The Complete Guide to Groomsmen Duties

  • Publication date: 02/06/2024
  • Updated: 02/06/2024

Being chosen as a groomsman is a time-honored tradition and an immense honor. They play an integral role in supporting the groom leading up to and on his wedding day. Groomsmen's duties are wide-ranging, but they all point back to a singular purpose - being a steadfast source of support and camaraderie for the groom during one of the most meaningful days of his life.

When the groom asks "Will you be one of my groomsmen?", he is asking someone to stand by his side during the entire wedding journey. From suit fittings to the bachelor party, and ultimately watching the groom exchange vows at the altar, groomsmen are the groom's trusted inner circle at each step. Accepting this request means committing time and energy towards guaranteeing the groom has an epic and flawless wedding experience.

What is a Groomsman

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The term "groomsman" dates back to medieval Europe, when weddings were far less joyous affairs. During that era, the groom required a band of trustworthy men by his side in case any disgruntled suitors or family members tried to intervene and stop the ceremony by force. The groomsmen would fend off this danger and ensure the wedding went smoothly. Of course, this role is now merely a symbolic tradition, as 21st-century groomsmen no longer need to wield weapons and provide literal protection. However, groomsmen are still chosen from among the groom's closest and most trusted male friends and family members.

In the modern sense, groomsmen could be defined as the team supporting the groom leading up to and during the wedding celebration. Groomsmen are typically relatives or friends the groom feels closest to and can rely on unconditionally. Being selected as a groomsman is an enormous honor and a sign of true friendship. Beyond standing up front in the ceremony, groomsmen have a slew of responsibilities before, during, and after the big day. Let’s explore them!

Pre-Wedding Responsibilities of a Groomsman

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The months and weeks leading up to the big day are an incredibly hectic time for any groom. There are countless wedding-related tasks, appointments, and planning needs that pop-up, which can quickly become overwhelming. This is why one of the most crucial roles of groomsmen is providing support and assistance during the pre-wedding crunch time.

There are lots of groomsmen's responsibilities in the months prior to the wedding. Their help across these various duties is invaluable in reducing the groom's stress, making sure pre-wedding logistics run smoothly, and generally keeping the groom sane until showtime. 

Help Choose Wedding Attire

When it comes to selecting wedding-day apparel, the groom can really use the groomsmen’s input. They offer suggestions when the groom is choosing his tuxedo or suit, and provide feedback to ensure he picks an outfit that properly fits his style and personality. Groomsmen also coordinate with the groom to select complementary suits or tuxedos for themselves. This ensures the entire wedding party looks cohesive, balanced, and sharp together.

Attend Various Appointments

In the hectic pre-wedding months, groomsmen accompany the groom to various wedding-related appointments, including suit fittings, tuxedo rentals, haircuts, etc. More than anything, groomsmen provide moral support during this stressful time. Just having your closest friends physically present during tedious wedding tasks makes the entire process much more bearable for the groom.

Assist with Wedding Planning

Groomsmen can be invaluable assistants when it comes to DIY wedding projects or tasks. If the groom needs help constructing wedding decor, compiling playlists, taste-testing cakes, assembling invitations, or anything else related to planning, groomsmen should offer their time and skills. Even if the groom doesn’t take them up on it, just offering helps reduce the groom's stress levels.

Be Available for Odd Jobs

In the final weeks before the wedding, unpredictable needs and tasks always pop up. As a groomsman, being generally available for odd jobs, last-minute errands, and any other wedge issues is crucial. The groom should feel comfortable texting you any time an urgent wedding-related issue comes up that he needs help handling.

Bachelor Party Duties of a Groomsman

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For most groomsmen, planning and executing the bachelor party is the most exciting duty. The groom's bachelor party is his last night of freedom before marriage, so the groomsmen have a big responsibility to send him off to wedded life in style. So what do groomsmen do exactly?

Well, groomsmen should handle every detail of the bachelor party, from start to finish. Their careful planning and execution can elevate the bachelor party from average to epic. This is the groomsmen's chance to throw the groom a night he'll brag about forever.

Choose a Venue That Aligns with the Groom's Interests

Selecting a venue is the first key decision, as it sets the tone and backdrop for the entire night's events. Groomsmen should choose a location that fits within the groom's budget but also reflects his interests, personality, and friend group. Popular options include bars, nightclubs, casinos, sports stadiums, concert venues, or simply a friend's apartment.

Curate the Guest List

Once a venue is secured, the groomsmen's duty is to compile the bachelor party guest list. This should include the groom's closest friends, relatives like brothers or cousins, and anyone else the groom would want by his side. Groomsmen may need to play bouncer to keep the headcount reasonable.

Plan Engaging Group Activities

Groomsmen should work with the groom to choose activities that will excite and engage the whole guest list. Ideas run the gamut from poker to paintball, concert-going to costume contests, club-hopping to karaoke. Just mix in options for different interests.

Handle Logistics like Transportation

Groomsmen need to handle logistical details, like coordinating rideshares or party bus transportation to get guests to and from the bachelor party safely. This shows proper care for everyone's wellbeing.

Manage Any Costs

There are always costs associated with throwing a stellar bachelor party. Groomsmen traditionally cover these expenses, rather than the groom. They should split costs evenly amongst themselves and collect cash upfront to avoid any headaches.

Curate Individualized Gifts

Groomsmen can add personal touches by giving gifts like engraved flasks, personalized steins, or funny t-shirts. These individualized gifts commemorate the groom's last days as a single man.

Document the Night

Groomsmen should photograph and video the bachelor party craziness to share with the groom later. He'll appreciate having mementos to reminisce over for years to come.

What Does a Groomsman Do at a Wedding?

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A groomsman's duties kick into high gear on the wedding day itself. During the ceremony and reception, groomsmen help ensure everything runs smoothly so the groom can fully enjoy his big day. Key responsibilities include:

  1. Get Dressed with the Wedding Party: Groomsmen arrive early to don their coordinated suits or tuxedos with the rest of the wedding party. They assist the groom in getting ready.
  2. Attend the Ceremony: Groomsmen walk down the aisle paired with bridesmaids, then stand up front witnessing the vows. This provides symbolic support.
  3. Sign as an Official Witness: When the groom and bride sign the marriage license, groomsmen sign too as official witnesses of the union.
  4. Provide Emergency Assistance: Groomsmen tend to any wardrobe malfunctions, forgotten vows, or other urgent issues discreetly behind the scenes.
  5. Organize Guest Book Signing: During cocktail hour, groomsmen encourage guests to sign the guestbook and capture photos or videos with the newlyweds.
  6. Give a Speech: The best man's speech is standard, but groomsmen can also toast the newlyweds sharing funny stories or heartfelt well wishes.

Role of Groomsmen After the Wedding

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The duties of a groomsman don't end when the wedding is over and the decorations come down. Groomsmen continue playing an important support role for the newly married couple during the weeks, months, and years after the wedding festivities conclude.

Help Preserve Wedding Memories

In the afterglow of the wedding, groomsmen should collect photos, videos, or other mementos from the bachelor party and wedding day itself. They should ensure digital files, prints, or wedding albums get passed along to the newlyweds. This allows the couple to reminisce over memories from their monumental day for decades to come.

Check-In Post-Wedding

Groomsmen should continue checking in on the groom periodically after the wedding. Transitioning into married life can be challenging, so groomsmen should see how their buddy is adjusting. Is married life going smoothly? Does he need advice or just someone to vent to over beers? Groomsmen provide that sounding board.

Attend Couples Functions

To remain close to the couple, groomsmen make efforts to attend other milestones like housewarmings, baby showers, kids' birthday parties, and so on. Integrating into the couple's new life together strengthens the lifelong bond.

Groomsmen Party FAQs

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Even seasoned groomsmen may still have lingering questions when it comes to important details. That's why we've compiled this handy FAQ guide covering some of the most common groomsmen quandaries. Peruse these answers to gain insider tips and tricks for being the best groomsman possible.

How many groomsmen are typically needed?

This varies by wedding size and preferences, but the typical range is 3-6 groomsmen. Aim to match the number of bridesmaids so the wedding party appears balanced. Too many attendants can make the altar feel crowded. When in doubt, keep your groomsmen's party intimate.

What are groomsmen responsible for financially?

At a minimum, groomsmen should expect to pay for their own wedding attire, whether renting a tux or purchasing a suit. Groomsmen also traditionally split the cost of the bachelor party between themselves, rather than the groom covering it. Any other financial responsibilities are optional, but groomsmen should come prepared with a proper wedding gift for the couple.

What's the difference between a best man and a groomsman?

The best man serves as the right-hand man to the groom - he leads the other groomsmen in any shared duties and makes the main wedding speech. Groomsmen play a supporting role in assisting the best man. There is usually only one designated best man.

Should groomsmen give a wedding gift?

Yes, groomsmen are still expected to provide a thoughtful wedding gift for the couple, although etiquette dictates it need not be as extravagant or pricey as gifts from immediate family. Aim to spend $100-200 on your groomsman gift as a gesture of love.

How early should groomsmen arrive the day of?

Groomsmen should plan to arrive at the ceremony venue at least 1 hour prior to the start time. This cushions any traffic delays and allows plenty of time for putting on attire, taking pre-ceremony photos, dealing with emergencies, and getting into position. Arriving any later risks missing your moment.

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Natali Grace Levine Editor-in-Chief

Manages The Wezoree's content strategy
Writes and edits articles for the Inspiration Blog