Who Qualifies for Your Wedding Party

By Chris Easter from TheManRegistry.com

In elementary school, a friend and I had the same nickname for each other – “Best Man.” We were both convinced that down the road we would be each other’s Best Man in our respective weddings. Boy, we could not have been further from the truth. I couldn’t even tell you where he is now and honestly wouldn’t want to (although that’s a story for another blog post).

The moral of that story is that as easy as I thought the process would be, it turned out to be quite tricky. When selecting friends and family to be in your wedding party, it’s important to get the decisions right. The first thing you and your bride need to decide is how big the wedding party is going to be. From there, you can shape your decisions around that number.  It’s not law that you need to have the same number of groomsmen and bridesmaids, however I do recommend it because it gives each person a partner and improves the overall look and feel of the wedding.

Here are some common questions to review before you starting the selection process (generally 9-10 months before the wedding):

Do I need to ask everyone who’s invited me to be in their wedding?

Again, there is no law that says you must return the favor to everyone who’s invited you to be in their wedding party – but think about this one long and hard. Unless you’re having an extremely small bridal party that can only accommodate family members and best friends – I strongly recommend returning the favor. It’s an honor to be a groomsman for a friend – and it’s going to be an awful feeling when that friend thinks you don’t value the friendship as much as he does. At the very least, you need to include these guys as Ushers or readers.

Must I include siblings?

In a word, yes.

Must I include my fiancée’s siblings?

You should. If your fiancée has brothers, they’re about to become your brothers as well — asking them to be groomsmen in a pretty standard practice and a great way to welcome them into your circle of family and friends.

Which friends do I ask?

You’re bound to run into some hard choices when you have to decide which friends to invite into the wedding party. Try starting with any life-long friends you’ve had – friends that you literally can’t imagine not being next to you at the altar. Other friends to consider are close friends from high school and college. Remember, if you run out of spots, you’ll still need Ushers. Typically, the number of Ushers ranges from two to four (or a ratio of one usher to every 50 guests).

I’m out of groomsmen spots and there are still family members I want to include

Even if there are no groomsmen spots left, there are still ways to include extended family members. For younger children, you can go with junior ushers or a junior groom. Readers, greeters and guest book/wedding gift table attendant are also quality options for cousins and nephews.

Is it OK to have members of the opposite sex as groomsmen?

Yes. Don’t believe the uber-traditionalists. This is actually becoming a fairly common trend in weddings.

In 2007, Chris Easter co-founded TheManRegistry.com, a web-based resource for engaged men. The company started as a gift registry/e-commerce platform and has grown into the web’s leading source of groomsmen gifts, content and wedding vendor listings targeting grooms. In addition to The Man Registry, Chris also serve as editor for GroomsAdvice.com where he showcases the lighter side of weddings via daily tips, video clips, and web contests for grooms. Respected throughout the wedding industry as a top innovator, Chris was recently named one of the top 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Inc. Magazine.

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