From organising the stag do to making sure the happy couple have the greatest day ever, a best man can be massively involved in the wedding.
If you want to be the best “best man” you can possibly be — or you want to give your own “bestie” a few pointers — read on...
Best of the Best
If you’re asked to be a best man, don’t feel obliged to accept immediately. Talk it through with the groom, finding out exactly what he expects from you — and make sure you have the time, energy and enthusiasm to take on the job. If not, let him down quickly so he has time to find a substitute.
Once you’ve accepted, think outside the box. As well as the traditional jobs (organising the stag, carrying the rings and delivering a speech), think about other ways you can help — and ask the bride, as well as the groom, if there are extra jobs you can pitch in with. The more involved you are in the plans, as well as on the day, the more your help will be appreciated.
Ultimate Best Man Duties:
- Organise the stag so the groom has the best time possible — put him first and avoid anything that will upset or worry the bride; it helps to maintain a good relationship with her
- Help the groom choose a suit
- Offer to pay for your own outfit
- Help with table planning and writing the guest list and invitations
- Arrange accommodation for the groomsmen
- Attend the rehearsal and suss out any extra organisational tasks you can take on during the day itself
- Make yourself completely available the day before the wedding, running errands and making any last minute arrangements
- Help the groom get ready on the morning of the wedding (if he doesn’t need help, just keeping him company and calming his nerves is useful)
- Carry a camera to take “behind the scenes” photos and give them to the couple in an album after the wedding — alternatively, make your own video
- As well as the rings, ask the groom if there are any other valuables you can look after for him during the ceremony
- Try to second guess anything important the groom might have forgotten on the day — like switching his mobile phone off just before the ceremony!
- Look after the guests, making sure people have drinks and food, so the happy couple can relax
- Prepare the best speech you possibly can (see our real life best man’s tips below)
- Sort out transport arrangements for the couple after the reception — or give them a lift to the airport
- If you want to give the bride and groom a gift on the day, think of something romantic you could pull off as a surprise; anything from an ice cold bottle of champagne in the honeymoon suite to a spectacular firework display (you could always ask friends and family to chip in if you want to do something lavish!)
Simply the Best
Annie and David got married in 2012 and their best man, Andy, used his profession to go the extra mile. David says: “Andy is the manager of John Gowing jewellers in Oxford. It’s traditional for the best man to be responsible for the rings, but in our case that was true to a much greater extent. He was able to give us sage advice on what kind of rings to buy and whether to get gold, white gold, platinum or palladium, plus advice on engraving. It made choosing our wedding rings a much more personal and special experience. And it wasn’t just the rings; Andy made the whole day easier. My dad had given me his old pocket watch from when he worked on the railway. Andy knew I wanted to wear it and, on the day, provided a lovely silver chain to enable that. He made sure I was up in good time, helped me with my tie and then took me to the pub for a couple of pints to get rid of the nerves. In his speech Andy said that he felt privileged being my best man knowing there were others in the audience who were just as qualified as him (if not more so). The fact is, the privilege was mine.”
The Perfect Speech
Phil from London has been a best man five times. He says the speech is still the most important element on the big day: “I don’t think there’s anything worse than going to a wedding where the best man gets up and mumbles ‘well he’s a good bloke, and she looks great, and thanks very much’ and sits down again. Everyone is on your side so be confident and have a proper speech prepared and practised. You don’t have to be Stephen Fry or Eddie Izzard; if you don’t like public speaking get someone to help you write and rehearse the speech. The personal anecdotes should be funny and near (but not too near) the knuckle — cheeky not crude — say some nice things about the nearest and dearest, especially the bride, and don’t forget to toast the bridesmaids. I know it’s nerve racking (I’ve lost count of the number of wedding videos when the camera zooms in on the best man’s hands fiddling with his cutlery or glass just before the speech) but if it’s well written and rehearsed, the guests will be willing you to succeed. Though a bad or non-speech will by no means ruin the day, a good one will certainly enhance it — and it is fantastic hearing people saying what a brilliant speech the best man gave.”