The Best Guide to Being the Best Man: Duties to Expect Leading Up to the Big Day

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

Updated 07/06/17

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After the groom's brother or best friend says "I do" to being the best man, what exactly are his responsibilities? Sure, he's supposed to plan the bachelor party, but what other best-man duties does he need to know about? There are more things for him to take care of than he might have realized!

So, what does a best man do? In short, he's your groom's right-hand man. The best-man role revolves all around lightening the groom's load before, during, and after the wedding. Read on for a breakdown of exactly what's expected of him.

Pre-Wedding Duties

Help the groom choose and rent (or buy) wedding formalwear, and coordinate the other groomsmen's rentals. The best man may also be asked to help arrange accommodations for out-of-town groomsmen. If it's a more casual wedding, help groomsmen find the outfits online or in a store.

Organize the bachelor party (but recruit the other groomsmen to help). Also, the cost should be split among everyone who attends the festivities.

  • Coordinate the groomsmen's gift to the groom.
  • Provide emotional support, patiently listening to the groom's complaints, confessions, and questions without any judgment. He's the reassuring best friend that every groom needs. The best man will pat the groom on the back and keep him focused and his head in the game.
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and perhaps make a (low-key) toast.

    Responsibilities on the Wedding Day

    • Keep 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.
    • Wrangle the groomsmen throughout the ceremony and make sure they're in the right place at the right time, organized, and presentable. (The best man will also make sure the groomsmen aren't glued to their cell phones and any flasks are out of sight!)

    At the ceremony, hold on to the wedding rings for safekeeping.

  • Help welcome guests to the wedding ceremony.
  • Serve as a witness during the marriage-license signing.
  • Give the officiant his fee (placed in a sealed envelope) after the ceremony, unless the officiant is a friend, in which case a handshake or a hug should suffice.
  • Be the emcee in a pinch. Let's say the DJ or the band cancels at the last minute or 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.
  • Offer the first toast to the newlyweds at the reception (his biggest responsibility!).

    Mingle at the reception to make sure guests are having a good time.

    Dance with the bride, the maid of honor, the mother of the bride, and the mother of the groom during the reception.

    Collect any gifts and cards guests may bring to the reception. Ask the bride and groom (before the wedding) where they'd like you to store the presents.

    Decorate the getaway car. (Again, enlist the groomsmen and bridesmaids to help!)

    Post-Ceremony Responsibilities

    Take care of the groom's clothes after he changes out of his wedding attire.

    Make sure all of the groom's wedding-related expenses are taken care of. (Really, 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.)

    Coordinate car transportation for the bride and groom to leave the reception.

    Make sure any rented tuxes are returned on time (and intact).

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