So you’re the best man, congratulations! The best man duties are important. You are one of the key people in the wedding party besides the bride and groom. Here are the key duties.
Before the wedding
• Offer help to the bride and groom during the wedding planning process with any organisational tasks that need to be done. Best men often get involved in sorting out wedding transport, booking the wedding disco, and more.
• Get to the know the wedding venue if possible (if the ceremony and reception are in different locations, get to know them both, as well as how to get between the two). You might need to ask the bride and groom if you can accompany them on a visit. On the day of the wedding, you’ll be expected to know about parking, toilets, directions and so on. Remember that – gift list or not –
• Get to know the ushers. On the day, you and the ushers will have responsibility for helping out with any number of small things, so it’s a good idea to meet them first if possible.
• Find out the timetable for the day. All weddings run to some sort of timetable – start of ceremony, end of ceremony, start of drinks reception, start of dinner, start of disco, and so on. Make sure you know what is happening and when.
• Organise the stag night. Try to choose something the groom will enjoy, rather than what you and all his mates want to do!
• Write a speech. Your speech traditionally comes last, and you come after the bride’s father and the groom himself. You’re expected to highlight the groom’s qualities, and give him a bit of gentle ribbing too.
On the day
• Your most important duty is to get the groom to the ceremony on time, which means at least half an hour before the ceremony is due to begin. Unlike the bride, the groom does not traditionally arrive in a fancy car – getting there is the important bit.
• Before the ceremony begins you should take your place on the right hand side of the aisle, front row, next to the groom. Generally you can expect the ushers to help guests to find their places. Your job is to look after the groom.
• You will usually be asked to look after the couple’s wedding rings and produce them at the appropriate moment in the ceremony.
• After the ceremony it is traditional for you to escort the chief bridesmaid down the aisle.
• If there is a Master of Ceremonies at the wedding, you can expect him to marshal guests to the right place at the right time. If not, it’s down to you and the ushers. For example you might need to gather up guests as they enjoy drinks at the start of the reception, and encourage them to join a receiving line. If formal photographs are taking place, you might need to help the photographer to find the appropriate groups of people.
• Generally you will give your speech at the end of the meal at the wedding reception. However, some couples prefer to do it before the meal, giving an opportunity for the father of the bride, the groom and you to get the speech out of the way and enjoy the rest of the day.
• If there’s a wedding disco, then after the bride and groom have had their first dance, you are expected to dance with the chief bridesmaid. (If there is no “chief” bridesmaid, feel free to take your pick!)
• If the bride and groom are leaving the reception in their own vehicle, it’s traditional for you to pop out at some point in the evening and give it a bit of decoration. It is more or less compulsory to write “Just Married” on the back window and to have a few things trailing off the back of the car. Anything else is up to you.
• You should be one of the last people to leave the reception and it’s a good idea to help people get home safely, assisting with ordering taxis and so on.
After the wedding
• One of the traditional best man duties is to take back any hired outfits for the male members of the wedding party. The groom, of course, will be off on his honeymoon.