If you've been asked to serve as the best man at a wedding, congratulations; this is a top honor and a distinction worth celebrating. With power comes responsibilities, though, and holding the title of "best man" should not be carried lightly.
"The perfect best man is someone who is supportive of the groom’s upcoming nuptials and can be dependable during the wedding planning process," shares Christin Gomes and Dr. Ida Gibson, co-founders of Common Courtesy. "It doesn’t have to be a lifelong best friend, it can be the person who has been most supportive of the groom’s current season of life."
With a strong emphasis on supporting the groom, the best man's role is more than just planning a bachelor party or giving a speech at the wedding. It also involves helping the groom and groomsmen with their wedding attire and lending a hand whenever the groom is in need. And for those who are up for this wonderful challenge, there are a few things to know before embarking on this journey.
Meet the Expert
Christin Gomes and Dr. Ida Gibson are the co-founders of Common Courtesy, an etiquette business that focuses on helping modern millennials navigate their careers, friendships, and everyday social situations.
Following the continued advice of Gomes and Gibson, below are the top five mistakes every best man should avoid.
Not being honest about your financial situation.
While you aren't required to share your bank statements, you should, however, be transparent about whether you can financially afford the role of best man. "As best man, you may be expected to host a bachelor party or provide financial assistance with other wedding-related activities. Don’t make the mistake of agreeing to be the best man without understanding all the financial commitments or expectations," share Gomes and Gibson.
You also shouldn't be afraid to speak with the groom if you can't immediately afford what's needed. Communication is key, and emphasizing your financial boundaries will only help everyone throughout the wedding planning journey. Ultimately, the more upfront and honest you are, the easier it will be to fulfill your expected duties.
Encouraging “for old time’s sake” behavior.
As the best man, your role is to support, not hinder, the groom's journey down the aisle. Therefore, do your best to ensure that every activity is executed without potential harm to the groom and his relationship.
"If selected as the best man, you may have memories that go way back with you and the groom, and you might want to live out those memories for your friend’s last few days (or hours) as a bachelor," says Gomes and Gibson. "Don’t make the mistake of encouraging destructive behavior that can have a lasting impact on the groom’s big day or the years beyond."
Always running behind schedule.
"The best man should always model the example that other groomsmen should follow," advises Gomes and Gibson. "Be on time, and prepare the other groomsmen to be on time—even if that means cushioning the call time."
If you tend to struggle with being punctual to certain events, be sure to pay special attention to timing when it comes to all wedding activities. Generally, you should strive to be the first person at the events you plan, in order to guarantee that everything is set before the groom and guests arrive.
Partying before your duties are complete.
While weddings are a time to celebrate, your role as the best man doesn't end as soon as the party begins. What's more, while you may have the opportunity to consume alcohol throughout the day, it's typically best to hold off on drinking until after you've wrapped up your responsibilities.
As Gomes and Gibson put it, "weddings are meant to be fun. It should be the best party you attend all year, but please don’t get too drunk prior to completing your duties at the ceremony and reception. This may include keeping up with the rings, and/or giving a speech at the reception."
Not being solution-oriented.
Mistakes happen every day, and that's especially true when planning any type of celebratory event. As the best man, though, it's important to adapt to every situation rather than give up once something unexpected happens. "Don’t make the mistake of being the best man who complains about everything and doesn’t have a solution for anything," advises Gomes and Gibson. Also, when in doubt, always ask for help.