Article By : The Knot
The best man is more than just a glorified groomsman. He (or she, if the groom appoints a best woman) actually has several specific responsibilities, chiefly to be the groom’s go-to confidante, personal valet and logistics guru for pre-wedding events and day-of details. Here’s your official, comprehensive guide to all the typical expectations and responsibilities that come with the job of best man.
Best Man FAQs
Before going into all the nitty-gritty details of the best man duties, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked questions about what you can expect, whether you are asked to be the best man or are asking someone to take the honor. Check out our answers and then review our in-depth guide on everything you need to know about being the best, best man ever.
What is a best man?
The best man is the groom’s right-hand man (or woman) at the wedding. Usually a close friend or relative, this person is asked to stand by the groom’s side to support and assist in any way possible before and during the wedding.
What is the role of a best man?
If you’re wondering what does a best man do, it’s important to realize that this role involves making sure everything runs smoothly on and before the couple’s Big Day. The best man is often in charge of the groomsmen, as he plans the bachelor party, helps them dress for the wedding, and even organizes their transportation to the ceremony. He is also responsible for lending a hand during pre-wedding events and the reception. Above all, he is there to support the groom.
Who is usually the best man at a wedding?
The best man is often the groom’s closest friend or relative. Sometimes it’s a brother, childhood buddy, cousin, or even the groom’s father or uncle. There are no rules around who the groom can and cannot choose.
Can you have two best men?
Yes! This decision is entirely up to the groom.
Where does the best man stand?
The best man usually stands closest to the groom at the altar during the ceremony.
Now that you have a better understanding of the best man duties, let’s go into more detail about the roles and responsibilities.
Lead the Rest of the Pack
As best man, you’re the head groomsman, the one the rest of the group can go to with any and all questions so as not to bother the groom (think: How much do I owe for the bachelor party Airbnb? And, What time are we supposed to be at the ceremony site for the rehearsal?). Your job is to be the point person and mediator between the groom and the rest of the crew when the groom’s far too busy to worry about nitty-gritty groomsmen details. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make sure the others are showing up and performing their groomsmen duties.
Head Up the Formalwear Process
You’re in charge of helping the groom choose and rent or buy wedding formal wear, as well as coordinating the other groomsmen ensembles—this might include gathering everyone’s measurements, giving the group an order-by deadline or placing the actual order yourself. Talk to the groom about what he wants everyone to wear and whether everyone’s expected to match or coordinate (the answer is likely yes). If so, look into ordering as a group in order to save a little.
Plan an Awesome Bachelor Party
Whether you hit up a local whiskey distillery or fly somewhere epic for a long-weekend celebration, you’re tasked with organizing a bachelor party the groom will never forget. Definitely enlist the other groomsmen to help you out with logistics and offer recommenations. And don’t worry, you’re not expected to pay for the entire thing—the cost should be split evenly among everyone who attends the bash, barring the groom, of course.
Attend, Enjoy and Lend a Hand at Prewedding Events
Other than coming to the engagement party and shower (if applicable) and being Mr. Bachelor Party, you’re expected to be at the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner with the couple, their families and the rest of the wedding party. If you haven’t had a chance to bond with the other half of the wedding party and say your heartfelt hellos to the couple’s relatives, the rehearsal dinner is the perfect opportunity.
Be His Right Hand on the Wedding Day
When the day finally comes, you’ll be the groom’s personal aide and adviser both before and during the wedding. This includes helping him prep for the honeymoon, standing next to him at the altar and keeping the wedding rings until it’s time to exchange vows. Find a safe place for the wedding rings (and triple-check your pockets don’t have holes!)—you don’t want to fumble around when it’s time to bring it out. Finally, directly after the ceremony, you need to sign the marriage license as a witness, along with the maid of honor, and hand the officiant a sealed envelope with their fee.
Take Charge of Transportation
This won’t apply to everyone, since lots of couples and their wedding parties hire transportation services to get from A to B—but you could be in charge of driving the couple to the reception, wedding-night hotel or airport after the reception. If that’s the case, you’ll obviously need to stay sober throughout the reception. But again, you’re more than allowed to pass this responsibility to the pros. Step up and hire transportation for the newlyweds so you can actually enjoy the open bar.
Act as Unofficial Reception Host and MC
Does the bride’s grandmother need help finding her seat? Is one of the flower girls dancing alone? Does it look like one of the groomsman has had one too many signature cocktails before dinner? Keep your eyes and ears open at the reception to make sure the newlyweds and guests are having a blast, and that the rest of the wedding party knows where they need to be and when. And perhaps your biggest responsibility: Delivering the best man speech. If you’re following a traditional wedding speech timeline, you’ll make your toast to the couple first, before anouncing the maid of honor (who will then make her own toast). Other than that, don’t think you need to stay stiff and sober all night because you’re “on duty.” Yes, you should behave yourself and be as helpful as possible, but being a beaming ball of joy and energy (aka getting out on the dance floor and keeping people’s glasses full) throughout the party is one of the best things you can do.
Tie Up Loose Ends After the Reception
Collect any gift envelopes guests may bring to the reception. You may be asked to deposit them in the couple’s bank account or at least keep them until the couple returns from their honeymoon. Make sure vendors who need to be tipped or paid in cash receive their envelopes at the end of the night (and don’t forget to get some cash the morning of the wedding). If the couple’s planning a noteworthy getaway, you and the rest of the wedding party should help decorate the getaway mobile.