Besides being helpful to the groom in the days leading up to the wedding, groomsmen have a special duty to see that the wedding and the reception run smoothly.
They are ‘ambassadors’ for the hosts and the bride and groom who cannot be attentive to all the guests at every moment.
As a groomsman, you are expected to be gracious and mix and mingle with guests, make introductions, assist the elderly and anyone else needing help, be attentive and watchful for any young children in the wedding party, be available for picture taking, and generally help out where needed.
Whatever costume chosen by the groom, make sure that you are polished to within an inch of your life—hair perfect; suit or tux unwrinkled and lint free; tie tied and straight; socks pulled up; shoes shined.
The best fit: Coats should lie smoothly across the back but give you freedom of movement. Coat sleeves should reveal a half inch of shirt cuff when your arm is straight at your sides. Trousers are hemmed even with the top of the back of the shoes and have a slight break in front, so the hem rests on the shoes.
Good things to have in your pocket:
- Directions to the reception site
- A lighter (in case you need to light candles)
- Pocket comb (pre-picture touch-up)
- A safety pin or two
If you are wearing a boutonniere, it is pinned, with the stem end down, at the buttonhole of the left lapel.
Weddings, like military campaigns, run on precision timing. Whatever timetable you are given, show up 5-10 minutes early for the first event. This will guarantee that the rest of the timetable has a good chance of success.
Who sits where?
Familiarize yourself with the seating order, and review special seating arrangements. Ask guests you do not know whether they wish to be seated on the bride’s side (the left) or the groom’s side (the right). When guests have no preference, seat them to keep the audience evenly divided.
For special seating, pew cards will tell you in which pew to seat close family and friends. "Within the ribbon" means the guests may be seated in the pews that have been 'reserved' with a draped ribbon.
Even though you may be in a house of worship, smile warmly and converse quietly and pleasantly while ushering.
Smooth the way to the reception.
After the recessional, groomsmen return to escort family members and special guests, assist any disabled or infirm guests to exit without difficulty, provide directions to the reception site, pick up programs, check for lost belonging, make sure the waiting room is cleared, the runner re-rolled, and pew and floral decorations removed.
Be gracious and charming.
Be available and spruced up for picture taking and help this run smoothly. Stand in the receiving line (if asked). Greet and talk with guests. When there is dancing, make a concerted effort to dance. Be charming and stay sober.