Thought all you had to do was say a few words and make sure the groom turns up with both eyebrows present, correct? Think again. As best man, your role on the day is to be floor manager, agony aunt and trouble-shooter for the big day, according to wedding etiquette bible Debrett's.
You'll have your hands full keeping the dance floor filled, acting as icebreaker for wedding guest strangers - and far more. Not sure where to start? We've listed all the main points of best man etiquette here.
Being a best man, you’ll serve as the groom’s personal advisor for everything wedding related and everything else that comes with it! You’ll be his main point of call before the wedding and during the wedding, so be prepared to offer some top-notch advice.
It’s the job of the best man to arrange an epic and memorable stag trip for the groom and all his best mates. Your duties will include getting a guest list going, choosing the destination and selecting what activities to do. It’s good to bear in mind when organising the trip, that not everyone will be able to afford a crazy trip abroad with outlandish activities. The stag would rather have his best mates all together for the weekend, rather than have some left out due to the cost of the do. If money is an issue, then there are plenty of great stag destinations right here in the UK, with package options that cost from as little as £49.
You’ll help the groom with choosing his attire for the big day. Whether you guys opt to rent or buy, you’ll provide some valuable advice and also act as his stylist. You’ll also help to select suits for the other groomsmen, and those that perhaps are not able to make it to the choosing of the suits.
There may well be guests who don’t get along, or older relatives who find the day an endurance test. Ask the bride and groom about any sensitive issues so you can familiarise yourself with the characters ahead of time – and look out for them to give support. You’ll also be expected to attend the wedding rehearsal, and it may be a good idea to find out a little about the venue, too.
Be sure to attend the wedding rehearsal which normally happens a couple of days before the wedding. This gives you a good insight on how things will be running on the day, and where people will be positioned to stand during the ceremony and how to walk down the aisle. There may also be a rehearsal dinner which required your attendance – check with the bride and groom and see if this is something that appeals to them.
You’ll be escorting the chief bridesmaid down the aisle, so it might be nice to meet up before the day. While you’re there, make sure you’ve got the details like confetti covered – they make all the difference.
If you’re preoccupied with your speech, you’ll forget that your main focus at the wedding is to support the groom. Make sure you know your lines inside and out, way before the big day. Be sure to read our speech writing tips and avoid any wedding day speech slip ups.
Etiquette dictates that you should stay with the groom the night before. He may be so nervous that he tries to persuade you into drinking ‘just one more for the road’ at the hotel bar. Remember: it’s your job to get him to the church on time.
He’ll have a lot on his plate, so it’s a nice touch to suggest taking the groom out for breakfast on the morning of the wedding. A stomach-settling plate of eggs and bacon before he says ‘I do’ could be just right.
It’s the best man’s job to check the groom and the ushers look spot on. Make sure everyone has buttonholes – and the groom doesn’t have a price tag stuck to the bottom of his shoe.
Support the groom
Make sure he turns up to the ceremony on time with everything he needs. Aim to arrive at least 45 minutes before kick-off. Keep him laughing and joking too, so he’s not too nervous by the time the bride arrives.
Have deep pockets
Apart from the rings, you may be responsible for envelopes of cash to pay the vicar and florist.
Gather the guests
Make sure everyone knows where the reception is, and ensure all the major players – from the bridesmaids to the parents – get in the correct car.
Sign the marriage certificate
This is a really important part of the ceremony where yourself and the maid of honour will both sign the marriage certificate
DJ not turned up? Caterer stuck in traffic on the M25? You will be first port of call in a crisis, so be ready to think creatively to quickly overcome problems. The main aim is to deal with things discreetly, without alarming the bride and groom.
At the best wedding receptions everyone talks – even if they don’t know each other. If people are just huddled in their same old familiar groups, it’s time to start icebreaking. No one dancing to that expensive live band? Put in a request for a favourite number and lead by example.
You may be nursing a hangover, but your best manly duties aren’t quite over. If you’ve hired suits, it’s your job to take them back. Get everything right, and the happy couple will be sure to have a special day – and you’ll enjoy it all the more yourself.
You’ve nailed it! You’ve helped the groom prepare for one of the most important days of his life, and have been by his side throughout the day and provided reliable assistance; you’ve also delivered a brilliant speech, so now, it’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy a cold beer (a bit of hair of the dog never hurt anyone).
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