What Are Groomsmen and Ushers?

Groom and groomsmen laughing
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A groomsman is first someone who is important to the groom, and whom the groom wants to be a visible part of his wedding. He may be a close friend, brother, cousin or father. These days, he may even be a she; more men are asking female friends to be part of their attendants (although they are usually called honor attendants, rather than groomsmen, and can wear a dress rather than a tux).

But a groomsman does more than just stand around and look pretty.

He also serves as an advisor to the groom beforehand, helps the groom be organized, aids with any wedding planning details he can, and helps seat guests at the wedding.

While a groom will want to have his best buddies and the men in his life that mean the most to him, he should also make sure that he has a group that is responsible enough to handle their duties, or at least one person willing to pick up the slack for the others.

The Role of a Groomsman

  • Supports the groom, advises him, listens to any pre-wedding nervousness
  • Assists the groom in picking out what the groomsmen are going to wear
  • Either gets measured at the formalwear shop or promptly sends his measurements to them, and offers to pick up and return the suits.
  • Goes to all pre-wedding events, including engagement parties, any coed showers, bachelor party, and rehearsal dinner
  • Helps to plan and pay for the bachelor party
  • With the bridesmaids, helps decorate the getaway car
  • Gives a wedding present, and often an engagement present
  • Helps the groom relax and get dressed on the day of the wedding
  • Unless the groom has separate ushers and groomsmen, shows guests to their seats at the ceremony
  • Holds the ring during the ceremony
  • Dances with bridesmaids and single female guests at the wedding
  • Helps to carry away gifts and personal items after the wedding

Cost of Being a Groomsman

There is a considerable expense involved in being a groomsman, including the costs of apparel, travel and hotel room for the ceremony, hosting a bachelor party, as well as the gifts. A groomsman should have these expenses in mind when he accepts the honor and be up front with the groom about what he is and isn’t able to afford. Once he has agreed to be a groomsman, however, he shouldn’t complain about the cost. Possible ways a groomsman can save money include:

  • Asking to wear a suit he already owns
  • Renting his tux
  • Staying with friends rather than in a hotel room
  • Throwing a casual bachelor party (perhaps a barbecue at a local park?)
  • Asking other groomsmen to band together to give a joint present

In order to honor all of their close friends, a couple may decide to have separate groomsmen and ushers.