It’s quite an honour to be asked to be best man but once the novelty wears off, reality kicks in when you realise everything you have to do.
Being best man is much more than just organising the most outrageous stag party or coming up with a side-splitting speech. It’s a major role with a lot of responsibilities.
You are the floor manager on the day of the wedding and you have to make sure that everything goes to plan. As the groom’s right hand man it’s your job to keep him grounded and calm. You hold onto the rings and woe betide if they are lost or damaged!
Big chance to shine
Best men underestimate the time it takes to plan and organise all the duties required of them.
The best man often ends up as the middleman who must liaise between both sides of the family. He needs to be the go-to guy and aware of sensitive family situations. He also has to be organised and have the phone numbers of the caterers, ushers and bridesmaids and be able to recognise certain people.
One of his main roles is organising a stag party, his big chance to shine. It can be a hassle pulling together a group of guys, so ask the groom for a list of people he’d like to attend.
The easiest way to organise a large group of people is to come up with two or three dates and then go with the date that most people can do. Consider everyone’s budget before coming up with a few brilliant ideas for a night or weekend and then check everyone pays up once it has been booked.
Nowadays it’s not enough of a good time to go to the pub with the groom and his mates for a few drinks and on to a nightclub. Over the years stag dos, like hen parties, have morphed into major events. Try and organise the bash to take place about three months before the wedding just in case there are a few unexpected cuts and bruises from the merriment.
Ideas for male bonding
Creating the stag weekend is about the groom bonding with his mates and experiencing new things that make lifetime memories. Think of ways to personalise the stag do and pranks to play on the groom.
You can get costumes for the groom, have teeshirts printed, organise masks and set out challenges for everyone to do. Some stag parties choose to leave their drinks at the bar in favour of experiencing action man-style adventure.
Many stag dos are either a full-on foreign city break or a packed weekend of activities leaving little time for sleep – and sometimes both! Action ideas are endless: quad biking, bubble football, paintballing, zombie boot camp, clay pigeon shooting, karting, sports events, casino nights, cocktail making and boat parties. And inevitably the stag do provides some entertaining material for the best man’s speech.
Another of the best man’s main duties is suit shopping. Along with the groom, he helps get together the fathers, ushers and other leading males in the wedding party to find suits. You need to discuss with the groom whether your own wear is to be bought or hired. Traditionally the couple pay for the wedding suits but it’s wise from the start that everyone – via the best man – is clear about any necessary financial contributions.
A test of delegation skills
The best man needs to know who the ushers are and their duties so he can ensure everyone’s in place before the bride arrives for ceremony. It’s a test of his delegation skills!
In the run-up to the wedding, he’s responsible for last-minute suit fittings and can pitch in with run-around jobs such as picking up hired items or collecting suits. Sometimes the best man will stay the night with the groom.
On the big day, the best man helps the groom get ready and also takes delivery of, and hands out, the buttonholes. Before the ceremony he checks the ushers are in place and the order of service sheets are out. Get the groom to the ceremony about twenty minutes before it is due to start.
The best man, rings at the ready, and groom take their places on the front right-hand side of the room where the ceremony will be.
The best man may be asked to do a reading during the service or witness the signing of the register. At the end of the ceremony he escorts out the maid of honour, if there is one.
Be part of the receiving line
Often the best man or ushers will be asked to help round up guests for the group photos.
If the newly weds have a receiving line at the reception, the best man is expected to stand in it and greet the guests. If there isn’t an official toastmaster or master of ceremonies, he may be asked to make announcements such as getting guests to take their seats for the wedding breakfast, announcing the speeches and the cutting of the cake.
Usually the speeches are given after the meal but it is becoming more popular to have them before so everyone can relax and enjoy their meal. I’m sure any best man would second that!
After the first dance, it’s traditional for the best man to dance with the maid of honour. If the couple are going away on honeymoon he has to ensure their car is creatively decorated!
Ultimately, the best man needs to be familiar with the running of the day. People will turn to him to explain what’s happening next or where they need to be. And when the duties are over he can finally let his hair down and have some fun.