The History of Groomsmen

Old Sepia photograph of a wedding in 1940sGroomsmen have an interesting history and tradition. 

In Europe, in days gone by, the groomsmen were actually body guards of the bride to ensure she made it to the groom’s home with her dowry.  At one time, they were called bride’s knights. They were usually friends or relatives of the groom. They would occasionally kidnap the bride if the parents objected to the wedding!

The groomsmen also stand to the right of the bride so their right hand was free for their weapon! So you will always see the men on the right hand side of the venue.

In other places, they were there to step into the groom’s shoes should something befall him the wedding would go ahead with the bestman becoming the groom, and if something happened him, next in line would take his place.. and so on

Modern Groom and his groomsmenModern Groomsmen

Nowadays, the groomsmen’s roles are a lot more subdued and have evolved to stand beside the groom

They help support the groom, help arrange and pay for the stag party, escort the bridesmaids, assist with seating guests and entertain single guests and generally have a lot of fun.

The Best Man

A Best Man however, is generally the top job.  Generally this would be a family member – traditionally a brother.  However, this again has evolved and now grooms are choosing fathers, friends, sisters or friends. 

  • Be in charge of the ushers
  • Keep the wedding rings safe until needed,
  • Stand next to the groom during the ceremony,
  • Act as a legal witness to the marriage
  • Sign the marriage certificate
  • Do a speech at the reception
  • Traditionally be godfather to the couples first child (again time has changed this)

Usually, the groomsmen and Best Man would have be suited to match the groom, however we are now seeing an emergence of the groom wearing something different – bespoke suits are a huge trend at the moment.  Sometimes the groom is even in a different colour and why not? It’s your day too!

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