Firing a groomsman isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, but when a groomsman isn’t participating in the wedding or otherwise misbehaving, it can be easy to send that “you’re fired” text. Instead of acting rashly, we recommend taking a deep breath and a few steps back. Remember that firing a groomsman means your friendship is effectively over, and that may be something you’ll regret years down the road.
So before firing a groomsman, follow these five steps.
Figure out what's REALLY going on.
There can be lots of reasons why a groomsman isn’t performing his duties. It could be something personal—perhaps he’s dealing with family, work, or financial issues that he hasn’t made public yet. Or he’s concerned that your friendship will effectively be over once you’ve gotten married. Maybe he’s feeling some level of jealousy. Or maybe you’re being more demanding than he expected. Whatever the reason, it’s important to hear him out. Before simply firing a groomsman, ask him to meet up for coffee or a beer (or if he’s not local, a call or FaceTime) to discuss your concerns. Speak to him as calmly as possible. You could open by saying: “I’m really happy that I have you as a groomsman, but I’m noticing that you don’t seem into it. What’s up?” Then, let him talk—no interrupting. He very well may tell you what’s going on so you can work it out. If he simply says “nothing,” then try the next step.
Spend some (not wedding-related) time together.
If your groomsman isn’t opening up about why he’s shunning all things wedding-related, try to bond with him in other ways. Remember that your life shouldn't revolve around wedding planning and neither should your friendships. Meet up for happy hour, invite him for a round of golf or a gym outing, or see if wants to join you for a Stranger Thingsbinge—or if you live far away, try to text or call him more. The more time you spend together, the more likely he is to open up—or perhaps just the fact that you’re hanging out more will make him more willing to help out with the wedding. You’ll also remember why you became friends in the first place, which will make you less inclined to fire him.
If you still don’t notice a positive change after talking to and spending more time together, instead of simply firing the groomsman, ask him directly if he still wants in. Don’t be passive-aggressive, but simply say: “Listen, I know you have a lot going on right now and I don’t want to force you to be a groomsman if you don’t want to. I’d still love to have you at the wedding, but if you’d prefer not to be a groomsman, just let me know.” He may simply be looking for permission to bow out, and will feel relieved that you asked. Or he may realize that he’s been in the wrong and will resolve to be more involved. Either way, asking him directly if he wants in or out might be a better way to approach this issue that firing a groomsman.
Get the other guys to help.
Your other groomsmen, and particularly your best man, might be the best resources for avoiding the urge to fire a groomsman. Talk to them about ways they can help include your troublesome groomsman more—perhaps he’s not one to take the initiative and needs a little hand-holding when it comes to his responsibilities. Or maybe he isn’t into planning the bachelor party but might be better suited to helping out on the wedding day. Remember that all groomsmen do not have to perform all duties. Let him help out as he can, and as long as the other groomsmen have it covered, try not to worry if one isn’t completely pulling his weight.
Give him another chance.
Unless he’s done something truly awful, firing a groomsman should be avoided at all costs. In the end, as long as he shows up on your wedding day, wears the required attire, and stands by your side at the altar, he’s pretty much fulfilling his role. And by handling any negative situations calmly and maturely instead of simply showing him the door, you may end up strengthening your friendship instead of destroying it. So yes, considering firing a groomsman is normal, but acting on it will likely be something you’ll regret.