Wedding Etiquette - the Forgotten Necessity continued

What are the Groomsmen’s Responsibilities?

Wedding etiquette suggests the groom usually asks brothers, other close relatives, or close friends to be his groomsmen (also called ushers). The number of groomsmen needed depends on the number of guests that attend the ceremony. A general rule is that one groomsman is needed per 50 guests. Remember, this is only a wedding etiquette guideline. Be sure that each groomsman is aware of the expenses involved in being in the wedding party. It is not necessary to have an equal amount of groomsmen and bridesmaids, however it does balance out nicely if they can walk in pairs in the processional and recessional.

The Planning Stages:The groomsmen help the best man plan the bachelor party for the groom. They attend pre-wedding parties, including the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

At the Ceremony:

The main job of the groomsmen is to seat guests for the ceremony. They should arrive at the ceremony site at least one hour before the wedding begins. According to wedding etiquette the groomsmen should remember that in Christian ceremonies, the bride’s family sits on the left and the groom’s family sits on the right (when looking toward the altar from the back of the room).

In Jewish ceremonies, the bride’s family sits on the right and the groom’s family sits on the left.

When seating female guests, the groomsman offers her his right arm and her date or spouse walks behind. Male guests are lead to their seats. Groomsmen also hand out ceremony programs if necessary. Once all the guests are seated, the groomsmen usher the groom’s parents to the front row of the groom’s side. Finally, one groomsman ushers the bride’s mother to her seat in the front row of the bride’s side. If there is an aisle runner, they groomsmen then unroll the runner to prepare for the processional. The groomsmen may then participate in the processional by escorting the bridesmaids down the aisle, or they may take their place at the altar with the best man and groom.

The groomsmen stand at the altar near the groom (on the other side of the best man) during the ceremony and then escort the bridesmaids down aisle in the recessional. One or two of the groomsmen should make sure that the aisle runner is rolled back up and cleaned and returned. After the ceremony, the groomsmen pose for professional photographs with the rest of the wedding party.

At the Reception:

If there is a receiving line, groomsmen stand with the rest of the wedding party. Groomsmen also usually sit at the head table. They should also mingle with guests and dance with the bridesmaids during the reception. Groomsmen also help encourage single men to participate in the catching of the garter.

Expenses for the Groomsmen:

Groomsmen pay for their own formal wear and accessories and are responsible for getting measured for their attire when requested to do so by the groom or best man. Groomsmen may attend several pre-wedding parties, however only one shower gift and one wedding gift is necessary. Groomsmen may also help the best man with the cost of the bachelor party. This is more for friendship rather than wedding etiquette.

What are the Ring Bearer’s Responsibilities?

Though not required for good wedding etiquette, the ring bearer is usually a family member of the bride or groom and is responsible for walking down the aisle with two rings attached to a pillow. However, these two rings are not usually the actual wedding rings.

The Planning Stages:

The ring bearer may attend pre-wedding parties. He attends the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner with his family.

At the Ceremony:

The ring bearer carries a small pillow with two rings sewn or tied on to it. These are not usually the actual wedding rings, rather symbolic ones only for show. The ring bearer usually walks side by side with the flower girl in the processional and recessional, but may walk directly in front of her. During the ceremony, the ring bearer may stand at the altar with the other groomsmen, or may sit with his family. Immediately following the ceremony, the ring bearer poses for professional photographs with the rest of the wedding party.

At the Reception:

Ring bearers are not expected to stand in the receiving line and usually sit at a table of honor with their families rather than at the head table.

Expenses for the Ring Bearer:

The families of the ring bearer are expected to pay for his attire and accessories. If the ring bearer attends pre-wedding parties or showers, he is not expected to bring a gift, however if his family attends, then gift expectations are the same as any other guest.

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