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best man roles and responsibilities

As we grow older, a number of things in life begin to change. Everyone around us starts to grow up and you'll notice that friends and family members start going through typical lifestyle changes. People get jobs. People become more financially responsible. People start buying homes, getting pets and having children. Chances are, around a similar time, many of your friends may start getting married. This can be fun. Attending wedding ceremonies is enjoyable and you get to see your nearest and dearest in happy, lasting relationships. Now, if any of your closest friends get married, you may find that you’re asked to be best man. This can be daunting. If you haven’t been best man before - most of us will only be asked to complete this role once so are relatively inexperienced - you may not be entirely sure what you can do and what is expected of you in terms of the wedding. So, here’s a guide to some of the things you might need to expect, as well as some advice on how to perform your duties as best possible!

What Is a Best Man?

Let’s start out by defining what a best man actually is. In a wedding ceremony, different roles are attributed to different individuals. There’s the bride and the groom. Mother of the bride. Bridesmaids. The list goes on. When it comes to the groom’s chosen attendees, the groom will likely choose a group of close friends called the groomsmen. The best man is the groom's right-hand man, often a best friend or a sibling, and will play a more active role within the planning process of the actual wedding. The best man will also have responsibilities to undertake on the day of the wedding. Typically, you’ll find that the best man is in charge of the bachelor party, as well as the other groomsmen.


Roles and Responsibilities Overview

​​As we’ve briefly touched upon above, if you’ve been chosen as best, you’re being endowed with a number of roles and responsibilities, and it’s important that you’re aware of these and undertake these, both in the lead up to the wedding and on the big day itself. Here are a few examples of some of the roles and responsibilities you’re going to need to focus on to fulfill your position to the best of your ability.


Role Of The Best Man Before the Wedding

In the lead up to the wedding, you’re obviously going to provide the groom with all of your support. Wedding planning can be a stressful time. You’re inevitably going to help your friend by encouraging them and helping where you can. This is what any friend would do. But your responsibilities go further than this when you’ve been chosen as best man. Here are some of the traditional tasks you will be expected to complete to get you started off in the right direction.


Ask Where You Are Needed

Every bride and groom will have different expectations of their wedding party. Some will simply want their help on the day. Others will want more help with countless practical aspects of the wedding in the lead up to the big day. If the bride and groom want you to be more involved, you could find yourself doing anything from ordering tea-length wedding programs at MagnetStreet to helping choose seating plans, giving your opinion on venues or color schemes and much more. If you are ever unsure, simply ask what role you are expected to play.


Assist With Outfit Details 

You may have noticed that bridesmaids at a wedding often wear the same dress, all matching so that people can easily identify them as particularly important to the bride. More often nowadays, couples are also deciding that they want the groomsmen to have a cohesive and matching look. If the couple whose wedding you are attending has gone with this decision, you need to make sure that it is taken seriously and that all groomsmen comply. Of course, this takes some organization. Ask the bride and groom what kind of look they’re hoping for, including details on color scheme, form of clothing and general style. You can then start looking around for options that fall into this, lightening the load on the couple’s shoulders and taking one task of their long list for them. You should shop around, helping the groom choose - and either rent or buy - the formalwear that the different groomsmen will be wearing. You may want to take control of finding out the groomsmen’s sizes too. If you’re not used to styling outfits, or don’t have a particular flare for fashion, you may want to start browsing different wedding magazines, websites and Pinterest boards for some inspiration.

Organize the Bachelor Party 

Of course, the tradition we tend to best associate with the best man is the organization of the bachelor party. Bachelor parties, also referred to as “stag dos” are a long standing tradition. This is where the groom and all of his closest male family and friends will go out for a big celebration before the wedding. There are countless different types of bachelor parties to choose from, so the world is your oyster when it comes to planning. The best option for the groom will depend entirely on their individual personality and what they enjoy doing, their interests and other personal factors. Typically, many bachelor parties involve going out, partying and drinking. But these aren’t the only option and you can have a more laid back event if you feel this is something that the groom would prefer. Start out by asking the groom his guestlist. This will ensure that nobody is left out and everyone the groom wants to be there is there. Make sure to send out invites well in advance of the planned day of the bachelor party, as this will give guests as much time as possible to book time off work, arrange childcare or petcare and other steps that will free up their time to be able to attend. Next, you need to actually decide what you’re doing. Ask everyone a budget. This will give you better insight into what you can do that avoids excluding everyone. With a bigger budget, you could head overseas to a dream destination for a true celebration. Some popular locations include Las Vegas, Prague, Amsterdam, Dublin and more. Alternatively, with a lower budget or less flexibility on plans, you can stay closer to home. Popular stag do ideas include:

  • Pub crawls
  • Quad biking
  • Paintballing
  • Karting
  • Team games
  • Much more


Be Present for the Wedding Rehearsal

Most weddings nowadays go through a run through rehearsal so that everyone knows where they should be, when, what they should be doing and any lines they need to remember. Typically, the best man will need to be present at this. So, make sure to find out times and places to ensure you attend and know what you’re doing.

The Best Man's Day of the Wedding Responsibilities

There are also responsibilities on the day of the wedding. Here are some examples to give you some insight into what to expect.

Keeping the Groom and Groomsmen on Time

Of course, time keeping at weddings can be difficult. Different people are meant to be in different places at different times. As the best man, it’s important that you know all of the arrangements for the groom and the groomsmen. It will be your responsibility to keep an eye on the clock and let people know when they’re meant to be somewhere. This can all help the day to run more smoothly and for the ceremony to go as planned. Make sure everyone gets to the venue on time and is in place, as practiced in the aforementioned rehearsal.

Holding the Rings

As the best man, you’ll find that a more daunting responsibility on the day is to take care of the rings. You will hold them for safekeeping until the ceremony, so that they can be taken as and when appropriate. Of course, if the couple has chosen to give someone the specific role of ringbearer, you may not need to do this. Double check with them in advance of the wedding to determine whether this is a step that you will need to take responsibility for or not.

Welcoming Guests and Attendees

It’s time to be gregarious. The best men generally greets people as they get to the wedding. Chances are, as the groom’s best friend, you’ll probably already know a lot of the guests, so this shouldn’t be too daunting. Welcome people to the ceremony, provide basic directions and everything should go swimmingly! 

Serving as a Witness

Usually, for a wedding to be official, at least two witnesses will need to sign the marriage license. The two chosen tend to usually be the best man and the maid of honor. Make sure that the duty is carried out properly, signing the document in the right place and watching the happy couple do so too. It’s simple, but it’s a legal requirement that will inevitably be tied into the wedding ceremony. 

The Best Man’s Speech

Of course, as the best man, there’s inevitably going to be some sort of speech involved in your list of responsibilities. Often, at weddings, couples will open up the mic to anyone who wants to make a speech. But the best man generally kicks off these proceedings. This is a big toast and the first of the night, so try to make a good speech where possible. For many of us, this is daunting, especially if we’re not natural writers or public speakers. The good news is there are plenty of examples available to look through online. You may want to include some funny or sentimental anecdotes.

As you can see, you have a lot on your plate as the best man. But hopefully, the above guide should provide you with an idea of what you need to do and where to get started!

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