Categories: Wedding Advice For Men
You have just been given one of the biggest honours a guy can ever have, having one of his closest mates or relatives ask him to be the best man. Once the madness has sunk in, you suddenly have this realisation that you’ve no idea what this actually entails. I know this as I had the exact same realisation when I was asked. Now having done it a few times I’m a bit more clued up in what is involved, therefore I wanted to make a list of exactly what a best man does and what duties are expected of you.
Below is a brief list, while I explain each point in further detail further down the page.
Well that list is quite full, so I’ve gone into a bit more detail below so you can jump straight to the point you want some more advice on.
It is imperative you chat to the bride-to-be, as she will have a colour scheme in place and will have certain ideas how she wants to appear. He might be picking out the suit, however she will have a huge say in the style, colour and design, you just have to pick the perfect one. If you want some advice on the suit, here is my guide to buying a suit.
The first step is to talk to the groom about where they want to celebrate their bachelor party. Once you’ve worked out some potential locations (have 2 or 3 in mind), see which types of activities he would be interested in, whether adrenaline fuelled, heavy drinking or something a bit calmer, whether its local based or far away.
You then need to check who will be coming, what their ages are and how capable they will be of doing certain activities. For example, if a fair amount of the guests are 50+, then you might need to second-guess on the skydiving idea, unless they all happen to be daredevils. As well as activities, you will want to consider what type of accommodation the groom would like, whether a classy five star hotel or a cheap and cheerful hostel.
Payment from each member is one of the hardest factors in play, so when you go with a company such as ours, we can organise individual payment (so you don’t have to fork out the money for everyone upfront). You will then just need everyone to pay a £50 deposit and it is all secured.
You first need to decide if you are getting it just from yourself, or getting something from all the ushers combined, or both. What ever you get, it should be personable and long lasting. Some popular gifts are a group printed photo from the stag do, an expensive bottle of whisky, a personalised __ (insert name of literally anything, I mean seriously they personalise anything nowadays) or an engraved pocket watch for a more traditional feel.
This one is dependent on whether this is a task for the bride or groom, but on the limited list of tasks for the fella, the band normally pops up. If so, there is a fair chance he will be clueless or is leaving it late to get this sorted. You can therefore help out and try to find the right group, but I would recommend having a chat with the bride to find out what type of songs she wants played, as this will make a huge difference. Whether it’s a violinist, a wedding band or even a HiFi setup in the right place, you need to sort something out.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay for everyone, but you will probably have to help with the booking and finding the right spot. You will want somewhere so that they are altogether and can socialise the day before.
Inevitably, as you spend the evening before with the groom, you will be travelling to the venue with him. Whether you go for a simple taxi, or something cooler like a tractor, a limo or Ferrari, you will have to do some research beforehand.
This is just a run through with all the key members who are closest to the big day. This is largely to make sure everything is in the right place and everyone knows how the day will run and what their responsibilities are. From working out where to get people to sit to when to make the speech, this will be incredibly useful for you.
This mainly involves getting slightly drunk on whisky with the groom and his dad, so it’s normally a fun evening, but try to ensure both yourself and the groom don’t get too drunk. It sucks being the buzzkill, but you both need to be in top condition the next day, so you need to stop the madness going too far. Work out some fun stories and anecdotes to share on the evening, that aren’t present on your best man speech.
Do Not Lose Them! Well, this one is relatively self-explanatory, but you need to look after them and make sure they don’t get lost.
With so many people arriving at the same time, people can get confused where to go, where to sit and they are all looking to speak to close mates or the happy couple, therefore it is your job to step up and direct everyone to the right place. This is both fun and stressful, as you become the centre piece and get a five second greeting with everyone who arrives.
You might think someone who is paid to do this everyday wouldn’t need directing, however they have most likely not been to this venue before, they don’t know all the key people they need to capture and appreciate an element of guidance. I say an element, as they don’t want you to start taking over and dictating the way they do their job, they just need some help here and there, such as if they need some support finding plugs for lighting or if their equipment needs to be stored somewhere safe.
A lot of people will be walking around with presents or envelopes filled with money, unsure where to put it or whether to hand it to the bride and groom. You therefore need to establish an area or a table for them all to be placed on. This table will normally also hold the wedding guest book or wishing tree for everyone to write a nice message in, so you may have to remind guests of this.
Everyone has their set cue to walk down the aisle and the maid of honour and best man walk arm in arm, before splitting at the altar. Make sure to have a chat beforehand and get in the right position in line before it all kicks off.
Once the groom is at the front, waiting for the bride to arrive, you will see nerves bursting through and a vein bulging on his forehead. It is at this point you can make some small comments like you’re looking great or the day has gone perfect. I personally think a quick inside joke is always best to settle their nerves.
This is one of those ridiculous legal bits where you just sign your name to prove you witnessed them getting married. It pretty much is exactly what it says on the tin, sign on the dotted line and smile.
This one is an old tradition, especially as it could be awkward if one of you is in a relationship, but it was commonplace for the two to share a dance after the bride and groom have danced together. It’s always worth asking the maid of honour if this is something she thinks you should both do.
We have written a really in-depth guide to writing a best man speech, from how to structure the presentation, to including any props, the types of jokes that work best and some example templates. I’d recommend starting this 6 months before the wedding, that was the perfect amount of time for me. This might seem drastic, but actually it worked perfectly as you want to memorise the speech and you also will think of funny jokes, stories and funny memories constantly over that period which will replace the boiler-plate jokes. More personalised the better.
Once the wedding is over and the drinks start pouring, it is your job to gently guide people towards the dance floor, make sure everyone is having a good time and nobody is sitting at the side feeling awkward or on their own. This includes some older relatives who might be lonely or need something. It’s always hard to be the first person on the dancefloor, however this is your duty.