Wedding Party: Roles and Duties of the Best Man at a Wedding

The Wedding Guru settles a lover’s quarrel regarding the roles of the best man at the wedding

It’s an honor to be chosen as the best man at a wedding — but the role demands a bit more than guarding a ring! Here, I clear up a lover’s quarrel regarding some of the best man’s duties.

Dear Wedding Guru: “My future husband and I disagree about his best man’s role. (He thinks his buddy should just show up and hold the ring during the ceremony and, of course, throw the bachelor party.) I believe that there’s a lot more to it. Can you help me explain what the best man’s duties are?”

(Our answer on next page)

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The Wedding Guru says: It’s the best man’s role to tend to as many of the groom’s needs as possible. This list suggests just some of the responsibilities the best man can provide to make the day less stressful for the groom:

  • Provides emotional support, assists the groom with all wedding-related preparations
  • Helps coordinate the groomsmen’s formalwear fittings
  • Confirms honeymoon travel arrangements, picks up tickets before the wedding day
  • Assists with arrangement (and shares expenses) of the bachelor party
  • Attends rehearsal and dinner, orchestrates rehearsal party toasts
  • Acts as timekeeper to make sure groom and groomsmen arrive at wedding site on time (at least one hour early)
  • Helps groom get ready and dress for wedding
  • Briefs ushers and ring bearer on seating arrangements and duties
  • Organizes groomsmen for formal pictures
  • Handles payment of wedding officiant fee
  • Holds marriage license and bride’s ring for safekeeping
  • Takes a place in the receiving line at reception
  • Prepares/proposes a toast in honor of the bride and groom
  • Handles last-minute details for honeymoon plans, like arranging couple’s luggage (brings it to couple’s car or to checkroom at the reception) or groom’s “going-away” clothes at reception
  • Gives groom the honeymoon tickets and reservations (after reception)
  • Returns groom’s tuxedo after wedding (if rental) or keeps it safe if it’s to be returned

It’s a really good idea for your fiancé (not you) to talk to his best man and make sure they’re on the same page. Keep in mind that he’s your husband’s attendant, not yours. If you’re not sure the best man will perform his responsibilities, consider asking your maid of honor (or another responsible person) to be his back-up.

» More on the wedding party
» More on wedding roles
» More from The Wedding Guru
» Submit a question to the Wedding Guru
» Hudson Valley Weddings 2012

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