What Does a Best Man Do? His Duties Explained

The best man is the most important man in the groom’s life – usually his brother or his best friend. Being a best man at a wedding is both a great honour and a big responsibility.

The best man’s main duties are to plan the stag party, present the rings at the correct moment during the ceremony, and give a speech after the wedding breakfast. He may also be asked to give a reading during the ceremony, and dance with the maid of honour.

As well as the above, the best man should help the groom before and during the wedding, with anything he asks. This may include running wedding-planning errands, helping to set up and clear up at the venue, and assisting the ushers.

The most important part of being a best man is to support the groom throughout the whole process. The best man is the groom’s right-hand man, and his confidante.

What Does a Best Man Do Before the Wedding?

The best man’s duties start long before the wedding day. He has many responsibilities in the lead up to the wedding, including helping with wedding planning and offering emotional support to the groom.
Go Suit Shopping with the Groom.

The best man accompanies the groom, and the other groomsmen, while suit-shopping. Typically, all of the groomsmen wear matching suits (or else coordinate in some way, such as choosing suits of a similar shade, or wearing the same tie). The suits may be rented, or bought outright.

The best man’s job here is to help choose the suits and try them on. He may also be responsible for collecting the suits from the store, and/or taking them to be steamed or altered before the big day.

Plan the Stag Party

The best man gets the privilege of organising a ‘stag party’ for the groom and all of his closest male friends and family. Traditionally, the stag party is only one evening – though in modern times, celebrations may last all weekend.

The stag do is typically held a few weeks before the wedding, and may involve dinner, drinks, clubbing, or fun group events such as paintballing. Everyone attending should pay for themselves, and the groomsmen typically band together to cover the groom’s share.

Attend the Wedding Rehearsal

U.K. weddings don’t often have wedding rehearsals. However, they are becoming more and more popular. Their purpose is to run through the order of the ceremony, and make sure everyone in the wedding party knows what to do and when.

If there is going to be a wedding rehearsal, the best man is required to attend it (and any rehearsal lunch or dinner that may go along with it).

Help Set Up the Venue

In the lead up to the wedding, the bride and groom may require the best man’s assistance in preparing for the big day. For example, they may ask the best man to collect things (such as the groomsmen’s suits from the tailor, or the wedding cake from the baker).

The day before the wedding, the best man usually helps out in setting up the venue with things like tablecloths and decorations.

What Is the Best Man’s Role on the Wedding Day?

The big day is finally upon us – so what does the best man have to do? His duties start with helping the groom get ready in the morning, and end with clearing up the venue after the reception.
Get Ready with the Groom

Just as the bridesmaids get ready with the bride, the best man (and other groomsmen) typically get ready alongside the groom. This may be in the groom’s home, or a hotel room. The best man helps the groom into his suit, and most importantly, helps him keep calm! Then, all of the groomsmen travel to the wedding venue together (often in a hired car).

Assist the Ushers

The ushers’ job is to greet guests as they enter the wedding venue, and show them to their seats. If there are going to be a great many guests, the best man may also be asked to help out with this. If you’re the best man, make sure you know where everyone is supposed to be sitting in advance.

Stand with the Groom

Traditionally, the best man stands at the altar (or the secular equivalent) next to the groom throughout the ceremony. He stands there right from the beginning, before the bride walks down the aisle. He remains there until the couple kiss, and then he follows the groom out.

In many modern weddings, the wedding party are permitted to sit down during the ceremony. If this is the case, the best man sits up at the front, so that it’s easy for him to deliver the rings.

Present the Wedding Rings

The best man is usually asked to keep hold of the wedding rings on the day of the wedding. At the correct point in the ceremony, the officiant will ask for the rings, and it’s the best man’s job to present them at this point.

Note that if there is a ‘ring bearer’ (usually a young boy), he usually carries fake rings, while the best man keeps hold of the real ones.

Give a Reading

The best man may be asked to give a reading during the ceremony. This may be a religious reading (e.g. a passage from the Bible), or a non-religious reading, such as a poem. At registry offices and other council-owned buildings, religious readings aren’t allowed – so check with the venue first to make sure the reading you have in mind is appropriate.

Give a Best Man’s Speech

In the U.K., the best man’s speech is traditionally given after the wedding breakfast. It’s usually the very last speech, according to wedding tradition. The first speech is the father of the bride’s, and the groom’s speech comes second.

In the best man’s speech, he should thank the rest of the wedding party, and compliment the bride and groom. The speech usually includes lots of anecdotes (sometimes humorous) about the groom. It ends with a final toast to the happy couple.

Dance with the Chief Bridesmaid

The last of the best man’s wedding duties happens during the dancing portion of the evening. First, the bride and groom will have their first dance, followed by the bride’s dance with her father. Some weddings will also have the groom dance with his mother.

After that, the best man is often expected to dance with the chief bridesmaid (maid of honour). He may also dance with the bride, depending on the couple’s preferences.

What Does a Best Man Do After the Wedding?

The best man’s duties don’t quite finish when the wedding does. There are a few things the best man may be asked to help with afterwards, too.

Help with Clean-Up

Everyone in the wedding party, including the best man, should help clean up the venue after the reception is over. Venue staff may also help with this – it depends on the terms of the contract.
Some venues require you to completely clean the site before leaving, whereas with others, a cleaning fee is included in the price you pay for the wedding. As a bare minimum, the best man should help with taking down all of the decorations and tidying up.

Look After the Wedding Gifts

If the bride and groom are going on their honeymoon straight away, the best man may have to help look after some (or all) of the wedding gifts in the meantime.
Even if they aren’t honeymooning immediately, he may be asked to help transport some of the wedding gifts, decorations and other miscellaneous accessories (such as the guestbook) home from the venue.

Return the Suits

Finally, the last thing that a best man has to do is return his suit (if, of course, it is a rented suit). The groom may also ask the best man to return his suit, and the other groomsmen’s suits, at the same time.

Depending on the company where you hired the suit, you may be required to have the suits dry-cleaned before returning them. If you’re not sure, ask the company first – otherwise you might be saddled with a fine.