A Complete List of Groomsmen Duties and Expectations

Do you have what it takes to be in the groom's inner circle?
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
kim forrest the knot
Kim Forrest
Senior Editor
  • Kim writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, specializing in etiquette and planning advice
  • Kim manages freelance writers for The Knot Worldwide
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Kim was Associate Bridal Editor at Washingtonian magazine and Associate Fashion Editor at Conde Nast’s Brides Local magazines
Updated Oct 12, 2023

The groomsmen are a significant part of the wedding party, but what is a groomsman anyway? The groomsmen (or groomswomen, or groom's people) are the attendants to the groom on his special day. The groom traditionally chooses his closest friends and relatives (regardless of gender) to be his groomsmen or groom's people—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. We talked to Lola Akingbade of MasterPlan Events in Washington, DC who has over a decade of experience in the wedding industry, to give us a full rundown of your groomsmen responsibilities and expectations.

Groomsmen Duties You Need to Know:

What Is a Groomsman?

The definition and role of a groomsman, groomswoman or groom's person, is pretty simple—it's someone who assists the groom before, during and after the wedding. There are a wide variety of tasks a groomsman may be asked to handle (most notably, planning the bachelor party), but it really depends on the groom's needs. The best man (or best woman or best person) is the leader of the groomsmen, and he will organize and delegate responsibilities.

According to Akingbade, "a groomsman is typically the groom's close friend and/or relative. I like to think of a groomsman as a member of 'the groom's squad' or 'strong support system'. Their role mainly involves supporting the groom during the wedding planning as well as on the wedding day. They stand beside the groom and cheer him on on one of the biggest days of his life."

Prewedding Groomsmen Duties

What do groomsmen do before the wedding? A lot, it turns out—from attending events to buying or renting attire. We're here to break down everything you'll need to do (and pay for!) in the months leading up to the wedding day.

Get Your Own Formalwear

You're in charge of either assembling, buying or renting your own wedding day attire. "A groomsman would participate in conversations related to the attire the groomsmen would wear for the wedding, helping to choose the color, style, fit and whether to rent or buy," Akingbade says. "They would also rent or purchase their wedding attire (the groomsmen usually cover the cost) and attend fittings."

The groom 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.

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.

Book Travel

Depending on where the wedding takes place, groomsmen are responsible for organizing and booking their own travel. "A groomsman may need to book their flight and reserve their hotel rooms for weddings that take place out of town," Akingbade says. "Most couples would have room blocks with discounted rates for rooms; a groomsman would be responsible for booking their own. If the wedding is local but the groom requests all groomsmen to stay over in the same hotel as the groom, then the groomsmen are responsible for booking their own rooms."

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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.

Co-Plan the Bachelor Party

Perhaps the groomsmen's most important responsibility is planning the bachelor party, which typically takes place between one and three months before the wedding. The best man is often the lead organizer for this party, but the groomsmen play an essential role in its planning (more on the specific bachelor party-related duties next!).

Groomsmen Bachelor Party Duties

When it comes to planning a bachelor party, teamwork makes the dream work. While the best man typically takes the lead, here's everything the groomsmen need to do to put together a lit bach celebration.

Coordinate With the Groom

While a surprise bachelor party may sound like fun, the groom should have a say in the timing, location, guest list and activities. Having some direction will make the party easier to plan, and you know the guest of honor will be happy.

Plan the Basics

Once you've talked to the groom, you'll want to start putting the basics in place—setting a budget, choosing a location, picking a theme and creating a guest list. The best man and groomsmen are also responsible for communicating with the rest of the guests (hello, group chat!).

Book Travel

If you're leaving town, you'll need to arrange travel and accommodations, whether it's a hotel or Airbnb. The groomsmen are responsible for paying their own way, as well as making sure that everyone books on time.

Create and Share an Itinerary

From restaurant reservations to tee times, a few carefully-planned activities can turn a solid bachelor party into a memorable one—and it's the groomsmen's responsibility to make any advance bookings.

Split Up Expenses

There are a lot of ways to divide up bachelor party expenses, but typically, each groomsman pays for himself—travel, accommodations, food, activities, swag and more. You may also pay for part or all of the groom's expenses, or at least chip in for meals and activities. According to Akingbade, the groomsmen may also pitch in on a bachelor party gift for the groom.

Wedding Day Groomsmen Duties

Now that the bachelor party is done, it's time for the main event. Our biggest piece of advice? Don't stay out too late partying at the rehearsal dinner—you'll need to be at peak performance on the wedding day.

Help the Groom Get Ready

What does a groomsman do the morning of the wedding? Well, one of the most crucial groomsmen responsibilities is simply showing up on time. Arrive to the getting-ready location at the requested time (potentially with everyone's coffee orders, breakfast and/or snacks in hand!), and make sure you have your complete attire clean, fitted and ready to go. You may also be asked to hold items that the groom needs for the ceremony, such as vows, or help with other pre-wedding tasks, like picking up Uncle Al at the airport or decorating the getaway car.

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. Says Akingbade: "Groomsmen are responsible for keeping the energy level up in the groom's suite and having an overall positive attitude so that the groom is calm and at ease."

Be on Wedding Ceremony Duty

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.

Get Ready to Smile and Pose

Believe it or not, posing for photographers is a big part of your groomsmen 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.

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?). You may also be tasked with carrying stuff (sounds silly, but it's true)—taking gifts to a holding area, hanging on to the groom's phone, bringing favors to the reception, etc.

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 Groomsmen Duties

According to Akingbade, "a groomsman does not have a lot of responsibilities after the wedding." But there are a few groomsmen duties you'll need to handle after it's all said and done.

Stick Around and Help

Your groomsmen 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.

Offer Transportation

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

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.

Put Your Feet Up

You've officially completed all your groomsmen 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.

Groomsmen Frequently Asked Questions

Aside from all of the duties listed above, there's a lot of etiquette that goes into being a groomsman. Where do you stand? Do you have to give a speech? We asked our experts to answer all of your burning questions.

Do Groomsmen Walk Down the Aisle?

"It varies from wedding to wedding as to whether groomsmen walk down the aisle," Akingbade says. "Some groomsmen walk from the side door with the officiant and the groom. For some weddings, the groomsmen would walk down the aisle paired with a bridesmaid or they could also walk alone. They usually stand at the altar alongside the groom—the best man will stand next to the groom, with the groomsmen lined up next to him. If they sit, they would sit on the first or second row on the side the groom is standing, which is typically on the right side if you are facing the altar area."

Do Groomsmen Give Speeches?

"The best man traditionally gives a speech at the wedding reception, and most often, the groomsmen do not (though that's not a hard-and-fast rule)," Akingbade says. "An example of when this could take place is if the groom selected their brother as the best man, he might still want his closest friend (who is not a sibling) to speak. Groomsmen may also be asked to give speeches at the rehearsal dinner."

Can Groomsmen Be Married?

Absolutely! Groomsmen may be single, dating, in a relationship or married—relationship status has no bearing on whether or not a person should be in the wedding party. The groom should focus on choosing his closest people (regardless of gender) to stand beside him on the wedding day, and as long as said people can handle the responsibilities of being a groomsmen, it's all good.

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