Photograph: The Malicotes
It’s a huge honor to be asked to be the best man at someone’s wedding. Not only does it feel good to know that someone wants you standing up next to them on the biggest day of their life, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to get really involved in the planning and execution of the celebration. If you’ve never been a best man before, you might not realize that holding the position doesn’t just entail holding a title. In reality, it comes with a slew of responsibilities that allow you to help make the whole event more fun (and stress-free) for the couple getting marrying—and the groom in particular.
If you have been asked to be the best man at someone’s wedding, or you are planning a wedding and wondering what you can delegate to your best man, read on. This guide can help you understand what a best man is expected to do, how he can participate in the event, and in what ways he can make the event easier and more fun. That way you can ace your best man job—and have a great time while you do it.
Before the Wedding
Long before the time of the wedding arrives, your job begins. One of the duties of the best man is to aid the groom in planning the event, so he does not have too much on his plate. Make sure you don’t overlook these tasks before the big day comes so that everything is in place and ready to happen.
Plan and Host the Bachelor Party
This is a fun part: it’s on you to help the groom celebrate the end of his bachelordom. Plan a bachelor party that includes the most important people in the groom’s life. This could be the rest of the groom’s wedding party, or it could include his closest friends. Consult with your friend to make sure you’re including who he wants. Consider planning a getaway or simply a celebration in-town. You can rely on the other groomsmen coming to fund it or to help you lay out the logistics.
Help Pick and Coordinate the Groomsmens’ Outfits
Help the groom choose and coordinate the buying of the groomsmen’s outfits. If everyone is going to be matching, point everyone to the right suit, tux, or ensemble they should be wearing. If people can wear whatever they want, give them instructions about any details or aspects they should pay attention to. You’re leading up the wedding party on the groom’s side, so you should stay on top of making sure that everyone looks great when the event arrives.
Assist With Any Other Pre-Wedding Events
Everyone’s wedding celebration is different, and some grooms will plan to be a part of more events than just the bachelor party. Sometimes there will be a wedding shower that will include both members of a couple. Also, some couples like to have an engagement party to celebrate their engagement. You may want to help with the planning and execution of this event as well if you already know that you will be serving as the best man.
When the Wedding Arrives
When the wedding weekend arrives, your job will kick into high gear. There are lots of events you should be attending and jobs you should be doing when you are best man. All of these help take stuff off the plate of the probably-stressed (and probably-nervous!) groom. Here’s what you should be paying attention to when the actual event arrives.
Pay Attention at the Rehearsal
Rehearsal is when everyone at the wedding learns how the ceremony will work and what to do when it’s time to actually walk down the aisle. Pay attention to where you are supposed to be during the event, and help lead the rest of the groomsmen.
Give a Toast
Prepare to give a toast at the rehearsal dinner. In addition to parents, the best man and the maid of honor are usually asked to say something. Prepare something funny, touching, nice, entertaining, etc. about the groom and/or the couple to say to the people attending the event.
Get Dressed with the Groom
Traditionally, the groom and his groomsmen will get dressed together. The groom’s party is there to get dressed and coordinate looks (if this is planned), and they are also there to help the groom get ready. You will probably have a photographer in attendance during this dressing process, who will document the groom getting dressed with his nearest and dearest.
Hold Onto (and Hand Over) the Wedding Ring
The best man is in charge of holding onto the wedding ring for the groom (or the ring bearer). Hang onto that ring for dear life. Then, pass it over to the ring bearer when it is time for them to walk it down the aisle. Alternatively, you may hold onto them and pass them off to the groom during the ceremony. Your breast pocket is a safe place to keep the ring so you don’t misplace it.
Be a Right Hand Man
There’s going to be lots of stuff that just needs to get done on the wedding day, and there are going to be lots of frazzled people around trying to do the best they can to get everything done. Try to act as a right-hand man for the groom so that you can handle any little mini-crises as they arise. Forgot his hair spray at the hotel? Run to the pharmacy and get a new one. Feeling anxious and thirsty before he walks down the aisle? Help him find a bottle of water to soothe his throat before he delivers his vows. Pay attention to what he needs then get on top of it. He’ll think of you as a major help and source of support during the whole exciting but stressful event.
Sign the Marriage License
If the couple is getting married during the ceremony (as opposed to at city hall or a smaller ceremony somewhere else), then you may be asked to sign the marriage license. A marriage license needs to be signed by two official witnesses to be legal. It is traditional for the best man to be one of the witnesses. Sign the marriage license, then hang onto it for the groom.
After the Wedding Ceremony
Once the wedding ceremony is done, it’s time for the reception. This is another time for the best man to shine. Here are some things you should make sure to do when it’s time for the reception, and beyond.
Be the Reception MC
The best man is often asked to be the MC or host of the reception. You can take the mic and lead people through the events of the night: from cocktail hour to dinner to dancing to speeches or toasts, and more. One other good way you can help during the party after the wedding is to make sure it’s actually a party! Get people up on their feet and dancing. If people are not participating, you can get on the mic and encourage people to have a great time!
Make a Best Man Speech
In addition to the toast at the rehearsal dinner, you may be asked to make a best man speech at the reception. Write it in advance, then deliver it when designated by the bride and groom. In this speech, you can offer funny or touching memories, or talk about why the couple makes such a great pair. This is a great time to show everyone at the wedding how much the groom means to you and how much you appreciate the honor of being the best man.
Help Hang Onto Gifts
Many people bring wedding gifts or cards to a wedding reception. Help the bride and groom by keeping track of them. You want the couple to be able to fully sit back, relax, and enjoy the party after their wedding. If you round up all the wedding gifts and ensure they make it home with the couple (or to the couple’s home) after the event, they won’t have to stress about managing them while they’re supposed to be having fun.
Help Organize the Couple’s Exit
Help the couple figure out how they’re going to exit their wedding night. If there will be a limo or an old fashioned car that whisks them away, make sure the car makes it to the event and knows where it will be going. Help wrap the party up when it’s supposed to be over, then get people to gather around the couple as they depart. The exit of the wedding reception should be festive and fun, too, so consider doing things like passing out confetti or sparklers to help make the final last hurrah as big and as fun as it can be.
Get Help Planning as the Best Man
If you are going to be the best man at a wedding —and you want to ace the job—and you might want help planning some of the events in your charge. Consider reaching out to Top That! Event. We can help you coordinate the event, set up a venue, do lighting, arrange transportation and more. With so many details to plan and so many roles to fill as the best man, it can be extremely helpful to have a pro on the side. You may also want to rely on Linen Hero as a resource. Linen Hero is an awesome place to get linens and decor for a party, so they can help you get table covers, chairs, napkins, table runners—and more. Check them out for the event decorations you’ll need to make your groom’s event look awesome—and be an unforgettable occasion.