You’ve been at his side through childhood bullies, the stresses of puberty, and the hard decisions of adulthood, professional development, and an college education. Now it’s time for your buddy to embark on the craziest move ever: marriage.
Although it’s an honor to be asked to be the Best Man, few of us actually know what to do about it. After all, isn’t the wedding kinda the girl’s thing? And you don’t want to step on any toes. Well, for the beginners out there, here’s a basic guide to the duties of the Best Man, and how you can send your friend off with style and class.
Be There for Your Friend
Your primary job is simply to be there for the groom. Help him in all of his tasks and duties, provide support and boost him up when he’s getting stressed or overwhelmed.
- License & Rings: Usually the groom is in charge of organizing the wedding license, and keeping track of the rings. He’s got a lot going on for the week leading up to the wedding, so remind him intermittently of the responsibility, and see what you can do to help him. If he needs you to hold on to the rings, or sign the license, or pick up something, get it done quickly, and set reminders for yourself on your phone if you need to.
- Tux & Fittings: Few guys love the process of picking out a suit and standing for fittings. However, it’s always nice to have a second opinion, and someone to accompany you for such a task. Your friend may also need help picking out the suits for the groomsmen, or picking up and distributing said suits.
- Morale: Although it’s often unspecified, this might be your most important duty. Brides aren’t the only ones who get a little bit crazy on their wedding day. Your friend will need someone to keep him cheery, point out the fun in all the stress, and remind him why he’s doing this in the first place, especially if he’s not allowed to see the bride until the actual wedding ceremony and he’s just left flying solo during the preparations. It will probably be smart to have a few tricks up your sleeve to cheer up the groom, and a few words of wisdom to help him get through the day.
Now, although the media has made us all believe that a bachelor party requires strippers and plenty of booze, that’s not necessarily how it has to be. You know your friend, and you know what he’ll want the most (and remember, sometimes the best gift you can give him is NOT making his fiancee raging-mad at him.)
Look into some alternate ideas for bachelor parties, and then get planning. Check with the groom to see who he’d like to invite, and then plan the party for a week or so before the wedding, depending on the schedules of the guests. Make the bachelor party a time for friends and nostalgia, a time to revel in the last few days of your friend’s singledom. This is usually the biggest single thing that the Best Man handles, the one thing that’s outside of the control of the bride and her party-planning posse. So make it special for your friends and for the groom.
Best Man’s Speech
This is the moment when you’ll be on the spot in front of the whole wedding party, and all of the guests. Considering the fact that public speaking is one of the most common fears in our society, this probably feels like either your opportunity to establish yourself as an absolute king among your friends, or the moment when you suddenly become the biggest sad-sack in the universe, as you forget all your lines and drop your drink in front of everyone.
We can’t tell you exactly what to say for your speech, but here are a few tips:
- Forget about yourself for a moment: this is about your friend, and his bride. Make it a tribute to them, not an opportunity for you to get as much attention as possible.
- It doesn’t have to be funny. Toss out the cliches and speak from the heart.
- Prepare ahead of time. Even if you’re good at off-the-cuff, you want to think this one through all the way. Writing something down will give you something to lean on if you get a little lost or nervous, and keep you from sticking your foot in your mouth.
- DO use anecdotes and poignant quotes; DON’T quote Webster’s dictionary, or use inside jokes.