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A Guide to Being the Best Man: Everything They Need to Know

From *THE* best man's speech and standing at the altar, to organising the stag do and shopping for suits, best men have more on their plate than you may think...

best men before wedding

best men before wedding

Firstly, congratulations on being chosen to be the best man. We’re guessing you're feeling pretty happy about it - but it's time to talk best man duties!

When it comes to wedding party roles, best man duties are way up there as some of the most important and the fact that you're here, researching them 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 being a best man, but we’ll cover all of that. Every couple is different and their 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, but whatever they need, we’ll make sure you are well equipped for it all!

The Ultimate Best Man Guide: Duties, Timelines & Tips

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 - 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? 

Two men in suits hugging

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, the groom's equivalent of the maid of honour, traditionally looks after the most important duties on the wedding day. This trusted confidante, often a close friend or relative, supports the groom throughout the planning process. 

The best man can be anyone the couple feels comfortable with – grandpa, son, or even two special people sharing the title (just make sure responsibilities are clearly divided). And remember, best man doesn't have to mean a man! Best women, bridesmen, or bridesmates are all welcome additions to the wedding party.

What Are the Duties of a Best Man?

We’ll go into much more detail below, but some of the key duties of a best man involve planning an epic stag do, writing the best man's speech and helping the groomsmen nail their wedding attire. 

The best man will essentially act as the groom's right-hand man, coordinating the groomsmen and ensuring everyone is well-informed. This might also involve providing emotional support when needed.

The amount of responsibilities and duties you take on as the best man can vary depending on two factors: the number of best men chosen by the couple and the overall size of the wedding party.

Best Man Duties and Jobs Before the Wedding

Are you ready? These are the jobs the best man needs to help with before the wedding day and in the run up to the big day itself. 

1. Help Choose the Suits

Men's grey suit with red tie and floral buttonhole

As the best man, one of your main duties will be the suit shopping. You 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

It’s a good idea for the best man to 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

A best man giving his groom friend a pep talk on a sunny day the morning of a wedding

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.

You could lend a helping hand when it comes to organising the more logistical details like booking vendors, managing RSVPs, or even coordinating schedules.

Your support in handling these administrative tasks can help alleviate some of the stress for the groom and ensure a smoother planning process overall. 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

a bride, groom and father of the groom laughing hysterically as the best man stands behind them making a hilarious speech at their wedding breakfast

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 a nice gesture for you as the best man to present the groom with a sentimental gift from his groomsmen on the wedding morning.

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 gets closer, things can get hectic for the happy couple. That's where you, the best man, can step in! Keep an eye out for any last-minute suit fittings the groom or groomsmen might need. Between wedding planning madness, they might not have the time or energy to chase down those final alterations.

9. Check in With the Groom

a best man kissing the groom on the cheek as he feels emotional as he waits for his partner at the top of the alter

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. 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

There are some really important jobs for the best man on the wedding day itself - take note!

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 asked to also be the ring bearer at the wedding and may be entrusted by the couple to keep the wedding rings safe ahead of the ceremony.

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 ensure that the groom arrives at the venue at least twenty minutes before the ceremony is scheduled to begin. Once there, the best man should stand by the groom's side to welcome and greet the arriving guests, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere before the ceremony commences.

You'll probably know lots of the guests, but be sure to introduce yourself as the best man to any that you don't know, so they know who they can speak to if they have any questions. 

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, make sure the ring bearer has them ahead of the ceremony.

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. This is why we recommend meeting the maid of honour ahead of the wedding day - it removes any potential awkwardness!

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

a groom kissimg his best man on the cheek on a meadow outside a wedding venue

As the best man 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 have any messages to read out, do this at the same time as your 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.

But, 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 and are behaving accordingly.

Best Man Duties and Jobs After the Wedding

There are a couple of best man duties that need to be done after the wedding, so check to see if the couple want you to do these things. 

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.

Best Man Checklist and Timeline

Want to be the best best man ever? We know you do - so here's a handy checklist for the best man that follows a clear timeline to help keep you on track. 

Pre-Wedding (6+ Months Before Wedding)

  • Discuss Expectations: Meet with the groom and bride to understand their expectations for your role (3 months before).
  • Plan the Stag Do: Discuss budget, guest list, activities, and dates with the groom and other groomsmen (4-6 months before). Consider booking flights/accommodation if needed (further in advance for better deals).
  • Wedding Attire: Help the groom and groomsmen choose their outfits (suits, tuxedos, accessories) and schedule fittings (4-6 months before). Communicate expectations with the ushers beforehand (2-3 months before).
  • Organise Groomsmen Gifts: Decide on a gift for the groom from the groomsmen (3-4 months before). Collect money from everyone (2-3 months before).
  • Prepare Speech: Start brainstorming ideas for the best man speech (ongoing).

Wedding Months (1-3 Month Before Wedding)

  • Stag Do: Execute the epic party weekend! (1-2 months before wedding)
  • Confirm Details: Double-check all arrangements for the stag do (flights, accommodation, activities) (2 weeks before stag do).
  • Rehearsal Dinner/Pre-Wedding Gathering: Attend the rehearsal dinner and/or pre-wedding gathering to support the groom (night before wedding).

Wedding Day

  • Get Ready: Assist the groom with getting dressed and ensure all groomsmen are ready on time (2-3 hours before ceremony).
  • Hold the Rings: Safely keep the wedding rings until the ceremony (throughout the day).
  • Support the Groom: Be a source of calm and positive energy for the groom (throughout the day).
  • Ceremony & Reception: Stand beside the groom during the ceremony and participate in wedding traditions. Deliver your best man speech at the reception (during speeches).
  • Party Time! Enjoy the rest of the celebration and celebrate the happy couple! (throughout the evening)


  • Thank You Notes: Help the groom write thank you notes to guests (within a few weeks).

Additional Tips

  • Delegate tasks: If there are multiple best men, consider delegating specific tasks to each person.
  • Create a shared document: Create a shared document or spreadsheet with the groom and other groomsmen to track tasks and deadlines.
  • Stay organised: Use checklists and timelines to stay on top of all your responsibilities.
  • Most importantly: Have fun and enjoy helping your friend celebrate their wedding day!

How Do You Choose a Best Man?

The best man should be someone who holds a significant role in the groom's life, such as a brother or best friend. They should be reliable, supportive and should be someone that will be able to fulfil the duties and responsibilities associated with being a best man. 

"When it comes to how to choose a best man, you need to think about the role itself, not just the title," explains Zoe Burke, wedding expert and Editor of Hitched. "It's a big job and involves a degree of confidence, so make sure you ask someone you know will happily stand up and talk, and can handle all the admin."

How Many Best Men Can a Groom Have?

Traditionally, a groom typically has one best man. However, there is no strict rule about the number of best men a groom can have. Some grooms choose to have multiple best men, especially if they have close friends or siblings they want to honour equally.

"I've seen quite a few couples have two best men, but once it gets beyond two the title 'best man' can lose its meaning a little," says Zoe. "If you really can't choose, you could make up new titles, or give each one a different role, so one does a speech, one is the ring bearer, one is the master of ceremonies, etc."

Does the Best Man Have to be a Man?

No, the best man does not have to be a man. In modern weddings, it's becoming increasingly common for couples to break away from traditional gender roles. The best man can be anyone the groom chooses, regardless of gender. They may be referred to as a best woman, a bridesman, or any other title the couple prefers.

How Do You Ask Someone to be the Best Man? 

Asking someone to be the best man is a significant gesture, and it's essential to do so in a thoughtful and personal manner.

You can ask them directly in person or over the phone, or you could go for a more creative approach, such as presenting them with a small gift. However you choose to do it, be sure to express why you value their friendship and why you want them to stand by your side on your wedding day.

Now you know what your duties are, get clued up on the usher duties so you can keep the other members of the wedding party in check.