You’ve popped the question and the date’s been set. Next up, it’s time to pick your trusty band of groomsmen. The guys who’ll have your back and will be ready to smuggle you to the pub at a second’s notice when the pre-nuptial madness gets too much. Let’s be honest here, the chances are your bride-to-be has had her group of gal pals picked out, ready and waiting to carry out their bridesmaid duties since primary school. You? Hmmmm… not so much. No sir. Not when there was mischief and mayhem to be had. But no two ways about it, choosing your best man and groomsmen – more specifically, choosing the right best man and groomsman – early on in the day is going to make for a much smoother journey all round. So chaps, time to get cracking.
Choosing a best man
Batman and Robin, Armstrong and Miller, Bert and Ernie, Ant and Dec…. side-kicks, double-acts, right-hand men – call them what you will, since time began every superhero/funny man/stuffed puppet and Geordie tv presenter worth his salt has won the day with the help of a trusty (funny, slightly dim but better looking, if the interweb knows its stuff) wingman by his side. And when it comes to your own marital mission, no two ways about it, you want a clued-up safe-hands best man leading the way. Someone to take on a chunk of the pre-nuptial pressure and make sure everything from the kickass stag do to the big day itself runs as smoothly as possible (or at least to make sure the bride doesn’t get to hear about it if it doesn’t).
So, choosing a best man… where to begin?
How do you choose your best man?
‘…think carefully..’ say etiquette experts Debrett’s.
Solid advice, chaps. In amongst the chaos those four little words have created it pays to know you’ve got a calm reliable guy ready to step up, take the strain and help get you through the whole process in one piece. Organising a wedding is odds on one of the most stressful tasks in the history of groom-kind, so you need to be sure you choose the absolute best man for the job. And you need to knightly dub him man with the plan as early on in proceedings as possible.
If there’s only ever been one man for the job, you’re golden. Give him the heads-up on his best man duties and you’re more or less home and dry. If you’re still looking at your bunch of mates and scratching your head on how to find the best of a motley crew, fear not, we’ve put together a few key pointers to set you on your way.
The usual suspects
So what’s the etiquette on this one?
Well…… actually, there’s no strict ruling when it comes to picking your trusty marital sidekick. In fact, throw away the rule book. Puff out your chest. Take the stand in true manly fashion (just don’t make any sudden movements…. or, you know, eye contact… or tell her we said so) because this one’s firmly up to you.
Ok, we jest a little. Truth be told your lovely lady needs to have as much faith in your right-hand man as you do – she’s trusting him to deliver you to the altar in one piece (important bit) with those rings safely in hand (more important bit) afterall. But ultimately, this is the guy who’s going to be with you throughout the entire mind-boggling process, so best pal, brother, cousin, workmate, guy behind the cheese counter, if you’re confident he fits the bill and can be relied upon to step up to the mark when the occasion calls, its mission superbly accomplished.
Before you go popping another question (we’d forget the ring on this one, maybe go for a beer or one of these instead?) bear in mind the size of the job you’re asking your pal to take on. For the next six months he’ll be responsible for everything from lining up top dollar stag weekend action to safeguarding the rings, sorting dapper threads, delivering a blinding speech and heading out on an Aunty Ethel hunt for the all-important family mug-shot. Not to mention providing much-needed moral support and essential Team Groom meetings (beer or three when talk of purple, mauve and lilac gets too much) along the way.
So…. is he made of the right stuff?
No two ways about it, you need a dependable guy by your side. Up for a laugh? Absolutely – he’s the one sorting your pre-nuptial bash afterall. But he’ll also be playing head honcho to your rag tag band of groomsmen, taking centre stage with undoubtedly the biggest speech of the day and has to get you safely to the gig in the first place. So you’re going to want a reliable, calm and affable old chap to boot.
And don’t forget gents, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ so once you’ve chosen your best man you need to make sure he knows exactly what you need him to do. Forewarned is forearmed afterall. And to be frank, the sooner he’s in on the act the sooner he can get cracking on planning your lads’ weekend away before marital bliss brings with it a whole new set of rules for you to play by.
Check out GoGroom’s comprehensive list of best man duties and get your main man involved in proceedings as early as possible.
With your top bloke firmly in place, it’s time to pick your groomsmen.
Choosing your ushers
As a general rule you’re usually on for an easier time when it comes to picking the rest of Team Groom. Although family dynamics could well play a deciding hand in this one, relatives typically head the line-up of usual suspects (brothers, cousins, nephews..), swiftly followed by your close pals. If you’ve agreed on a smaller man of the hour to take on the role of page boy or ring bearer then it’s customary to opt for a younger brother, cousin or nephew. Or maybe a really short-arse mate. But be aware that the younger the lad in question, the less likely he’ll be to stick to the schedule. Which could make for some ruddy hilarious moments, but it’s worth seriously considering whether you (or the poor bugger tasked with keeping an eye on the youngster) want the added stress.
With recent surveys suggesting the cost of being a wedding guest are rising pretty steeply, it’s also worth factoring in the financial implications for your nearest and dearest. The stag do, gifts and suit hire can all tally up to a mightily impressive figure, so a little sensitivity goes a long way to keeping the crowds happy.
Choosing ushers – how many?
There’s no hard and fast rule on the number of usher shaped bods you need in attendance, so as a guide it’s worth keeping in mind two key issues:
- Number of guests – Without doubt the main bulk of an usher’s duties concerns crowd control, from seating guests at the ceremony to organising the rabble for the post-nuptial photo ops. It’s widely recommended you assign at least one usher for every 50 guests on the list, so party size can play its part here.
- Bridal party – The number of bridesmaids also needs to be considered. Sit down with your bride-to-be and agree on exactly how many girls she’ll have on the day. Your main men will be required to escort the bridal party down the aisle and onto the dance floor later in the evening, so it’s a solid idea to have roughly the same number on both teams.
With your entire Team Groom firmly in place, it’s time to give them the heads-up on the task at hand…
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