Let’s be honest. Outlining the “Duties of the Groomsmen” is about as necessary as spelling out the “Duties of Mowing the Lawn.” That said, read on.
Let’s be honest. Outlining the “Duties of the Groomsmen” is about as necessary as spelling out the “Duties of Mowing the Lawn.” You’re not dumb. You know what a groomsman does. For every obvious responsibility, however, there are a few subtler touches that often get overlooked.
Quick reality check: you, the groomsman, have the easiest job in the wedding. Think of yourself as the emergency quarterback in the NFL, the cushiest position in football. He never plays. He never gets hurt. After the game he doesn’t need a shower. Yet he hauls in the NFL minimum salary (at least $295,000), shares in the team’s glory, and has the social cache to bed the lingerie model of his choice.
So lap it up. It’s a good gig. It comes with only these obvious and less obvious duties:
Obvious: Serve as an usher. Bride’s family on the left, groom’s on the right. (Jewish wedding? Reverse it.)
Less obvious: There’s a certain pecking order to escorting the women. If a gaggle of ladies arrive together, basically, you want to usher them in the reverse order of who you want to have sex with. Old ladies first, young women last—hags before beauty.
Obvious: Walk the bridesmaid down the aisle.
Less obvious : Don’t hook up with the bridesmaid before the wedding weekend. It courts controversy and tension. I’ve been there. In most modern weddings, you’ll have numerous social functions well before the big day. You’ll drink. You’ll flirt. You’ll drunkenly make out and stumble home with the girl. If this happens, then you give the bride and groom one more thing to worry about. (In my case, they literally had to reshuffle the order of who is walking whom down the aisle.) Save the sex until after (or during) the reception.
Obvious: Attend the bachelor party.
Less obvious: Traditionally, it’s the best man’s responsibility to coordinate the bachelor party. And it still is. In the old days, however, that meant just one night of booze and cigars and lap dances. Planning was simply asking, “Should we hit the Hustler Club or the Pink Pussycat?” Now? They’re often weekend getaways (for much more on that, click here) that demand considerably more legwork—hotels, rental cars, golf courses, clubs, restaurant reservations—it can be a pain the ass. So a good groomsmen should pitch in, volunteer time, tackle the logistics.
Obvious: (Maybe) give a speech at the rehearsal dinner.
Less obvious: It’s tough to know when, exactly, it’s appropriate for you to speak. Often the bride and groom don’t clarify the speeches, leading to some awkward moments of silence. Check ahead with the best man. For more on giving a speech, click here (this guide is for the Best Man, but the same rules apply).
Obvious: Attend every function.
Less obvious: Spend a butt-load of cash. More and more weddings require extensive travel. In the past year alone I flew to six weddings and six bachelor parties, spanning from Colorado to Mexico (pre-shootings) to New Mexico to Texas to Montreal to New York. It adds up. As a groomsman, you’re obligated to hit every blue-chip event (bachelor party, rehearsal dinner, engagement party), which can translate into multiple plane trips. It ain’t cheap. Just think of this as one of those beefy, unavoidable “life expenses” (like buying a car, laptop, house, or unspeakable medical operation) that comes with being a good friend.
Obvious: Square away your tux.
Less obvious: Do it early. And do it right. The key to all style and fashion—whether the outfit costs ten bucks or ten grand—is the fit. A baggy Armani suit will look cheaper than a well-tailored, $90 blazer that you snatched from the discount rack at Old Navy. (To clarify: don’t get your tux from Old Navy.) Think seriously about buying, not renting. It’ll pay for itself in three events. Click here for all the skinny on formalwear.
Obvious: Get to the wedding early.
Less obvious: Block out the entire day to be the groom’s “safety valve.” Here’s a little secret: on the day of the wedding itself, the groom doesn’t have a damn thing to do except get nervous, anxious, and restless. Distract him by shooting hoops, playing pool, or castrating pimps in Grand Theft Auto.
Obvious: Attend the reception. (We know. That’s some real inside-info shit right there.)
Less obvious: You have two dramatically different roles: the henchman and the promotional model. As a henchman, you’ll need to lug around supplies, help with 11th hour last minute decorations, transport bags and suitcases…basically anything the best man, groom, bride, mother, photographer, wedding planner, photographer’s assistant, busboy, or virtually anyone in the world tells you. You’re low-man on the totem.
Paradoxically, your second rule is as glamorous as the first is grungy—you must be a “promotional model.” Promotional models, the third easiest job on the planet after emergency quarterback and Vice President, get paid to attend velvet-rope events, look stunning, and pretend to be having fun. They’re almost always hot girls.
For this one and only day in your life, you are serving as a promotional model. The unwritten rule is that you, as a groomsman, will dance more, laugh more, and drink more than anyone else at the wedding. You will inject the party with charm and zest. Fun isn’t an option, it’s a duty. To quote Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Vacation, “I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much f**king fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your assholes!”
Next up: things the groom should think about when actually picking the groomsmen.
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