The groom’s second in command is the best man, his main supporter, and confidant, the Robin to his Batman. Though being the best man can be a lot of fun, “Best Man” is not just an honorary title or ceremonial role; whoever fills this role has several important duties before, during, and after the wedding.
So what does being the best man entail? And how can he provide the support the groom needs on his wedding day?
The best man (or best person) is usually a close friend or male relative who the groom asks to be a part of the wedding party. The best man is generally the groom’s closest friend or sibling, someone who knows them well and has provided loyal support over the years.
Some grooms choose to have two best men. If that’s your plan, sit down with your best men before the wedding and divide the responsibilities. If the two men you choose have different strengths, divide the tasks accordingly. Maybe one of your best men can lead the conga line while the other keeps the wedding rings safe, guiding the ring bearer at the wedding ceremony.
Other grooms prefer to have a woman as the best man. If the groom is close to his sister or his best friend is female, no rule says they can’t fill the role. You just might need to get creative with the attire.
The best man has specific and general responsibilities at all stages of the wedding, from planning to post-reception. Learn what the role entails and how you can best support the groom on the wedding day.
The best man’s main job before the wedding is a fun one: planning the bachelor party. As the best man, you spearhead this task. That means brainstorming location and event ideas, helping set a budget, and considering transportation and accommodations.
The best man should get the groom’s input before making bachelor party decisions. Find out what he’s thinking in terms of activities and cost, and ask him what he would like the party’s tone to be. Some grooms dream of Vegas, while others would be just as happy gathering at a local bar.
Before the wedding, the best man must acquire appropriate attire. Some couples have dress codes for their weddings, while others are more casual. Plan ahead of whatever you’re wearing, so you have time to assemble your outfit and make any necessary alterations.
Some best men also take charge of attire for the other groomsmen since you can sometimes save money by ordering suits or tuxedos as a group. This can include gathering everyone’s measurements, setting a deadline for ordering tuxedos, and placing the order.
The best man should expect to attend both the ceremony rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, along with any other planned groomsmen activities. Edward Harris, CEO and founder of Phoenix Reviews, says, “Grooms, it’s important for your potential best man [or best person] to know what is expected of them, so clearly let them know right away.” If you can’t commit to the time and expectations, you may be better off deferring the role to someone who can.
When the day of the wedding ceremony arrives, there will be a lot to do, and things can get hectic. The best man can help the bride and groom by taking care of the tasks they either logistically can’t do or don’t have time to handle. Best man’s duties can include:
Traditionally, the best man holds the wedding bands during the ceremony until needed, although some wedding parties have a ring bearer
When standing next to the groom at the altar, try not to fuss with your clothes or fidget. During the ceremony, all the attention should be on the bride and groom. Save your dance moves and personality for the reception.
The best man is responsible for giving a speech at the wedding reception that honors the groom and his new wife. Your speech is a chance for you to celebrate the couple. It could include stories from when the couple first started dating, highlights from their relationship, or funny anecdotes about the groom. As the best man, you know the groom better than anyone, so try not to resort to meaningless cliches and generalizations.
Your speech can be funny, but try not to poke excess fun at the bride, groom, or maid of honor. Keep it genial and light-hearted, and save the embarrassing stories for later.
As well as giving a speech, the best man should make an effort to ensure that the other guests are enjoying themselves. Be friendly and polite to everyone, but make a special effort to talk to the groom’s family. The groom may be busy with his new wife, so take steps to make his family feel included and appreciated.
There will probably be professional photographers capturing the day, but you might want to take some pictures of your own. Wedding photographers can snapshot beauty, but you can capture realness. You can also help get the party started by encouraging guests to hit the dance floor. If no one’s dancing, get up there and dance with the bride.
Even though the reception is a party, the best man should try to limit his alcohol intake or not drink at all. The last thing you want is to embarrass yourself or the couple on their important day. Additionally, the couple may call on you to take care of responsibilities you couldn’t handle after drinking, like driving the grandparents home. Skip the booze and focus on being helpful.
After the reception, a few more responsibilities fall to the best man.
If the couple is heading off on their honeymoon directly after the reception, the best man can help coordinate their transportation. This is a chance to decorate the “getaway car” with streamers and good wishes.
If the groom changes clothes before leaving, it’s the best man’s job to collect and care for his wedding clothes. The best man may also be responsible for collecting and storing wedding gifts in a secure location while the couple is on their honeymoon.
The couple may also ask the best man to check to ensure all the vendors have been paid and dole out their tips. Whenever you’re handling money for the couple, keep a record of what and who you paid to avoid confusion later.
The best man’s primary responsibility is to show unwavering support to the groom throughout the stressful wedding planning process and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with him at the altar as he enters a new stage of life.
The specifics are important too, but the groom probably asked you to be the best man because he loves you, not because you’re detail-oriented. Enjoy this chance to celebrate love with the guy who deserves it.
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