Wedding Roles of the Groomsmen and Ushers

Groom and groomsmen laughing
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Whether your wedding is large or small, all the players have roles to play. The bride and groom have the easiest roles of all: They just show up, look great, say their vows, and have a smile on their faces through the entire event. But what about the groomsmen and ushers?

Choosing a Groomsman

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

At small weddings, there is often just one groomsman, and he takes on all the responsibilities. He is ​also the best man, and that's what he is most often called if he is the only groomsman. If the wedding is larger, there are often several groomsmen, with one being chosen as the best man. The best man is most often the groom's brother or closest friend.

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 guys that are responsible enough to handle their duties or at least one person who is willing to pick up the slack for the others.

To honor all of their close friends, a couple might decide to have separate groomsmen and ushers. If that's the case, the job of the ushers is simply to escort guests to their seats during the ceremony.

Role of a Groomsman

A groomsman does more than just stand around and look handsome. He also serves as an adviser to the groom beforehand, helps the groom be organized, and helps with any wedding planning details he can. The best man or another 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
  • 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 if he is the best man or the only groomsman
  • Dances with bridesmaids and single female guests at the wedding
  • Helps to carry away gifts and personal items after the wedding
Man adjusting groom's bow tie
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Costs of Being a Groomsman

There is considerable expense involved in being a groomsman. Expenses include the cost of wedding clothing and any necessary travel and hotel room for the ceremony and hosting a bachelor party, as well as gifts. A groomsman should have these expenses in mind when he accepts the honor and be upfront with the groom about what he is and isn’t able to afford. Once he has agreed to be a groomsman, 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