Men get off so easy

Male and confused? Here’s a question that touches on the manly side of nuptial duties:

Dear Never teh Bride,

My dear boyfriend is going to be a groomsman at his friend’s wedding this summer. This is the first of his good friends to get married and the first wedding he’s been to since he was a kid, so he really has no idea what to expect at a wedding in general and what exactly his role is as a groomsman. There’s tons of stuff out there for proper etiquette for bridesmaids and maids of honour, but not so much for the groomsmen and best men. So what should he be doing to be a good groomsman? Oh, he’s also across the country right now (he’ll be in town about a week before the wedding), so there’s not much that he can do on a day-to-day basis.

All best,

Well, Sarah, your boyfriend is in luck, since so much of what groomsmen are traditionally responsible for takes place just before and on the day of the wedding. But your guy shouldn’t worry too much if geography prevents him from taking on as much responsibility as he’d like to. His friend chose him to be in the wedding party knowing that he was across the country, so it won’t come as too much of a surprise when he can’t make the big male-bonding trip to the tux shop.


If your boyfriend is at all worried about being unable to attend certain pre-wedding festivities (such as engagement parties, co-ed showers, bachelor/stag parties, and the like), he should address these concerns to the groom-to-be directly. That said, let’s have a gander at what he can (and should) do.

Prenuptial duties:

  • First and foremost, he can support the groom! Your guy’s friend may need a listening ear between now and the wedding, and long distance is cheap.
  • Plenty of tux and suit makers have web sites…so if menswear hasn’t been chosen yet, your guy can offer up suggestions in the form of urls.
  • He can also get his measurements (and rental fees, if applicable) to the groom or the other groomsmen in a timely fashion. Doing things on time is one of the best gifts you can give a harried bride- and groom-to-be!
  • Before the wedding, he can earn major points by helping the bride’s family and the groom’s family however possible. This may mean picking things up, hanging things up, or putting stuff on tables.
  • Along with his fellow attendants, your guy can concoct devious post-wedding car decoration plans…this is recommended only if the bride and groom have a sense of humor, of course.
  • And speaking of plans, he can help plan any pre-wedding festivities that will take place during the week before.

Day-of duties:

  • When the big day rolls around, your boyfriend should help with the set-up and clean-up if there aren’t on-site employees handling these tasks.
  • If he is an “usher” he may be charged with the task of helping people to their seats. Sometimes this means choosing their seats for them.
  • He will likely then be seen as a font of information by those with questions — he can prepare himself for this by familiarizing himself with the ceremony and reception details, learning the order of reception events, and knowing where the bathrooms are.
  • Your guy may also be tasked with helping the groom dress and relaxing him before the main event. He should remember this mantra: Funny anecdotes from childhood, good. Nips of whiskey, bad.
  • During the reception, there may be an attendants dance, during which he should dance with the bridesmaid he escorted into the ceremony.
  • And, finally, if his tux was a rental, he should return it on time.

I know what you’re thinking — men get off so dang easy when it comes to weddings. And yet there are still entire books written for groomsmen. I can’t imagine what they say, though I envision them as being filled with pictures of boobies and recipes for signature drinks containing Jaeger. If you’re as curious as I am, you could buy your man a copy of I Need To Do What?! A Wedding Guide for the Groom, Best Man, & Ushers.

7 Responses to “Men get off so easy”

  1. Twistie says:

    I remember well that one of the duties that devolved to groomsmen in my wedding was hounding the groom to make a decision about what they should wear. Somehow it never occured to my beloved that he needed to tell them anything about that.

    At last one of my brothers called and announced that unless he heard otherwise within the week, he was going to show up in a kimono and top hat. I told him that was fine with me, but I would see what my beloved had to say on the subject.

    Turns out he assumed everyone knew that since they all owned some form of formalwear of their own, they should just wear that. Communication was a tidge lacking in that regard.

    In the end, my brother wore his wedding suit which had been custom made for him and was quite lovely. Still, a little piece of me has always regretted not seeing him in the top hat and kimono ensemble. I think it would have been quite colorful.

  2. Vis Major says:

    “I envision them as being filled with pictures of boobies and recipes for signature drinks containing Jaeger.”

    Totally cracked me up. 🙂

  3. JaneC says:

    Twistie, I sincerely hope that my groom-to-be never sees that comment. He is the sort who would probably beg and bribe his best man to show up in a kimono and top hat. He already tried to get the best man to wear traditional Slavic costume–my GtB will be wearing a kilt as he is of Scottish descent, and the best man is Slavic-American, so I sort of see the logic…but no.

  4. Twistie says:

    The funny thing, Jane, is I really would have been completely cool with the kimono and top hat idea, even if my beloved had wanted all the groomsmen to wear them. I thought it would have been nice to have a slight nod of the head to my beloved’s Japanese heritage beyond the wonderful sushi his mother provided for the reception.

    But to each their own.

    Oh, and my other brother said as soon as he was asked to be in the wedding party that he was wearing his kilt and that was that. My beloved knew better than to say anything after that. My family is noted for being determined to display our Scottishness.

    I do love a man in a kilt.

  5. Rhonda says:

    Never teh Bride,

    Great topic! Getting the guys to be involved or at least interested seems to be one of the most common wedding problems out there. I’m actually dedicating my whole week of blogging next week to this issue. I’ll email you with the details.


  6. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for answering our question, NtB — my boy and I appreciate it!

  7. La BellaDonna says:

    One good thing the groom can do? ASK the men he wants to participate to participate! My dear sweet brother assumed that of course his brothers were going to be his groomsmen and ushers – but he didn’t think to mention it until, I think, about two weeks or less before the wedding!! Unnecessary chaos and unpleasantness ensued; one brother agreed, no problem; the other (who is admittedly quirky; I love him, but it is a True Thing) declined. He loved his brother, he was going to be there at the wedding, but for whatever his reasons (to which he was certainly entitled), he wasn’t comfortable with the short notice, or the cost of the tux – whatever. He wouldn’t do it. Eeesh. So, gentlemen, do remember to actually ask – preferably with a few months’ notice.