The Groom’s Salon (Podcast)

Maureen Woodman, a wedding planner for catered events at the Essex Room, talks about the groom’s salon, a room where the men in the wedding party get ready.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Maureen Woodman, a wedding planner for on and off site catered events at the Essex Room in Essex, Massachusetts. Today we’re talking about the groom’s salon. Welcome Maureen.

Maureen Woodman: Hi John. Thanks for having me.

What is the Groom’s Salon?

John: Sure. So Maureen, at the Essex Room, you have a bridal suite where the bride and the bridesmaids get together before the wedding ceremony and they get dressed there and do their makeup and things like that. You call kind of the equivalent of that for the guys of the groom’s salon and you have a couple of options for that. What’s the purpose of that room and what kind of options do you have at the Essex Room?

Maureen: So as the Essex Room, we have the lounge upstairs, the Steamship Lounge, which everyone loves that and then downstairs we have the Lobster Trap Pub, which is much larger.

Maureen: If we’re doing an outside ceremony, we tend to put the groomsmen in the Lobster Trap Pub because they have more time. They can get upstairs and it’s easier traveling; the weather’s probably nicer if we’re doing the ceremony outside and then when we do the ceremony onsite, inside, due to inclement weather or the winter, we have a tendency to put them in the lounge upstairs because they’re at the end of the room and that’s where they’re going to walk out into the wedding. So, they have to kind-of be protected and again, keeping them away from the wedding party if they’re superstitious and they don’t want to see each other.

Maureen: When they come, usually the groomsmen are dressed, again different than the bridesmaids or the bride. They usually come in some other clothing. They have a hard time tying a bow tie. Most of them I would say like to have a pre-done bow tie or a clip on. Once in a while we’ll get some people that can tie a bow tie. Again, the wedding planners at Woodman’s are pretty good at doing that.

The flowers will come, so we’ll have to put on their boutonniere while they’re there. We usually try to feed them some snacks or something and we try to keep them from drinking any alcohol so that they get through their ceremony. The groomsmen kind of come separately. They always seem to come in their own car, so they’re coming in one at a time. Again, where the girls have a tendency to come altogether. So I think that’s one of the things and we just like to give them a space where they can get together, go over what they’re going to do, usually the officiant will stay with the groom as well, not the bride. So he’s in there telling them what’s going to happen and where they’re going to go and what they’re going to do.

I think a lot of times you may see the best man preparing his speech or going over his speech while he’s waiting in there. But overall, the groom himself is traditionally fairly quiet.

What Happens in the Groom’s Salon?

John: Interesting. So what are some of the things maybe that a couple could do to make the groomsmen time in the groom’s salon kind of fun and entertaining.

Maureen: I think that maybe just the camaraderie, telling stories, how they grew up together. I definitely think food’s important. It’s also a great time, especially if you have a lot of brothers in your wedding party or brother-in-law’s or your dad, if you’re lucky enough to have your dad, where you take a lot of photos.

The photographer spends a lot of time in there with the groomsmen while the bride is actually getting dressed, usually. They’ll come and take some really fun, candid, kind of joking photos of the groomsmen. So a lot of pictures happen in there, too.

But other than that, I would say that’s pretty, pretty much it. Hopefully the ring boy is in there, too, and he’s behaving, and somebody located the rings. That’s always something that we’re looking for; make sure the rings are in a safe place.

Again, if anyone’s doing any readings, usually some of the groomsmen or whoever’s doing that, is also in the groom’s salon with them. Most of the time they’re just practicing what’s going to happen at the ceremony. Once they’re through the ceremony, I think they’re relieved. They’re going to the party after that.

John: Right and they don’t really go back to the groom’s salon or the bridal suite after the ceremony because they’re off probably taking pictures and then entering into the hall for the rest of the reception. Right?

Maureen: Probably a lot of phone charging going on and that groom’s salon and they probably, maybe they go back and get their phone if they’re behaved and they don’t take the phone to the ceremony. Right? They probably might go back there just to see if they left anything because they forgot it because they were so nervous. But traditionally they don’t, they really don’t go back to the groom’s room that much.

John: So at the Essex Room you have, you mentioned one of the rooms called the Lobster Trap Pub, which is downstairs and that room has some pool tables and things like that. Do you find that when people use that room that they engage in maybe playing a little bit of pool or ping pong or something like that?

Maureen: Definitely. When they’re downstairs, they will play ping pong, they’ll throw darts, they’ll play pool. If there happens to be a sporting event on the day of the wedding, they’ll have the game on, depending on which season and what sport is playing at the time. But, they do like the pool table, there’s no doubt about it, and I think that just gives them something to do to take up the time.

I think if they had the choice, most of them would choose to go to the Lobster Trap Pub as opposed to the lounge because it does have the game tables.

John: Any sort of final thoughts on the groom’s salon and how important that is for the guys before the wedding ceremony to get together and chill out with each other and talk and that sort of thing?

Maureen: I think it’s a nice space to have. A lot of event venues, some of them have very small brides rooms. Hardly any of them have anywhere to put the guys and I think for them to have their own space, just takes the pressure off them a little bit. Gives them a little time. I think it’s nice to have a mirror in there wherever they are so they can check themselves out, make sure they look good before they walked down the aisle. But I think they like having their own special place and like I said, I really don’t know many venues that offer a groom salon as well as a bride’s room. But we do. We have the two of them at the Essex Room.

John: All right. That’s great information, Maureen. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Maureen: Thanks John. Thanks for having me.

John: For more information, you can visit the Essex Room website at or call 978-768-7335.