Congratulations! You’ve been selected as a best man – what an honour! Now it’s time to think about the big day and what best man duties will be assigned to you.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the best man’s duties don’t extend much further than delivering a cracking speech and propping up the bar. While you’ll still get to really enjoy the day, you will have a few responsibilities to take care of, both at the wedding itself and on the days leading up to it.
So, notebook and pen at the ready, best man – here are your duties.
Before the big day
Provide moral support
Chances are, the groom has chosen you as his best man because you’ve been a good mate to him throughout the years, and it’s likely he’ll need your support even more in the months leading up to the wedding. While it’s traditionally the bride who takes on the bulk of the wedding planning, the groom will be involved in key decision making too, so make sure you’re on hand for problem solving and offering helpful suggestions. Expect to be involved in one of the biggest decisions of all, too: choosing the suits.
Get to know the groomsmen
This is a big best man responsibility. You’ll be responsible for rounding up the groomsmen, making sure they make it to any suit fittings or other appointments and know what their responsibilities are on the big day. If you aren’t already pals, it might be a good idea to arrange a night out to get to know each other better too.
Plan the stag
So, the groom might like to take the lead on planning the stag himself, or he might turn to you to make the arrangements. Either way, you should definitely have some input into the stag night or weekend, by planning a few surprises or special touches (comedy t-shirts are a stag staple, are they not?). If your groom has opted to make most of the arrangements himself, offer to help out with things like booking flights and accommodation or sorting a venue. Offer to round up the troops and keep everyone informed of plans so he doesn’t have to. If you’re taking on the planning, chat to the groom to get a feel for the kind of stag he might like and take it from there. Remember to enlist the help of the groomsmen too.
On the big day
Get dressed with the groom and groomsmen
A simple task, but as you’re the best man, it’s important you check the whole troop is dressed correctly. Remember to check that everyone is wearing their buttonholes, check in with the groom who might be feeling nervous and keep a tight eye on time. It’s traditional for the bride to be late to the ceremony, not the groom!
Keep the rings safe
If you only remember to do one thing on the morning of the wedding, make sure it’s keeping the rings safe, if you’ve also been entrusted as the ring bearer. For security, place them in a pouch inside one of your suit pockets.
Stand next to the groom
You’re going to be right next to the groom during one of the biggest moments of his life – when he stands at the top of aisle and awaits the arrival of his bride. Once you’ve got him to the ceremony on time, you don’t really have to do anything at this point – except refrain from jokes about the bride not showing up.
Stand in the receiving line
After you’ve exited the ceremony (traditionally, the best man exits with the maid of honour, and the groomsmen follow with the other bridesmaids) you’ll be expected to stand next to the bride in the receiving line, if the couple has chosen to have one. This involves shaking hands with guests and thanking them for coming.
Guests may turn to you for crucial bits of information, so make sure you know the timeline for the day and other important bits of info, like where to leave wedding gifts and when dinner is being served.
Look after the groom
Nobody wants the groom to be face down in his dinner because he’s downed too many tequila shots between the ceremony and reception, and not eaten since breakfast, so as much as you might want to help him party, you’ll need to make sure he eats and limits his alcohol intake. No one’s saying he can’t let loose – just be sure he makes it past the speeches at least.
Deliver a killer speech
Ah, the part every best man either fears or looks forward to the most. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t be too liquored up when giving your speech, and it’s generally best to keep it short and sweet. Fortunately, if funny is what you’re after, we’ve got lots of advice for delivering a laugh out loud speech here.
Dance with the maid of honour
It’s become less of a tradition in recent years for the best man to dance with the maid of honour after the first dance, but if the couple are forgoing this element, you aren’t off the hook. You’ll still be expected to be one of the first on the floor and to get the other guests up and dancing.
After the big day
Look after the gifts
You might be entrusted with rounding up all the couples’ wedding gifts at the end of the night. If you are, you may also be asked to store them while the couple are on honeymoon.
Round up the rentals
There’s one last responsibility entrusted to you, and that’s to make sure the groomsmen return their rented suits.
Once you’ve done all that, give yourself a pat on the back – you put the best in best man.