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Weddings

This Is How Much It Costs To Be A Groomsman Right Now

Turns out bridesmaids aren't the only ones shelling out big bucks.

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So let me be first to say, YOU'RE WRONG, MINDY KALING.

Well, kind of. The time and money drain on bridesmaids is well documented. And while no, guys don't usually have to go to a bridal shower (although, ahem, they should), and hair and makeup costs are virtually nonexistent, there's certainly more to being a groomsman than picking up a rental tux and throwing dollar bills at strippers at the bachelor party.

To get to the bottom of it, we asked men tell us much they spent, how it broke down, and how they felt about it. The lowest amount we got was $160 and the highest was $2,960 — and from the 22 responses, it's clear that men in weddings have it no easier women.

Here are some of their stories...

1. Chris, $350

Age: 23

Wedding location and date: August 2013 in Atlanta

Relationship with the groom: High school best friend

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

We rented out suits, but opted to wear jackets instead of vests. This kept the cost of the whole rental around $95. The groom actually bought us a pair of white high top Converses to wear as a gift and the best man bought the ties for us the day of the wedding. Somehow, they matched the girls' dresses perfectly.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

$70. Due to time constraints, this consisted of drinking and playing video games all night at the best man's house. All I did was buy the alcohol and order pizza.

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

None — the venue was local.

Did you give a gift?

In lieu of a gift, I paid for their hotel room the night of the wedding. It probably cost around $130.

How did the groom and/or his family help keep costs down?

His family worked tirelessly to try and keep costs down. Her parents were insistent on paying only for certain pieces and not the whole day, so we arranged the majority of the decorations and his extended family provided a lot of the food/alcohol.

Any final thoughts?

I was very excited to be a part of his wedding. He is in active service and was only home for he week before so there was a lot of work done in those seven days. I felt that the cost of being in this wedding was fairly low compared to others that I've been in. We really cut out all of the frivolous expenses and still had an incredible time.

I'm planning my own wedding now, and as much I love idea of fun/unique groomsmen gifts, I'll probably just help pay for a lot of the things that I'm asking them to wear that day, such as a tie or shoes.

2. Zach, $800

Age: 30

Wedding location and date: September 2013 in Tarrytown, New York

Relationship with the groom: Middle/high school friend

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

The suit rental was like $200 or so? I did not choose it, it was a horrible, oversized rental from Men's Warehouse. Or Wearhouse. I forget if they go for the pun or not. They measure you and then promptly give you a suit five times too big. I went to pick it up and the pants were literally falling off me. I had to complain and get them to change the size, and after that, the suit was only two times too big.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

The bachelor party was in Atlantic City. I'd say it was about $450–500. We stayed in some run-down hotel that was still insanely expensive. The best man didn't book it until, like, three minutes before we were supposed to be there, and it was summer, so we got plowed on the price. I shared a room with two dudes and a bed with one. The rest of the money was partially spent on strip clubs, obviously. I hate strip clubs, but the best man did not, so that was joyful. We also went to a steakhouse, of course — because we are men and must make sure our colons won't make it past age 50 without getting cancery. I got chicken because I love my colon and it was still insanely expensive. It was nice of some people to order Scotch and then divide up the tab. Travel was pretty cheap. I drove down with a friend, so those expenses were just gas/tolls/snacks.

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

Travel to the wedding was cheap — it was just a few towns over from where I lived.

Did you give a gift?

I did; it was a check because no one actually wants a present. Anyone who pretends they have a registry is just doing it because they want cash but are too scared to be perceived as being money-hungry. I think I gave $150?

How did the groom and/or his family help keep costs down?

File not found.

Any final thoughts?

It was too much to spend on a tangential friend. I felt sorta blindsided when he asked me. We weren't very close, but he called me up and asked me and I said yes. If it had been email or text, I might've said no, given that we weren't close and weddings are intolerable. This guy had the most generic wedding with the most insipid hired-gun officiant and we all had to act like it was Disney magic.

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3. Max, $1,750

Age: 37

Wedding location and date: December 2007 in New York City

Relationship with the groom: Ex-boyfriend

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

It was a rental. I showed up to the rental shop, they told me which one the groom had chosen, they measured me, and I paid. I picked it up the day before the wedding and I returned it after the wedding. It was about $200 to rent it, including shoes and socks.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

I spent about $330 on the bachelor party weekend. The bachelor party was in Houston, about four hours from where I live, so at least I didn't have to spend money on airfare. I spent about $60 in gas to drive to Houston. It was another $120 for my hotel room for one night (I didn't want to have to share with any of the other guys — they were all straight). I spent $20 on a brewery tour (I don't even drink beer). I spent about $50 at dinner. The guys then wanted to go to a strip club. Being gay, I had no interest, but went along anyway. The club sent over a bunch of girls to our table. I told the girl "assigned" to me that I was gay right at the beginning of the night. I gave her $50 and we just ended up talking the whole night. All of the other guys got wasted, so I was the designated driver back to the hotel. After tucking all of them in, it was still early. So I decided to go out to a gay bar in Houston. One of the other groomsman said he wanted to tag along, for the experience. I was a little taken aback, but I agreed to let him come. We went out, danced, and had fun. I only spent about $30 for drinks and cover at the bar. The next morning, the guys went golfing, but I decided to skip out and drive back home.

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

The total wedding weekend cost me about $1,100. It was $450 for the flight from Dallas to New York. I spent another $300 for two hotel nights. I spent about $150 on cabs/subway over the course of the weekend. Food and drinks were included at the rehearsal dinner and wedding. I spent about $200 on other meals/drinks.

Did you give a gift?

I gave them a gift for their kitchen off their registry. I don't even remember what it was, but I spent $100 on it.

How did the groom and/or his family help keep costs down?

I was never asked for my input, but I knew I would be able to afford it, so it wasn't really a concern of mine. The other groomsmen lived in New York, so they didn't have to pay for airfare like I did. But the groom's family paid for the rehearsal dinner and drinks. They also rented a shuttle on the day of the wedding to transport the groomsmen to and from the hotel and wedding venue. Also, our groomsmen gifts were personalized cuff links. We wore them in the wedding and I have worn them many times since.

Any final thoughts?

It felt really strange. He and I had dated for several years in college. We remained friends after we broke up, but it hadn't worked out between us because he was bisexual and ultimately wanted to end up with a woman. As far as I know, his bride doesn't know he and I were an item before he met her. She just thinks I'm his token gay friend. I really debated about agreeing to be in his wedding, because at the time, I wasn't over him yet.

It's definitely more challenging to be in a wedding in an expensive city like New York, but luckily, I was able to afford it. I was glad the bachelor party was close enough to home to avoid airfare. This was my fifth time being a groomsman, so I sort of already knew the protocol, that there would be substantial expense being in an out-of-town wedding. I also knew what I was willing to put up with (strip club) and not put up with (6 a.m. tee time), planned accordingly, and set expectations with the other groomsmen. Most guys don't understand that being in a wedding party is a commitment. You are expected to spend money. You are expected to show up on time. And all without complaint. I agreed, so I did everything asked of me without complaining.

4. Ryan, $160

Age: 37

Wedding location and date: November 2009 in Kansas City

Relationship with the groom: Former roommates

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

We wore traditional black rental tuxedos. I spent $40, the groom spent $50. Like every rental tux, it wasn't tailored well and didn't fit at all. The jacket fit my shoulders, which left a billowing excess of fabric around my stomach. The pants rode up so high that by the end of the photo session they were two inches above my shoes. We still love making fun of those pictures.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

I was unemployed in the summer before the wedding, so I planned a CHEAP bachelor party, and everyone had a blast. The theme was whiskey, red meat, and electric guitars. We met for drinks, then walked to a steakhouse. After dinner we saw three bands we'd never heard of at a great venue, had a few drinks, and then half the party took cabs home and the other half crashed at my house. The cost was under $100 per person. Maybe a little more if you count the greasy diner breakfast in the morning.

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

Nothing.

Did you give a gift?

No. I was teaching part time when they got married, but I designed their invitations and helped build centerpieces.

How did the groom and/or his family help keep costs down?

In lieu of buying a groomsman gift, the groom paid the first $50 of my tuxedo rental fee. It was much better than the typical engraved flask that will never be used again or disposable technology gadget.

Any final thoughts?

I think groomsmen have it easier than bridesmaids because the cultural expectations are more reasonable. Groomsmen are not supposed to be backup dancers or clones or servants. They are just men in their best clothes, standing up to support a friend as he begins a new chapter in his life.

5. Nick, $500

Age: 29

Wedding location and date: May 2009 in Oxford, Ohio

Relationship with the groom: Cousin

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

The groom selected a basic tux for all the groomsmen to wear. It was around $150 for the rental, and the retailer was a large national chain, so it was pretty easy to go get measured and then pick up the tux. I felt weird at the time wearing rented clothing, but looking back at the photos, everyone looked really nice. And I never would have been able to afford to buy a tux or even a suit at the time, so renting was definitely the most cost-effective option.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

We stayed in Chicago (where I live) for the bachelor party, so there were no travel expenses other than a few cab rides, which probably amounted to more than $25 per person. We went out for a really nice steak dinner, which cost way more than I could typically afford to spend on dinner back then: around $100 a piece for food and drinks. From there we went to a few different strip joints. As the only gay guy at the party, I wasn't shelling out any money for lap dances, but since most of those places have a drink minimum, I probably spent another $75 at strip clubs. No regrets; it was certainly entertaining!

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

My boyfriend and I caught a ride with another one of my cousins (who was also a groomsman in the wedding) and his wife. The town where the wedding took place was fairly small, so the hotel where we stayed for two nights was modest and not too expensive. I spent about $150 for the hotel.

Did you give a gift?

I didn't get them anything on my own (again, I was young and really broke), but I'm sure my parents signed my name on the card for whatever they gifted the bride and groom. The wedding was really important to my father, because his older brother, the father of the groom, had died after a long illness a few years before the wedding. I'm guessing he went big on the gift/cash that he gave to the newlyweds.

How did the groom and/or his family help keep costs down?

My cousin and his bride are pretty chill, so it was a modestly elegant affair. I think the bride and her family took care of most of the planning (since both the ceremony and reception took place on her family farm). And my cousin gave all the groomsmen a really nice thank-you gift: a monogrammed pocket knife, compass, and flashlight set, all of which I've used for camping in the years since.

Any final thoughts?

I come from a tight-knit family and have a great relationship with all of my cousins, so I was really happy to be a part of this particular wedding. I'm really fortunate to have the family that I do! I have only fond memories of the whole experience — no drama, just a good time had by all.

I spent more than I could really afford at that point in my life, but I didn't bring it up since I really wanted to be a part of it. It was very important to the couple to be surrounded by friends and family, and I think if at any point I had said I wasn't able to afford some component of it, someone in the family would've stepped in to help me out.

6. Tom, $1,300

Age: 37

Wedding location and date: September 2015 in Michigan

Relationship with the groom: Friends since elementary school

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

We had to rent tuxes for about $185. For that price, I would have rather bought a suit that I could have kept. They were nice looking tuxes, though.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

The bachelor party was in our hometown, about five hours from St. Louis. I stayed with my parents so the only travel expense was $80 in gas. We rented a 12-passenger van for $15 each and drove it around all day. We went golfing, to the casino, out to eat, three different bars, and a strip club. I think I spent around $300.

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

The drive was eight hours each way, plus a lot of driving from town to town for various events. I spent about $250 on gas. The hotel was $400 for three nights. Plus, we made various stops for food...

Did you give a gift?

My wife bought them a $50 statue keepsake thing.

How did the groom and/or his family help keep costs down?

The family provided a rehearsal dinner and the groom gave all the groomsmen really nice gift bags with our favorite booze, personalized mugs, cigars, and a gift card.

Any final thoughts?

He was in my wedding and I knew I would be in his. We've been brothers from other mothers for 25 years. He also gave us plenty of advance notice about everything, so that helped. The cost of the wedding meant that my wife and I had to cancel our plans for our anniversary trip, but it was worth it for a great friend who is really more like family.

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7. JR*, $1,000

Age: 23

Wedding location and date: December 2014 in San Antonio

Relationship with the groom: High school friend

How much did you spend on the suit or tux?

We were told to wear black suits, which I didn't own, so I spent $25 on the suit. I found a deal on eBay! Then another $25 on getting a hole patched up on the shoulder. I haven't worn it again and I sold it on eBay after the wedding.

How much did you spend on the bachelor party?

I spent $100 on the bachelor party. We went shotgun shooting, then went to some shitty BBQ joint. Then, after everyone passed out for the night, me, the groom, and another groomsmen went to a karaoke bar. It was an awful experience overall, because for half the day, I was jammed in a Honda Civic with four other huge dudes because the guy in charge didn't want to take two cars.

How much did you spend on travel for wedding?

The flight was $500. The bride's family lived in town so I was able to take a couch for a few days to keep my expenses cheap. Food was about $100 for the few days.

Did you give a gift?

I spent $100 on the gift, which was knifes, a food processor, and a Slapchop cutter.

Any final thoughts?

I actually wasn't allowed into the ceremony; I was "invited" because the bride had way more bridesmaids than the groom had groomsmen so my sole purpose was to be there for the reception and pictures so all the bridesmaids had a "date." So I basically dropped close to $1,000 to pay for my drinks, have to talk to a girl who had a boyfriend for a half hour, and get my photo taken with a group.

The wedding wasn't open bar so I ran up a tab of about $50 at the reception.

Interviews have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

*Names have been changed.

  1. Now tell us: How much did you spend to be a groomsman?

    Less than $100
    $100–$500
    $500-$1,000
    $1,000–$2,000
    $2,000–$3,000

This Is How Much It Costs To Be A Groomsman Right Now

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Now tell us: How much did you spend to be a groomsman?
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    Less than $100
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    $100–$500
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    $500-$1,000
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    $1,000–$2,000
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    $2,000–$3,000

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