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Best Man Duties: The Ultimate Guide

Published date: 30th August 2020 | Author: Hollie Bond


If you’ve been given the honour of being best man at your friend’s wedding, make sure to read our top tips covering everything you need to do to become the best best man ever!

Congratulations, you’ve been asked to be a best man. It’s a huge honour and sets you aside as one of the most important people in the bridal party. There’s so much more to being a best man than just smiling in photos and giving a good best man’s speech (although if you’re looking inspiration check out our guide to writing a speech here). A great best man doesn’t just simply turn up at the wedding and hope for the best. There’s a lot of preparation and work that goes into being an amazing best man especially if you want to go above and beyond the groom’s expectations. We’ve rounded up the top 15 tips that every best man should read before the big day.

What Is Expected Of a Best Man?

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Firstly let’s take a quick look at what the traditional role of the best man actually is. In a nutshell, the best man is expected to organise the stag do, give a best man’s speech, keep the wedding rings safe and hand them over during the ceremony, and organise the other ushers. When you put it in a concise list like that it sounds like a fairly easy job. But, a really good best man does much more than just the jobs that are expected of him. Read on to see exactly what it takes to be a brilliant best man for your best friend.

How To Be a Great Best Man

1. Throw an Awesome Stag Do

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Many months before the wedding you need to start thinking about the stag do. It might seem overkill to start planning so early, but we promise the earlier you start the less stressful this job will be and the better the stag do in the end. Ask your best friend for a list of who he wants to attend (never just presume you know!) and get a date in the diary ASAP, after all everyone has such busy lives you need to nail them down before they get another offer. Then come up with a general idea of what you want to do. Overseas or in the UK? A full week or just one day? A budget break or an extravagant once-in-a-lifetime boys’ trip?

You might want to set up a group chat with all the boys to make things nice and easy for everyone to keep track of and it’s essential that you consider everyone’s budgets. The most important thing though is to ensure you put the groom first and ensure that whatever you organise is to his taste. Try and throw the stag do at least a month before the wedding so that everyone has time to recover and look their very best on the day.

2. Keep an Eye On How Your Groom Is Coping

We’ve all heard of bridezillas who get seriously stressed in the run up to the day, but don’t forget that the groom has emotions and feelings too and might be a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of money and organising that goes into a wedding. When he proposed he was probably just imagining the lovely life as a husband and wife he’d soon be enjoying, and not thinking about spending every spare minute looking at colour charts, cake designs and dealing with the politics of table plans and meddling mothers! So be sure to check in with him from time to time, just so he knows that someone understands he’s not a robot and might be feeling a bit stressed be the whole thing. Although it’s unlikely, you might want to call him in the week before the wedding just to make sure he’s not getting cold feet too.

3. Help Choose Suits For The Bridal Party

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You’re going to be in an awful lot of photos and after the bride and groom you’re one of the real VIPs of the day. So you need to ensure you’re looking your dapper best. If you get the chance, offer your services when it comes to choosing the suits, especially if your friend’s sartorial decisions can be a bit dodgy from time to time! You might be asked to round up the other ushers too and organise a time when you can all go the the suit shop to work out the best sizes. If you’re spread around the country it might be easier to ask for the ushers measurements instead. Don’t be scared to speak your mind when the groom asks for your opinion of which suits you like. You both need to look your very best on this important day after all.

4. Show The Groom How Excited You Are For Him

Part of being a best man is creating a real sense of occasion and excitement for the groom and the bridal party. This is your time to be the life and soul of the party so ensure all your messages to anyone involved are extremely positive and upbeat (even when you’re in full stress mode about the best mans speech) and just generally be happy for your friend. If he wants your opinion on something that you find extremely boring like place settings, plaster a smile on your face and pretend to be fascinated by the details. However you feel about your friend getting married (perhaps you don’t like his future wife, or you’re lamenting the end of your days as single boys together) it’s best to bury these feelings somewhere nice and deep and give the impression of being the happiest guest at the wedding.

5. Help Set Up The Wedding

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Even the most pared-back of weddings require an awful lot of setting up and manpower the day before. If your friend has opted for a dry hire venue or marquee, it’s time to flex those muscles and set aside an entire day to help carry chairs, tables, and all manner of other props around the place. While you probably won’t be asked to help fold confetti cones or string up pom poms, you can offer to do these tasks if you’re feeling particularly creative. The most important thing is that you’re there and ready to offer a hand to a probably rather stressed soon-to-be-married couple.

6. Be The Point Person For The Ushers

Once you’ve acquainted yourself with the other ushers, it’s time to be the lead member of the groomsmen and really step up when it comes to organising this band of brothers. The ushers will look to you for instructions for what they need to do on the wedding day itself (jobs include handing out orders of service, guiding guests to their seats, helping set up, ushering guests into a receiving line etc.). Organising the ushers will be a massive help for the groom and really take a weight off his shoulders, so take this job seriously.

7. Organise a Gift From The Groomsmen To The Groom

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This one isn’t compulsory, but is a really lovely touch. The groom usually gives the ushers and best man a gift on the morning of the wedding to say thank you for all their help in the run up. It can be really nice to club together to get something for the groom too though as a reminder of how happy you are for him and a memento of this special occasion. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just something small and sentimental.

8. Offer Your Services To The Bride And Groom For Any Wedding Planning Duties

As well as helping with setting up, the groom will be really touched if you offer your wedding planning services beforehand. Chances are he won’t take you up on the offer, but he may need help with ringing suppliers or things like finding wedding transport that are fun tasks to complete together.

9. Be Organised And Prepared

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A disorganised best man is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Even if organisation doesn’t come naturally to you, it’s time to use all your willpower to try and be better and give the groom reason to trust that you’ll do all your best man tasks to the best of your ability. Organisation is needed for the stag do and during the wedding, plus if you turn up with a kit of must-haves like a spare copy of the groom’s speech, mints, plasters, headache tablets and spare socks, you will go down as the best groom in history.

10. Look After The Groom The Night Before The Wedding

So you’re going down the pub for a night-before-the-wedding celebration with the lads? This is when you have to channel your inner responsible adult and keep an eye on how much the groom is drinking and ward off any ushers who try and pass him a shot or a dirty pint. The groom will thank you for intervening the next morning.

11. Help The Groom Get Ready On The Morning Of His Wedding

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This is an easy and a fun one – you simply have to get dressed with the groom on the morning of the wedding. It’s your job to ensure his suit and tie, cravat or bow tie are done to perfection, check everyone has the right shoes on and hand out any buttonholes to the bridal party. You might want to put a playlist of songs together for the morning to get everyone in the mood to party.

12. Write And Deliver a Great Best Man Speech

This is the big one. The best man speech. The part of the role you may have been dreading (or if you love giving speeches, looking forward to) the most. In order for a best man speech to be successful it needs to be started really early on. Don’t just presume this is something you can pull out the bag with mere days to go. You need to think about this speech months in advance so that it doesn’t become a stressful experience. If you are one of two or more best men you’ll need to come together with them multiple times to write and practise the speech. Otherwise, it’s all up to you and we have an excellent resource here that’ll show you exactly how to write and deliver a fabulous best man speech with examples of some of the best best man speeches ever written.

13. Keep The Rings Safe And Organise Any Ring Bearers

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This is a small, but hugely important job. Whatever you do, don’t channel Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral (when he has to get rings from members of the congregation!). The nearlyweds will have spent a pretty penny on these rings and they are a hugely symbolic part of the ceremony so it’s important that you have them to hand when the officiant asks for them. This job becomes rather more stressful if there’s some sort of ring bearers involved. We’re talking little kids, dogs, owls etc. Good luck if you’ve been put in charge of any of these. The saying goes… ‘never work with children and animals’ after all.

14. Do Your Homework On The Guests

You might be au fait with all your mate’s friends and family, but it’s important as the best man that you mingle and introduce yourself to other guests as this will help them feel welcomed and part of the event. Ask your friend before the wedding to outline any problem guests too, so you can help control any potentially stressful situations. If Uncle Bill is known for drinking too much and saying inappropriate comments, you’ll want to know and keep an eye. Perhaps there are some feuding parents in the mix who can’t stand next to each other in the photos or a young cousin who is super keen to do any tasks and might be a good candidate to hand out confetti. You’ll really feel part of the family once you’ve swotted up on the idiosyncrasies of the guest list.

15. Get The Party Started (But Don't Get Too Drunk!)

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Picture this: the newlyweds are having a golden hour couple photography session and the band is going strong, but there’s absolutely no-one on the dancefloor. Don’t panic. As the best man, the guests will look to you to lead the proceedings, so ask a willing bridesmaid or mum or auntie if they will join you on the dance floor and before you know it you’ll be jostling for space. While you’re expected to be jolly and the life and soul of the party, it’s also a complete no-no to get embarrassingly drunk as a best man. You don’t want to show up your friend and anyway, you’ll want to remember every minute of this special event and the incredibly important role you’ve played in making it a success.

HB

Written by

Hollie Bond

Hollie is a lifestyle journalist with over ten years’ experience working in the wedding industry as Lifestyle Editor for You & Your Wedding magazine Also a Regional Editor for Muddy Stilettos, Hollie has written for Square Meal magazine, Family History Monthly, BBC History magazine and Homes & Antiques. In her spare time you can find Hollie in a dance studio practising ballet…

Learn more about Hollie Bond

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