Groomsman

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Three groomsmen stand to the left of the groom and three bridesmaids stand to the right of the bride in this wedding in Kep, Cambodia. Kep wedding crop.jpg
Three groomsmen stand to the left of the groom and three bridesmaids stand to the right of the bride in this wedding in Kep, Cambodia.

A groomsman (North America, Australasia) or usher (British Isles) is one of the male attendants to the groom in a wedding ceremony. Usually, the groom selects close friends and relatives to serve as groomsmen, and it is considered an honour to be selected. From his groomsmen, the groom usually chooses one to serve as best man.

Contents

For a wedding with many guests, the groom may also ask other male friends and relatives to act as ushers without otherwise participating in the wedding ceremony; their sole task is ushering guests to their seats before the ceremony. Ushers may also be hired for very large weddings.

In a military officer's wedding, the roles of groomsmen are replaced by swordsmen of the sword honor guard. They are usually picked as close personal friends of the groom who have served with him. Their role includes forming the traditional saber arch for the married couple and guests to walk through.

Duties

The groom, his best man, and two ushers. The groom and his best man and ushers.jpg
The groom, his best man, and two ushers.

The most visible duty of the groomsmen is helping guests find their places before the ceremony and to stand near the groom during the wedding ceremony.

Additionally, the groom may request other kinds of assistance, such as planning celebratory events such as a bachelor party, also called a stag-do or buck's night; helping make the wedding pleasant for guests by talking with people who are alone or dancing with unaccompanied guests or bridesmaids, if there is dancing at a wedding reception; or providing practical assistance with gifts, luggage, or unexpected complications. Groomsmen may also participate in local or regional traditions, such as decorating the newlywed couple's car. [1]

Bridegroom-men formerly had important duties. The men were called bride-knights, and represented a survival of the primitive days of marriage by capture, when a man called his friends in to assist to "lift" or kidnap the bride, or from the need to defend the bride from would-be kidnappers. [2] [3] [4]

Best man

A best man and a maid of honour with newlyweds Newly weds, matron of honor, and best man (333020694).jpg
A best man and a maid of honour with newlyweds

The best man is the chief assistant to the groom at a wedding. While the role is older, the earliest surviving written use of the term best man comes from 1782, observing that "best man and best maid" in the Scottish dialect are equivalent to "bride-man and bride-maid" in England. [5]

In most modern Anglophone countries, the groom extends this honor to someone who is close to him, generally a close friend or a relative (such as a sibling or cousin). When the groom wishes to give this honor to a woman, she may be termed the best woman or best person, [6] although traditionally she would still be referred to as the 'best man'. The bride's equivalent of the best man is the bridesmaid, or the maid/matron of honor. If this honoree is male, he may be called a "man of honor." [6] During a wedding ceremony the best man stands next to the groom, slightly behind him. This means that the four people present at the altar are the officiant (such as a civil celebrant, priest, rabbi, minister, or other religious figure), the bride, groom, and best man. This is common in some western countries, although in others the best man and bridesmaid participate on an equal footing.

While the best man's required duties are only those of a friend, in the context of a western white wedding, the best man will typically:

In various countries and cultures

The best man is not a universal custom. [9] Even in places where a best man is customary, the role may be quite different when compared to other areas of the world.

Bachelor party

In the past, the bachelor party was typically scheduled for a convenient evening during the week before the wedding. A type of farewell dinner, it was always hosted, and therefore organized and paid for, entirely by the groom. [11] The dinner was seen as the groom's last chance to entertain his friends as a single man; after the wedding, dinner parties at his home would always be presided over by his wife in her role as hostess.

Common slang names for this event are bachelor party, stag do, or bucks' night in different parts of the world. In many areas, this dinner is now most commonly organized by the best man; the costs can be shared by either all of the participants or all of the participants except for the groom, who becomes the guest of honor. [12]

See also

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Russian wedding traditions

A traditional Russian wedding can last between two days and one week. The celebration involves dancing, singing, toasting, and banqueting. The best man and maid of honor are called Witnesses or Свидетели in Russian. The ceremony and the ring exchange take place on the first day of the wedding. Despite their seemingly unique matrimonial ceremonies, Russian weddings have adopted some western traditions, including incorporating bridesmaids into the wedding party.

Arab wedding

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Bridegroom male preparing to be married

A bridegroom is a man who will soon be or has recently been married. A bridegroom is typically attended by a best man and groomsmen.

The phrase flower girl is commonly used to refer to one or many young females who scatter flower petals down the aisle during a wedding procession. However, the term can also be used to refer to girls who sell flowers, such as the fictional character Eliza Doolittle.

Chinese wedding door games

In Chinese communities, especially in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, wedding door games are challenges set up by the bridesmaids for the groom as a ceremonial demonstration of the groom's love for the bride. These games typically take place in the morning of the wedding at the bride's family home, before the groom is allowed to receive the bride in the bride's room. The groom typically receives the help of his groomsmen in completing the tasks.

References

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  2. T. Sharper Knowlson (2008) [1910]. The Origins of Popular Superstitions and Customs (Forgotten Books). Forgotten Books. pp. 100–102. ISBN   1-60506-458-0. Archived from the original on 2010-11-11. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
  3. Leopold Wagner (1995). Manners, Customs and Observances. Omnigraphics Inc. pp. 61–62. ISBN   978-1-60506-798-8.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bride"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . 4 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 528.
  5. "best man, n," ``Oxford English Dictionary,`` . The citation comes from Sir John Sinclair's ``Observations on the Scottish Dialect.`` The related term "best maid" has an earlier attestation.
  6. 1 2 Warner, Diane (2004). Kate Henches (ed.). Diane Warner's Contemporary Guide to Wedding Etiquette: Advice from America's Most Trusted Wedding Expert. Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press. p. 39. ISBN   1564147614 . Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-07-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Best Man Duties[ failed verification ]
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2013-11-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Best Man Speech Examples
  9. "International Wedding Customs". Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
  10. "Essential Guide to Ukrainian Wedding Traditions!". What's On Kiev. Archived from the original on 2015-06-06. Retrieved 2008.Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. Post, Emily (1922). Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home'. Funk & Wagnalls Company. pp.  335–337.
  12. Post, Peggy (2006). Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette (5 ed.). London: Collins. pp.  183–184. ISBN   0-06-074504-5.