How to be a Good Groomsman

How to Be Groomsman in Rochester NY

Congratulations, you’ve been picked to be a groomsman.  Maybe you’re a family member, friend or fraternity brother with the groom.  However you got on the list, make sure that you understand how to be a good groomsman.  It’s not like being an ordinary guest at a wedding where you check the box for your entrée and keep the bartender in business the whole night.

Because you’re part of the wedding, there are a whole lot of additional tasks and duties you’ll be expected to perform.

If you don’t think you are up for the challenge of being a groomsman or if you don’t think you can afford it, then do the groom a favor and graciously decline his offer to have you in his wedding party. He’ll appreciate your honesty and it’s way better than bailing out at the last minute when it’s difficult to find a substitute.

You’ll still have fun, but start with the mindset that you’re there to work, not to play. In the weeks leading up to the wedding, all the planning details start to come together. Whether it’s picking up guest favors, moving flower arrangements around, playing taxi driver for out of town guests, or simply holding an umbrella, now is your time to shine.

The Cost of Being a Groomsman

  • Gift for the Wedding: $50 – $100
  • Tuxedo Rental: $150-$250
  • Suit Purchase Instead of Tux: $300 – $400 plus alterations
  • Haircut: $20 – $30
  • Bachelor Party: At least $50/person for a small scale night, a lot more if you’re doing an epic Las Vegas extravaganza.
  • Travel Expenses if the wedding is out of town – $200 – $800 (double that if you’re going anywhere near New York City).

Timeline

Months before the wedding

  • Get fitted for your tuxedo (trust us, don’t wait until the last minute on this)
  • Help the groom and best man with their tasks
  • Attend early pre-wedding events like the engagement party, couples shower, etc.
  • Help the best man organize the bachelor party

Days before the wedding

  • Help set up and clean up after the bachelor party, rehearsal dinner and, of course, the wedding
  • Pick up your tuxedo on time and take care of any issues yourself
  • Work with (maybe conspire is a better term) the bridesmaids to plan to decorate the wedding car
  • Help decorate the ceremony venue (church, synagogue or hall where the wedding will take place)
  • Attend the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner

Wedding Day – Ceremony

  • Get ready and follow the itinerary that the groom has given you – be on time for everything!
  • Be supportive – the groom needs you!
  • Greet and seat guests at the ceremony – see notes below
  • Escort the mother of the groom to her seat
  • Escort the mother of the bride to her seat
  • Escort a bridesmaid down the aisle
  • Attend the photography sessions before, during and after the wedding ceremony

Seating/Usher duties

In traditional Christian ceremonies, the bride’s family and their guests are seated on left, the groom’s on right. Jewish ceremonies are opposite. That said, we’ve seen plenty of situations where this convention is discarded in favor of mixed seating – especially if there’s not a roughly equal number of guests from each side.  When a couple arrives, take the woman’s arm and escort her to her seat; her escort will follow you. Always seat the oldest woman first if several guests arrive together.

Even if you were just at the rehearsal the night before, you should arrive at least 45 minutes early to review seating requirements and familiarize yourself about where the restrooms are, parking layout and directions to the reception site because guests arriving there for the first time will probably look to you for answers to those types of questions.

Reception and Beyond

  • Sit at the head table during the reception
  • Be introduced by the DJ and dance with a bridesmaid at the reception
  • Dance with guests who didn’t come with a date
  • At the end of the reception, help clean up and possibly attend to the gifts
  • Return your tuxedo
  • If there are out of town guests, you might help get them to the airport

A note about dancing – it can be hard to get regular guests out on the dance floor if it’s empty.  Being in the wedding party means it is part of your job to get the party started.  Even if you’re not a big fan of dancing in other situations, head out there and you’ll find that other people will begin to come out to the dance floor too.

All in all, it can be a great honor to be selected as a groomsman.  Have fun, but take your job seriously – if you do, it can take a lot of stress away from the couple getting married.   And who knows, you might even be next.

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