We get to grips with all things groomsmen in this handy guide to get yours suited, booted and big day ready.
Your bridesmaids will instantly know what their role entails, from dress shopping to decorating and all the smaller things in between. When it comes to your groom’s ushers, on the other hand, things tend to be a little less defined.
But there is more to this role than simply rolling with it… Here, we unravel all of the details, from dress codes to duties, to ensure that when the big day arrives, the groomsmen require no ushering of their own.
What should your ushers wear?
To match or not to match? That is the question that almost every groom faces when discussing outfit options with his ushers. And once that’s decided, the debate moves onto whether it’s best to hire or buy the suits – and that’s before you’ve even begun to think about accessories.
Craig, a retail merchandiser, found that buying his ushers’ suits was the best solution. “I wanted everyone to match in blue tuxedos with black bowties. We couldn’t find this colour available to hire anywhere, though!”
When you have something specific in mind, purchasing outfits can open up more possibilities for personalisation. You could turn to high street brands like Slaters or bespoke tailoring services on London’s Savile Row. But with a larger number of ushers come more outfits and so a greater investment, which can often make hiring more practical, depending on your budget.
When groom David married his bride Kylie in France, a glamorous but classic look was on the cards for his ushers. “We felt that tuxedos really suited our French wedding, so we chose a black slim-fit option for the groomsmen to wear. I decided to add a twist with a white jacket instead. This meant I matched Kylie’s dress and stood out from the group.”
How to stand out from the groomsmen as the groom
For the less daring, there are more subtle ways to help distinguish the groom from his ushers. Try a different colour for the tie, cravat or bowtie, a complementary but unique pattern for the waistcoat or a custom lining inside the jacket. Your groom could even ditch traditional white and opt for a more adventurous shade of shirt. Match it to the bridesmaid dresses for a stylish look that really stands out.
But of course, your groom and his groomsmen can’t even start to shop for suits if they’re not all actually together to try them on. The more ushers you have, the more you’ll probably struggle to pin everyone’s busy schedules down to one date. Throwing in an incentive usually does the trick – the promise of a pint alone can have nothing short of magical effects…
Accessories for ushers
Let’s not forget the ushers’ accessories either. That’s right boys, the a-word is not exclusively for the ladies – it involves you too! Now is the time to get clued up on all things cufflinks, braces and bowties (including how to actually tie them) ahead of the big day.
Did you know that a pocket square and tie should not actually match? How about coordinating said pocket square with your buttonhole? It is also customary for the groom to gift his ushers an element to wear on the day, which is where the superhero socks typically make an appearance…
One for the team: roles for the groomsmen
Groomsmen duties on the day
The best man has the biggest list of responsibilities, with the stag do and speech taking top spots. But that’s not to say that all the ushers are off the hook either. When the wedding day arrives, the groom will rely on his chosen few for help. Ushers should keep the groom relaxed and calm. They should ensure he is wearing everything he should be and accept delivery of the buttonholes, ready to share out between the group.
The groomsmen also become the point of call for suppliers on the day. Arm at least one with a list of contact details and cash. They can then field any final calls and settle any payments with vendors.
What is the usher’s role at the ceremony?
As guests start to arrive, it’s the ushers’ job to welcome and seat family and friends. If it’s raining, ushers should accompany people from the car with an umbrella. Position a few ushers outside and a few at the entrance to your ceremony room for smooth running. You should also ensure that if orders of service are not already left on each chair, the ushers are ready to give each guest a copy as they take their seats.
After the ceremony, groomsmen can prove invaluable in gathering guests for group photographs (not forgetting to turn up when they’re meant to be in the picture, too!). They may also guide guests between reception spaces and ensure people know what is going to happen when (‘don’t forget that we’ll all go outside for sparklers after the cake cutting at 7pm’ – that kind of thing).
The best man’s speech
The responsibility of the speech sits squarely with the best man, but the ushers can still be helpful. Why not ask them to be guinea pigs for the speech? They can road test the jokes without spoiling the surprise for you and your groom. They could also assist with any props or set-up for the speech on the day.
Once the party is in full flow, the groomsmen can let their hair down. All that’s left for them to do is ensure that everyone – themselves included – has a good time. Still, it’s best to nominate at least a few ushers to keep an eye on proceedings. Brief them to take precautionary action where needed. Ushering any overly inebriated guests to a quiet seat with a glass of water will result in gratitude all round.
The Stag Do
While it’s often expected that the best man will shoulder the bulk of the stag do planning, it’s essential that his fellow groomsmen also get stuck in. Groomsmen should be available for get-togethers or respond to messages in a timely manner to make sure plans are made. They should honour any financial contributions promised and turn up ready for a whole lot of fun when the stag party arrives…
But not all-consuming fun – groomsmen do still have responsibilities, after all. We’ve all heard horror stories of stags being blindfolded and taken to surprise locations, some even being left to find their own way back…
It’s the job of the groomsmen to make sure the stag returns home from the party safely. Preferably, he should still be in the company of his wallet, keys and clothing. Best to avoid any unplanned detours to A&E, too, because while you, the bride, will vow to love your husband in sickness and in health, we’re willing to bet that for the wedding day at least you’d rather it be the latter!