To properly understand the role of the groomsman we need to bring you back centuries, to the time when the Anglo-Saxon civilization was basically made up of small nomadic tribes spread over vast lands. Being nomadic carries the fact that your tribe would always move about never really settling in one place. Farming was not yet a practiced concept so in order to survive each tribe would use a combination of hunting or gathering supplies. Right there, you can imagine that in most cases the women would “gather” the items that can simply plucked in the surrounding areas while the men set off into groups or hunting packs.
Now place yourself in that situation and imagine yourself as a young virile man ready to make something of yourself and sow your royal oats. A female partner would be needed to attest your claim to the world and become a fully functional and productive member of your tribe. Unfortunately, the pickings were not always that attractive nor alluring since nomadic tribes tends to be very, very small. Another reason might be is that even early man to succumb to the saying that “the grass is always greener on the other side.” No choice, it had to be done. To get you the bride that you deserve would entail “hunting” for one from another tribe. Obviously this would not be a task done alone since “bride by capture” can never be seen as a friendly gesture in any time period, so you have to gather your team, your gang, your chosen men to assist you in this endeavor. The best of the best will be needed to assure total victory.
Chances are that looming battles will rage when you do capture your “bride” and make your escape. Since such an act will warrant revenge or a rescue party, it was evident that it became a tactic that the captured bride would be hidden in a secret area away from your own tribe to avoid causing more unnecessary bloodshed from reaching your camp. Her captors turn into her guardians as they must see to her safety until all the arrangements have been made for whatever pagan ceremony, rite or ritual was necessary for this coerced union. As the big day would arrive, these guardians or as they came to be called “Bride’s Knights” would also be tasked to deliver her to place of the wedding. Naturally this task would also include helping protect the groom himself. To do this, the knights would imitate the grooms attire in order to confuse any would be assassins or evil spirits that may have been cast upon the party.
Over time, these chosen men came to be called as the Groom’s men. Today, as less violent tasks are required to find a bride, the Groom still chooses his best men to be at his side. They may be the ones tasked to deliver a bottle of wine or a box of roses at her doorstep just to win her heart. But never the less each groomsman in today’s world must offer his best to ensure the success of the wedding plans. It’s always more than looking dashing for the pictures.
There may not be a structured list of what a groomsman must do on the wedding day besides walking down the aisle with the bridal party, but when the opportunity comes to protect the sanctity of the couples union, it comes with great hope that each groomsman will be determined to take positive action and deserve that place awarded to him by the Groom as you stand with him before God and Man on that altar.