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Would you be surprised to learn that the selection of the right best man is often of more concern to the bride than to the groom? Most of the time (but not always), women see more significance in wedding party titles than do their male counterparts. Probably because brides realize the best man does have some actual responsibilities.
Guys are just happy (or not) to be asked to stand up for their buddies at their weddings, and generally couldn't care less where they stand in the formal lineup. The groom usually chooses his brother, or the buddy with whom he hangs out the most, without giving much thought as to whether they'd be a "good" best man. Generally speaking, men who aren't asked to be in the wedding party don't care — they're just happy to enjoy the wedding reception with absolutely no responsibilities.
Whereas choosing a good maid of honor can make the bride's life a LOT easier, choosing a bad best man can make her miserable, and even cause the bride and groom to fight. It's a good idea for the couple to have a serious conversation about their wedding party choices before they invite anyone to participate in a specific capacity.
If the groom knows what the bride is concerned about, he'll be better prepared to make choices that will make his wedding day more fun for him and his bride. But in general, here are three qualities to avoid when choosing your best man:
1. The biggest comedian in your crew probably isn't the best spokesperson for the wedding party, so to speak. If this guy is hilarious, but makes your fiancé cringe with his pronouncements on a regular basis, asking him to be the one making the toast at your wedding will likely create a ton of stress for the bride, who will be worried right up until the moment when he sits back down.
2. Party wingmen are important to have as friends, but the guy who always convinces you to do just a few more shots of booze, and discourages you from heading home when your fiancé is ready to call it quits, is not the man to help you make good decisions at your wedding activities. With adult supervision, he can be a groomsman. But even then, he'll need to tone it down a notch for the evening.
3. The guy who never has his act together and is late for everything isn't qualified to be a best man. You need the guy who arrives early and remembers to bring the tickets to the concert leading the way on your wedding day, not the guy who loses his own car in the stadium parking lot. Remember, this is the man who will be holding your wedding rings. But first, he has to remember to bring them.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show "Wedding Island," about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book "How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional," will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.