It’s not just the father of the bride that has major responsibilities on (and before) the wedding day—there’s plenty for the father of the groom to take care of, too. The groom’s father is probably already aware that they should make a toast at the reception, but there are few other ways they can help the couple get ready for the big day and help it go smoothly when it arrives.
In the past, it was traditional for the bride’s parents to cover all costs associated with the wedding. These days, more often than not, it’s a group effort. So, the father of the groom should be prepared to actively participate in wedding budget conversations if they know they’ll be helping out. Money aside, they’ll take on some important roles come wedding day, too, like greeting guests and participating in special dances. The most important thing they can do throughout the process, though, is support their child, offer advice, and calm any nerves their child might have on or before the wedding day.
From hosting the rehearsal dinner to dancing with the bride, here are the top father of the groom duties before and during the wedding.
Duties Before the Wedding
Order a Tux or Suit
If the father of the groom doesn’t already have a suit on standby, they’ll need to buy or rent their suit—and this should be done sooner rather than later. When the groom and their party are ordering their attire (ideally five months before the wedding), the groom’s dad can tag along and get their own suit or tux. If the wedding party is getting a discount, they’ll be eligible for the discount, too. If they are so inclined, the father of the groom may offer to foot the bill for their child’s wedding-day attire in addition to their own.
Host (or Attend) the Rehearsal Dinner
Traditionally, the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner, which usually takes place the night before the wedding. This is the groom’s father’s opportunity to act as the host for the evening, helping plan the event in honor of the couple. The groom’s father can help by getting in touch with the wedding party and close family to solidify attendance, booking the venue, helping decide on the menu, and covering some of the costs, if applicable. If they don’t host, they should attend with a gift. They can also opt to host the engagement party instead.
Hang Out With the Guys
If the groom and their father are close, they might want to invite their dad to join them to get ready the morning of the wedding, whether it’s an early round of golf or hanging out and watching football as everyone puts on their tuxedos. (They’ll be extra handy when it comes time to tie the groom’s bow tie!) This is also a great opportunity for the father of the groom to offer some words of wisdom and have a genuine moment together. They may choose to exchange small gifts or just take a walk and chat before sharing some Champagne with the wedding party.
Duties During the Wedding
Walk Down the Aisle
Chief among father of the groom duties is walking the groom’s mother down the aisle. If the groom’s parents are divorced and the father is remarried, they should, instead, escort their new spouse down the aisle and to their seat. In certain ceremonies, the father of the groom will also walk their son down the aisle.
Greet Guests in the Receiving Line
If the couple are having a receiving line, the groom’s father should participate as well, standing alongside their child’s spouse’s parents and welcoming guests. A receiving line is when the couple and their parents line up and greet guests as they enter the cocktail hour or reception. It’s a great way to thank each guest for coming and put a name to everyone’s face. If the fathers would rather mingle than stand in the receiving line, that’s an option, too.
Even if the groom’s family isn’t contributing to the cost of the wedding, the groom’s parents should act as cohosts, welcoming everyone and making sure they’re comfortable throughout the evening.
Give a Toast
It’s not just the father of the bride that has to grab the mic during the reception. Traditionally, there’s a father of the groom speech, as well. You’ll want to keep your toast short and sweet, but be sure to tell your son how much you love them, address their new spouse, thank everyone for coming to the wedding, and offer some parting wisdom or advice for the newlyweds.
Dance With Your Child’s Spouse
Once dancing starts, the father of the groom should make a point to dance with your child’s spouse. These dances don’t necessarily have a time carved out for them like the newlyweds’ first dance or the father-daughter dance. You can pull them onto the dancefloor immediately following the first few dances or at any other point in the night.
Mix and Mingle
Last but not least, the father of the groom should make an effort to mix and mingle with everyone. Throughout the evening, they should socialize with guests, especially their new in-laws—after all, everyone’s family now! They’ll probably want to meet some of their new in-law’s friends and family, and the reception is a great time to do so.