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So you’ve been asked to be someone’s best man. This puts you front and center on your friend’s wedding day – it’s an honor that means your friend really trusts you. While being the best man can be a lot of fun, it also comes with several important responsibilities.
Traditionally, the best man plans a bachelor party for the groom. He also hands the wedding rings to the groom during the ceremony and gives the first speech at the reception. Don’t assume anything, though – every wedding is different, so you should always ask the groom what he’s expecting. Here are five of the most common best man duties at a wedding.
- Throw a Bachelor Party
The bachelor party is what everyone thinks of when you talk about being the best man. This event should be a night of fun that celebrates the upcoming wedding. The ideal bachelor party depends on the groom’s preferences, although some best men like to make it a surprise. Ask the groom for a guest list so you’re sure to invite all the right people.
Make sure that the bachelor party is tasteful. You could go golfing, backpack a favorite trail or play paintball. You should not plan a night to get drunk or party at a strip club. As the best man, you support the groom by keeping the bride happy. If you can, plan this event several days or even weeks before the wedding so it doesn’t conflict with the rehearsal dinner and other week-of events.
- Prep the Groomsmen
You can also take responsibility for preparing the groomsmen. Make sure their suits will be fitted and ordered in the right color scheme. Ties should match the bride’s color palette and each other. Sometimes, the wedding party wears goofy socks or shirts underneath their dress clothes.
The best man ensures the groomsmen are ready to go before the ceremony. Sometimes groomsmen need manicures to clean up their nails before a wedding. They often also wear a boutonniere pinned to one lapel. You can ensure everyone gets ready on time and they look perfect for the pictures.
- Stand With the Groom
During the wedding ceremony, the best man stands directly behind the groom. Even typically calm people can get very nervous during a wedding. Your presence will help to ground the groom until the bride walks down the aisle. Just being there is enough to show support and remind the groom that getting married is worth the stress.
You should have the rings ready to go when the officiant asks for them. Don’t forget to bring the rings with you to the ceremony – forgetting the rings would create a very awkward moment for the bride and groom! After the bride and groom exchange their vows, you may need to sign the wedding license as a witness.
- Give the First Speech
If you’re stressed about best man speech, you’re not alone. Public speaking ranks as one of many people’s biggest fears – in fact, it sometimes outranks the fear of death. Most best men reach a point where they’d rather die than give the speech. Thankfully, most best man speeches follow a formula that’s easy to copy and personalize.
Start by introducing yourself and applauding the guests. Then, tell a story about how you know the groom and possibly how you first heard about the bride. You can roast the groom if you like, but only say positive things about the bride. Avoid any topics that would embarrass the family – this should be funny and heartfelt. Finally, end with a toast that expresses your confidence in the couple’s future together.
- Lead the Reception
Sometimes, the best man also takes a leadership role at the wedding reception. They talk to the guests, make sure the bride and groom get food and encourage others to have fun by being the first person on the dance floor. If the emcee is late, the best man can take over this role and make sure the reception runs smoothly.
The best man may also decorate the getaway car with the other groomsmen. Decorations can range from tasteful to outrageous – it all depends on the bride and groom’s sense of humor. If they don’t have an assigned driver, you can drive the couple to their hotel after the ceremony.
Being the Best
Remember, your goal is to help the groom so they can enjoy their wedding day with minimum stress. As the best man, you’ll likely help with the bachelor party, the actual ceremony and the reception afterward. Because every wedding runs differently, talk to the groom and the bride to find out what they’d like you to do.
As long as you stay focused on helping the groom, you’ll do a fantastic job as the best man. Communicate with the bride and groom frequently, be willing to run errands and get everywhere early so you can be available for whatever they need. Most of all, enjoy this role – it’s an honor and you should have fun with it!