How To Be a Good Best Man/Groomsman to a South Asian Groom

2015 Apr 30 - by dulhan
a href="">Bridesmaids are a common feature of Western weddings, and nowadays, more South Asian and fusion weddings also include the entourage. Groomsmen, too, can play a huge role in a groom's wedding planning and management.

Photo via Abeda & Michael's Wedding

However, South Asian weddings are traditionally without groomsmen because the groom's male relatives will play the bigger role in the religious ceremonies. Modern weddings will often include this posse, but it's still vague on what the men are supposed to do to make the most of the groom's big day.

This guide will help you navigate the tricky waters of what a groomsman/Best Man actually does, especially in the context of fusion/South Asian weddings.

1. Be helpful

A vague but definite responsibility of a groomsman and especially a Best Man is to be as helpful as possible during the actual ceremony. In the case of Indian or Muslim weddings, these ceremonies might span days - but you'll need to guide guests to their seating and ensure that everything runs on time so the groom can enjoy his day.

Arrive early to provide a helping hand if needed and so that you know where to direct guests when they arrive a little later. Ask if the groom or the bride or their parents need help setting up. There's plenty of small things to arrange before a religious event like a sangeet or the wedding itself, so your early presence will be much appreciated.

2. Discuss the finances

Like a bridesmaid, a groomsman may find that the couple expects him to pay for his own wedding gear. In the case of South Asian weddings, men often wear kurtas or sherwanis - which aren't as expensive as tuxes, but can still be a hefty amount. Ask ahead to make sure you're ready for taking on such expenses.

Photo via Sheeba & Subin's Wedding

Don't forget that a destination wedding will mean you have to splurge for airfare and hotel stay. Account for such finances, and keep money aside for groom entourage spending like the bachelor party and a wedding present.

3. Plan early

If you are planning a bachelor party for the groom, you'll need to plan ahead much more in advance than for a Western wedding. In South Asian weddings, multiple pre-wedding events occur prior to the big day. Even if the groom isn't present at all of these events (mehndis are sometimes women only), he'll need to be nearby because the ceremony won't be long to follow.

Photo via Celia & Amit's Wedding

Never plan the bachelor party for the week before, or even Hangover-style night before, the wedding. You'll need to account for all the wedding events before the ceremony itself, so give yourself at least a month before the events to have your boys' night out. After all, you want the groom to enjoy himself and not worry about relatives flying in for the wedding or last minute runs he'll need to do.

4. Consider gifts

South Asian weddings undergo many gift exchanges between the families of the bride and the groom, as a symbol of welcoming each other into their respective households. While a groomsman/Best Man might not be expected to help out much with the actual wedding planning, he'll need to be on hand to make sure the groom's gifts are selected and ready.

A groom will typically gift every important member of the bride's family - including the parents, siblings, grandparents, and other close relatives. Offer to help the groom pick out these gifts, or maybe help him write cards. This process can be exhausting, and the groom will surely appreciate his friends' advice and assistance for it.

5. Be prepared

In order to ensure that the groom has a fun-filled wedding, you should be prepared for any mishaps that may occur. A bridesmaid might need to be ready for wardrobe malfunctions or impromptu headaches, but these maladies aren't limited to women alone. The groom will be just as busy and tired greeting guests, staying chirpy, and changing for different events.

Photo via Sarah & Michael's Wedding

Having some aspirin and tissues on hand will help the groom look his best in photos, and your positive attitude will energize the guests as they flit from ceremony to ceremony. Think in advance for what the groom might need from you so that you can anticipate any disasters and help the lovebirds achieve their perfect wedding day.