Wedding Ceremony Etiquette for Groomsmen & Bridesmaids

by Sabine McKellen ; Updated September 28, 2017

A wedding is not only a celebration of a couple’s love, but also a chance for loved ones to bear witness to the union. Attendants are selected by the bride and groom to provide emotional and logistical support to the couple in the lead-up to the wedding and on the big day itself.

Etiquette for All Attendants

Groomsmen and bridesmaids are expected to pay for the attire they will wear on the wedding day, which may include renting tuxedos or purchasing dresses and shoes. Both groomsmen and bridesmaids should also give gifts to the couple.


Bridesmaids should be gracious and accept the bride’s decision on bridesmaid apparel. The bride is expected to consider her maids’ input on style and color preferences as well as any concerns about modesty and to respect their budgets. On the day of the wedding, bridesmaids should be available to support the maid of honor, who acts as the bride’s point person when it comes to organizing and assisting at the wedding.


Groomsmen are the first to arrive at the wedding ceremony venue and sometimes serve as ushers by greeting and seating guests as they arrive. Shortly before the ceremony begins, groomsmen must meet with the bridal party and escort bridesmaids down the aisle. Groomsmen should also be on hand to run any last-minute errands or make any arrangements should a problem arise.

After the Ceremony

Many couples opt for a receiving line outside of the venue to greet guests as they exit. This ensures that both the bride and groom greet all guests and personally thank them for attending. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are expected to stand in the receiving line and chat with guests. At the reception, bridesmaids and groomsmen should maintain a presence on the dance floor. Even if they came with dates, both bridesmaids and groomsmen should make an effort to dance with guests.

Photo Credits

  • Buccina Studios/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Sabine McKellen began her career teaching English as a Second Language to adults from around the world. She has spent the past seven years in journalism, covering social issues, specifically in rural communities. Her work has appeared in community newspapers throughout southern California, and in various trade and educational magazines.