’re really saying is that they’re an important part of your life—and you want them by your side for one of the most important days of your life. It’s a big deal and they’ll want to show up for you in every way that you want and need them to (and then some). So, before your wedding, make your groomsmen aware of what they’re expected to do leading up to, throughout, and after the wedding takes place. And, of course, that you’d love to enjoy and celebrate your big day with them by your side.