The tradition of the "best man" is thought to have originated with the Germanic Goths. Often a skilled swordsman, "best man was tasked with the job of stealing the bride from her neighboring community or disapproving family.
While those sword-wielding days are far behind us, the best man continues to play a very critical yet different role in the modern-day wedding tradition.
Being asked to be the best man is a huge responsibility. It means you're a valued friend, you definitely look good in a suit, and most of all, you're reliable and trustworthy. The best man is tasked with serving as the groom's right-hand man, lightening the groom's load before, during, and after the wedding.
As a result, taking up the best man role can feel daunting. But it's not rocket science. It can be done and with these 10 tips, you will be on your way to becoming the perfect best man!
1. Organize a Personalized Bachelor Party
This is an age-old tradition and essential on the best man's checklist. Not every bachelor party is going to be like The Hangover. The key to a successful bachelor party is catering to the groom's unique tastes.
While stag night cliches such as pub crawls, strip clubs and embarrassing dares have pretty much become outdated; they are perfectly fine if the groom is into that kind of thing. Whether it's a day of golf or a night out at the club, the goal is to follow and execute the groom's wishes, have fun (and not get in any major trouble).
2. Prepare a Best Man Emergency Kit
As the best man, you're being entrusted to be the groom's greatest support. This means you have to anticipate the unexpected and be prepared.
For this, you'll need an emergency kit filled with tools for every requirement or emergency that might just pop up. Here are some essentials every best man will need in his emergency kit:
- Clothing accessories like extra cufflinks, a sewing kit, lint rollers, plus extra ties and pairs of socks in case someone forgets their own on the day of the wedding.
- Stain remover. You can't be prepared enough!
- Tissues. Keep tissues in your pocket to pass to your groom when the waterworks start flowing.
- Cash. Keep a few notes in your pocket in case you need to do a quick shop run.
3. Provide a Shoulder to Lean On
It's a well-known fact that some guys don't like talking about their feelings. But wedding planning can get out of control really fast and leave many grooms feeling overwhelmed.
Therefore check in with him regularly, show genuine concern on how he's coping, patiently listen to his complaints or concerns without any judgment.
You're the best man for a reason – the groom trusts you and you need to have his back. It's important to be there for your friend and ensure he enjoys his last days as a single man. Be a supportive friend throughout the process—even if wedding planning isn't necessarily your thing.
4. Coordinate the Groomsmen's Gift to the Groom
The best man should typically get the groom a gift or organize a group gift from all the groomsmen. This gift is a great way to congratulate your newlywed buddy and let him know how much you've appreciated his friendship over the years.
A cigar set, their favorite book or golf club membership are examples of popular gift ideas to get you started. You don't have to break the bank trying to get the perfect gift. As long as it shows thought was put into choosing the gift, the groom will be more than happy.
5. Practice Your Best Man Speech
Start brainstorming and writing your toast as early as months before the wedding. A rehearsed wedding speech often will flow better than trying to wing it. You'll be less likely to stumble over your words, especially if public speaking isn't your forte.
Therefore, jot down a few handwritten notes to guide you and practice your speech a few times in front of a mirror. Have in mind the relationship you're celebrating is the one between the two people getting married. So don't center the whole speech on your friendship with the groom.
Instead, keep it lighthearted and make sure to highlight a couple of unique aspects about the new couple and their journey so far.
6. Keep the Gents on Schedule on the Wedding Day
As the best man, you are essentially the head groomsmen. So you have to keep an eye on the clock the morning of the wedding to ensure the groom and all the groomsmen get to the ceremony venue on time. At the same time, make sure you maintain an upbeat presence the morning of the wedding—especially if the groom is feeling a bit nervous.
During the day, if you notice that the groomsmen are slacking on being where they should be at the appropriate time, try to get things back on track.
If there are other groomsmen duties they need to attend to, ensure that they are aware and on top of any tasks. Keep in mind, you don't want to seem like you're the chaperone for small school kids on a field trip. It's essentially a balancing act between being strict on time and still coming off as easy and relaxed.
7. Coordinate Wedding Attire Selection
At CompassLongview, we are big proponents of men dressing with style and class. And weddings are no exception.
Most grooms often realize too late how much work is involved in planning a wedding. Providing help with groomsmen outfits will alleviate some of the pressure on the groom. Whether renting or purchasing, you should assist the groom in picking out the groomsmen's outfits (tux or suit? necktie or bow tie?) and also make sure that each groomsman orders/pays for his attire in a timely fashion.
One of the essential wedding style tips is to ensure the outfits fit properly. If needed, coordinate the process of getting the groomsmen's outfits tailored.
8. Don't Get Drunk at the Reception
One of the duties of the best man is to be the life and soul of the party. This means mingling with guests at the reception and ensuring everyone is having a good time.
It's also your duty to get everyone up dancing and make sure the drinks flow. If you look like you're having an amazing time, the rest of the couple's family and friends will follow suit. Weddings are parties, after all!
With all that in mind, you don't want to get too inebriated. Your work is not done until the wedding is over and the newlyweds have set off to start their honeymoon. You need to be sober(ish) and coherent to do your duties.
Pace yourself and make sure you are not drinking too much too fast. There's nothing as embarrassing as a best man who's passed out drunk or slurring in the middle of the wedding reception.
9. Honor the Traditional Best Man Duties
While a best man role may vary from wedding to wedding, the best man typically tackles a few consistent tasks. These include keeping the rings safe until they're exchanged, helping the groom get ready, whether it's tying his tie or making sure his hair is in place and signing the marriage license as a legal witness to the nuptials after the ceremony.
These are among some of the essential roles attached to your job title and should be performed with excellence. If you slack off on any critical best man roles, you risk spoiling the day for the couple (at least in a small portion). That's the last thing you want to do!
10. Take Care of the Wedding Aftermath
It seems there's no end to the best man's responsibilities. Bear with us as we add one more to the list—post-wedding duties. Even though the party is over, there are still a few more things for you to accomplish. This is especially important if the couple is leaving for their honeymoon right away.
If the couple received gifts during the wedding, you might need to collect and safe keep the gifts until they return from their honeymoon. The couple may also ask you to hand out tips to vendors after the reception. if that's the case, you need to make sure everything is settled before the night comes to a close.
If you go the group tuxedo rental way, you'll need to make sure that all of the tuxes are returned on time after the wedding.
The post-wedding duties vary from wedding to wedding and you'll need to be there to ensure everything ends smoothly.
While you may perform some or all of the best man duties we have listed above, the most important thing is to ensure you are well prepared. That's an integral part of being a man—being trustworthy and dependable. Being there for the groom, whether a relative or friend, will allow for cherished memories. So make sure to have some fun as well!
What important best man role have we left out? Let us know by commenting below.