A Gentleman’s Guide to Being the Best Man

best man helping the groom

Being asked to be the best man at a wedding is a huge honour. It’s also a big responsibility, and a best man’s duties extend further than just the wedding day.

As best man, you are the groom’s right-hand man. You should be there to support and help him with whatever he needs. Whether emotional or practical support is required, the groom has chosen you because he knows that he can count on you for both.

Before the big day:

Accompany the groom to choose his suit – and give good fitting advice. You may be in charge of organising the tuxedo rental or purchase of suits for yourself and the other groomsmen – in this case, ensure everyone turns up on time for the fitting, and that no garments (such as socks) are overlooked. Make sure you know what your responsibilities are – traditionally, grooms would pay for their groomsmen’s suits, but nowadays it is more common for each person to cover the cost of their own tux or suit.

You may also need to make hotel reservations for the groomsmen and coordinate the gift that they will give to the groom. Attend all the pre-wedding events, such as the engagement party and rehearsals for the big day. Pay close attention to where you will be standing and in which order you will be entering the venue, and help the groomsmen if they have any questions.

groom's men having a toast

Have a toast and a short practise speech prepared for the rehearsal dinner. Try your best to plan at least a rough outline of your speeches well beforehand, so you’ll have time to think of all the great stories and fun jokes you want to include. It’s best to practice your speeches a few times by yourself – you can always improvise on the day if you think of something new, but at least you will have a frame to build on.

Planning an awesome stag party is, of course, the best man’s responsibility. Organise a fun night out that the boys can enjoy – of course, without doing anything too crazy or disrespectful to the bride.

Just before the wedding:

In the week leading up to the wedding, get yourself a great haircut and keep yourself available to assist with any last-minute details, run errands, and reassure the groom through the final pre-wedding jitters.

The day before the big day, ensure your shoes are shined, your suit pressed, and everything you need is laid out and ready to go. Remember to have a hearty, healthy meal the night before and breakfast on the morning of the big day so you’ll have lots of energy.

best man tying his shoes

On the wedding day:

Have a close shave and apply a subtle scent before getting your suit on. Arrive early to help the groom to get ready and to give him support. Fill the waiting periods with light banter to keep the groom relaxed.

Make sure that the groom has everything set up for the honeymoon, like the passports, luggage packed, etc. If you are driving the groom to the wedding location, make sure you leave with enough time to arrive at the venue at least a half hour before the ceremony is due to get underway.

As you arrive, you could snap some fun behind-the-scenes photos of the groom and groomsmen at times where the professional photographers might not be able to see your group. You could also assist in welcoming the guests as they arrive at the venue.

During the ceremony:

You will probably enter the church/venue with the groom and minister/celebrant through a front side door. Make sure that you keep the rings safe and that know where they are, so you can present them at the right time.

Remember to turn off the sound on your phones, and remain attentive and concentrated throughout the ceremony. You may be required to sign the marriage licence as a witness. You should escort the matron or maid of honour out afterwards.

a wedding toast

During the reception:

Don’t drink too much alcohol – it’s tempting when the wedding feast is laid out, but remember to keep a clear mind so you can help out the groom if he drinks too much! Delivering your speech may be the most nerve-racking moment for you, so make sure that you have prepared it well. Your speech shouldn’t be too long, offensive or embarrassing. Keep it light-hearted and fun.

Make the first toast to the bride and groom and remember to toast the bridesmaids. Mingle with the other guests, greet the parents of the bride and groom, and invite each member of the entourage onto the dancefloor. Stay until the end of the party and help with cleaning up if you can.

You may have the task to escort the newly-weds to the airport if they are heading straight off on their honeymoon. If the bride and groom are driving themselves you and the rest of the bridal party should adorn the car with a few fun embellishments.

After the big day:

If the tuxes were rented, collect them, make sure they are in perfect condition, and return them on time. Continue offering your support and help to the happy couple.

Johanna Cider is a freelance writer from the gorgeous capital of New Zealand, Wellington. As keen to travel and explore the world as she is to curl up in a local café with a steaming latte, Johanna especially enjoys discussing travel and lifestyle topics. She has previously produced content for hospitality sites such as Tanoa Tusitala. Discover more of Johanna’s published work here.

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