How To Choose Your Best Man

Jo Nunney,
7 October 2021


Question: “Who’s going to be your best man then?”
Answer: “Easy! It’s going to be Jonesy / Woody / *insert abreviated surname of best mate here*”

It’s not always this easy to know who to ask to be your best man. That’s why you’re here, right? Are you pretty sure you know who will get the title, but just need a little reassurance before you go ahead and ask him? A decision this beefy needs a little thought before you commit to your choice of wedding wingman. Picking your best man isn’t quite as important as that recent thing where you selected your future spouse, but it’s up there!


Why Have A Best Man?


Having a best man is not all about deligating the stag plans. He’s there for practical and emotional support through the wedding planning and on the day itself. If getting a bit emotional is not your usual thing, then planning your wedding might eek out a little bit of emotion. Your wedding day is a big deal and you are going to need some help. You don’t have to have a best man, or even groomsmen, but why do it alone if you don’t have to?

groom and nhis best man share a drink and a laughImage with thanks to Jonathan David Photography

Where Did The Tradition Of A Best Man Come From?


If you like a bit of history then this might float your boat. Traditionally the best man was there to help grab the groom a girl of his choice, quite literally, to grab her. In the culture of marriage by capture, the best man would be a strong member of a two-man army prepared to forcibly steal the bride of choice from an understandably defensive family. The additional groomsmen came into play if the bride was an absolute knockout and likely to have some serious protection in place. We are talking 16th century culture here. Don’t go reenacting this down the curry house on Friday!


What Are The Roles & Responsibilities Of The Best Man?


Get your noggin the roles and responsibilities of the best man before deciding on the best candidate for the job. Don’t get overly hung up on traditional roles though. If your best mate is the only person you can imagine having by your side, but he’s potentially going to pass out if you ask him to make a speech, you can always delegate certain tasks to other groomsmen.

Your best man is there to support you with wedding planning and preparation and to cushion you from any issues or drama on the day itself. Your other half will get a hefty chunk of support from their own huddle of helpers, but your boy will have your back first and foremost. You need to choose someone you’re comfortable turning to for help and support at the drop of a hat.

Your best man needs to be able to take this job seriously. He’s going to have to be calm in a crisis, organised, and probably persuasive. He needs to be trustworthy with money (the stag) and most importantly he’ll need to be available for you. If you have a contender in mind who’s massively distracted right now with their career or they’re away a lot, he might not be in a place to support you as much as you’re going to need.

groomsmen help groom get ready for his big dayImage with thanks to Poppy K Photography

Can I Have Two Best Men?


Yes my friend. You most certainly can! Traditionally it was just the one, but there’s nothing to say you can’t have two and you wouldn’t be the first. If you have been part of the self-declared ‘Tenby Trio’ since you were ten, or there’s just no way you can pick between your little bro and your brother from another mother, then why not have two best men.

If you need to convince the other half of this (admittedly, slightly unusual) choice, then sell the idea as an extra set of helping hands, a built-in backup plan if someone gets stuck on the motorway and a seriously comical to-me-to-you style best man speech. So long as they get along, then go for it.


Does My Best Man Have To Be Male?


Best women have been gracing the wedding scene for years now. If your female bestie is the person you want at your side, then she’s the best woman for this job.

Three groomsmen joking about in blue ties and top hatsImage with thanks to A Family Affair Groom’s Room

Does My Best Man Have To Be Single?


If your nan’s told you that your best man has to be an eligible bachelor she’s wrong. She’d have been right in the 1920s, but it’s not a pre-requisite anymore. A best man who is married himself will understand exactly what you’re dealing with, what’s needed, and arguably be better qualified for the job.


How Do I Ask Someone To Be My Best Man?


Hopefully you’re all sorted, the decision was an easy one, and it’s just a case of getting him to agree. He probably already knows, assumes, or hopes that he has the job. You do need to ask though. Your proposal needn’t be made at the top of the Eifel Tower by candlelight, but make it a memorable moment if you can. If a chat over a beer is more your style then keep it simple, but if you want to add a bit of extra persuasion to your request you could offer him a ‘be my best man’ gift or send a heartfelt email. You’re his mate. He’ll say yes.

black and white image of groomsmen in a cloud of cigar smokeImage with thanks to Rafe Abrook Photography

Who Should I Choose To Be My Groomsmen?


Just as with your best man, selecting the rest of your crew might be an easy call to make or a tricky task to tackle. Just keep in mind the wedding party as a whole. Having six groomsmen but only one bridesmaid might make the bride feel a little underrepresented and lead to some wonky wedding photos. Try and balance up numbers roughly amongst the wedding party if you can. You’ll also need to consider the cost of wedding suit hire: more groomsmen equal more outfits, so you need to be practical on the pennies front too.

Once in a blue moon, the best man falls off his bike the week before the wedding, or for some other unforeseeable reason can’t be at your side. Think ahead about which groomsmen might accept a promotion if needed


Do My Groomsmen Have To Be Friends?


Your groomsmen don’t all need to know each other, in fact in most cases they don’t. You may be introducing the soon-to-be brother in law to the lads for the first time on the run-up to your wedding. Get your groomsmen together early in the planning stages, so they can get to know each other before the stag do. If you have any concerns about dynamics, test them out sooner rather than later. Black eyes and bow ties do not go together well.


Your wedding day will be amazing, but it can feel a bit daunting. We get that. Having your bud by your side nursing your nerves and having your back will help you relax and enjoy the moment. Choose wisely, my friend. He matters. Made your decision? Here’s homeboy’s homework: 20 ways to be an epic first man!