Congratulations! You’ve been chosen to be the best man and you’re probably feeling pretty smug about it. Or, perhaps you've been asked by the groom and you want to know what the best man tasks involve before taking it on.
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 groom's load before, during and after the wedding. Of course a groom's needs vary from wedding to wedding, but essentially you'll be their go-to and confidant throughout the whole engagement and wedding, so your new found job is kind of a big deal. No pressure!
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 for the groom. 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.
Hoping to ace the best man title? It’ll be easy if you use our ultimate guide to swot up on everything you need to do. We've included an FAQ, a checklist to keep you on track – oh, and don’t forget to take a look at our top tips at the bottom!
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Who Is Usually the Best Man?
A groom's best man is usually his sibling or close friend, but there's no set rule about who can be a best man. The important part is that it's someone the groom trusts and can rely on throughout their wedding journey. We've seen everyone from the groom's grandad to their son being best man so just choose someone really important to you.
There's no rule that says the best man has to be a man either! What about having a best woman?
Can the Groom Have Two Best Men?
Absolutely! The groom 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 man. It 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.
Does the Best Man Have to Give a Speech?
You'll see more below on this, but yes, the best man speech is a highlight of the wedding and it's expected from the best man. Even if you don't have a lot of experience as a public speaker, we've got so many guides to writing the best man's speech, ideas for funny jokes and best man speech examples that you'll feel totally secure. Remember the room is on your side and everyone is rooting for you. You've got this.
Best Man Duties: Before the Wedding
1. Help Choose the Suits
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 members of the wedding party to go and try on suits. The groomsmen's attire is just as important as the couple's outfits on the day in order to achieve the wedding vision, especially if the couple have requested everyone to sport cohesive outfits.
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.
READ MORE: A Groom’s Guide to Buying a Wedding Suit
2. Get Acquainted With the Ushers
The best man needs to be aware of who all the ushers are and what duty they’ll have on the day so they can make sure everyone is in place before the wedding march starts.
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.
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.
3. Help the Groom with Planning Admin
Luckily for the best man, he’s not expected to pitch in much with the wedding planning duties, but that’s not to say the best man can’t offer to help out!
You can support the groom in any admin he needs to do, such a buying the wedding rings, getting quotes from entertainment suppliers and writing his speech.
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.
4. 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 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!).
5. 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 10 steps to the perfect wedding speech and how to nail your delivery.
We can't emphasise enough how you can be cheeky and a little raunchy 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.
6. Coordinate the 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 some personalised cufflinks, it’d be a really nice touch!
Best Man Duties: The Day Before the Wedding
7. Help with 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!
8. Stay Over with the Groom
The best man may stay 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.
Best Man Duties: On the Wedding Day
9. 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, take delivery of any buttonholes and hand them out to the groomsmen. Keep an eye on the clock so time doesn't get away from you!
10. Keep The Rings Safe
Perhaps one of the most important duties, the groomsman will 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.
You might also be asked to hold the groom's personal items such as his wallet and phone.
11. Greet the Guests and Stand 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.
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 them.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Guide
12. Give a Reading
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 round up guests for the wedding photographer’s list of group photos.
13. 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".
14. 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.
15. Give a 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.
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: 21 Ways to End Your Best Man Speech
16. Dance With the Maid of Honour
After the first dance has taken place, it’s traditional for the best man to dance with the maid of honour (if there is one) and encourage everyone onto the dance floor.
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!
Best Man Duties: After the Wedding
17. Take Care of the Groom’s Attire
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 their honeymoon straight away.
Five Top Tips for the Best Man
- 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 - 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.
Now you know what your duties are, get clued up on the usher duties so you can keep the other men in check!