A Complete List of Groomsmen Duties and Expectations

There's more to it than showing up in a tux. Here's what's expected of the groom's inner circle.
The Knot
Updated Jul 17, 2020

The groomsmen are a special part of every wedding party, but what is a groomsman anyway? The groomsmen are the male (but can also be female!) attendants to the groom on his special day. The groom traditionally chooses his closest friends and relatives to be his groomsmen—the select few tasked with the special honor of both supporting him throughout the wedding planning process and adding positive energy to each wedding event. Yes, a lot of it is fun and games, but take your role as a groomsman seriously—you're helping one of your best friends plan and enjoy what can often be a stressful, jam-packed and nerve-racking day. Here's a full rundown of your groomsman responsibilities and expectations.

Pre-Wedding Groomsman Duties

1. Get Your Own Formalwear

You're in charge of either assembling, buying or renting your own wedding day attire. The groom will (hopefully) specify the formalwear or outfit he wants you to wear, making your task of either ordering online or heading to a particular store way easier. He might ask the best man to place one order for all of your suits and tuxes online, in which case, all you'd have to do is send over your measurements in a timely manner. Knock this task out ASAP. You don't want the best man--or worse, the groom--having to badger you to get your formalwear squared away.

2. Show Up to Prewedding Events

You're expected to attend all prewedding festivities, including the engagement party, couples shower, bachelor party and rehearsal dinner. If you're an out-of-town groomsman, don't beat yourself up if you can't swing multiple trips to get to every single celebration. But if you're in town, you should be there for the couple to raise a glass (and the roof—when appropriate). While the best man will typically give a speech at the reception, you might be asked to say a little something at the rehearsal dinner or even the reception. Just fair warning that a request for a groomsman toast could be coming down the pike.

3. Co-Plan the Bachelor Party

Speaking of prewedding bashes, you should also lend the best man a hand with bachelor party plans. The best man is often the lead organizer for this party, but give your two sense on dates, destinations, activities, restaurants and bars when asked. The worst thing you can do is go silent in the group chat when everyone's texting about potential plans. You're also responsible for paying your own bachelor party bill (or splitting it evenly with the rest of the crew afterward), and most likely paying for the groom too.

4. Give a Thoughtful Gift

Put some thought into your wedding present for the soonlyweds. Peruse the couple's registry to find something they'll love—and feel free to go in on a bigger ticket item with one or the rest of the groomsmen. You'll have more buying power, and two heads are often better than one when it comes to gift ideas.

5. Get Some Rest

You need to be on point, ready to take action on the day of the wedding, so be sure to get a good night's rest the evening before. Other than remembering to set your alarm, wake up on time and bring your tux to the venue, you should also be on call in the hours leading up to the ceremony—just in case the groom or best man needs anything (whether it's a sandwich, stain remover stick or the boutonniere he left in the hotel).

Wedding Day Groomsman Duties

6. Be on Wedding Ceremony Duty

Time for the main event, for which you should be ready to jump in and help wherever's needed. Either the night before the wedding or the day of, help the best man and the rest of the wedding party decorate the couple's honeymoon getaway car in style (if they're having one). Get to the ceremony site 30 to 45 minutes early. You might be asked to usher guests to their seats before the ceremony, so ask the couple if there are any special seating requirements. If the couple's having a traditional procession, you'll walk down the aisle with one of the bridesmaids, or maybe another female member of the family. If the couple has separate ushers, keep an eye on them and don't hesitate to jump in if they look like they need backup.

7. Be There for Support

This one may go without saying, but it's important that you're there to offer the groom your love and support. It's a big day for the groom, filled with lots of nerves and excitement. Don't hesitate to give him a hug, squeeze on the shoulder or a last-minute pep talk. Be sure to encourage him and remind him that he's marrying the love of his life.

8. Get Ready to Smile and Pose

Believe it or not, posing for photographers is a big part of your groomsman responsibilities. As a groomsman, you'll be asked to be a part of the group photos before or after the ceremony. Yes, some of the poses may be a little cheesy, but that's all part of the fun. Be a good sport and play along for the sake of the newlyweds. We promise the photos and memories will be worth it in the end.

9. Crush the Reception

First the slightly less fun stuff—in general, be prepared to serve as kind of an information center and point person for any guests with questions (think: Do you know where the restroom is? Can you help me find my way to the cocktail hour balcony?). At the reception, you'll likely be introduced together with the bridesmaid you escorted down the aisle. You may also be asked to dance with the groom's grandmother, the bridesmaids, a lonely flower girl or other single guests throughout the night. Just keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to be helpful—otherwise, the night (and the bar) is yours to enjoy.

Post-Wedding Groomsman Duties

10. Stick Around and Help

Your groomsman duties don't end when the newlyweds leave the venue. Stick around and see if you can help clean up or break down. The couple's family may need a hand taking things to their cars or packing up items to bring to the hotel. This thoughtful gesture will mean a lot.

11. Offer Transportation

Though the newlyweds may already be well on their way to their honeymoon, you can keep your groomsman duties going by offering rides to the airport for the guests visiting from out of town.

12. Return Your Formalwear

You may want to crash after the excitement of all the festivities, but don't forget to return your tux. Many suit rental companies have strict, next-day return policies. Forgetting to bring back your tux on time could result in late fees. Set a reminder for yourself in advance so that you won't have to worry about it.

13. Put Your Feet Up

You've officially completed all your groomsman duties. Now it's time to relax. Put your feet up and pat yourself on the pat for doing a job well done at your favorite couple's wedding ceremony.

Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we'll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once.

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