How Many Groomsmen Can You Have and What Are Their Responsibilities?

Christine Steuber
Apr 29, 2022
What is the right number of groomsmen to include in your wedding? I answer this and many related questions to help you make your decision.

Organizing a wedding can be very hard and stressful. One of the most important organizational parts is understanding how many groomsmen you need and what their responsibilities are. 

It can be a tough task to decide who becomes your groomsman, especially if you have many friends and don’t want to let any of them down.

Feel the challenge?

Keep on reading for all the details regarding the number of groomsmen you need and their responsibilities.

Everything You Need to Know about Groomsmen and Their Duties

Groomsmen, also known as ushers, are a group of close friends and brothers of the groom that stand on his side throughout the wedding ceremony. They perform various organizational duties for the wedding and make sure everything goes as planned. 

The idea of inviting ushers to the wedding originated in the 16th century among Germanic Goths when the groomsman’s task was to kidnap the bride. They also watched the bride to make sure she didn’t run away.  

How did the groomsman’s responsibilities change over time?

Let’s find out. 

Top 10 responsibilities of a groomsman

Asdrubal luna via Unsplash
Credit: Asdrubal luna via Unsplash

The wedding day and its preparation can be very nerve-racking, and everything needs to be planned to the tee. Therefore, the bride and the groom need to have organizers and friends to help them out with the planning.

The groomsman is among the people who help to put the wedding ceremony together and make sure everything goes smoothly. Below I’ve selected the most common groomsmen responsibilities.

  • Help with pre-wedding organizations and planning.
  • Attend suit fitting for the groom and groomsmen suits.
  • Help the groom get ready on the wedding day.
  • Make sure everything corresponds to the schedule.
  • Organize the transfer of the wedding guests.
  • Help the guests find their seats.
  • Make the payment to the wedding vendors and officiant.
  • Collect gifts and take them to a safe place for the bride and groom.
  • Return the groomsmen’s rental suits after the wedding.
  • Talk to the guests and make sure everyone is enjoying their time.

Apart from the above-mentioned points, the role of groomsmen is to help with other organizational chores before, during, and after the wedding as well.

Difference between the best man and groomsmen

It can be quite confusing to find the difference between the best man and groomsmen. Often they’re considered to be just synonyms. However, there are some differences, and I’ll do my best to try to explain them as plainly as possible.

As I’ve already mentioned earlier, groomsmen are, first and foremost, the groom’s helpers. They’re responsible for organizing various wedding-related events, guiding the guests, keeping a high spirit throughout the day, and so on.

So what does the best man do?

The best man is the right hand of the groom throughout the wedding day. He is usually the groom’s brother or best friend. In the old times, the best man was also the best swordsman in the groom’s circle. 

The best man should always be by the groom’s side to assist him and help him get ready for the wedding. He is also the one who’s responsible for the groomsmen, as he’s their leader. The best man controls the ushers and makes sure everyone performs their duties. He’s responsible for an array of duties, including holding the wedding rings during the ceremony, making a speech, etc.

The best man helps everyone prepare for the big day and organizes the bachelor party and other pre-wedding events. 

Basically, the best man and the usher are both responsible for the wedding planning and need to ensure everything is going as planned. The main difference is that the best man is the leader of the group of groomsmen.

How to choose groomsmen?

It’s time to pick groomsmen, and you don’t know who to choose? I’ll list the most important criteria to consider.

  • Reliability – When looking through your friend circle, you need to consider those you can rely on 100%. Because it’s the most important day of your life and you’d want to have dependable and trustworthy people to help you out and take responsibility. 
  • Family first – It’s quite logical that if the groom has a brother, he should be among the ushers. Often the brother can be the best man. The only exception is when there’s a huge age gap between the brothers.
  • Wedding budget – Being an usher can be pretty expensive since you need to rent or buy a suit, accessories, gifts, etc. Therefore, you need to pick an usher who’s in a financially stable state, and it won’t be a struggle for him. Otherwise, you can cover those expenses yourself.

Before picking the ushers, I’d recommend asking them whether they want to participate or not. This will make the process easier for you as well.

When to ask someone to be a groomsman?

One of the most important aspects of wedding preparation is the groomsmen proposal. Since ushers will be your main helpers in organizing the wedding, you need to pop the question at an early stage of preparation. Ideally, it should be about 10 months prior to the wedding, so they’ll have enough time to prepare.

However, it still highly depends on when you decide to get married. Of course, if the wedding is in three months, you don’t have much time. Hence, I’d highly recommend proposing to your groomsmen immediately when you decide who you’re going to ask. This way, you’ll get to the organization and planning process faster and have extra hands to help you out.

How Many Groomsmen Can You Have?

Another common issue you may have while planning out your wedding is the number of groomsmen you can have. It depends on many factors, like the size of your wedding or how many bridesmaids there will be, etc.

I’ll try to answer these questions more precisely below.

For a small, private wedding

One of the primary duties of the usher is to greet the guests, talk to them, collect the gifts and make sure everyone is having a good time. Therefore the number of the groomsmen should be enough for the number of the guests. 

If you’re planning to have a private wedding with just close friends and relatives, there’s no need to have more than three groomsmen. 

Often, during private weddings with just family members, a father or brother are the only groomsmen. For small weddings with 50 up to a maximum of 100 guests, 3-4 ushers should be enough to take care of everyone.

Dog among groomsmen picture Pinterest
Credit: Pinterest

Usually, when the groom has a dog, it becomes one of the groomsmen, just like in the above pic.

For a big wedding ceremony

For a larger wedding of more than a hundred guests, the situation is the opposite. As I already said, the number of groomsmen should correspond to the number of guests. 

So, if you’ll have around 200-300 guests and three ushers, they won’t be able to pay enough attention to the guests. So, in this case, you need to have six to eight groomsmen.
However, the average number of groomsmen is five, which corresponds to the average number of bridesmaids. This is considered the perfect number of ushers, especially for middle and large-sized weddings.

However, if you’re looking for a non-traditional wedding, check out my previous post, where I offer tons of alternatives.

Do you have to have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen?

Usually, the perfect number of bridesmaids and ushers should be the same or at least close to being the same. To better understand it, let’s visually imagine the ceremony. Would it look good to have three bridesmaids and eight groomsmen? I don’t think so. Hence, you should keep a balance between the number of bridesmaids and ushers.

Of course, it’s your day, and you’re in charge of deciding how you want your wedding to look. But I’d recommend keeping the numbers as close to each other as possible. It will not only be fair to your friends and siblings who want to take part in your wedding as bridesmaids and groomsmen, but it will also look great in photos. Take a look:

Now, let’s discuss what number of groomsmen is absolutely unacceptable at a wedding.

How many groomsmen are too many?

As I mentioned earlier, the number of groomsmen should correspond to the number of guests attending the wedding. Consequently, the larger the wedding, the more ushers you’ll need. For instance, if you’re planning a ceremony involving two hundred or more guests, you need 5-6 groomsmen and bridesmaids of similar numbers. 

The central role of ushers is to help the bride and groom, guide the guests, organize the receiving line, and beyond. Hence, you should have enough ushers to take care of your guests. If you’re planning a small wedding with only close friends and relatives, 2-3 groomsmen should be enough. However, if you’ll have 50-100 guests with 6-8 ushers, that’d be too much.

So, I’d highly recommend choosing the number of groomsmen based on the number of guests you’re planning to have. Also, make sure to have an equal number of groomsmen and bridesmaids. Otherwise, it would be unfair to your partner and look quite unbalanced during the ceremony.

Over to You

As you can see, there is nothing difficult about choosing groomsmen for your wedding. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules. 

To sum up what I’ve covered above, ideally, you should have as many groomsmen as the number of your guests requires. They are your main helpers throughout the wedding, and they take the responsibility to make sure everyone is enjoying the day.

Pick your most reliable buddies to be your ushers, and they’ll do their best for you to have the wedding of your dreams.

How was this article? If you want to read more similar articles, check out my blog, where I constantly share articles on wedding traditions and customs.

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