One of the most important and memorable things any groom will do is choose his groomsmen. This group of people often represents those the groom feels are his best friends, the people he is closest to, and those who have made him into the person he is today. 

Choosing the group can be a difficult task. You may have several wonderful people in your life, and choosing only a few for the wedding party can end in someone feeling left out or you struggling to decide who might handle the responsibility the best. 

When choosing your groomsmen, you can take a few steps to put together the best group possible while avoiding feeling like you are ranking your friends. Consider the following tips for choosing groomsmen so you can select the right wedding party.

Plan Ahead and Talk with Your Partner

The most important person you need to consult before choosing your group of groomsmen is your future spouse. You should get their opinion on your initial ideas and feedback on how big you want your entire wedding party to be. 

Once you two agree on the roles and expectations you have for your groomsmen, it will be easier to narrow down your list. Some things you should discuss with your future spouse include:

  • The size of the party 
  • Whether to choose mostly family or friends
  • People your spouse would prefer not to be in your wedding party
  • Whether your partner has a family member that they’d like included (even if you aren’t close with them) 

Wedding Party Size and Expectations

Traditionally the wedding party has an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. In many traditions, the bridesmaids and groomsmen walk down the aisle together, so having an even number balances the ceremony. It is important to discuss the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen with your future spouse so nobody in your wedding party is left out. 

Together you can agree on an appropriate number of groomsmen. Once you know how many of your pals you can choose, you can make a final draft of your ideal groomsmen list. Having a set number may also provide a reason to explain why some people didn’t make the cut, helping smooth over any hurt feelings. 

Groomsmen throwing the groom up

Who's In and Who's Out?

One of the most challenging decisions any groom will face is making the final cuts to a list of groomsmen. Often making a list feels like being forced to rank your friends. This might not be so bad for some who have a core group, but it can feel difficult for those with many good friends. 

It may feel even harder to create a list that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings or make someone feel like they misjudged your friendship. There’s no particular way to choose your groomsmen without potentially hurting someone’s feelings; however, there are a few tips you can follow to minimize the risk. 

  • Family first

If you have a sibling or multiple siblings, choosing them is a simple solution. Put all family members first and friends second. A large number of siblings and cousins in a wedding party can eliminate the need to include friends.  

  • Mutual friends

If you are choosing your friends, think of friends who are the most connected to you and your future spouse as a couple. Friends who have been there through your dating and engagement and who you plan to continue hanging out with as a married couple make the best groomsmen.

  • Current friends

Make sure any old friends are still friends. Many grooms think their buddies from high school are the best choice for their crew, but people change. It is important to make sure you are still as close as you once were, and if not, choose someone who is more engaged in your current life, even if they don’t have as much history with you. 

  • Responsible friends

Choose friends who will be responsible helpers during the wedding. Remember the bridal party will be assisting you with organizing the wedding and will be active participants in the ceremony and reception. Choose your friends who will handle the job responsibly, and perhaps leave out anyone who would make an inappropriate toast or be uncooperative with planning. 

Choosing Groomsmen Infographic

Who's Going to Stand Next to Me?

Perhaps the most important and most difficult decision a groom-to-be will make is choosing the best man. Your best man is supposed to be the person who is closest to you outside of your future spouse. 

If you have a lot of good friends or have multiple close siblings, this can be a tough choice. The most common option is to choose the sibling closest to you in age, but another sibling with whom you have a tighter relationship is also a good choice. You don’t necessarily need to choose a sibling, particularly if you have a large age gap or don’t have a close relationship, but it is usually the first option. 

It is also important to remember that your best man will be your go-to person at your wedding. They might need to be MC at the reception, give a toast, and bring the rings to the ceremony. Your best man should be someone close to you, but someone who can handle the added responsibility. When choosing between friends or siblings, choose the more responsible one. 

Five Groomsmen with Umbrellas

How to Avoid Awkward Situations

Unfortunately, there is a strong chance that you will let a friend or two down when you choose your list of groomsmen. It is almost inevitable that a friend may expect to be in the group and becomes disappointed when space won’t allow it. 

This is often an awkward situation, but it doesn’t have to be. There are ways you can let someone down easily and minimize hurt feelings.

  • If you have a large group of friends, consider limiting the bridal party to family to avoid choosing.
  • If you have to leave someone out, offer them a job as an usher at the ceremony or ask them to give a toast at the reception instead.
  • If someone doesn’t make the cut and feels bad, give them an explanation that reminds them you value their friendship and that you had a hard time making the decision. 

Finalizing Your Crew

Once you’ve consulted with your soon-to-be spouse and worked out how to sort your friends and family, you can finalize your list of groomsmen. Be sure to ask your prospective groomsmen to make sure they can attend the wedding and are up for the added responsibility of being in the wedding party. Also, discuss any extra costs they need to cover and see if they can attend your bachelor party. 

Your final group of groomsmen should be your closest friends and relatives, but don’t sweat it too much. Your wedding is really about you and your future spouse, so don’t let choosing your groomsmen distract you from planning the rest of your wedding. Robert Johnson, Director of Operations at MyWoodRings.com, says “also make sure all your groomsmen get along with each other because they will be spending a lot of time together leading up to and throughout the wedding festivities.”

The Perfect Group of Groomsmen

Every groom must choose their groomsmen based on their personal relationships, family ties, and the size of his wedding. Some groomsmen parties contain all friends, some all family, and others a mixture of both. Whatever works best for you is important. It is your wedding, and you should have those closest to you there to share your special day. Talk to your spouse-to-be, talk to your friends and family, and choose the group that’s right for you. 

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