Weddings

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The guide to choosing groomsmen

Grooms-to-be face many decisions regarding their pending nuptials, but few may prove as delicate as choosing the groomsmen for the big day. Friends who expect to be groomsmen may be disappointed if they are not ultimately chosen, while brothers may feel left out if they are not asked to walk a bridesmaid up the aisle.

Choosing groomsmen should not be taken lightly. Grooms-to-be who are facing some difficult choices with regard to that decision can follow a few pointers to ensure they make the right call.

• Pick a number. Before you even consider who you want your groomsmen to be, speak to your fiancée about how many bridesmaids she hopes to have. The number of groomsmen and bridesmaids typically matches, so your fiancée's intentions may make your decision a lot easier. For example, if you have two brothers and several friends you're considering, but your fiancée only intends to have a maid of honor and one bridesmaid, then you can just ask both of your brothers to serve as groomsmen. Friends are unlikely be offended if family members get the nod ahead of them, so discuss numbers with your fiancée before you begin trimming your list of candidates. If you already have an idea of who you want to be your groomsmen but your choices outnumber your fiancée's, see if she has anyone else she can add to her party so no one is left out.

• Choose the best man for the job. Many grooms pick a brother to serve as their best man, and while that's a nice sentiment, it's important that grooms recognize that being a best man carries with it some responsibility. A best man will organize the bachelor party, give a toast at the wedding and handle any post-wedding duties, such as returning the tuxes or arranging for the newlyweds' transportation to the airport. If your brother is already incredibly busy or if you doubt he is up to the task of being a best man, then you might be better off asking him to be a groomsman and finding another best man who's more capable of juggling the numerous responsibilities that come with being best man.

• Don't forget your fiancée's family. While you should not feel pressured to pick anyone in particular as your best man, if your fiancée has any brothers, ask her if she had her heart set on including any of them in the bridal party. Some brides want their brothers to be groomsmen, so discuss this with your fiancée before asking anyone to line up beside you. This discussion can go both ways as well, as you can ask your bride-to-be to include a favorite sister in her bridal party if you so desire.

• Confirm their availability. When asking friends or family members to be groomsmen, it's best to ensure they can actually make it to the ceremony. This is a concern for grooms who are planning a destination wedding or those getting married in their fiancée's hometown and not their own, as some guests, including potential groomsmen, may not be able to afford to attend an overseas or faraway ceremony. When asking, explain the situation to them, and let them know you fully understand if they cannot commit to being a groomsmen due to travel or financial concerns. Confirm their availability as soon as possible, as you don't want to be down one groomsman come your big day. For those who you want to be a groomsmen but are unable to make it, it can be a nice gesture to buy them a groomsmen gift as a token of your appreciation for their friendship.

Many grooms face difficult decisions when choosing their groomsmen. But there are ways to make such decisions a lot easier than they may seem.