By Grant Derrick
The history of groomsmen dates back to ancient times when dowries were paid by the bride’s family to the groom’s family.
Often these dowries contained valuable and precious gifts which were an easy target for bandits and high-way robbers. Thus it was necessary to send a group of armed and able men, the trusted friends of the groom, to protect such dowry and to ensure that it reached the family of the groom. This was not just a thank you gift from one family to another but rather the cost of two families merging and becoming one and so the value of the dowry was more than initially met the eye.
Another duty of the groomsmen and even the bridesmaids in ancient Greece was to dress like the bridal couple and so confuse evil spirits who would want to cast a spell over the union.
In some Nordic cultures, the groomsmen would accompany the groom to a village and would assist him in procuring a bride the old fashioned way, by kidnapping her of course.
Modern day groomsmen : Today, unfortunately for some, kidnapping your wife to be has been outlawed in many cultures and so the need for a band of warriors at the grooms side seems to have dwindled somewhat. The paying of dowries has also become a forgotten custom and thus there is no “Cash in Transit” protection required. This leaves the groomsmen with the less life threatening tasks to perform and it is these that we will visit.
The best man is a key member of the groomsmen. We have covered the role of the best man in previous articles but this article aims to outline the functions of the rest of the groom’s companions.
Groomsmen’s duties :
1: Assist Best man
The groomsmen are to assist the best man in organising the groom’s bachelor party. This would possibly involve digging into pockets to fund such a bash, and is important for all groomsmen to attend. The whole idea of being a groomsman is the privilege of being chosen to make the groom’s day perfect and happily memorable.
2: Know the venue and plans for ceremony
It is one of the duties of the groomsmen to familiarise themselves with the ceremony and reception venue. They will be required to greet and usher guests to their seats at the ceremony. The bride’s guests must be seated on the left side of the church and the Groom’s on the right. If a company of people arrives, then preference must be shown to the eldest members of the group.
3: Get Involved
Groomsmen should also be involved with assisting the bridal couple wherever possible. Tasks include such things as assisting in setting up the ceremony venue and the reception venue, and ensuring that things are laid out according to plan. To this end, it is important that the groomsmen are involved with the planning of the wedding at some stage so that they are in the know, as well as attending the rehearsals in order to be familiar with all the procedures. It is also important for the kind groomsmen to arrive at the ceremony well in advance of the groom and bride.
4: Offer support
The groomsmen are to be quick to support the groom in any way possible in order to reduce stressful situations and alleviate any burdens that may sneak up on the unassuming groom. To this end the groomsmen should be vigilant and ready to take action when trouble arises.
5: Wedding gift
The groomsmen are required to individually or corporately buy a gift for the wedding couple. Pooling of funds may make for an awesome gift for the newly weds.
6: Budget themselves
Groomsmen are required to finance their own attire either in the form of bought suits or rented, whichever is required or preferred.
7: Chaperon bridesmaids
The groomsmen should chaperon the bridesmaids at the reception. They are required to dance with the bridesmaids at the opening dance once the married couple have taken the floor. First the best man and maid of honour and then the groomsmen and the bridesmaids.
8: Protect Gifts
The groomsmen, if required, should protect the gifts and ensure that they are delivered to their destination with care and diligence.
9: Help clean up
The groomsmen should assist the bride’s family in cleaning up of the venue after the reception party has come to an end should this be required.
10: Get the bridal couple to the getaway car
Finally, the groomsmen and sometimes including the bridesmaids, are responsible for the tradition of adorning the honeymoon getaway car with all manner of streamers, graffiti and a good walloping of tin cans tied to the rear of the vehicle.
I suggest that this task be performed earlier on in the festivities rather than later; remember to keep it clean guys.