Being A Groomsman
- 4-minute read -
In the last couple of years I’ve been to my fair share of weddings and have been lucky enough to be part of them behind the scenes, basically get an all-access pass to every part of the day. But aside from my own wedding day, I’ve never actually been IN a wedding party. I always wondered what it was like to be on the other side of the camera. Is it stressful? Boring? Would I distracted by the stranger following us around with a camera?
Thankfully, this year I got the chance to put the mystery to bed and have my first experience being a groomsman. My best friend from Alberta was able to plan his wedding for the one weekend we had off in June (thank you Colton and Britt!), so Tedi and I drove to Edmonton, left our camera gear at home, and all my burning questions were answered.
This is what I learned being a groomsman…
Being from out of province, I couldn’t be much help in the lead up, so I tried to make myself available during the rehearsal. Turned out that I couldn’t be much help there either. The tasks were either too specific (like setting up a complicated DIY photo booth) or too outside of ability (I’m not good with wrapping flower bouquets). So I ate dinner, walked the aisle in the rehearsal, then patiently waited to be called upon.
“Put all of your energy into being positive”
There were already LOTS of ‘cooks in the kitchen’, so I didn’t want to complicate things by forcing suggestions or help where I wasn’t asked, so I took it as an opportunity to connect with the bridal party and the photographers. Which leads me to the next point...
Give good vibes
This isn’t some hokey pokey hippy shit. It’s important. If you’re in a position where you can’t offer help, at the very least make your presence pleasant. If you are patiently waiting for the next thing to happen (which honestly is what you will spend a lot of time doing on the wedding day), just put all of your energy into bringing positivity to the room.
Start conversations with people. Compliment the designs and encourage the efforts of others. Smile at everyone. Make yourself known to the family and friends of the bride and groom. This is not a time for criticism or negativity. Go out of your way to be a positive energy in every interaction. And if you don’t know how, start with one very important action...
Put your phone away
For one, if it’s in your front pocket it will create a weird outline in your pants which will show up in all the pictures. It looks bad. But more importantly, you gotta be present. If you’re not super close with the wedding party it can be easy to default to your phone, but resist the urge. I get that sharing stories on Instagram is part of the social experience, but you can do it in a way that still prioritizes the people in front of you.
“Capture the moment, share, then put it away”
If you’re going to share on your Instagram Story, don’t spend time picking GIFs or editing the perfect caption. Capture the moment, share, then put it away. When you have some alone time later, like if you end up sitting solo in the back seat between locations, then you can spend all the time you want curating you feed.
Don’t worry, be happy
You don’t got to be weird about it and fake your way into a Kodak moment, but look for something to be happy about. Between a group of bored guys sitting on a couch waiting for the next event, and a couple of happy groomsmen engaged with each other, guess which photo will tell a better story?
If you need a moment to deal with some personal things, step out of the room and manage it quickly. But if you’re going to be in the frame, mind your RBF (resting bitch face). ESPECIALLY when you are walking down the aisle. Walk slow, make eye contact, and let your face tell everybody how fucking stoked you are that he’s about to publicly declare his love to his favourite person. Like I know it shouldn’t sound this hard, but I’ve filmed a lot of dead stares walking the aisle like they’re walking the plank. Don’t do that.
Remember that it’s not about you.
Saying yes to being a groomsman means supporting your friend no matter what, even when it’s inconvenient for you. In my case, after the speeches and the first dances, the photo booth got busy real quick. The DIY booth worked amazingly well once set up, but only if someone managed it. For a big chunk of time early into the dancing I found myself operating the photo booth, funnelling people through the line reassuring them that the printer would eventually print their picture, replacing the ink cartridges, refilling the paper, and directing traffic.
I really wanted to be on the dance floor, but I knew these photos would be valuable to Colton and Britt, so I stuck around. Once the line died down and the booth could run itself, I made time for the dance floor, but the booth became my responsibility for most of the night because I was happy to be part of making my friends wedding day perfect.
Bonus tip: Pace your drinking
I admit, I could’ve done this better. I was maybe a little too loose when I started dancing with the MC, and looking back on some pictures my memory is a bit foggy. But at the very least, tame your drinking until after the speeches cuz you don’t want to be that guy interrupting the heartfelt words with a drunken ramble.
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All in all, being a groomsman was a LOT of fun. 10/10. Would recommend.
If you’ve been asked to be in a bridal party, it shouldn’t matter if it’s your first or your fifth. If you’re saying yes to the honour of standing for your friend, you’re saying yes to the responsibility. If you’re in a time of life where it might be too big a burden for you, financially or time-wise, communicate it. Ask if you can take another role, or just let them know your limitations. I know weddings can be expensive, especially for the wedding party, but make your ‘yes’ count.