He's been your best friend since before the two of you could walk. You've gotten into scrapes and messes together, been there for each other after every broken heart, and cheered each other on as you both made your way through school, University, and careers. It makes sense that he would choose you to stand next to him on the most important day of his life and be his best man.
While it's definitely an honour, being a best man isn't as simple as showing up in the right suit and smiling for the photographer. There are things you'll be required to do and responsibilities you can't avoid as the big day approaches.
Before the Wedding
Most of the time, the bride, her mother, and her friends will take on the planning of the wedding. That doesn't mean you can just disappear, though. You'll need to keep in touch with the bride as often as possible to see if you're needed in any way.
The wedding planning will be particularly stressful on the groom, who might not have realised it would be part of his responsibilities to weigh in on decisions about the cake, the dresses, the invitations, the food, the table decorations, and more. It will be up to you to keep him sane throughout the entire process. A few 'wedding fact finding missions' at your local bar may be helpful in reducing the stress.
The Bachelor Party
As the best man, it will be up to you to plan and organise a bachelor party for the groom. The groom will most likely have a lot of ideas for this event, and you'll want to do everything possible to ensure it's up to his standards and a memorable night. Here's what you need to know.
- Plan the Guest List- Be diligent about inviting the right people to attend the bachelor party. In most cases, male friends and family members of the groom are invited, but it's important to keep the guest list realistic. Don't invite 100 of the groom's friends when there's only enough seating for 20 at the location you've chosen. In addition, pay attention to who the groom talks about. If his second cousin and a close friend don't get along, one of them needs to stay home.
- Choose a Location- While bachelor parties these days have a bad rap, the one you plan doesn't have to involve strippers and gambling. In fact, doing so could get you in trouble with the bride. Consider instead making it an event that is all about guys. Maybe the groom loves to go white-water rafting, rock climbing, or camping. Choose activities you know he'll love and locations he'll enjoy. In addition, don't assume the party has to be restricted to a one-night event. Make a weekend of it for maximum fun.
- Time it Right- The night before the wedding is a traditional time for the bachelor party, but that doesn't necessarily men it's the right time, especially if there will be drinking involved. Schedule the event about a month before the wedding will actually take place. This will ensure the groom doesn't have a hangover on the big day and the bride won't be as stressed about the party.
In addition, you should always remember these guidelines:
- Talk to the bride about the party. Just because she's not attending does not mean she shouldn't be comfortable with what will be happening. The more she knows, the less likely she is to call every half hour while you're trying to have fun.
- Pay attention to the way the groom reacts. Some people like to tease and humiliate the groom about his impending nuptials. When he says 'stop,' make sure things stop. If he isn't able to say stop, just picture the bride's reaction when she sees that half of his body hair has been shaved off.
- Don't think that you have to pay for everything. Split the costs between all the guests who attend (except the groom, of course.)
- If there's going to be a dress code for the event, be sure to include that information in the invitations. This will often depend on the location the bachelor party and may not have to be put in writing. For instance, your guests aren't likely to wear a tweed jacket and a pair of chinos if they know they are going camping.
The Day of
Taking care of the groom on the day of the wedding is going to be hard enough, but you'll also have a number of other responsibilities to consider.
- Get Him to the Church- Or any other location the bride has chosen for the ceremony. Keep in mind that every groom is different. He may be cool as a cucumber or he may be having a meltdown. Prepare a speech ahead of time to talk him through his feelings and calm him down.
- Address the Suits- The groom, the grooms men, and the best man should all be wearing appropriate attire for the wedding. The bride will have most likely had a lot to say about what men's suits should be worn, how they should be worn, and what they should be worn with. Make sure everyone has plenty of time and every last detail is perfect to avoid stressing the bride out on her big day.
- Organise the Ushers- While you may have had the chance to learn what to do when you attended the rehearsal, the ushers will likely be a bit clueless on the task ahead of them. Take the reins and help them figure out what to do. Make sure they know where to sit guests and understand that it's up to them to keep young children calm and keep them from destroying any decorations before the ceremony.
- Rings- You'll be responsible for holding on to the ring that the groom will present to the bride, and the first rule of thumb is to not lose it. This is easier if you keep the ring in the ring box, in the pocket of your suits, until it's time to hand it over. At this time, take the ring out, place it in the palm of your hand, and present it to the groom. This will make it easier for the groom to pick up if his hands are sweaty or shaky.
- The Speech- Once the wedding is over and the reception has begun, you'll have your big moment in the sun: the best man speech. This speech has probably caused you a few sleepless nights. If you're struggling to come with ideas, just remember the following: don't offend the bride or the groom. This means avoiding any storeys that are embarrassing or might not be appropriate for the crowd.
Are you prepared to be the best man? This job comes with a number of responsibilities, but with a little help, you can make sure the groom is dressed in the right men's suit, at the church on time, and experiencing the best day of his life.