The best man is usually a close friend or male relative of the groom, such as a brother or cousin. Typically he’s not involved much in the planning of the wedding, but the best man’s duties include planning a stag do for the groom, giving the best man’s speech and holding on to the rings on the wedding day.
If you’re yet to pop the question to your best man, browse our edit of the best ways to ask ‘will you be my best man?’
Wedding Planning Duties
Luckily for the best man, he’s not expected to pitch in much with the wedding planning duties – when it comes to wedding crafts and DIY, it’s typically the maid of honour’s role to assist. But that’s not to say you can’t ask the best man to pitch in!
One of the main duties that comes with being best man is the suit shopping. The best man will need to assist the groom in rounding up the ushers and the other important male members of the wedding party to go and try on suits. The best man should discuss with the groom about whether the groomswear is to be bought or hired. Traditionally the couple pay for the wedding suits, but if it’s decided that financial contributions are required, make sure this is discussed openly and up front.
The best man needs to be aware of who all the ushers are and what duty they’ll have on the day so he can make sure everyone is in place before the bride arrives.
The Stag Do
This is the best man’s moment to shine, and probably the moment all best men dream of: the stag do. You’ll take the lead in organising the groom’s last big night out before he gets married. Check with the groom for a list of people he’d like to attend and think carefully about locations.
The best way to plan the stag do is to pick two or three dates and ask the rest of the group who can attend them, before picking the date the majority can do. It might seem ruthless but it’s the easiest way to organise a large group of people without going back and forth too much.
Make sure you consider everyone’s budget when planning the stag do – a big blow out in Vegas sounds amazing but if only two or three of you can afford to go, will it really be as good as a weekend closer to home with all of the boys?
Try and organise the stag do to take place up to three months before the wedding. This gives everyone time to recover – the bruises can fade and the hangovers can finally be forgotten. Think about ways to personalise the stag do, and pranks to play on the groom. Get t-shirts printed, organise masks and set out challenges for everyone to take on.
Give the ushers tasks to help make the planning easier for you. One can scout out the best places to go, the other can print out the challenges.
The Run Up to the Wedding
As the wedding date approaches, you need to make sure the ushers know where they need to be, what they’re doing and at what time. This also includes any last minute suit fittings too. Chat with the maid of honour and see what useful things you can have to hand on the day – such as large umbrellas in case the weather is bad.
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Go over your speech to make sure your delivery is confident and clear. Run it past a trusted person who knows the couple to make sure it’s not offensive and the jokes are received how you want them to be. We have some tried and tested jokes for the best man speech to inspire you.
The Day Before the Wedding
Help the bride and groom by picking up any hired items and delivering them where they need to go – this can include the wedding suits. You might also be asked to help with any set up at the venue so be prepared to pitch in!
The best man may stay with the groom the night before the wedding. Prepare for this with whisky and lots of snacks, but make sure the groom doesn’t drink too much or eat anything that could cause an issue the next day.
If you have some spare time, go over the speech once more to make sure you’re confident in reading it out.
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On the Day
This is it – the big day for bride and groom, and for the best man too. The best man needs to help the groom get ready on the morning of the wedding, and take delivery of any buttonholes and hand them out.
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Keep the wedding rings safe ahead of the ceremony, and make sure the ushers are in place and the orders of service are out. The best man should also collect any telegrams or messages to be read out during the speeches. You need to make sure the groom is at the venue at least twenty minutes before the ceremony is due to start.
Before the wedding ceremony starts, the groom and the best man should take their places on the front right-hand side of the ceremony room. Make sure you have the rings to hand, ready for when the couple come to exchange rings.
The best man might be asked to give a reading during the service, or to be witness to the signing of the register. Once the ceremony is over, the best man is required to escort the maid of honour out of the room. You will also, alongside the ushers, need to help to round up guests for the wedding photographer’s list of group photos.
If the newlyweds choose to have a receiving line at the wedding reception, you will be expected to stand in it and greet the guests as a key part of the wedding party. If the couple have decided not to have a toastmaster or a master of ceremonies, the best man may be asked to announce key elements like the speeches and the cutting of the cake.
Speeches traditionally take place after the meal, but it’s becoming increasingly popular to have them before so the speech-givers can then relax and enjoy their meal. Make sure you’re aware of the timings the bride and groom have decided – the best man’s speech is traditionally last, after the father of the bride and the groom. If you had any messages to read out, do this at the same time as your speech.
After the first dance has taken place, it’s traditional for the best man to dance with the maid of honour. If the couple are following tradition and going away for their honeymoon that night, the best man should make sure to decorate the going away car, if they have one. Other than that, you’re then free to enjoy the party and celebrate with your best friends!
Image credit: Ross Hurley Photography
After the Wedding
The best man could be asked to help out by rounding up and returning any hired items, such as the suits and any decorative details used at the venue. You could also be asked to safely store the wedding gifts if the couple go on honeymoon straight away.
Top Tips to be the Best Best Man Ever
Set up a group chat on a messaging service like WhatsApp or Facebook – this will help you organise the ushers and plan the stag do pranks behind the groom’s back.
Make sure you’re completely familiar with the running of the day – people will look to the best man to explain what’s happening next or where they need to be. Make sure you don’t disappoint.
Practise your speech – even if you’re sick of it, we can’t say it enough. Being asked to give the best man’s speech is a huge honour so make sure you deliver.
Pace yourself – it’s stressful and quite nerve-wracking being asked to be the best man, but resist the urge to drown your fear in free champagne and JD; you need to be sober and coherent to do your duties.
Look after the groom – it’s pretty likely the groom is going to be caught up in well-wishers and celebrating, but make sure he has food and drink on hand when he needs them.
If you have an amazing best man, we have groomsmen gift ideas to suit every budget.