The Best Man
Ok, so you have been asked to be Best Man, but what does a Best Man do? Here are a few bits and pieces to help you through the lead up to the big day
and on the day itself.
A History Lesson
The Best man originated from the days when a groom would kidnap his bride.
Her father would not be to happy about this as she was his property and he had
expected a nice dowry for her. So the Best man was there to help in a fight should the
need arise, then when they got her to the church he was there just in case some of her
family decided to try and take her back, which is why the best man stands on the right of
the groom, leaving his sword hand free.
Obviously to do this job the groom would choose
his closest friend, someone he trusted to protect him at all cost and get him and his bride
to the church in safety. Only the best man (fighter) would do.
Accepting the Role
After the initial excitement/shock of being asked you will need to consider the
fact that you will be a big part of the wedding and this includes the build up as well as
the day itself. When I became a Best Man I was over the moon however I had not realised
the effort and commitment needed, so think very hard before committing yourself.
This really is down to the type of groom you are best man for, some like to take
complete charge with little input from their best man who is only there for the day
itself, while others depend on the best man for advice and support throughout the build up
and on the day itself.
Preparing for the Big Day
Depending on what size and type of wedding they are having will determine your
role, I will run through preparations for a large formal wedding to give you some ideas of
what to expect.
The first thing you may get involved in is the planning, the
groom may use you to go through some of his ideas to see what you think, also he may go
through a list of who he would like to be ushers. It is your job to brief the ushers on
their responsibilities and also to attend their fittings,. the outfits are usually chosen
groom with advice from you .Making sure if and when all the ushers are available to attend
You will also have to start thinking about a speech, visit our
February Feature on how to deliver the perfect speech.
The Stag NightIt is down to you to arrange the stag night however consideration
must be taken of what sort of a night the groom wants and what would be
fun for the other guests. It was
traditional for the groom to pay for this however it is now customary for the guests
to pay their own way, so giving them an idea of cost will allow them to budget
accordingly. It is always a good idea to have stag night a few nights before the wedding
allowing time to recover.
Obviously you will be required to attend the rehearsal of the ceremony, also it
would be a good idea to check with the location on car parking and special arrangement for
photographs. The last wedding I attended, the church had a lovely orchard at the back
where they had their photographs taken, rather than at the front as normal which came out
straight into the cemetery.
Make sure all outfits are collected and complete and arrange
to collect the button holes.
The Wedding Day.
Well, now the big day has arrived and more than likely you are as nervous as the
groom, however it is your duty as best man to make sure all runs smoothly. Make sure the groom is up and dressed in his finery in good time. Make sure all
is in order, have you got the rings, money for the church fees (some like to pay in
advance) travel tickets (honeymoon) passports and suitcases ready for departure. It is a nice idea to arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes early and a quick call to the bride's father to say your leaving will help things run
Collect both your button holes if you have not done so already,
quick check on the ushers, is everything ok? have they enough service sheets? and pay the
Now take your place at the front right hand pew while waiting for
the bride arrival. Make sure your groom is relaxed
and composed even if you don't feel you are.
The Wedding Ceremony
Just before the bride arrives you will be asked to take your place at the front
of the church, you will stand on the grooms right hand side. You will be prompted during
the service to provide the rings, and at the end you will asked to accompany the chief
bridesmaid to witness the signing of the registry.
You will now join the precession out of the church. In front are
the Bride and Groom then the bride's father and groom's mother, followed by the groom's
father and the bride's mother with you and the chief bridesmaid on your left arm following
Your duties now will shift to helping the photographer, making
sure all guests know where they are going etc. You and the chief bridesmaid leave straight
after the bride and groom and with a bit of luck arrive at the receprion either just before them or very
The Wedding Reception
Firstly collect all the telegrams and best wishes messages and if requiredjoin the line greeting the guests. When the meal is finished you
make your speech then start introducing the other speeches.
Invite the bride's father to say a few words, then ask the groom to address his guest
which should end with the toasting of the bridesmaids. You will now reply on behalf of the
bridesmaids followed by the rest of your speech, finishing by reading out the messages.
The Best Man's Speech
This is the part of the reception that the groom,
bride and anyone else at the reception who knows the best man dreads. We have all seen the film clip from Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Ex-girlfriends are definitely off the agenda. However now that the bride and groom are married, mother-in-law comments are perfectly acceptable providing they are in good taste and are actually funny.
Advice to the best man: Just remember what you have previously told the bride about the stag night. You donít want to drop any little bombshells on the wedding day. Donít upset anyone - it should be remembered as a happy day! In fact keep away from the smutty stuff altogether unless it is the norm for your particular families.
It is always desirable to start a speech with a little quip to get a little laugh and get the audience on your side. The trouble is that if it isnít funny it will have the opposite effect so give some thought to your opening words for some time before you make the speech.
In fact, when anyone stands up to make a social speech the audience is always on their side at the beginning. They want it to be a pleasant and amusing experience and they want you to come across well. They do not want to be embarrassed by tasteless remarks and they want you to have made a mature friendly impression when you sit down.
Traditionally the best man talks about the groom. How he first got to know him, what his interests are, what a good friend he is, his successes in sport, work, socially etc. Why he will make such a good husband for the bride and all that sort of thing. There is always mention of amusing or even embarrassing incidents but keep it so that the bride is proud of him and so are her parents who are losing a treasured possession to him and want to make sure she will always be well cared for.
You can talk about how you were first introduced to the bride, fun times, holidays etc. and finally when you end your speech you toast the happy couple.
Your exact closing words will be something like: "Ladies and gentlemen may I ask you to stand and toast Jennifer and John - then give them a minute to stand up and stop shuffling around.
"May they enjoy a long and happy married life together. Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom, Jennifer and John."
Everyone else will repeat the toast and you can sit down knowing you have made a good impression. If the brideís mother is in tears you will have done well.
Introduce the cutting of the cake followed by the first dance
of the bride and groom, halfway through this is your cue to join the dance with the chief
Depending on what arrangements have been made you are either
getting the newly weds away on their honeymoon or joining in the wedding reception. So pour yourself a drink and give yourself a big pat on the back.