How do I replace a fallen groomsman?
“One of my groomsmen called me to let me know his wife’s mother is seriously ill.
Because they are taking on her bills–and taking her into their home–he will be unable to come to our wedding which is next summer.
I have a friend who was in the running to be a groomsman but I ended up not asking him. Is it rude to ask him to be a groomsman now if I explain the situation to him? The wedding is in Massachusetts and he lives in Michigan.”
-The Plunge Reader
Nope. Go for it.
Does he already know–the new guy, that is–that you selected your original groomsmen months ago? If not, don’t even bother dragging up all the details. He’s in, and that’s that.
If it’s clear that he’s a second-stringer, so to speak, tell him that you originally wanted him to be a groomsman, but you simply didn’t have enough slots. Technically this is true. He has no reason to feel slighted or grumpy. He’ll be honored. (If he’s not, he’s kinda being a dick.)
See also: Can Your Best Man Do All This?
On a more general note, and at the risk of making a gender stereotype (our first!), this is why it’s good to be a guy. When it comes to matter of decorum and formalities, at the end of the day… we just don’t give a shit. Even if you did sorta slight your friend (you didn’t), he might be initially miffed, but, well, he’ll get over it. This won’t cause a rift. He won’t sulk and complain and lead a passive-aggressive insurrection: that’s the job of the bridesmaids.
In general, when in doubt, trust your bonds of friendship. Trust that your good friends are your good friends. Friendships are long, weddings are short.