Published on Jan 12, 2018
This guide explains the jobs and responsibilities of the best man’s role and what they are expected to do before, during and after the wedding. Commonly, the best man does not get involved in much of the planning but there are some traditions that you should follow.
If you have just been asked to take on the role, take some time to think about whether you will actually be able to fulfil the job in the best possible manner. Lots of people are quick to accept in the excitement of being offered it, but if you can’t commit the time or effort needed, it may be in your best mate’s interest to pass this onto someone else. If you have accepted and you’re looking to be the best best man – read on…
Some people may see this as the most important function of being the best man and by all means, it’s one of the key ones. Throwing a huge celebration and a suitable ‘send-off’ for the groom and his closest friends is something you need to get right and the first place to start is with setting a budget that everyone is comfortable with. Set the bar too high and you might find a few guests declining the invitation. Ideally, you want as many people as possible to attend.
If you’re looking at a UK weekend break with a few activities, a healthy budget is around £200, with spending money on top of that. If you are planning on going abroad, obviously you have to account for the flights and also the extra travel time eating into your lads’ trip.
The majority of our stag parties opt for a self-catering house over a hotel, choosing to keep everyone under one roof. This way you can save some money by having a big breakfast in the morning and also a couple of beers at home before your big night(s) out. Most self-catering houses cost roughly the same as a hotel but it does often mean that you are a little further from the city centre and nightlife.
Next, you need to start thinking about what you’re going to get up to during the day. It’s usually good to do something a bit different on your stag party, something you can look back on and have a chuckle about. Active excursions such as watersports or Zorb Football are all the rage lately, simply because most people haven’t done it yet!
However, if you and the group don’t really want an activity-packed weekend, think of something a little less strenuous, yet still entertaining. Whiskey tasting or watching the local football team are good examples – if you’re destined for Madrid, Barcelona or Milan, definitely take in one of the games in the city. Check out the sporting calendar to see if there are any matches that you can watch, and book tickets in advance.
If it’s your first visit to a city, it’s always good to allow some time to explore the local attractions. If you want to do something a bit different, explore the city through an organised treasure hunt or hire a beer bike! Just remember, this is the stag’s party, so choose something he’d want to do.
When it comes to planning a night out, no detail can be missed. We always recommend pre-booking a few bars/clubs to guarantee entry as bouncers usually prefer to expect the arrival of large groups of lads, instead of turning up spontaneously. If you’re going out for dinner, remember to book a table well in advance.
This is a task that needs to be planned well in advance of the big day. Book an appointment for the groom, yourself, and any ushers to get measured up for suit fittings. Get this done early – it’s a big job to tick off the list, and an important one, too. Make sure the bride is fully involved too, in choosing the suits. Don’t be tempted to select the style and cut yourself!
Essentially, the best man’s role is to relieve pressure from the groom and bride-to-be. Creating a table plan sounds simple but is actually very difficult, making sure everyone is seated suitably. Lend a hand by taking on this role or just advising and assisting. Why not invite the couple round for dinner to discuss the table plan?
As well as helping the groom organise a wedding vehicle, it’s the best man’s job to organise transport to get the groom to the venue (on time) and also getting them home after the reception. The last thing the groom should be thinking about is getting about. If you’re using a car of your own, you should also be the nominated driver!
If the happy couple are a bit tight for time or perhaps they need another opinion, it’s always good to offer your services here. Ultimately, the choice of wedding venue is down to them but the best man can be on hand to ask questions regarding pricing and menu. It’s another job to help with.
The groom will have plenty on his plate in the run up to the wedding so it’s your responsibility to manage the groomsmen and ushers. Answer any questions they might have, make sure all of their outfits are cleaned and ironed and that they’re all there on time. Keep an eye on them all throughout the day and make sure they don’t get up to anything they shouldn’t – drinking too much, too early or flirting with someone inappropriate.
Is the stag party really the most important responsibility of the best man? Well, not quite. Of course, getting the groom to the wedding on time is the No.1 priority. To achieve this, remain close to him in the hours before the ceremony. Stay at his the night before, whether that’s at his own home or in a hotel, make him breakfast on the morning of the wedding, and make sure he gets there on time.
To seal the union a minimum of two signatures must be printed on the marriage document. Now, anyone can be a witness providing that they are over the age of 18 and present at the wedding but traditionally the best man and the maid of honour or chief bridesmaid complete this task.
After the ceremony and pictures, shoot off to the reception venue to make sure everything is in order before the couple arrive. Then, help to man the door explaining to guests any details that they might have missed on the invitation ie. first drink included, where they are seated, and so on. It’s your job to essentially direct and advise guests to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Most weddings will have a professional photographer taking official pictures but the couple will also appreciate a few back stage photos. Try to capture the events of the morning, with the groom getting ready – and the bride, if you can – and guests arriving. It’s always good to keep a camera on hand during the reception, too. Why not take a few pictures of the photographer taking photos?
The best man’s speech is one of the most anticipated events of the evening. This should include some heartfelt stories of your bromance with the groom, key events in his life and don’t forget to throw in a few jokes and humiliating memories (be careful here though, you don’t want to cause offence). The speech should be around six to eight minutes long and well rehearsed – there’s nothing worse than hearing someone mumbling into a piece of paper! If you haven’t got a starting point or perhaps this is your first time writing a speech you can check out our templates.
If you’re planning to get the groom a gift, find something that he will treasure. This could be an upgrade on their honeymoon, an item for their new home or an add-on to their wedding that the budget didn’t allow for. Alternatively, it could be something personal to your relationship like deluxe whiskey glasses, cufflinks or a limited edition item related to your hobbies. On average, best men spend between £70-140 on wedding gifts.
Talk to the groom about any arrangements that have to be paid for on the night and deal with them at the end of the evening. The newlyweds won’t want to deal with any of this, so if finances need settling up with the DJ, band, photographer or reception venue, take care of this for them.
The first dance of the evening belongs to the bride and groom, but after that the best man has to step in. It’s all about supporting them and getting others on the dancefloor so depending on who’s in attendance invite the chief bridesmaid, maid of honour and both mothers for a dance – or half a dance, at least. Job done, you can then relax knowing your dancefloor duties are complete.
At the end of the day, being invited to be your best friend’s best man is a proud moment. Enjoy the honour and don’t think too much about it. The above advice is just a starting point to prepare yourself but always arrange to grab a beer with the groom before it all starts to run through his expectations. The whole experience will be over before you know it so just remember to enjoy the role and have a phenomenal day!