Choosing your groomsmen can be about as delicate a task as orchestrating the Wye River Accord. Your best buddies, college roommates, brothers, cousins, and even long-lost elementary school friends may be vying for the coveted position of best man. It’s a tough task, but here’s how it’s done.

How many?

You can choose as many (or as few) groomsmen as you like. The groomsmen often wear two hats, doubling as ushers and seating the guests. (In general, you’ll need one usher for every 50 guests.) But, the lad s also escort the bridesmaids down the aisle, so you may want to keep the boy/girl ratio even, although that’s up to you and your fiance. If you decide to have just a few groomsmen but would like to include more friends or male relatives, get them in on the action by having them just seat your guests. That way you’ll be able to include everyone and avoid bitter comments at the reception.

What about her brother? Or your sister?

The choice is yours and yours alone, right? Well, the choice of best man should be yours, but your bride may have her heart set on a favorite brother as groomsman. As long as you can stand the guy, you’d do well to play along. The opposite is true too: If you’d like your favorite sister to serve as bridesmaid, your bride will probably agree. You needn’t stick with tradition, though. If you two are open-minded types, your sister can stand on your side – in an official groomsman role – and your fiancee’s brother can stand on her side .

Who should be best man?

Who to pick for the sought after role of best man? Well, for starters, he should have a modicum of taste, since he’ll make the first toast at the reception and you’d probably prefer that he avoid any inappropriate remarks. He should also be responsible, since he’ll hold the ring until you slip it onto your new wife’s finger. Plus, the more dependable the fellow, the more wedding-related duties you can dump on him. Most importantly – he should be fun, fun, fun, since it’s his job to organize the bachelor party.

Choose someone who’s an active part of your – and your fiancee’s – life. The night before your wedding is not the best time to discover that you and your best friend from high school don’t have much in common anymore. You don’t need any more tension – you’ll be stressed already. It’s best to have a comfortable presence beside you before, during, and after the ceremony. With this in mind, pick someone who won’t forget the ring/show up with a raging hangover/try to hit on your fiance’s younger sister – and then breathe a sigh of relief.

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