a groom chooses you to be the best man at his wedding, it's
perfectly normal to feel a little proud of yourself. It's also
normal to feel a bone-chilling dread creeping over you as you
realize what you've committed to. Actually, you've got it easy. When
the German Goths began the best man tradition nearly 2,000 years
ago, the best man had to fight off the bride's angry relatives when
the groom kidnapped her. All you've got to do is have a party, make
a toast, and make sure the wedding runs smoothly.
Serve as the
groom’s personal aide and adviser for the wedding planning and
arrangements. Thankfully, you can pretty much stay out of
the wedding planning, but you should offer to help the groom
with anything he might need, particularly if you live nearby.
You will most likely need to get measured for your tuxedo well
Ask the groom
if he would like a bachelor party. If yes, great. (If not,
see step 3.) The party is the first of your responsibilities.
It's generally held a few days or a week before the wedding, but
coordinate with the groom to figure out the best time. The best
man is usually in charge of all planning, though some tasks can
be delegated to the groomsmen who should also help you pay. The
party could range from a barbecue to Vegas debauchery. The plans
are usually hidden (at least somewhat) from the groom, so
consider what he would like, as a guide. But, start arranging
and inviting ASAP.
Make sure the
groomsmen are ready for the wedding. Make sure everyone has
their tuxedos and that they have all tried them on. Brief them
on how to usher guests at the wedding and on where and how they
are to stand during the ceremony.
groom on wedding day. On the big day, you should be ready to
provide the groom with all the moral support he needs. You
should also make sure he looks sharp, by straightening his bow
tie or making sure his cuff links are on right, for example.
Most importantly, a best man must make sure the groom gets to
the wedding on time. In addition, there are some other small,
but very important, duties you'll usually need to take care of:
Stand next to
the groom at the altar and hold onto the bride’s ring (and
possibly the groom's ring) until the vows are exchanged.
Typically you'll escort the maid of honor up the aisle and then
await the groom and, finally, the bride. Depending on the
ceremony, you may have to stand up there for awhile. Look sharp
and dignified, stand up straight, don't make faces, and don't
ring(s) at the appropriate time. If you're holding only the
groom's ring, you will generally give it to him directly. If
you're holding both rings, you'll probably give them to the
officiant or to the bride and groom individually. Don't worry
about the timing, as this will be covered in the rehearsal. Do
worry about making sure you have the ring(s), and avoid fumbling
to find it/them.
Get to the
reception early to make sure everything is in order. If any
last-minute arrangements are required, you should take care of
them. Greet the guests as they arrive and make sure they are
ready for the bride and groom's grand entrance.
first toast at the reception. For most people, this is the
most frightening part of being a best man. It will go a lot
smoother if you prepare your toast in advance. It's also a good
idea to carry some notes with you, even if you've memorized your
toast. You don't want to read the toast word-for-word, but you
also don't want to forget anything important. Look good and
speak loud enough for everyone to hear you.
Dance and be
charming throughout the reception. Perhaps at previous
weddings you've been deliriously drunk an hour into the
reception. Not this time. When the dancing starts, you should
usually try to dance with the bride's mother, the bride, the
maid of honor, and the bride's other attendants if possible. Be
attentive to the needs of the bride and groom, and assist them
in any way possible to ensure they can thoroughly enjoy the
getaway car. At some point during the reception, sneak out
to the car or limo in which the bride and groom will leave and
decorate it, usually with the groomsmen. You can tie some cans
on the bumper and write just married on the back window, or you
can be more creative. This is a good time to finally unwind and
play a harmless practical joke on the new couple.
tuxedos. If the tuxedos are rented, you absolutely need to
make sure they're back on time. If the groom owns his tuxedo,
you should take it to be dry cleaned.
couple off on their honeymoon. Make travel arrangements to
get the newlyweds to the airport for their honeymoon, or drive
Get a check,
usually from the groom, to give to the officiant after the
ceremony. You may also need to give checks (again, not your
own) to the DJ or photographer.
Make sure the
groom brings the marriage license to the ceremony. In most
jurisdictions, the officiant will need to sign the marriage
license or certificate after the ceremony in order to
legally marry the bride and groom. You will probably be in
charge of holding onto this document, and you should also
offer to sign it as a witness after the ceremony.
Make sure you
have the ring(s). On wedding day, you are the caretaker of
the bride's ring and often the groom's ring, as well. Make
sure you have the rings with you at the ceremony. Take every
precaution not to lose them.
everything is in order. Perform any last minute tasks
necessary to get the wedding location, the families, or the
guests ready for the ceremony. Offer to help in whatever way
you can. Keep an eye out for potential disasters, and act
quickly to remedy them. The bride's mother will also usually
be able to think of a few things for you to do.
Try to be proactive.
Guys sometimes have a hard time asking guys for help, but if
you're attentive and eager to help, you'll be able to take care
of most things without even being asked. It's your
responsibility to take care of small problems that crop up, and
it's the other groomsmen's responsibility to help you out. For
example, if there is no one available to cut the cake, recruit a
couple of your groomsmen to do the job.
If there will be a
ring bearer, make sure he understands what he's supposed to do.
It's usually a good idea for you to hold the actual wedding
rings so that the child doesn't lose them or create a scene.
Don't ask the groom
"Are you sure?" OK, ask once. But that's it.
Be a good friend --
make sure the groom enjoys the day and doesn't embarrass
himself. That includes not letting him drink so much he'll be
hung-over for the wedding! But if he needs a little drink before
the ceremony or at the reception, it's your job to get one for
him. Get some for the groomsmen while you're at it.
Keep useful stuff in
your pockets - stuff the groom will need. This may include a
watch, pocket knife, comb, breath mints, gum, enough change for
a snack, extra straight pins, and a pen (in your jacket pocket).
Use kleenex to reduce the rattle of loose change. You may also
find that having a small cheat sheet with important information
on it is useful. Include things like members of the wedding
party, parents and other family of the bride and groom, order of
the groomsmen and bridesmaids in the wedding procession, and a
schedule of events.
Give your groom time
to relax. Sometimes you will have a bossy bridesmaid try to boss
the groom around on the wedding. Be non-confrontational, but
make her go through you.
You'll probably have a lot of work to do, but there'll also be
plenty of time for fun, especially at the reception. Once you've
made sure everything has gone off without a hitch--OK, one
hitch(ing)--you can relax and party.
Watch out for bossy
women/men - be a good wing-man, and try to keep things light and
fun. Remember, it's his day too.
When giving the
toast, don't embarrass the bride or make crazy revelations about
the groom. Sex stories and drinking/drug stories are right out.
Don't tell the story about how he puked all over the prostitute.
Tell the story about how he fell over his bike trying to jump
off the steps, or how he studied all night for a final that was
not for another two days.