How to Be a Groomsmen: From Boutonnières to Toasts
In this day and age, we call men “guys” and yet on a wedding day, we expect gentlemen. A lot of the fashion sense and etiquette we have grown to expect has been lost over generations of increasing casualness. Do you know how to pin on a boutineer? Outside of prom, you probably have not worn one. What about a pocket square? Do you know how to tie a tie? Use studs and cufflinks?
Increase the pressure, a photographer like me is going to photograph you trying to figure it out.
Do your homework and practice a bit. The Art of Manliness has tons of great tutorials to help you out. If you get stuck that day, I’ll help you out.
Beyond all the formalwear, your purpose is both to witness and support the bride and groom in their new marriage. You watch and affirm the life-long commitment they are making to one another, and say, “Yes! I think this is a good idea!” Keep your knees unlocked so you can attentively bless and encourage your friends or family as they are getting married. Though it makes a good story, I’d suggest avoiding fainting.
During portraits or other transitions, help the couple by carrying things or offering to help with anything they need. Bring some water, grab a snack, chapstick, or drive the car around.
Many Best Men know their duties include a toast. I’ve seen all sorts. Including one with a sword. Most with laughing, some with crying, and the occasional poorly prepared toast. Do your best to bless the couple and stick to your personality to aid the celebration.
Are you an usher? Ushers usually get off easy or no one knows how to tell you your job. But people want to see, and your job is to escort people to their seats and help them find the best place to sit for their size of party. Perhaps it’s a family with a young child. Place them near an aisle (not the center aisle, if you can), so they can escape if needed. Family? Up close. Large group, help them find the open areas so they can sit together.
Etiquette would encourage you to escort the eldest female by the arm, and her partner or family would follow.
What about during all those pictures? The best groomsmen are respectful of the couple and the photographer and full of fun. Sometimes all the guys have known each other for years, and it’s joyful reunion. Sometimes the groomsmen come from all walks of the groom’s life, so they don’t have long-term camaraderie, and that’s ok, but do your best to break out of your shell and have fun. Listen to the photographer and do your best to listen to their lame jokes to keep you smiling.
The photographs will be cleaner and taken faster if you leave your phone and keys in the car or limo. Empty those pockets, please! Same goes for sunglasses unless that’s part of the game-plan.
If you are married, dating, or otherwise connected with a bridesmaid, stick close and you’re likely to be positioned in the photograph with the person you like best. When a photographer is moving fast, group portraits are often done by who is closest or the height that balances the photo the best.