While being asked to be the best man of your brother or friend is a serious honour, it is also a role packed with responsibility and not something that should be accepted without thought. The best man’s day is non-stop and it is often necessary to make a concerted effort to enjoy the day. If you are currently debating your choice of friend or relative to do the honours, or are considering a best man request yourself, here’s a breakdown of the best man role and the duties a best man should expect to perform before, during and after the big day.
The biggest duty of a best man before the wedding is to plan a stag party. This can be a lot fun if the best man knows all the groom’s mates, relations, and colleagues, and they all have the same views on what makes a suitable send off into married life. However, arranging a stag party can more difficult than it sounds there are a lot of diverse personalities and views to contend with.
The other main role of the best man in the wedding planning stage is going to wedding suit fittings with the groom, and making sure the ushers can also attend. Some best men are tasked with picking up hired formalwear, and for arranging hotel accommodation for himself and the groom the night before the big day.
It is the best man’s duty to make sure the groom gets to the ceremony on time, and he is likely to be the one dealing with any last minute jitters the groom may be feeling. The best man stays next to the groom at the front of the ceremony until the bride and her escort arrive.
Another key function of the best man during the marriage ceremony is to hold the wedding rings and to give them to the groom when instructed. The best man may also have to hold the cards that the groom’s vows are written on, or do a reading as part of the ceremony. He is also often a witness during the signing of the register.
The best man plays a very important role at the initial drinks reception while the couple is still in the wedding car or is busy having photos. He is there to mingle with friends and family and make introductions where necessary. If a guest is standing on their own, the best man should try to help them to mix and possibly propose they talk to another invitee who will be sitting on their table at dinner. He should ensure that all guests know where they are going and what is happening, and that they all have something to drink or nibble.
The best man will generally be asked to make a speech during or after the wedding meal. There is an expectation on him to be entertaining, and to tell some funny stories about the groom’s bachelor days, but the theme of the best man’s speech can also be thoughtful and profound.
The final duty of the best man during the wedding reception – and one that isn’t usually too taxing – is to dance with the maid of honour or head bridesmaid. Many newlywed couples feel self-conscious hitting the dance floor on their own for the first dance and asking the best man and the maid of honour to step in after a minute or so is a way to relieve the pressure on them to perform.
The best man might think his duties end with the last dance, but the groom might still want him to do a couple of things after the wedding, especially if the newlyweds are jetting off on honeymoon right after the party finishes. The best man may need to return the wedding suits, take delivery of wedding gifts, or even feed the couple’s cat while they’re away!