Be the BEST Best Man!
Let me guess. You’re here because of two possible scenarios. Correction: three. The bride or groom is reading this to find out what the best man is responsible for and should do. The bride or groom sent you, the best man, this link. You, as the future best man, have are doing research to see what all goes into being the best man. If you fit into the last two categories. Congrats! Being the best man is a great honor. You’re one of the VIPs of the bridal party and you and the Maid, or Matron, of Honor (the other VIP) have the distinction of being the right hand of the bride and groom on their big day.
Here’s a little about me. I’m a wedding DJ/MC with over 50 weddings of experience. That’s over 50 best men that I’ve had the privilege of meeting and seeing in action. Along the way, I’ve witnessed how to, and how NOT to, be the best man.
Before we get started…
If you haven’t checked out A Groom’s Guide to Groomsmen, you should. Also, share it with the other groomsmen in the bridal party. As long as you are all on the same page, you will be able to be a part (and even bring up a few notches!) the best night of the bride and groom’s life!
First Things First
Use the time you have before the wedding to reach out to and get to know any of the groomsmen you may not be familiar with. You do NOT want to be in a situation where you don’t know one or a few of the groomsmen until the bachelor party because it’s kind of weird trying to get to know someone, or people, while you’re in the middle of throwing the future-groom a party. Make it less awkward by reaching out to everyone beforehand. Speaking of the party…
Throw the Groom an AWESOME Bachelor Party
Note that I mention the groom in the heading. Just like the wedding is about the bride and groom, the bachelor party is a celebration for the groom from the guys close to him: the best man, his groomsmen, and other close friends. Consult with the groom to see what he would like to do. Then, go from there.
He may want to do the usual bar crawl, strip club scenario, but there are so many other options to explore. It could be a weekend adventure ranging from the outdoors like camping or surfing, exploring a city new to him, or hitting up Vegas. Or it could be as low key as having a game night or hitting up his favorite watering hole. Just make it about him. He’ll be grateful for it, and it’s a great way to ensure he feels special.
Going back to getting to know your fellow groomsmen, this is an excellent opportunity to recruit them to help organize it. Depending on where everyone’s financial situation is, it’s usually a good idea to have everyone chip in to put it on. That way no one is having to take on the entire cost for the party by themselves. You can find a guide to throwing the best bachelor party at The Art of Manliness.
Check-In On the Groom
As stereotypical as this is, most guys don’t really talk about feelings very much. I don’t know how the groom in your case handles feelings but it never hurts to periodically follow up with him. Weddings are A LOT to process. When you account for all the different wedding companies and professionals to keep track of, who to invite to the wedding, who to NOT invite to the wedding, food options, special songs, etc, all of it is enough to overwhelm anyone.
Let him vent. If you’re already married, you understand where he’s coming from. If you haven’t been married, yet, having someone other than his fiance and the wedding coordinator to talk to is a big help in and of itself. Be supportive and excited for him. If you are there for him throughout the wedding planning process, you will truly be the best man.
Pro-tip: Something that may help the groom’s sanity is by putting together a gift from all the groomsmen. He will most likely be giving you all gifts to show his appreciation for you all being there for him. Why not start the gift-giving before he’s expecting it? Plus, you all can pool your experiences to come up with a really unique and fitting gift for him.
Be the MVP
How can you be the groom’s right-hand man? For starters, ask questions specific to how you can be of assistance to him. And don’t keep them generic, either. Put some thoughts in things you can do to help him. You could even come up with a gameplan for all the groomsmen about how they can be a part of the action. The groom may have additional ways as well but here are some ideas to start with:
- Help the groom select and rent/buy his and the groomsmen’s wedding attire
- Arrange accommodations for the out-of-town groomsmen
- Coordinate transportation for the bridal party and bride and groom’s family.
This may seem like overkill but you would be surprised what gets overlooked until it’s about to happen. One of the understood responsibilities of the best man is to make sure that you handle everything that the groom needs. This seems silly, but you’re the best man. You got this.
With any group, priorities start from the top. If you’re on time, the rest of the bridal party will tend to follow your lead. If you have your s…tuff together, it goes a long way to put the groom at ease knowing that he doesn’t have to make sure you’re where you need to be. He’s going to have plenty on his plate already. Here are major events you need to make sure that you are on time, if not early, for:
- Tux/wedding attire fitting
- Tux/wedding attire pickup
- Rehearsal dinner
I realize that mentioning the ceremony should be understood, but this is of the utmost importance. There are so many things that happen on the day of the wedding that it is very easy to lose track of time.
Wait. We’re Not Even at the Ceremony, YET!?
Surprised? It seems like a lot written out but, in practice, it’s definitely feasible. The groom has FULL confidence in you. Instead of starting to feel overwhelmed about how much is involved in being the BEST best man, look at it as an opportunity for you to shine and make this wedding the best wedding the bride and groom have ever been to. That’s the best gift you can give to them, right?
Getting the Groom to the Altar
Here we are. The day before and of the wedding. You’ve handled everything that’s needed to be dealt up to this point with class, care, and maybe even a dash of charm. Don’t let all that preparation and build-up go to waste.
These two days are going to be spent hanging out with the groom if you’re not tending to last-minute details. Keep the groom relaxed and in good spirits. That does NOT mean get him drunk before the ceremony. Nerves are perfectly common as you get closer to the ceremony but you don’t want to risk the embarrassment he may feel from what happens once he’s drunk. It’s just not worth it.
Speaking of the ceremony, it would be a good idea to get there 30 minutes earlier than scheduled. Stuff happens. But if you’re already in place, being on time is one less thing to worry about. Remember. Be prompt.
We Are Gathered Here…
Go time for the groom means it’s go time for you. But, it’s not limited to just walking down the aisle and standing in the place of honor next to him. If the groomsmen are wearing
s, do a last-minute check to make sure they’re wearing them properly. The boutonniere goes in the buttonhole in the left lapel. If there isn’t one, then make sure they’re pinned there.
Now to the most important part, you’ll play in the ceremony: the rings. You absolutely must make sure you have them. Even if you know they are where you put them. Check to ensure they are where you think you placed them before the ceremony begins. At the conclusion of the ceremony, you’ll be escorting the maid, or matron, of honor in the recessional. Once complete, you may be expected to sign the marriage license as a witness, so confirm that before you go elsewhere.
Following the principle of setting the tone, do NOT go MIA (Missing In Action). If you need to go somewhere, make sure that someone in the bridal party and the wedding coordinator know where you are. There are more events in the wedding that include you. If you disappear right before you’re needed, you run the risk of causing a delay in the wedding. Don’t be that guy. Be on the ball.
It Is My Pleasure To Introduce…
Just because the reception is going to be a great time doesn’t mean that it’s time for you to check out. Now is the time where you can really show out and help make the bride and groom’s party one they will never forget!
Yep. You knew this was coming. Even if the groom hasn’t asked you to give one, assume that you will. Read this out loud: Do NOT wing the speech. I repeat. DO NOT WING THE SPEECH. Start working on it a month out. With all the emotions present at the event, along with the possibility of a few drinks, it’s good to have the speech written even if it acts merely as a guide.
Seeing toasts is one of my favorite moments at the wedding because I never know what to expect. The best speeches are part funny, part meaningful, with a little bit of embarrassment. Only a little bit of embarrassment. You can allude to the groom’s wilder days without going over the top and potentially creating awkwardness for his parents and especially the bride. Also, make sure you include the bride in your toast as well. To wrap it up, close in a sentimental and meaningful way before you raise your glass to the new couple.
Even if public speaking is something you dread, know that the guests can tell when what you say is sincere. As long as your speech is something you truly mean, the guests and, most importantly, the bride and groom will appreciate it.
Bringing the Party to Life
Everything I’ve mentioned before means nothing if the party ends flat. Now is your time to be the party ringer. Once the dancing starts, be as involved as you can to set the tone for the evening. Invite bridesmaids out on the dance. Dance with your significant other if you have one. Keep the groomsmen and bridesmaids involved instead of on their phones. Your ultimate goal is to make the dance floor the focal point of the night once it’s opened. As a DJ, the best DJ can only do so much if the guests don’t respond to the songs that they play.
That doesn’t mean that you should just be on the dance floor. Be sure to mingle among the guests as well. Not everyone will be on the dance floor the entire time but that doesn’t mean you can’t liven up their mood. Did the bride and groom book a photo booth? Make it a point to recruit people to take pictures there, especially with the bride and groom. One of the great things about having a photo booth is that it is a crowd-pleaser and acts as a break from dancing while still keeping the fun and energy of the event high.
Doing all of these things will ensure that the reception will reach an epic climax to end the evening with the last dance and, possibly, the grand exit.
After the Last Dance
You guessed it. There are still a couple of things that need to be tended to. The bride and groom should have had their send-off by this point in the night. Let them focus on each other. Here are things you can take care of to minimize distractions for them:
- Round up the bride and groom’s gifts
- Take care of the groom’s wedding outfit after he changes
- Confirm that all wedding-related costs have been paid for
- Make sure rented wedding attire is returned intact and on time
The BEST Best Man
And, that’s it! That is everything you need to do to be the BEST best man you can be. The bride, the groom, and everyone else in attendance will definitely appreciate how invested and involved you were even if not everyone mentions it or notices it specifically. The goal is to give the bride and groom a celebration they deserve. Succeed in that and you’ve done exactly what the BEST best man should.
Here’s to you playing an integral part in their celebration of love. Here’s to making their wedding a highlight!