When it comes to wedding party roles, best man duties are way up there as some of the most important. Firstly, congratulations on being chosen to be the best man. You're guessing you're feeling pretty happy about it - and the fact that you're here, researching the duties of a best man in the UK means you're taking your best man responsibilities pretty seriously. We're impressed already!
Whether you’re a close friend or the groom’s sibling, there’s a whole host of things you need to know about the best man duties to help lighten the couple's load before, during and after the wedding. Of course the couple's needs are always going to vary from wedding to wedding - some couples will assign more best man jobs than others, and some will be okay with a hands-off approach.
Best Man Duties: 24 Best Man Jobs and Responsibilities
During your role as a best man, or woman, you'll essentially be their go-to and confidant throughout the whole engagement and wedding planning process, so your new found job is kind of a big deal.
Typically, you won’t be involved in much of the wedding planning, but the best man’s duties include a lot more than just planning an epic stag do. You'll be helping choose the groomsmen's attire, giving the best man’s speech at the reception and keeping the wedding rings safe on the big day, among other responsibilities.
To ensure you nail the job, here's everything you need to know about being a killer best man, including the duties of a best man on the wedding day, best man jobs before the wedding and a checklist of things to do after the celebrations are over. Get your notepad out, it's time to get learning.
- What is a Best Man?
- What Are the Duties of a Best Man?
- Best Man Duties and Jobs Before the Wedding
- Best Man Duties and Jobs on the Wedding Day
- Best Man Duties and Jobs After the Wedding
What is a Best Man?
The role of a best man is typically assigned to the groom's closest friend or family member, but this might be different depending on the couple's dynamics. The best man tends to be a sibling or very close friend, but there's no set rule about who can be assigned the role of a best man.
The best man is the equivalent to the maid of honour and traditionally undertakes the most important duties and responsibilities on the groom's side of the wedding party. Because of this, the best man has to be someone the couple can really trust and rely on throughout the wedding planning journey.
We've seen everyone from the groom's grandad to their son being best man, so just choose someone really important to you. The couple might have a hard time choosing between two friends or relatives, in which case it's perfectly acceptable to give two people involved in the wedding the title and responsibility of best men.
This can actually benefit all parties as it evens out the work load and takes the pressure off of one individual. As soon as you can, make sure specific tasks are clearly given to each person to avoid any confusion. There's no rule that says the best man has to be a man either! What about having a best woman, bridesman or bridesmate?
What Are the Duties of a Best Man?
We go into much more detail below, but some of the key best man duties and jobs involve planning the stag do, writing the best man's speech and often, they are also asked to be the ring bearer too. Depending on how many best men the couple have, and the size of his wedding party will both be determining factors in how involved you will need to be, as well as how much responsibility you'll take on.
Best Man Duties and Jobs Before the Wedding
1. Help Choose the Suits
One of the main duties of a best man is the suit shopping. The best man will need to assist the groom in rounding up the ushers and the other important members of the wedding party to go and try on wedding suits.
The best man should discuss ideas with the couple about style, and also decide whether the groomswear is to be bought or hired. Traditionally, the couple pay for the wedding suits or hire of them, but if it’s decided that financial contributions are required, make sure this is discussed openly and up front.
It's important you and the couple communicate this with the ushers so everyone is aware ahead of trying anything on.
2. Arrange to Meet the Ushers
The best man needs to be aware of who all the ushers and other groomsmen are. You may already know them, you may not, but either way, knowing what the usher roles and duties are and what yours are so everyone is clear on what's expected of them.
Whilst that all sounds super formal, you can make this super fun. Invite the couple, maybe even the rest of the wedding party, order in some food and drinks and use it as a chance to bond with their nearest and dearest ahead of the wedding planning (and more importantly, the stag do planning) commences.
3. Liaise With the Maid of Honour
Though this isn't an official duty, you might also want to chat with the maid of honour (if there is one) and see what useful things you can have to hand on the day – such as large umbrellas in case the weather is bad or on-the-day wedding gifts you want to arrange for the couple.
4. Help the Groom with Planning Admin
Traditionally, the best man isn't expected to pitch in with too much of the wedding planning tasks, but that doesn't mean you can't offer to help out.
Even if you aren't in charge of the finer details, offering to set up, move furniture and direct suppliers on the morning of the wedding won’t go amiss.
5. Plan The Stag Do
This is the best man’s moment to shine, and probably the moment all best men dream of: planning 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 stag do in London or a weekend closer to home with everyone?
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, the best stag party games, and funny pranks to play on the groom (nothing that gets him arrested, please!).
6. Write Your Best Man Speech
An essential task to tick off your list before the big day is to write your best man speech and get practising so you feel so comfortable with it when you have to stand up and speak. Start with looking at our best man speech introductions, the best toasts to end your speech with, and the five things you need to include in between.
We've got special guides if you want to write a short best man's speech or you're writing a best man speech for your brother. Here's some important steps to the perfect wedding speech and how to nail your delivery.
We can't emphasise enough how you can be a little cheeky with your speech, but you need to consider that older relatives will be there and some sexual or embarrassing stories may not be right for the audience. Run your speech past a trusted person to check if you've got the tone right.
7. Organise a Groomsmen’s Gift to the Groom
This isn’t compulsory, but it might be nice to present the groom with a gift from his groomsmen on the morning of his wedding.
Chat to the ushers and the stags and see if anyone would be up for putting in a bit of money towards it. Whether it's a vintage bottle of scotch or a personalised wedding watch, it’d be a really nice touch!
8. Organise Final Fittings
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 includes any last minute suit fittings which the couple may be too busy or stressed to organise.
9. Check in With the Groom
The biggest day of his life is fast approaching, so taking some time out to check in with the groom, even if it's to do something completely non-weddingy is really important. As his best man, you are his sounding board for any nerves or wedding anxiety he may be feeling.
10. Help With the Pre-Wedding Set-Up
Help the couple by picking up any hired items and delivering them where they need to go – this can include the wedding suits. As mentioned, you might also be asked to help with any set up at the venue so be prepared to pitch in and help wherever you can. The more jobs you can alleviate from the couple themselves, the better.
11. Stay Over with the Groom
Traditionally, the best man may stays with the groom the night before the wedding. Prepare for this with drinks 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 best man’s speech once more to make sure you’re confident in reading it out and check in with the groom again.
Best Man Duties and Jobs on the Wedding Day
12. Help The Groom Get Ready
This is it – the big day for the couple, and for the best man too. The best man needs to help the groom get ready on the morning of the wedding and just be as hands on as possible with whatever last minute tasks come your way.
13. Organise the Ushers
On the morning of the wedding, be the person to take delivery of any buttonholes and hand them out to the groomsmen and the other ushers. As the groom will be focussing on himself, as he should be, keep an eye on the clock so time doesn't get away from you.
Use this time to organise the other ushers, especially if you have any younger page boys or junior ushers who may need help with their outfits or just general looking after.
14. Keep The Rings Safe
Perhaps one of the most important duties, the best man is often also the ring bearer at the wedding and may be entrusted by the couple to keep the wedding rings safe ahead of the ceremony, and make sure the ushers are in place and the orders of service are out. Even if you aren't the official ring bearer, you still may be tasked with keeping them safe ahead of the ceremony.
You might also be asked to hold the couple's personal items such as their phones or money.
15. Greet the Guests With the Groom
You need to make sure the groom is at the venue at least twenty minutes before the ceremony is due to start.
The best man should then stand with the groom to greet the guests, and also collect any messages to be read out during the speeches. As you'll typically know the majority of the guests, you're the perfect person to welcome them.
16. Stand at the Altar With the Groom
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 at the altar. If you are the ring bearer, make sure you have the rings to hand, ready for when the couple come to exchange them. If you aren't ensure the ring bearer has them ahead of the ceremony.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Guide
17. Escort the Maid of Honour Out of the Ceremony
Tradition states that once the ceremony is over, the best man is required to escort the maid of honour (if there is one) out of the room ahead of the newly married couple exiting.
18. Stand in the Receiving Line
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. The receiving line isn't as tough a job as it seems: guests move quickly into the venue (it's where the drinks are, after all) so it really is a quick "Hello, great to see you, thanks for coming".
19. Help Organise the Wedding Photographs
You will also, alongside the ushers, need to help round up guests for the wedding photographer’s list of group photos as well as appearing in many of them yourselves.
20. Be the Master of Ceremonies
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 couple’s arrival into the reception room, the speeches and the cutting of the cake.
Wedding venues often provide a member of staff to do this job, so check with the couple ahead of time if they need you to do it.
21. Deliver Your Speech
You’ll have already gone over your speech to make sure your delivery is confident and clear (and ran it past a trusted person to make sure it’s not offensive), but now is the moment of truth.
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 couple have decided.
With regards to wedding speech order, the best man’s speech is traditionally last, after the father of the bride speech and the groom speech. This might change if there's a bride speech or maid of honour speech in the mix.
You’re bound to be a bit nervous, but make sure you speak slowly, pause for laughter and mention everyone who needs to be mentioned. If you’re after some last minute joke-inspo, take a look at our round-up of tried and tested best man speech jokes! If you had any messages to read out, do this at the same time as your speech.
READ MORE: Unique Ways to End Your Best Man Speech
22. Get the Party Started
After the first dance has taken place, it’s traditional for the best man to dance with the maid of honour (again, if there is one) and encourage everyone onto the dance floor.
As far as wedding tasks for the best man go, once you have everyone on the dance floor, your official best man duties are over for tonight. You’re then free to enjoy the party and celebrate with your best friends. We would recommend you keep an eye on the guests. As an important member of the wedding party, it's also your job to ensure everyone is okay, has what they need and are behaving accordingly.
Best Man Duties and Jobs After the Wedding
23. Return and Clean Suits
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. If the suits weren't hired, you may be tasked with taking things to be dry-cleaned - the sooner the better.
24. Take Care of Wedding Gifts
You could also be asked to safely store the wedding gifts if the couple go on their honeymoon straight away. Even if they don't jet off immediately, you may still be tasked with ensuring all gifts, cards and things like the guest book and any important keepsakes are collected from the venue and delivered to the couple.