12 Rules Every Groomsman Should Live By

Several months before my wife and I got married, we went to a bridal store so she could order her bridesmaids' dresses. She had looked through several catalogs, conferred with some of the bridesmaids, and landed on her choice. We sat down with the store assistant, and Toni showed her which style of dress she wanted.

"I'm sorry, we don't carry that style," said the assistant.

"Can I ask why?" Toni asked.

"Oh, because we think they're ugly," said the assistant, who apparently couldn't put two and two together without getting "potato."

The temperature in the store dropped 30 degrees as Toni shot the assistant her iciest stare. I swear, I saw the woman's breath as she stammered an apology, finally understanding why a young couple had come into her bridal store asking questions about bridesmaid dresses.

We left several minutes later and ordered the dresses from someone else.

I was reminded of that recently when I saw the list, 12 Rules Every Bridesmaid Should Live By, posted on WomanGettingMarried.com. It provided some sage advice for every woman who's asked to stand with the bride at her wedding .

For example, #2 said: "Don't complain about your bridesmaid dress unless the bride has complained about it first."

It's been 25 years since we were married, and Toni's bridesmaids still have not said a word.

I felt kind of good about #9, "Dance with the least attractive single groomsman at least once," because I can say I have never been asked to dance at a wedding.

Now that I say it out loud, it sounds more pathetic than getting five or six pity dances.

There's also my favorite, #8, "At no point should you be drunker than the bride." That's a pretty high bar, given rule #3: "Y'all need to eat before the wedding. There's an open bar ahead of you. (See #8)."

You've seen news stories about the weddings where bridesmaids managed to break rule #8. They usually involve the words "wedding party," "arrested," and "fistfight."

After reading these 12 rules, I realized groomsmen were in need of some of the same kind of sage advice to better handle their roles on the big day.

So I give you my 12 Rules Every Groomsman Should Live By.

1. Everything about this day has been planned to within an inch of its life. If you have any suggestions, keep them to yourself. And please do not say, "Next time you do this. . ."

2. Do not hook up with the bridesmaids. Seriously, I'm going on my honeymoon. I don't want to spend it with my new wife as she tries to pick up the pieces of your love-em-and-leave-em weekend.

3. Load up on carbs before the wedding. Her parents are paying for an open bar. (See #8).

4. Remember that thing we did at Tonka Steve's wedding? Don't do that. These tuxes are rentals and my grandmother is allergic to penguins.

5. I don't want to hear about your problems at work, or how your boss hates you, or how your girlfriend wants to leave early to beat traffic. Today is about me, so focus on what my needs and my stress levels. Ha ha, I'm just kidding. It's all about her. The last 12 months have been leading up to this day. I don't think she'd even notice if I ducked out early.

6. Seriously, don't hook up with the bridesmaids. One of them is married, one just got over a bad breakup, and one of them is seriously crazy. Like Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers crazy.

7. My father-in-law is letting me drive his car to the airport, and he's driving mine back to my place. So if you're going to soap and TP the car and tie cans to the bumper, remember to do it to his car, not mine. Because that's the one I'm driving to the airport. Totally not driving mine.

8. I know we have a long and rich history filled with more than a little rowdy debauchery. But my new in-laws are watching, so this is not the time to go out in a blaze of glory.

9. While we're at it, don't mention any of that stuff during the wedding speech. Anyone who mentions my ex or that time I nearly got stabbed at that strip club is going to get body slammed right in the middle of it and I'm not even kidding, Malcolm. Swear to God, right to the floor.

10. If all the bridesmaids want to dance with you, there may be a reason.

11. No, you cannot swap bridesmaids. I don't care if you don't get along or if you guys dated sophomore year. You only have to hold onto her arm for 30 seconds and walk 100 feet, you're not going to die.

12. I cannot stress this enough: Absolutely do not hook up with the bridesmaids. Curt did it at Tonka Steve's wedding and now he's married to her.

Photo credit: Jenny Mealing (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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