Best Man Duties: The Ultimate Best Man Checklist

What exactly are the best man's duties? Find out in the best guide to being the best man.

groomsmen in the outdoors

Photo by Asdrubal Luna

While the end result will be absolutely beautiful, weddings require a lot of planning and a lot of work along the way. And as a couple works to plan the most important day of their life, having people close to them such as a best man or maid of honor who will stand by their side and help throughout the process is crucial.

Who Is the Best Man?

The best man is the groom's right-hand man throughout the planning process and on the day of the wedding. The best man is typically in charge of the bachelor party as well as the rest of the groomsmen.

Similar to the maid of honor, the role of the best man typically comes with specific duties. Once the best man agrees to step into this role, he's tasked with serving as the groom's right-hand man, lightening the groom's load before, during, and after the wedding. And while the best man is certainly there to stand right by the groom's side on the big day, there are a few other specific duties on his list to be aware of.

Duties of the Best Man

"It's usually a sibling or best friend, but we've definitely seen other family members such as a son or father in that role," says Kate Ryan, co-founder of Gold Leaf Events.

Meet the Expert

Kate Ryan is the co-founder of Gold Leaf Events, an event design and production company with offices in Aspen, Colorado and New York City.

Of course, the items a best man may be tasked with varies from wedding to wedding, but there are a few consistent items the best man typically tackles.

The best man may be tasked with duties such as organizing the bachelor party, collecting money and purchasing a gift for the groom, and helping the groom and groomsmen to pick out what they'll be wearing to the wedding. But their duties don't stop there. During the wedding, the best man traditionally holds the rings, welcomes guests to the ceremony, and makes sure the groom and groomsmen are in the right place at the right time. Following the ceremony, the best man typically gives the first toast and makes sure guests are having a blast throughout the reception.

It's an important role with a multitude of tasks, and it's all about helping the couple in the best way possible. Read on for the ultimate checklist of duties a best man can expect to get the full scoop and to easily keep track of them all.

Best man duties
Jiaqi Zhou/Brides

Pre-Wedding Duties

Assist With Outfit Details

If the couple has decided they want the groomsmen to sport a cohesive look, this is incredibly important. The best man is in charge of helping the groom choose and rent (or buy) wedding formalwear and coordinate the other groomsmen's rentals as well. If it's a more casual wedding, the best man may help the groomsmen find the outfits online or in a store. According to Ryan, the best man may even opt to put together emergency kits for the groomsmen with items such as extra cufflinks, shoe polish, or an extra tie to be sure everything is in-line on the day-of.

Organize the Bachelor Party

This is an age-old tradition, and bachelor parties can come in all shapes and sizes. Whether it's a party on a yacht, a day of golf, or a night out at the club, the best man is typically put in charge of planning the bachelor party, while recruiting the other groomsmen to help along the way. "The best man is typically the one who takes control of the schedule and any accommodations the bachelor party entails," says Ryan.

The best man should check with the groom on whether or not they want a bachelor party. If so, the best man should be sure to follow the groom's wishes, throwing a party they'll love.

Coordinate the Groomsmen's Gift to the Groom

If the groomsmen have decided to get a gift for the groom, the best man often leads the effort. Ask each of the groomsmen to chip in for something special. "I've often seen groomsmen gift the groom a favorite drink of choice, whether it's a vintage bottle of wine or a higher-end bourbon, scotch, or tequila," says Ryan.

Provide Emotional Support

It's important to offer a shoulder to lean on. The best man may patiently listen to the groom's complaints, confessions, and questions without any judgment. He's the reassuring best friend that every groom needs, patting the groom on the back, keeping him focused, and making sure he has his head in the game.

Be Present for the Rehearsal

Of course, the whole wedding party should be present during the rehearsal, but the best man may help to gather the rest of the groomsmen and bridesmaids so the schedule moves along flawlessly. In addition, the best man may make a small toast during the rehearsal dinner to kick off the festivities.

Responsibilities on the Wedding Day

Keep the Groom and Groomsmen on Schedule

Time can certainly get away from you throughout the big day, especially as the wedding party gets ready. The best man is often tasked with keeping an eye on the clock the morning of the wedding to ensure the groom and all the groomsmen get to the ceremony venue on time. He also helps to wrangle the groomsmen throughout the ceremony and makes sure they're in the right place at the right time, organized, and presentable.

Hold the Wedding Rings

One of the most important duties of all, the best man is entrusted with holding on to the wedding rings for safekeeping. This may be the case if the couple has opted not to have a ring bearer, or if they prefer having the best man keep the rings safe until the ceremony. The best man may also be asked to hold things like the groom's cell phone or wallet, so it's still close but doesn't have to constantly be in his pocket.

Welcome Guests

Because the best man is typically a sibling or best friend of the groom, chances are he knows a large majority of the guests in attendance. With so many connections, this makes him the perfect candidate to help welcome guests to the wedding ceremony.

Serve as a Witness

Typically, a couple needs two witnesses as they sign their marriage license, and often this duty is left up to the best man and the maid of honor. The best man should be readily available for this task, watching as the couple signs their marriage license and penning his name as well if required.

Kick off the Toasts

If a couple opts to open up the floor for toasts, the best man is often the first to step in. And because this toast may just be the biggest responsibility the best man has, it's important to put some thought into it ahead of time. A well-crafted toast should be appropriate for the setting, while celebrating the story of the newlyweds.

Keep the Reception Moving

"Especially couples who decide to do a first dance, often the best man is the first one out on the dance floor afterward," says Ryan. The best man should mingle at the reception to make sure guests are having a good time. They may also dance with the bride, the maid of honor, the mother of the bride, and the mother of the groom during the reception.

Be the emcee in a pinch. Let's say the DJ or the band shows up late; a good best man will step in and crack a few jokes, get the crowd to the dance floor, and introduce the key players so the party can go on as planned.

Collect Gifts

This will certainly depend on the set-up of the wedding, but the best man can play a helpful role in making sure gifts get to the right place. If there is a specific location the couple would like gifts stored, it's important for the best man to assist in collecting them so guests don't have to do much running around. It's also helpful to put the best man in charge of transporting gifts to the newlyweds' home after the wedding.

Post-Ceremony Responsibilities

Return Clothing

This is especially important if the couple is leaving for their honeymoon right away. The best man may step in to take care of the groom's clothing after he changes out of his wedding attire. Along the way, he should also make sure any rented tuxes are returned on time (and intact).

Check-In With Vendors

Once the party comes to an end, the couple will be ready to whisk off into the night. To allow that to happen without interruption, the best man is tasked with making sure all of the wedding-related expenses are taken care of. Typically, the vendors should have all been paid in full one month before the big day, but in the event they haven't been, it's the best man who makes sure everything is settled before the night comes to a close. If there are any payments to take care of, keeping them in clearly marked envelopes will make all the difference.

Coordinate and Decorate the Getaway Car

The best man may be asked to help coordinate car transportation for the newlyweds to leave the reception. And while they're at it, the best man may enlist the help of the whole wedding party to help decorate the getaway car.

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