The Duties of the Best Man

by Brett & Kate McKay on June 22, 2010 · 57 comments

in Friendship, Relationships & Family

“Wedding season” is currently upon us. June is the most popular month for weddings, and they’ll be going full steam from now until September. You may have received a few invitations in the mail or even been asked to be your friend’s or brother’s best man.

Being asked to be the best man in a wedding is a great honor. We don’t get bestowed with the title “best” very often in our lives. It shows that your friend or family member holds your relationship in great esteem. You’ve been his go-to guy in life; now he needs you to be his point person during this weighty rite-of-passage. So don’t just shuffle through your role; instead, help your buddy through the most important day of his life by stepping up and fulfilling your duties with competence.

Just what are those duties? Here’s a rundown of your responsibilities as the best man:

Before the Wedding

Plan the bachelor party. This is one of your biggest responsibilities. Luckily, we’ve written up a handy guide on just how to do it.

Get fitted for a tux/suit. In former times, etiquette dictated that the groom pay for rental or purchase of the tuxes for his groomsmen. These days, the groom often expects you to pony up the dough yourself. Personally, I find it in poor taste to ask someone to be in your wedding and then expect them to pay for their own tux, but it’s become a common practice.

Whether you’re buying or renting, paying or not, you will likely be expected to get fitted for your tux or suit. You’re responsible for showing up to the appointment and making sure the other groomsmen do as well.

Go to the rehearsal. The day before the wedding, there will be a rehearsal held where the actual wedding will take place. It can’t start without you, so be sure to arrive on time. It should only last for a half an hour or so.

Go to the rehearsal dinner. After the rehearsal, those in the wedding party (and other family and friends the couple may have invited) will head over to the rehearsal dinner, typically held at a restaurant. There is usually toasting at the dinner, and while you are welcome to make a toast, I recommend holding off until your big speech at the wedding reception. You don’t want to use up your best material.

The Day of the Wedding

A wedding day is a whirlwind of activity. Your job as the best man is to take the burden of stress off the groom and onto your shoulders. You’ll be his go-to guy: his support, assistant, and valet. You make sure things are in place, that the groom has what he needs, gets to where he needs to be, and stays relaxed. If you do your job right, the groom will only need to worry about walking down that aisle.

Before the Ceremony

Hang out with the groom as he dresses for the ceremony. Keep your friend calm and relaxed (although not with spirits). There may be some downtime before the ceremony, so play some video games and just chill. Skip questions like, “Dude, are you sure you want to do this?” and instead offer calming encouragement.

Make sure the groom has whatever he needs. Not just for the wedding but for the honeymoon as well. He may not be coming back to his house/hotel/apartment before heading off into the sunset with his bride. So make sure he has the marriage license, that he’s all packed, and that the luggage, tickets, passport, etc. get put in the car.

Drive the groom over to the wedding location. Get there at least 30 minutes before the ceremony starts.

Distribute the boutonnieres and make sure the groomsmen are wearing them properly. They should be placed in the buttonhole of the left lapel of one’s suit jacket. If there’s no buttonhole, then pin them there.

At the Ceremony

Enter with the groom. The order of the wedding processional varies by the type of wedding and the couple’s faith tradition, but most frequently the minister or priest, best man, and groom (in that order) come into the church through a side door at the front.

Hold onto the groom’s ring. It’s your job to keep the ring safe and sound in your pocket and to fish it out at the appropriate time during the ceremony. This is one thing you absolutely don’t want to flub, lest you end up as a clip on America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Don’t faint. See the aforementioned reference to AFV.

Escort the maid/matron of honor out of the church at the conclusion of the ceremony.

Sign the marriage license. After the wedding, you may be asked to be a witness and sign the marriage license.

At the Reception

Dance with the matron/maid of honor and the bridesmaids.

Kick off the toasting with the best man speech. This is the job that probably first comes to mind when you think about being the best man. And it’s probably the job you’re most nervous about. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with a foolproof plan to knock your speech out of the park.

An interesting side note: The best man used to also read telegrams from well-wishers who couldn’t make it to the ceremony. Sounds like a nice tradition from bygone days.

Image from freeparking

Decorate the getaway car. During the reception, sneak out with your groomsmen and decorate the bride and groom’s getaway mobile. Make it kitschy, a little embarrassing, but not uber annoying. And of course, don’t get too carried away and damage the car. Use your judgment in how far to take it by how good of sports the bride and groom are.

Tying some cans with string to the underside of the car is classic, as is writing on the windows with window paint. Stick some balloons on the outside and stuff them in the interior. Tape some ribbons to the hubcaps. Stick on some window clings. They make personalized wedding specific ones, but I would go with something truly random like Dale Earnhardt, I Love My Coonhnound, and Hannah Montana. But that gives you an idea of my sense of humor.

If they’re renting a limo or a slick set of wheels, you’ll probably have to skip this step.

After the wedding, bring the groom’s tux to the cleaners or back to the rental shop. Take care of this while he’s on the honeymoon.

Have you been the best man in a wedding? What advice would you give other best men on how to fulfill this role? Share your advice with us in the comments.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joel | Blog Of Impossible Things June 23, 2010 at 12:20 am

I could have used this 2 weeks ago! haha.

Good info, it’s nerve wracking but the key is to not create any artificial pressure and help the groom enjoy it as much as possible.

2 Mike June 23, 2010 at 12:54 am

In the past several years I’ve heard nothing but horrible best man speeches. My advice to put forth more effort in the speech. The wedding day is normally stressful for the bride and groom and what better way to ease their stress than by giving a thoughtful, and hopefully somewhat humorous, speech. Those dry 30 second long speeches only make you look awkward and show you did not think enough to prepare better for such an occasion.

3 J.T. June 23, 2010 at 1:26 am

To avoid fainting, don’t lock your knees. If the service is longer than 20 minutes, you stand a good chance of toppling over if you have your knees locked.

That said, the way to keep your knees loose is absolutely not to fidget. Any movement you make (particularly sharp, jerky ones) is going to take peoples’ eyes off the happy couple. That’s only the best man’s job if something embarrassing is happening.

4 Martin June 23, 2010 at 1:50 am

So many of these posts make me want to just print them out and save them for the future. I haven’t been the best man at a wedding before, but if I ever am, I will be referencing this in detail.


5 Burt June 23, 2010 at 2:37 am

When decorating the car, make sure you’re not leaving permanent damage. That window paint will never come off of plastics and tires, and I know that because of when I got married. When I was a best man this last year I took some paper towels from the bathroom to clean anything that ran down from the window. It’s great to do this, just use common sense and don’t ruin the resale value of their vehicle.

Also, a big +1 to assisting the groom. The week preceding my marriage was by far the most stressful of my life, I was doing autorepair on my vehicle, doublechecking honeymoon details, etc, etc…I even had to plan my bachelor party. The stress of that week could have been cut in half if I hadn’t felt the obligation of entertaining people during my bachelor party.

6 gkdhaka June 23, 2010 at 2:53 am

Great article,I would like to read again and again and so i book marked this page.
Business News & Intelligence

7 JHCC June 23, 2010 at 9:17 am

I’ve been a best man four times in ceremonies from three different varieties of Christianity: Lutheran, Roman Catholic (twice), and Greek Orthodox. My word of advice: keep your religious opinions to yourself if you happen to disagree with any aspect of the service or the religion. This especially holds true if you are an atheist at a religious wedding or a very religious person at a secular wedding. You are there to support and assist, not to judge.

(In my case, the only wedding where I completely agreed with the theology saw the marriage end in divorce. Go figure.)

With that said, it’s particularly important to familiarize yourself with any ritual aspects that may be new to you, especially if you’re required to take an active part. Don’t be afraid to ask questions beforehand; it’s better to look like an ignoramus at the rehearsal than like an incompetent at the wedding!

8 Luke June 23, 2010 at 9:30 am

I was the best man at my brother’s wedding and am going to be serving as the best man at a friend of mine’s wedding October (Halloween weekend to be precise, and it’s in costume to boot).

For my brother’s wedding I was coming in from out of town so there was not a whole lot I could do but I will say do not overestimate the value of keeping track of the rings. Also, as a best man you may be required to keep track of anything else of that nature for the ceremony. For instance, at my wedding, my brother (who was returning the best man favor) had to keep track of the rings as well as the glass wrapped in a napkin which I had to step on after the vows.

Good article!

9 Adam Gainer June 23, 2010 at 9:42 am

Traditionally the “best man” was the guy the groom picked to help him go kidnap his bride. He was supposed to watch over and protect the groom’s back as they sacked a village and the best man was to deal with anyone who go in their way.

10 Will June 23, 2010 at 10:16 am

Just wanted to say thanks for posting this, it will come in handy in the future (I’m guessing). I wish I had found it a year and half ago when my brother got married! Great article – I’ll be bookmarking it for later!

11 Litzner June 23, 2010 at 10:26 am

My brother asked me to be the best man at his wedding this September. I am excited that this article was posted months in advanced so I can make reference to it in the upcoming months.

I agree with Mike about the best man speeches, the past two weddings I have been to have had lackluster best man speeches at best. I don’t think those best men took their role as such so seriously. They focused more on the bachelor party and less on the ceremony. While the bachelor party is an important part of getting married, the best man’s speech is vital. Everyone hears the best man speech, not everyone attends the bachelor party.

12 men's designer t-shirts June 23, 2010 at 10:38 am

Great info guys. I’ll need the advice this time next year!

13 Chris Penwell June 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

I’ve only ever been the best man once. I took it upon myself that my job beforehand was to run interference for anyone who needed anything from the groom. (I later got complimented by one of the staff at the location.)

My job immediately before the ceremony was NOT to seat guests but to “stand there and look cool with the groom.” while the rest of the groomsmen (about three..) did the seating. Don’t know how accurate that was.. But it sounded good to me.

14 A.R. June 23, 2010 at 11:52 am

Well I have never been a best man. however this is about my wedding or shal I say my Lovely wifes wedding anywho. my best man came 20-25 past the get there 30 min mark most of the guest have arived and had taken there sets just about to tell the next and only other groomsman I had your up bud when I cought my best man running in the front of the church with his shirt half way on tux coat draped over his left arm and doing the bunny hop as he put his shoes on. we being myself and the other groomsman got the best man all shanzed up. we (I) realized we had no buttiners(?spelling) oppsie maybe no one will notice the groomsman said, well from a grooms point of view its not a bad thing if the best man is late I mean it is bad cause we (the grooms) gave him that honor but its also not casuse it shows ya what itreally ment to him but anywho the point I’m trying toget at here to all the best men or best men to be someday don’t be late to your bud’s already stressed out day I mean come on man where’s the love LOL and bestmen always be ready to step up in the best man spot you never know what might happen. I think we should have a new The AoM tradition start up and that is that the groomsman next to the best man have his back and so on down the line that way ever one might just get there at the asked or need to be “30 min before Guest” well thats that and It Is What It Is keep up the good work AoM

15 gadhra June 23, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I’ve been a best man at multiple (4?) ceremonies at this point. I just try to remember that my role is to essentially be both a sub-MC of the ceremony as well as the right-hand man of the groom. This means that I need to try to be aware of problems before they start (both on the groom’s side and the bride’s side – the person performing the ceremony is late, for example, or one of the people who are supposed to be doing a reading chickens out [both of these have happened to me]), and be ready to fix those issues immediately. I think of myself as the groom’s guardian, to some extent – making sure he’s there on time, sober, with everything he needs so he doesn’t have to focus on anything but his wife and the many happy years ahead of him. The groom will be nervous or downright scared, and you need to be a “good buddy” by protecting him from things that might distract him.

A couple of recommendations/thoughts:
* It’s not uncommon for the best man to pay everyone – the band, the officiant, etc. – so that the groom doesn’t have to worry about it. You should get this money from the groom or bride beforehand. I usually would snag one of the costs (the band, for example) and pay that out of my pocket, then void the check and slip it into the groom’s pocket before he leaves for his honeymoon. Know how much everyone is supposed to get paid, and handle it.

* Make sure that when you turn the groom’s tux in, there are no problems. Leave them *your* phone number so you can handle things if there are.

* Keep the following things on hand – $50 in cash or so (including singles) for tipping, a few aspirin, the number of a local cab company (in case anyone gets extremely inebriated and tries to drive home) and a hotel, handkerchiefs/a few tissues, a charged cell phone with the ringer OFF.

* Know precisely how to get to the church, how to get to the reception, and how to get between those 2 spots. Bonus points if you can direct people to either of those locations from the highway.

* Your speech. Practice it. DO NOT wing it. Keep it short, remember no one is there to see you. Keep the focus on the bride more than the groom. Be graceful and grateful.

* Talk to the guests, get to know the bride’s parents a bit, but know when to back off and let the bride and groom shine. Just keep the party moving and keep everyone happy.

* Your job is NOT DONE at the “I Do.” Your job is done when the couple’s car disappears around the bend (either to their honeymoon or to change and hang out with friends). For myself, I tend to wait until that happens until I have a drink. Either way, just take it easy until then – you never know when you’ll be called on to handle some business.

16 Anthony June 23, 2010 at 12:55 pm

I haven’t been a best man yet, but I have been a groom. From that experience, my suggestions for best men:

1. You’re the chief groomsman, so it’s your job to help the groom out with pretty much anything. That can be hard if you’re arriving from a distance, but try to take as much of his load as you can.

2. Know the character of your groom: if he’s the serious sort, don’t be planning pranks. Of course, if he IS the silly sort, some (tasteful) pranks might help keep things relaxed.

3. Take the rings seriously. Don’t hand him a fake ring, pretend you forgot it, or give it to the last groomsman and have everyone go through their pockets down to him. It’s just stupid, plus it’s been already been done many, many times.

4. Make a good speech that honors the couple, but keep it short (remember it’s a toast, not a lecture). My best man’s speech rambled for four minutes.

As a groom, you can help the best man out by discussing all this beforehand. You and the bride do the wedding planning, so the best man is coming in somewhat unprepared. Get him involved early enough that he feels like he knows what you want, so he can make minor decisions without constantly having to ask you or the bride.

17 Craig June 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Good article — but don’t forget:

— set up the pre-bachelor party “research” weekend, where you practice the party with just the groom

— bring a nice single malt to the ceremony and make sure both the mother-in-law and mother have a healthy swig before they start freaking out.

18 Andy B June 23, 2010 at 1:58 pm

If the groom tells you he does not want strippers at the bachelor party, and his fiance (or her relatives) are not in the room…then he really does not want strippers. Make sure you give him the kind of party he wants. If he wants to go to a ball game, then out to a steak dinner…that’s what you plan. If he wants to go deep-sea fishing, and cook what you all caught that day…thats what you plan. And it’s your job to make sure the rest of the party gets with the plan. Take charge, and don’t let that obnoxious second cousin twice removed call in any talent on the fly.

Also, your best man speech should not be a roast. It’s a short toast to the couple’s love and start of a new life together (even if they have been together for several years). The biggest mistake you can make is to let it go too long, be too embarrassing…or neglect to mention the beautiful bride, who was so clearly the one-and-only for your buddy since the day you first met her, within the first minute.

19 Brett McKay June 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Great tips everyone!

@J.T.-I didn’t know that about locking your knees. Thanks for the tip.

@JHCC-Excellent advice.

@Gadhra-Tremendous comment. Thanks for all of those great details. The fact that you’ve been asked to be the best man 4 times speaks pretty highly of you.

20 Amiel Blajchman June 23, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Best man: 3 times
Groomsman: 2 other times

Further advice:
* run interference between the groom and anyone else (especially the mother-in-law and the wedding planner)
* You take on the cruddy jobs, not him.
* Smile. A lot.
* Make sure people are dancing, and if need be, grab other women and set an example

21 Neil Draves-Arpaia June 23, 2010 at 11:36 pm

As a Catholic priest I’ve witnessed hundreds of weddings over a 30 year period. Here’s what I would add.
1) The toast. PLEASE keep it a toast, not a roast nor a lengthy speech with insider jokes and stories that are lost on most guests. And please, it should not go on for twenty minutes – terribly inconsiderate and gauche!! At one reception, the bride’s father finally stood and motioned for the best man to “cut it off” after he had spoken for fifteen minutes.

2) Most grooms men or ushers arrive at the church well before the best man and groom. Their role is to greet guests and escort them to a seat. They should be all dressed with boutoniere when they arrive (usually 30 minutes prior to the ceremony as some guests come early).

3) And spit out the gum and hold off on drinking until the reception….best man and groomsmen were not asked to these roles of honor to embarass the bride/ groom or their parents. Some, sadly, have not had the ability to distinguish between going to a high school prom and being in a wedding.

22 Dave K June 24, 2010 at 1:17 am

* Can’t stress preparing ahead of time for the toast enough.
* If you keep tissues in your pocket, and you should, remove them from the wrapping in case you need to pull one out during the ceremony.
* Bring breath fresheners for the groomsmen who have been drinking.
* It’s your job to be stressed out, not his. Make sure things get done. Delegate; most people will be willing to help but don’t know what to do. Tell them.

23 Wade June 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

I think it’s time for the tradition of decorating the car to go away. Cleaning the car usually means extra work for married couple during a very busy time. I had rented a car for my wedding and had told the best man several times that I didn’t want the car decorated. Some of my new inlaws along with the groomsmen decided they knew better and decorated the car. We had an evening wedding and were flying out for our honeymoon early the next morning and I had to get up at 5:30 to un-decorate and wash the car before returning it. Needless to say I didn’t feel that blindly following that particular tradition added any enjoyment to the wedding.

24 John June 24, 2010 at 8:11 am

I’m with Joel, I’m reading this a few months too late. Three things from my brief experience…

#1 They are going to be taking a ton of pictures before they are announced at the reception, so grab a few hors d’oeuvres for them (nothing with sauce or the bride won’t eat it out of fear of ruining her dress). Its likely that his last meal (no pun intended) was the beer in the limo on the way over and her last meal was about 3 weeks before the wedding, so there is a great chance that they are starving.

#2 Buy a few half way decent cigars from a cigar shop. Buy one for the groom, one for yourself, one for each groomsmen, and (this is key) one for the two proud fathers. The cigars gives your buddy a chance to relax and get some personal time with the guys. Plus they make for some really good pictures.

#3 Also be there for your buddy’s bride. I only speak from my experience. The maid of honor forgot to pick up a few bottles wine for hair and makeup, so I went around the corner and picked some up for them. No big deal to me but later on at the reception they were singing my praises to my new girlfriend and made me look like a hero. Plus, if the bride is happy, your buddy is happy.

Side note: It’s not about you. I was at a wedding where the BM tried to be the center of attention and it was awkward to watch.

25 Blender June 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Like a lot of other fellas here, this article is just a month too late! I was the best man in a wedding just a month ago. The groom had been my best, and he returned the honor to me. But I’d been in enough weddings to have most of these things covered. Just a few ideas to throw out…

Bachelor party: Strippers are WAAYY over-rated. Forget it. The guy is committing himself to a woman he loves. He shouldn’t have to fight back memories of some other half-naked woman as his bride is walking down the aisle to meet him. I planned a night at a local casino, got a few rooms, and each of the groomsmen pitched in to cover the night AND a little gambling money for the groom. He couldn’t stop thanking me the entire night.

Wedding Day: Be ready to run interference for him. If the bride has a decent maid/matron of honor, coordinate a few things with her like photo timing and so on. Be the groom’s bodyguard for the day, just a few feet off his shoulder, but never in the way. A nice touch is to buy a pack of clean white handkerchiefs, in case he tears up or to offer to the ladies. If you can find a way to keep a multi-tool in your tux without it sticking out, do it. At least a small pocket knife (see related AoM articles). They come in very handy for snagged threads and such. And for pete’s sake, SILENCE YOUR CELL PHONE (and make sure every groomsman does the same)!!!!

Car: If in doubt…skip it! During my wedding, my cousin completely covered my car in window paint, not knowing it’s made for GLASS ONLY! A year later, it was still on the car.

Best of luck to all you grooms and best men to be!

26 R. S. Buchanan June 25, 2010 at 8:48 pm

My only addition to the advice so far: I’ve been a best man a few times, and a groomsman or bride-thing (welcome to the 21st century) a dozen more, and one thing that lives in the pocket of my tux now is a pair of black shoelaces for a 3-eyelet dress oxford. Not only do shoelaces tend to break at awkward times, you’d be surprised what else needs mending that lends itself to a length of sturdy string.

27 banneker77 June 27, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Strippers? are you crazy? you are getting married to the love of your life and you dont want other naked womens’ images in your mind when you make love to your BRIDE. Now, which is better

28 Ryan G July 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I am the best man for my brother’s wedding, coming up in September. This is a great helper/reminder for me… you’d better believe I will be referring to this over the next few months! Great post!

Oh, and there is absolutely no room for strippers/strip clubs and the like, as a few people have stated.

29 Chad July 5, 2010 at 11:02 pm

When ordering a stripper, if you choose to do so be very careful.
I explicitly ordered a stripper. What I got was a coked up prostitute. Not a good situation for anybody.

30 MisterFox July 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

You especially don’t ask the groom “if he’s really sure, dude,” for the sole reason that it sounds douchy, hoho.

Thanks a lot for this article. Me and my closer friends, being in our early 20′s, might be too young to worry about such things yet, but you never know. This will likely come in handy one day.

31 mel September 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm

hi, i am the best man for my brothers wedding…………….i’m his sister !!!! do all these rules still apply? got any other tips for me ?????

32 GREG WILLIAMS October 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Great article. The basics are to make sure the Groom’s day is as easy as possible!

33 Donna Williams October 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm

One of the duties is to look after the ushers, and help them with their roles if they require it.

34 spud hughes November 13, 2012 at 6:11 pm

does any one know the history of the photo of the two men in the office, I had to look twice, the guy on the left looks just like me.

35 rezaldon January 4, 2013 at 8:54 am

great post Gents! love it. the strippers are a no go, i will be the BM in September this year for 1 of my very best mates from school, and feel very beefed up with info now. thanks!!!

36 C. Wilson January 7, 2013 at 11:20 am

When I was asked to be the Best Man I had no idea what was expected of me. This was the biggest help and the guide line for the speech very helpful. This pasted weekend the wedding went off if out any troubles. Thank you in behalf of Mr. & Mrs. Furey

37 James January 7, 2013 at 8:32 pm

This is awesome! I’ve been the best man once before for my brother but have now been asked to be best man for a best friend. I am older now and feel like I should be more responsible, so this was helpful… thanks for the tips!

38 Prince January 18, 2013 at 8:13 am

It was my brother”s weddn whr I wrkd as a best..i think relatively things were properly done before the wedding ceremony…since it was my first time to be acted as a best man..The kind of pressure I received was not easy but then all in all I also experiencing the role of a best man…As I’m speaking right now a friend is also doing wedding and as such I’m doing possible best to work intensively in order to make it success..

39 Cody January 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm

I’m really glad i found this site, i’ve bookmarked it already lol
i’m going to be the best man at my friend’s wedding, and i’m really worried about the speech
i suck at public speaking =/

40 Jay March 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I am right in the middle of it all right now. As the best man to my best friend for over 27 years. The wedding is this coming weekend and up until now things are going pretty smooth. The only advice i have up to this point is get to know the bride well enough that she also has faith in you. You are the one she needs to talk to and organize things with as the groom is usually out of the loop on some things. Also as she is getting ready at the ceremony you will be the go to guy for her as well. As most weddings the ladies all stay hidden away until the last minute and the groom can’t see her in her dress. Take on any stress from both the bride and groom the whole day. And remember if you get married there is a good chance your groom today may be your bestman tomorrow so set the bar high lol.

41 MAMAH CYRIL April 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm

I’m gonna be a bestman for the first time will be fun

42 knom April 29, 2013 at 11:16 am

Interesting twist, could use some advice….
My best friend of 10 yrs will be getting engaged soon, and will probably ask me to serve as BM at the wedding.
Problem is, after 10 yrs of being best friends, he has spent the past year barely speaking to me. He has done and said things that have betrayed our trust and our friendship. I’d have gone through anything for him, but this has really torn me apart.
Your first reaction is that she’s controlling him – except in this case, she actually wants him to spend more time with me (as she wants to spend time with her own friends also). Really, it’s not her – it’s HIM. He’s changed and our friendship is pretty much gone.
Still, he will most likely ask me to be BM, and honestly I just don’t have it in me. Yes I want him to be happy and I wish them both the best, but other than that I could really care less. The best man is supposed to be someone close, someone you respect, someone you would trust with the most important day of your life. I don’t fit that description for him anymore.
I came here looking for answers to “what is a best man?” so I might know how to respond if he asks. Anyone else ever BM’d when they felt they shouldn’t? Do I suck it up and fake it, or decline and throw away whatever chance of friendship might be left?

By the way, some great posts, I’ve been BMx2 and the advice is dead-on.

43 Pete May 21, 2013 at 3:43 am

The best man should start preparing his speech around 4 weeks before the wedding.
Write down a few notes first, a list of names you need to remember, and some stories you would like to tell.Write a rough draft, and read it out loud, to start getting used to your speech.Over the next week or two, refine your speech until you are happy.
You can even time your speech with a stopwatch during your practice runs, keep it to around 5 minutes.
Practice your speech as often as you need to, this will build your confidence.

Just a few tips to help you out fella’s.

44 JD May 24, 2013 at 10:43 am

MEMORIZE YOUR SPEECH and remember that it is a toast. Don’t forget to have everyone raise their glasses at the end. Finish with something like “everyone raise your glasses to health, to happiness, to love, to (groom’s name) and (bride’s name). Congratulations!”

45 Godwin Oshodin July 17, 2013 at 9:47 am

Have just been called upon to be a BM of a wedding coming up in my church four days from day. I only know abit about the bride whom have been with for couples of years now as a church member but that of the groom whom just relocate recently from where he has been nothing much is know about him. Please what are the few and quick things am suppose to know or do that very day since time seems to be so short.

46 Katherine August 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I want to know if the best man
links arms with the bridesmaid
walking up the aisle or what
as my son will be best man to his

47 Pj August 13, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I’ve getting married soon and I’ve been torn between asking one of my 2 closest mates to be my BM. I’ve (finally) made my decision and I have chosen who I think best fits the role and shows the qualities of what a BM is. I will need to talk this decision over with the other mate that I am not choosing (to be my BM). Any advice as to what I say to this guy. I know he is going to be pretty disappointed but I know I’ve made the right decision.

48 Ryan M. August 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm


– I am actually a Co-BM for my cousins wedding next month. It works out perfectly because I am coming in only two days before the wedding and can’t run things like the bachelor party or the tux rentals, but I do get to swoop in some glory with the toast. Maybe you could do something along those lines.

Great article btw. Thankfully I found this before I got serious about the toast and won’t try and roast my cousin. Also good stuff in the comments about the cigars and flask for others who are stressed. I’ll be the most prepared BM EVER!!

49 Justin August 29, 2013 at 2:49 pm

You forgot
- Don’t be the guest that gets too wasted and makes an embarrassing scene.
- Be in charge of getting all the gifts back to the hotel/happy couple’s home/etc.
- If there is no wedding coordinator, you might be asked to give the DJ, Caterer, etc. their tips. (The couple should have these already split out into sealed and labeled envelopes for you.)

50 Matt September 9, 2013 at 9:01 am

One thing every Best Man should do is talk with the Brides mother. Ask her what you can do before the cemermony as well as before and AFTER the reception. Offer to help set up, tear down, move gifts, or whatever. It might go unnoticed by the rest of the wedding guests but the family will appreciate it.

51 Josh September 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Just had the honor of being best man for a buddies wedding. I recommend showing up with a “best man go bag”. You would be surprised at the little stuff that gets overlooked and makes the day go smoother.

contents of my “best man go bag”
-unopened pack of 13 simple white cotton handkerchiefs(give one to each of the groomsmen, carry at least two yourself, and count out as applicable the bride, brides mother, grooms mother. for the groom to be able to be at his most dashing.)
-a few spare white cotton undershirts(all the groomsmen and the groom in this case are of remarkably similar size so a pack of xl became a quick saving grace)
-shoe polish kit w/good buffing cloth for last minute touch ups
-travel toiletry bag(new in pack travel toothbrush,toothpaste,mouthwash,disposable bic razor, small can of shaving cream)
-in my case I happened to recall what deodorant my buddy used so I threw a fresh stick in the bag(he’s sweating bullets but he doesn’t have to smell like it)
-extra dress socks
-we were all going black tie so I threw an extra in the bag just in case somebody got there and realized they were having a bad day for memory
-nail grooming kit (bonus application nail clippers are good for errant threads)
-trusty zippo
-trusty pocket knife
-cheap tube of unscented/unflavored chapstick
-also I recommend that the mouthwash be biotene if at all possible, it helps with cotton mouth, and the grooms got a big kiss coming up, the stress induced cotton mouth is never fun.

52 Charles November 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

Am going to be the BM next week Saturday to a good friend since childhood. But unfortunately i will be coming from out of town so wouldn’t be around to take care of many obligations until two days before D day. Please anyone with a similar situation because am at a loss of what to expect.

53 Brian December 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I am the best man this coming summer in TWO of my best friends’ weddings. It will be my first and second experience with this, would really like some help in what the hell I need to all do. THANKS!

54 ken December 24, 2013 at 9:25 am

The best quote to end a Best Man speech is obviously, the best quote to end a movie….

“To my (brother, best friend, cousin, etc)________ the richest man in town.”

55 ken December 24, 2013 at 9:27 am

Also, a tip to staying sober for the speech, don’t drink during cocktail hour, make that sacrifice and save yourself the embarassment.

56 Charly McArdle February 5, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Who knew there was so much to being the best man. Will definitely forward this to my brother, who’s going to be best man coming soon.

Anyone need help with best man speeches? We definitely found these amusing and helpful.

57 Ryan February 10, 2014 at 2:31 am

This is my second go-round as BM. Great article, great tips in the comments section.

In regards to strippers and/or strip clubs; read your friend to get it right! I know that strippers would make my best friend uncomfortable, and potentially cause friction. So for him they’re a no-go. (Also helps to know the bride well enough to know better)

In regards to the speech; Get it right. Short, sweet, absolutely nothing embarrassing, compliment the bride. Don’t be afraid to pull on the heart strings a bit, but not too gushy. This will be the only foray in to public speaking for many of us. If you need it, find someone competent to help you nail the speech. Pay for speech lessons if you must.

Your friend asked you out of everyone he knows. If you haven’t, let that sink in. Now is not the time to play the fool. You are the King’s hand. Treat the position, and everyone around you, with dignity.

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