Before the Big Day
It’s a great honour to be elected the best man of a wedding, it’s means you’re right up there with the most trusted of friends that the groom has. You should feel extremely privileged, but with this honour comes responsibility. You’ll be required to serve a purpose and offer help where it’s required. So, let’s go through the responsibilities and duties of a best man to keep the day running like clockwork.
1. Help the Other Grooms with Formal-wear
You really need to be prepared with your attire before the wedding day arrives, and this doesn’t mean deciding to rock up to the suit hire company the day before! You want to make sure everything will be available for the actual wedding date, so find a store weeks beforehand that will accommodate.
Often the groom will pay for the suit hire but it’s not unusual for each groom to pay individually. As best man, you’ll be required to make sure all suit fitting and payments are handled in a timely fashion. Collaborate with the groom to decide on style, whether it’s a tuxedo or suit hire, necktie or bow tie and if top hats are to be worn.
2. Organize the Batchelor/Stag/Bucks Party
There’s always a lighter side to being asked to be best man and organizing the Batchelor party is up there. Depending on where you’re from, the Stag night, Bucks night or Batchelor party is a load of fun but you still need to keep the groom conditioned to turn up the following morning. That is of course, if the party is the night before the wedding. More often than not, it can be a week before the big day, so the groom has adequate time to sober up!
You will need to consider a few things such as location and availability. If you and the groom decide Vegas is the ideal place, then give plenty of warning to any male guests that would like to attend. If you’re in the US, then travelling back home will not take too long. However, if you’re from the UK or Australia, give plenty of time before the wedding to get over jet-lag.
Some grooms do not like a huge Batchelor party, be mindful of this. You don’t want your best mate feeling way out of his comfort zone or he may no longer be your best mate by the time the wedding comes around. Work with the groom to understand the correct type of shebang he wants.
3. Introduce the Parties
Although you may already know everyone in the bridal parties, you should introduce everyone to each other if this hasn’t been done. Often there may be a family member from interstate or an old school friend from out of town as part of either party. Your job is to make them feel comfortable and have them enjoy the occasion with the other members.
It’s not uncommon for the groomsmen and bridesmaids to dance as partners first at some weddings, so it’s best to get to know them a little before you hit the dance floor. This isn’t always the case but it’s nice to be social anyway.
4. Attend the Ceremony Rehearsal
Make sure you are available for the wedding rehearsal as this will make you, and the bride & groom feel a lot more comfortable on the wedding day. You will understand where to be positioned at what times, and learn the order of events for the day.
During the Big Day
5. Relax the Groom in the Morning.
The big day has arrived and the butterflies in the stomach have appeared for the groom. Keep him relaxed as possible during the morning by playing music, going for a walk or watching a game of football on TV. Maybe even crack open a few home brews to calm the nerves, but not too many too early.
6. Help Direct the Guests & Keep Schedule
When guests arrive at the wedding, they generally mingle around before heading into the church (or alternatively garden for an outdoors wedding). You should be approachable and offer assistance if anyone looks like they are unsure of where to be. Another tip is to advise guests where the restrooms are located.
7. Lead the Groomsmen Party
You are their leader! You have been selected above all else to manage and guide the other grooms, along with supporting the main man. Although the other grooms are also support for the groom, you need to lead the way and direct the grooms to help guests if needs be. The happier the guests are, be better time they will have and the more pleased the bride & groom will be.
8. Don’t Lose the Rings!
As mentioned earlier, with best man duties comes responsibility, and there’s no bigger responsibility than looking after the wedding rings. Make sure you have a safe place to store the rings, this is usually in a jacket pocket, preferably inside pocket with no holes! As you’ll have been to the ceremony rehearsal, you’ll know if the rings are to be placed on a bible, cushion or handed directly to the groom & bride. This may be different for various religions and you will be aware of this at rehearsal time.
9. Keep the Groom Calm
As this is the biggest day of their lives, the bride & groom will be nervous. You’re job is to keep him calm when she walks down the aisle. He may feel a little jittery (hopefully not in regret!) so offer him some calming words of advice and throw in a joke if possible. His deep breaths will become slighter if he is more relaxed.
10. Sign the Marriage Certificate
Once the wedding ceremony is complete and the rings are exchanged, it’s time to sign the marriage certificate. And not just the newly wedded couple, the best man and chief bridesmaid (or maid of honor) usually sign the certificate as witnesses to the marriage. This will be one of the easiest duties you’ll have for the day.
11. Smile…You’ll be in lots of Photos
Ok then, posing in photo’s may surpass the marriage certificate as the easiest duty for the day, but there will be many photo’s. Not only will you be posing for official photos from the official photographer, friends and family always want multiple photos also. This will get a little tedious, but you’ll get used to it, especially if you know you’re photogenic!
12. Make Your Big Best Man Speech
This may be the hardest part of the night if you don’t seek the limelight or you’re a little introverted and shy. You must have a speech prepared, so start writing this a good week in advance of the wedding day. Great best man speeches always involve a few funny stories about the groom, don’t worry if they’re not too hilarious, the guests want you to succeed at making a speech and will laugh at minor funny jokes.
Don’t forget to include appreciation and complements to the bridesmaids.
A tip for those who don’t like public speaking and are nervous about making this speech. Keep your eyes set at the rear of the room. Pick a few pictures or statues to look at, and pretend you’re making the speech to these figures. Don’t look at or make eye contact with people at the front, this may only give added pressure to you.
Once the speech is over, you will not only feel very relieved, but also exhilarated. You’ll feel proud of yourself for getting through it and hopefully guests will compliment you on your speech.
13. Get Your Dancing Shoes On!
When all the speeches are said and done, it’s time to hit the dance floor. Traditionally, the best man will dance with the chief bridesmaid first, before all the guests start kicking up their heels. Even if you’re not a dancer, you’ll be expected to do this, so get into practice. Those who love a good boogie will continue, if this is not you then relax. The formalities are over, and you can sip on a nice red wine and enjoy everyone’s company.
14. Decorate the Bridal Car
This is a job you could get your other groomsmen to do but you want to get permission first. You will not be able to have a hire car decorated but if it’s the groom’s car, you may want to get an idea of their mood should you decorate their car with streamers and cans etc.
15. Make Sure the Groom Doesn’t drink too Much!
This is something you’ll want to keep an eye on all night. Advise your groom that he doesn’t want to get too drunk for many reasons. There’s nothing wrong with having a few beers or glasses of red, however, we all know the repercussions of way too much alcohol. I’m sure the bride will want a nice time back at their accommodation for the night, without the groom throwing up or passing out.
Keep him hydrated with glasses of water between drinks (the same probably goes for yourself).
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After the Big Day
16. Return All the Hired Attire
Remember the advice about not drinking too much? That’s where this comes into play. You need to be well enough to return all your hired formal-wear to the store you borrowed it from. I’m sure this can be done a few days later though, but you want to get confirmation of this from the store. Otherwise you may be out of pocket with late return fees.
17. Keep the gifts Safe
Throughout the wedding day, wedding gifts may have been placed in a safe location, but you want to check with the bride & groom who is supposed to be looking after the gifts. They may have wanted you to supervise the gifts and therefore, take them with you upon leaving. Get this agreed upon before the wedding reception.
This is more uncommon these days as most wedding gifts are sorted online through a wedding registry and delivered to your house.
Once the suits are returned, gifts received, and all other formalities are complete, it’s time to relax. You’ve done a great job and your best mate is as pleased as punch, now his marriage has run smoothly. All you have to do now is wait for your mate to arrive back, so he can buy you and the other grooms, some cool groomsman gifts to show his appreciation. After all, this is also traditional!