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Role of the Best Man

best man duties

In Germany 200 A.D., the best man's role was to fight off the relatives of kidnapped brides.  The shortage of women had the best man's original role as that of accomplice.  In Anglo-Saxon England, Uganda and Malaysia the best man played the role of bodyguard, protector and wise counselor in the ways of marriage.  Typically the best swordsman or strongest man was chosen to guard the couple in Anglo-Saxon times.

Nowadays the best man is chosen by the Groom, not for his sword or fighting skills, but as he holds the position of groom's best friend, brother or the friend that was responsible for the couple's introduction.  Being chosen as a best man is an honor, being chosen shows that this person is held in high esteem, as the role of best man is a very important and responsible one.  The groom trusts this person to be at his side on a very important day, along with taking on responsibility for organising tasks which are delegated to him. 

The role of best man may not be as involved as the maid of honour's role, but his role is important non the less, organising behind the scenes and being a support for the groom in whatever capacity is required.  A great best man can, without people realising it make a wedding day even more fantastic, for the guests and the bride and groom.

What are the Best Man's Responsibilities?

Firstly, once you have been given the honour of being named as best man you will need to sit with the groom and find out exactly what he expects from you, there are certain 'duties' that usually accompany the role but each groom may have different expectations.  Discuss each detail with the groom, and bride if needed, and make sure notes are taken.  Make a list of the tasks delegated to the role and keep a checklist, informing the groom once each task has been completed. 

It is probably worth remembering that part of this important role is to be a support and right hand man for the groom, he will be being asked questions and be expected to meet deadlines by his bride-to-be and the role of best man is to help keep the groom informed of all progress so that not only is his stress relieved but the brides also!

Usual Duties of a Best Man Prior to the Big Day

Organise the stag party

If the stag wishes to have a party then it is up to the best man to organise it.  It should be a fun time for the stag, and may be even a little embarrassing at times (a stripper or not a stripper?) but it is also the best man's role to ensure that the party does not get out of hand, that the stag is treated appropriately (i.e. not tied naked to a lamp post with half his head and one eyebrow shaved off!), or get up to anything that would be seen as inappropriate in the cold light of day!  The best man should also ensure that the stag gets home safely.  It is worth remembering that the groom AND the best man may have to answer to the bride after the event! 

More information about the Stag Party

Suit hire

The best man will also assist the groom in choosing and arranging for suit/tuxedo hires for himself, the groom and other male wedding attendants.  Usually the best man will accompany the groom to choose the style and colours to be worn by the wedding party.  Once chosen the best man is then responsible for informing the other male attendance of the style and colour choices and organises a time for them all to visit the hire shop to have their measurements taken and reserve their own outfits.  The best man is responsible for collected both his and the grooms suits prior to the wedding and returning them after the day.

Supervise and coordinate the ushers

The best man will ensure that the ushers are aware of their responsibilities and roles and that they know what they should be doing, where they should be doing it and at what time it should be done.  This then relieves the burden from the groom; he can leave it in the capable hands of the best man and if any plans are changed he can inform his best man who will then relay the information down to all the ushers.

Arranging transport

The groom may be given the task of arranging the transport for the wedding day; therefore the best man will also need to take on this responsibility.  Working closely with the groom to find and hire the perfect modes of transport for the perfect wedding, ensuring that the right amount of cars are arranged, i.e. one for the bride and brides father, one for the mother of the bride and the bridesmaids, one for the groom and best man etc.

The Best Man's Duties on the Big Day

  • Make sure the groom gets to the wedding on time!
  • Look after the rings: The groom may be very nervous and it is the best man's responsibility to ensure that the wedding rings are at the ceremony!  The best man will hold onto the rings until asked for them by the officiate.
  • Stand by the groom: Throughout the ceremony the best man stands to the right of the groom, giving support and a display of solidarity.
  • Walk with the chief bridesmaid: Following the ceremony and signing of the register the best man will walk with the chief bridesmaid down the aisle.
  • Give the first speech at the reception: The best man is the first person to give a speech at the wedding reception; this speech should show a knowledge and understanding of the new couple's relationship.  The speech should be written in advance, given confidently and convey the messages and feelings of all those in attendance.  While everyone present may wish to give their blessings and expressions of good will it is only a chosen few who can do so publicly.  The best man should therefore be able to make a speech which passes on to the new couple all the feelings of love, humour and sentiment within the room.  This is also the opportunity for any absent family members or friends to have messages read out by the best man. More information about the Best Man Speech
  • Offer the first toast at the reception: After his speech the best man will be the first to offer a toast to the bride and groom.  He will then also offer a toast to the bridesmaids.
  • Dance with the chief bridesmaid: Once the bride and groom have had their first dance the best man is expected to dance with the chief bridesmaid.
  • Looking after the guests: During the day the best man will be looked upon to ensure the smooth running of the wedding, any queries or problems should be directed to and sorted out by the best man, leaving the groom to enjoy his special day.
  • Decorate the bridal suite/bride and groom's vehicle: This task may be a joint effort with the chief bridesmaid.  Generally, if the bride and groom are staying in a hotel suite the suite will be decorated as a surprise for the couple.  If they are leaving the reception in a vehicle this is usually decorated with ribbons, balloons, tin cans on string trailing from the back and the usual 'just married' sign on the back.
  • Wedding Gifts: Again, this may be done with the chief bridesmaid, the organising and removal of the wedding gifts to a safe location for the bride and groom to open on the following day.

The role of best man is a very responsible one, but the most important role is to be there for support and act in the best interest of the groom.  It is an honourable role and any man should take pride in being chosen, to be held in such high esteem by someone and to be trusted to help in the organisation and smooth running of the most important day of someone's life.  What a best man, what a best friend!