Ask An Expert: Picking groomsmen

Dear EG, I just proposed to my girlfriend of three years and she accepted! Within hours she’d already asked four of her friends to be bridesmaids. Does that mean I should have four groomsmen? And how on earth do I choose them? Concerned Groom

Congratulations. You do know that this is just the first of many nuptial conundrums you’re likely to face before you get to the altar, don't you?

Traditionally, the numbers in the wedding party are determined by the formality of the ceremony: a big traditional cathedral wedding might have up to eight on each team, while a smaller gig will be downsized. And custom dictates one groomsman per bridesmaid, but it’s not 1950 anymore, so be flexible.

Better to have your inner circle than to rope in a random just to make up the numbers. If you’re worried about the logistics of a lopsided wedding party, be creative: one groomsmen could escort two bridesmaids down the aisle or two ladies might double up. As for photos, if it’s a concern, flag it with your photographer and ask them to come up with a clever way around it. That's what they're there for.

As to how to choose your crew, that takes a bit of consideration. Start with a list of potentials. They should be close friends or family—you’ll be doing a lot together so pick the guys you want to be around. There’s a level of responsibility involved so dependability is desirable.

Your number one, of course, will be appointed Best Man—he’ll be making a speech and planning the bucks, among other things, so choose wisely. The others may act as ushers. It’s prudent to keep a few names in reserve, lest someone mortally stabs themselves with a tie pin or something.

When the names are decided, ask them. Not in a group email, mind. In person or, if they’re distant, pick up the phone. Schedules, distance or cost (the coin can add up as a groomsman) means there’s always a possibility of a refusal. Don’t take it personally—call on a reserve.

CLICK HERE to read about the many roles of Best Man

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