So you’ve just been asked to be the best man. Make no mistake: it’s an honor, and one you’ll remember for a lifetime. Chances are, you’re very close to the groom, and know almost as much (or more) about him than his own family.
What you might not know is that being a best man requires a good deal more than dressing up for the big day. While all groomsmen have duties, it’s the best man who’s responsible for some of the most crucial details, from the days leading up to the ceremony through the end of the night of the wedding.
Before you panic, here’s a simple guide to all the things you’ll be expected to do, plus some tips to keep your cool and enjoy the day too!
- Right after you’re asked: First of all, be honest with yourself: can you commit the time and expense to be a best man? If your schedule is extra packed, be honest upfront and ask what the groom expects, and be prepared to be flexible. By communicating early and often, you’ll save both yourself and the groom headaches and arguments along the way.
- Planning the Bachelor Party: Not only are you expected to be in attendance at the pre-wedding party, you’ll be expected to plan it. Keep in mind that you should have the groom in mind when you do: while some men like a night out with drinks, others want something more tame. What does planning involve? You’ll need to make a (small) guest list, plan the location, time, and date. You’ll also be expected to arrange for transportation (in case everyone drinks), and, yes, pay in part for the celebration. Generally, the groomsmen split the cost evenly among themselves.
- Suit up: In most cases, you’ll be required to rent a tux or suit for the wedding. And in most cases that style choice will be made for you, though some grooms ask for advice from their party. Either way, expect to pay for the cost of rental and professional cleaning, as well as any fittings you might need.
- Attend the Rehearsal Dinner: Of course, this is expected for all bridal party members, but it’s absolutely essential for the best man. Have other plans? Unless it’s an absolute emergency, you need to be at the rehearsal dinner, to make sure you understand how you will walk down the aisle, and the general timing of the ceremony. The good news is that the bride and groom or their families tend to host the dinner, so just come, enjoy, and pay attention.
- Pre Ceremony: You’re more than a warm body in a suit or tux on the wedding day. You’ll be expected to make sure the groomsmen are performing their duties and on time, and you yourself will need to be there well in advance. Most best mans are also charged with passing out boutonniere and holding onto the groom’s wedding ring.
- At the Ceremony: During the ceremony, most of the time you’ll stand beside the groom at the altar and may also be asked to serve as a witness, along with the maid of honor, during the signing of the marriage license.
- During the Reception: You’ll be expected, at very least to give a toast before the meal, so you’ll want to be sure to prepare ahead of time. During the dancing, enjoy yourself, just not too much. Everyone wants an best man who is enjoying the day, but also be aware you are still ‘on duty’ and getting drunk is not in the best taste. As the party dies, you’ll likely also be charged with taking the groom’s tux rental, and, if there isn’t enough help, even cleaning up some.
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