The Best Man

Responsibilities of your groom's right-hand man

His Game Plan

He's part personal adviser and part valet, but the main role of the best man is to lighten the groom's load. It's no surprise, then, that this busy guy has a laundry list of duties. His primary responsibilities include organizing the bachelor party, making sure the groom looks sharp in his wedding-day duds, and getting him to the church on time.

At the ceremony, the best man holds on to the bride's ring for safekeeping (he should always check his pocket for holes first), signs the marriage license as a witness, and hands the officiant his fee, placed in a sealed envelope, after the service. He can also distribute tips to any other people who have served at the altar.

During the reception, he often acts as the master of ceremonies, starting the toasts by raising his glass in a salute to the couple (his may also be the event's only toast). After that, the best man mingles (he should dance with the honor attendant and single female guests), and makes sure that the festivities move along at a good pace.

Make it Wry, but Don't Burn the Toast

As honorary MC, the best man is expected to be able to talk the talk. That means pulling off a tribute with wit and sentiment. Here are a few hints to help him speak easily when stepping into the spotlight:

  • Stand and deliver
  • Get to your feet before speaking.
  • Make it short
  • The quickest way to lose a crowd's attention is by rambling. Remember that brevity is best—keep your speech under three minutes.
  • …and sweet This is not the time for lewd tales. A sincere, personal story about the couple (delivered with a little humor) is the way to go. If you're at a loss for an anecdote, cite a favorite quote or lyric that will convey something meaningful about the couple.
Be Prepared

Unless you're a brilliant extemporaneous speaker, don't wing it. Rehearse your remarks a couple of times before the wedding. Worried that your memory may fail you? Write a few key phrases from your toast on a small note card and keep it close at hand to jog your memory.


Measure your best man's style savvy with this quick quiz.

1. On which lapel does a boutonniere go?

a. The right
b. The left
c. Neither—real men don't wear rosebuds.

2. Which direction should cummerbund pleats face?

a. Upward—they were once used to hold theater tickets.
b. Downward—to ensure that crumbs don't get lodged in the waistband.
c. It doesn't matter—pleats are so '80s.

3. Ideally, which article of clothing should match the best man's socks?

a. Shoes
b. Pants
c. Both. If the pants and the shoes are different colors, wear argyles.

Answers: 1. b 2. a 3. b

Bachelor Bashes of the Stars

From male bonding at hip hotels to hitting the Hawaiian waves, when Hollywood's hotties say so long and farewell to the single life, they do it with lots of flair.

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