Attention all best men! This blog’s for you, fella. Congratulations are clearly in order for being the chosen one. That’s officially the biggest compliment he’s ever going to send your way! Now that you’ve been presented with your rather impressive job title, you’ll no doubt want to ace this for your best bud. Kudos for doing a little homework on the subject. You’re in the right place.
The role of best man is an epically important one: this isn’t a Sunday job you can role up to half prepared. As your mate’s designated wedding ninja you’re going to have to pull your socks up, and possibly his too. Knowing what’s expected of you as his best man will help you to help him.
What Does A Best Man Have To Do?
Being a best man isn’t all about planning the most memorable stag and speech in the history of mankind. They are two of the key jobs, for sure, but it’s the little ways you’ll help him out that will make the biggest difference to your mate. He’s going to need you, so if he’s not the type to ask for help, then make sure you offer it. Check out our ultimate guide below on how to become your groom-to-be’s go-to guy.
Ultimately, it’s down to the groom to write your job description here. He’ll need to let you know how little or how much he’d like to have you involved. It’s new to him too though, so knowing what help to offer will really take the load off your bud.
Image with thanks to Massey Photography
1: Help With Wedding Suit Shopping
As best man you should be at the groom’s side for wedding suit shopping. Whether he’s buying or hiring his suit, he’ll still need to attend multiple fittings. These should be the smartest threads he’s ever owned and finding the right outfit deserves a special effort, so be patient and supportive. Offer your opinions – tactfully, mind. If the flamingo-pink tux might outshine his bride and cause uproar then be the one to brave it and point it out.
You’ll need to take charge of coordinating the groomsmen. Being involved in wedding attire decisions will help you understand exactly what the groom does and doesn’t like. Be prepared to rally the troops for suit fittings and keep everyone in check so he doesn’t have to worry about that side of things.
2: Be An Official Best Mate
All grooms have that one day when it suddenly slaps them in the face just how much there is to do with their wedding preparations. As his best man, you should become his fail-safe go-to for all things wedding. Be readily available for a random midnight message about brogues and braces – it just means he’s stressing a bit. You’ll need to be the calm and collected one if and when he starts to sweat it a bit. Keep your homeboy grounded.
3: Sort The Stag Do
This may seem like a very important job on your to-do list and that’s because it is! Even though the usual crew will all be there, family members (old and new) might be invited too. It could be the first real chance your friend has had to get to know his new in-laws. Find out who is on the guestlist before making plans. You need to demonstrate the near-perfect balance of up-for-a-laugh and got-the-grooms-back. You’ll be planning everything about the stag from dates and details to budget and theme. You’ve been entrusted with the job of putting together a showstopper of a plan that will suit everyone invited. He picked you for a reason. You’ve got this.
4: Embrace Being Busy
As best man you should be on hand to pitch in and roll up your sleeves. If he needs help sourcing a fantastic wedding band, gathering the groomsmen together for suit fittings or dressing the wedding venue the night before, then you’re up! If you really want to pull it out of the bag for your buddy then be a pro-active right-hand man. If he’s searching for matching ties then ask him to leave it with you. He may want to keep control of some tasks, and if he does don’t take it to heart, the offer will still earn you brownie points.
Image with thanks to Poppy K Photography
5: Get Him To The Church On Time
Get him out of bed! On the day of the wedding, your first job is to wake him up! No ‘extra five minutes’ matey, sorry. Timekeeping duties are a really important part of your job. Making sure the groom and all his groomsmen are up, fed, dressed and loaded into the wedding transport on time is your bag. You’ll need a watch and a copy of the schedule.
6: Take Charge Of Suiting & Booting
The groom has every right to be a bit self-obsessed on his wedding morning. Take over the task of checking the groomsmen are looking sharp and dressed to impress. Pay special attention to the man himself too. Boutonnieres need to be worn (possibly collected first), and your shoe-averse mate will need to be guilted into submission and abandon his Adidas for once. Develop that eye for detail: make sure there are no price labels on the soles of shoes, that shirts are ironed and tucked in, and that flies are up! Take along anything the groom might need on the day: breath mints, a safety pin, maybe deodorant if nerves make him sweat. Not a good look.
7: Become The Master of Battle Plan
You have been recruited as a sergeant. You should know where your troops are at all times. It’s the best man who has to make sure that ushers are at the entrance directing guests to their correct seats, and that wedding suppliers have shown up as planned.
Equipped with your schedule for the day be prepared to act as a guest liaison. Know the route from the ceremony to the reception, be ready with taxi numbers for guests who have failed to plan, and check for road closures or traffic to be avoided. Ask if any wedding guests have special requirements and if you need to have eyes on them in case they need help.
Image with thanks to Jonathan David Photography
8: Be His Wingman
The groom will want to look his absolute best on his wedding day. If he’s harbouring an unsightly ear hair or needs to wax his nostrils, it’s best that he knows. Tell him when he’s still got a chance to sort it though – don’t just slate him as he’s about to enter the chapel! Make a mental note to check he’s looking like Bond-like every time the camera is likely to click.
9: Don’t Lose The Wedding Rings
If he hasn’t selected a dedicated ring bearer, which is usually a young nephew or baby brother, then this task falls to you as best man. Do not lose the wedding rings. He might have a cushion or box for you to carry the rings in, but if not keep the rings safety-pinned to the inside of your pocket. Better safe than sorry here. “Oh no! I’ve lost the rings!” Funny? No.
10: Deliver An Awesome Speech
The speech of all speeches. I bet you’re bubbling with ideas here! Only a dash of pressure that every wedding guest is eagerly awaiting a few moderately humiliating yet tastefully told tales about the groom’s younger years. Start early, ask family and friends for their thoughts and ideas, and invest time in perfecting this speech. Good luck pal! You’ll wow them.
11: Get To Know The Wedding Party
A traditional expectation is that the best man is paired with the maid of honour fairly regularly throughout the wedding day. They sometimes walk the processional and/or recessional together, are both heavily involved in the wedding plans, and will be at all the pre-wedding events together. Traditionally, you’re expected to dance together after the first dance. Your buddy will be picking which of these traditions he wants to play a part in his wedding day, but you’re bound to be working alongside the maid of honour on the run-up to the wedding. If you haven’t already met her then ask to be introduced. You’ll probably find you need her help at some stage!
Image with thanks to Lewis Copson Photography
12: Witness The Marriage
The maid of honour and best man are traditionally the witnesses too and sign the wedding certificate at the close of the ceremony. It’s possible this won’t be asked of you, as it’s sometimes a nice way to involve another member of the wedding party in the celebrations. Ask the groom to let you know the plans.
13: Give A Reading
You may be asked to deliver a reading at the wedding ceremony. Whether it’s a religious reading or something personal, delivering a reading is quite a big responsibility. If you genuinely don’t feel that you can handle this – some of us can’t – then let the groom know sooner rather than later. He’ll be fine and can ask that more-than-slightly-cocky brother of his to step up instead.
14: Assist The Wedding Photographer
Wedding guests are rubbish at adhering to any plans couples have for them. They have an inbuilt ability to pop to the loo at the worst possible time. Expect to play sheepdog and help herd up groups of wedding guests for the wedding photographer. The bridesmaids and groomsmen will probably all need to pitch in with this task to keep things ticking along nicely. Make sure you know which group shots are on your groom’s wish list and introduce yourself to the wedding photographer. Crikey, you’re invaluable!
15: Grace The Receiving Line
If the happy couple choose to include this tradition of key players lining up to meet and greet each wedding guest individually, then you’ll be amongst the wedding party doing the handshaking. You’re not expected to know every guest, but it might be worth asking for a quick rundown of who’s who.
16: Be Prepared For Disaster Management
Planning for the un-plannable. It’s kind of forgivable to think you should be able to print off a list of things to do and think you’ve covered best-man life. You would, of course, be wrong. Something unimaginable will always happen on the day of the wedding – we don’t know what it is yet – but something will. You’ll be there to solve problems before the groom even knows they exist because you’re basically a genius. He’s going to owe you several beers after this. Cushion your mate from any drama: stop the weird cousin annoying the bridesmaids, or sort out a speedy clean up if careless Carl spills his drink. Basically be the groom’s hero and do what needs to be done to make this wedding day run perfectly.
Image with thanks to Martin Dabek Photography
17: Fetch Him Water
You seriously don’t want your mate to miss out on his amazing day (or get on the wrong side of his new family) by getting overly intoxicated! He’ll have lots of complimentary drinks plonked on the table in front of him, the nerves and excitement may well do away with any previous commitment to remain sober. Take charge of providing the H2O.
Depending on your dancing abilities this is possibly the job you don’t fancy, but it’s tough, it comes with the package. When the music starts but the dance floor is empty, it’s your role to get some toes on the tiles and ramp up the atmosphere. Traditionally you’d be dancing with the maid of honour following the first dance: a tradition that plays quite a useful role for the self-conscious groom who’s more than ready to share the limelight.
19: Stick Around After The Wedding
There’s a good chance that the following morning will throw up a reasonably sized list of jobs to be done. The venue may need clearing, vendors may need paying, guests may need shimmying out of their rooms on time, and great aunt Edna may require a handsome young chap to carry her suitcase down the stairs. The best man’s duties don’t end at midnight, Cinderella. You’ll need to be available after the big day too.
20: Enjoy Yourself
If it’s all feeling a bit ‘arrgghhh’, then allow us to put things into perspective. Your job is to do your best to help your mate out. You would probably have done all these things anyway, we’ve just helped you feel a bit responsible with some rewarding research. If nothing else then lead by example and remember to enjoy the celebrations. Some new memories will be made and you’ll be playing a big part in making them great. Keep the energy high and the rest will follow.
Image with thanks to Zara Davis Photography
Seriously, you’re a good mate. You’ve accepted the role he clearly thinks you deserving of, and now you’re swatting up too! You are going to properly nail this! Check on him now and see what you can help with. If you get stuck – just head back here for more wedding advice and ideas!