How to Be a Great Best Man

If a groom chooses you to be the best man at his wedding, it's perfectly normal to feel a little proud of yourself. It's also normal to feel a bone-chilling dread creeping over you as you realize what you've committed to. Actually, you've got it easy. When the German Goths began the best man tradition nearly 2,000 years ago, the best man had to fight off the bride's angry relatives when the groom kidnapped her. All you've got to do is have a party, make a toast, and make sure the wedding runs smoothly.


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    Serve as the groom’s personal aide and adviser for the wedding planning and arrangements. Thankfully, you can pretty much stay out of the wedding planning, but you should offer to help the groom with anything he might need, particularly if you live nearby. You will most likely need to get measured for your tuxedo well in advance.
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    Ask the groom if he would like a bachelor party. If yes, great. (If not, see step 3.) The party is the first of your responsibilities. It's generally held a few days or a week before the wedding, but coordinate with the groom to figure out the best time. The best man is usually in charge of all planning, though some tasks can be delegated to the groomsmen who should also help you pay. The party could range from a barbecue to Vegas debauchery. The plans are usually hidden (at least somewhat) from the groom, so consider what he would like, as a guide. But, start arranging and inviting ASAP.
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    Make sure the groomsmen are ready for the wedding. Make sure everyone has their tuxedos and that they have all tried them on. Brief them on how to usher guests at the wedding and on where and how they are to stand during the ceremony.
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    Assist the groom on wedding day. On the big day, you should be ready to provide the groom with all the moral support he needs. You should also make sure he looks sharp, by straightening his bow tie or making sure his cuff links are on right, for example. Most importantly, a best man must make sure the groom gets to the wedding on time. In addition, there are some other small, but very important, duties you'll usually need to take care of:
    • Get a check, usually from the groom, to give to the officiant after the ceremony. You may also need to give checks (again, not your own) to the DJ or photographer.
    • Make sure the groom brings the marriage license to the ceremony. In most jurisdictions, the officiant will need to sign the marriage license or certificate after the ceremony in order to legally marry the bride and groom. You will probably be in charge of holding onto this document, and you should also offer to sign it as a witness after the ceremony.
    • Make sure you have the ring(s). On wedding day, you are the caretaker of the bride's ring and often the groom's ring, as well. Make sure you have the rings with you at the ceremony. Take every precaution not to lose them.
    • Make sure everything is in order. Perform any last minute tasks necessary to get the wedding location, the families, or the guests ready for the ceremony. Offer to help in whatever way you can. Keep an eye out for potential disasters, and act quickly to remedy them. The bride's mother will also usually be able to think of a few things for you to do.
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    Stand next to the groom at the altar and hold onto the bride’s ring (and possibly the groom's ring) until the vows are exchanged. Typically you'll escort the maid of honor up the aisle and then await the groom and, finally, the bride. Depending on the ceremony, you may have to stand up there for awhile. Look sharp and dignified, stand up straight, don't make faces, and don't shuffle about.
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    Present the ring(s) at the appropriate time. If you're holding only the groom's ring, you will generally give it to him directly. If you're holding both rings, you'll probably give them to the officiant or to the bride and groom individually. Don't worry about the timing, as this will be covered in the rehearsal. Do worry about making sure you have the ring(s), and avoid fumbling to find it/them.
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    Get to the reception early to make sure everything is in order. If any last-minute arrangements are required, you should take care of them. Greet the guests as they arrive and make sure they are ready for the bride and groom's grand entrance.
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    Propose the first toast at the reception. For most people, this is the most frightening part of being a best man. It will go a lot smoother if you prepare your toast in advance. It's also a good idea to carry some notes with you, even if you've memorized your toast. You don't want to read the toast word-for-word, but you also don't want to forget anything important. Look good and speak loud enough for everyone to hear you.
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    Dance and be charming throughout the reception. Perhaps at previous weddings you've been deliriously drunk an hour into the reception. Not this time. When the dancing starts, you should usually try to dance with the bride's mother, the bride, the maid of honor, and the bride's other attendants if possible. Be attentive to the needs of the bride and groom, and assist them in any way possible to ensure they can thoroughly enjoy the reception.
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    Decorate the getaway car. At some point during the reception, sneak out to the car or limo in which the bride and groom will leave and decorate it, usually with the groomsmen. You can tie some cans on the bumper and write just married on the back window, or you can be more creative. This is a good time to finally unwind and play a harmless practical joke on the new couple.
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    Return the tuxedos. If the tuxedos are rented, you absolutely need to make sure they're back on time. If the groom owns his tuxedo, you should take it to be dry cleaned.
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    Send the couple off on their honeymoon. Make travel arrangements to get the newlyweds to the airport for their honeymoon, or drive them yourself.
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    These are all great points but i must add that giving memorable best man speeches makes one a great best man no matter how unpleasant that responsibility might be.Here are tested tips to help you do just that
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    Change your views about public speaking because they influence your choice of words


  • If there will be a ring bearer, make sure he understands what he's supposed to do. It's usually a good idea for you to hold the actual wedding rings so that the child doesn't lose them or create a scene.
  • Give your groom time to relax. Sometimes you will have a bossy bridesmaid try to boss the groom around on the wedding. Be non-confrontational, but make her go through you.
  • Keep useful stuff in your pockets - stuff the groom will need. This may include a watch, pocket knife, comb, breath mints, gum, enough change for a snack, extra straight pins, and a pen (in your jacket pocket). Use Kleenex to reduce the rattle of loose change. You may also find that having a small cheat sheet with important information on it is useful. Include things like members of the wedding party, parents and other family of the bride and groom, order of the groomsmen and bridesmaids in the wedding procession, and a schedule of events.
  • Enjoy yourself. You'll probably have a lot of work to do, but there'll also be plenty of time for fun, especially at the reception. Once you've made sure everything has gone off without a hitch--OK, one hitch(ing)--you can relax and party.
  • Don't ask the groom "Are you sure?" OK, ask once. But that's it.
  • Be a good friend -- make sure the groom enjoys the day and doesn't embarrass himself. That includes not letting him drink so much he'll be hung-over for the wedding! But if he needs a little drink before the ceremony or at the reception, it's your job to get one for him. Get some for the groomsmen while you're at it.
  • Don't overreact or talk too much.
  • Try to be proactive. Guys sometimes have a hard time asking guys for help, but if you're attentive and eager to help, you'll be able to take care of most things without even being asked. It's your responsibility to take care of small problems that crop up, and it's the other groomsmen responsibility to help you out. For example, if there is no one available to cut the cake, recruit a couple of your groomsmen to do the job.


  • When giving the toast, don't embarrass the bride or make crazy revelations about the groom. Sex stories and drinking/drug stories are right out. Don't tell the story about how he puked all over the prostitute. Tell the story about how he fell over his bike trying to jump off the steps, or how he studied all night for a final that was not for another two days.
  • Watch out for bossy women/men - be a good wing-man, and try to keep things light and fun. Remember, it's his day too.

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Categories: Ceremony & Reception