Best Man Wedding 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—a best man, best person, or person of honor—who will stand by their side and help throughout the process is crucial.

Who Is the Best Man or Best Person?

The best man or best person is the groom's right hand throughout the planning process and on the day of the wedding. Typically, they are in charge of the bachelor party as well as the rest of the groom's people.

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

Duties of the Best Man or Best Person

"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, cofounder of Gold Leaf Events.

Meet the Expert

  • Kate Ryan is the cofounder 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 person may be tasked with varies from wedding to wedding, but there are a few consistent items that they typically tackle.

The best person 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 person traditionally holds the rings, welcomes guests to the ceremony, and makes sure the groom and groom's people are in the right place at the right time. Following the ceremony, the best person 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 person can expect to get the full scoop and to easily keep track of them all.

Best Man Duties: The Ultimate Best Man Checklist


Pre-Wedding Duties

Assist With Outfit Details

If the couple has decided they want the wedding party to sport a cohesive look, this is incredibly important. The best person is in charge of helping the groom choose and rent (or buy) wedding formalwear and coordinate the other groom's peoples' rentals as well. If it's a more casual wedding, they may help people find outfits online or in a store. According to Ryan, the best person 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 person is typically put in charge of planning the bachelor party while recruiting the other groomsmen to help along the way. "The best [person] is typically the one who takes control of the schedule and any accommodations the bachelor party entails," says Ryan.

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

Coordinate the Groom's People Gift to the Groom

If the groom's people have decided to get a gift for the groom, the best person often leads the effort. Ask each of the groom's people to chip in for something special. "I've often seen [groom's people] 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 person may patiently listen to the groom's complaints, confessions, and questions without any judgment. They are 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 person may help to gather the rest of the wedding party so the schedule moves along flawlessly. In addition, the best person may make a small toast during the rehearsal dinner to kick off the festivities.

Responsibilities on the Wedding Day

Keep the Groom and Groom's People on Schedule

Time can certainly get away from you throughout the big day, especially as the wedding party gets ready. The best person is often tasked with keeping an eye on the clock the morning of the wedding to ensure everyone gets to the ceremony venue on time. They also help to wrangle groom's people throughout the ceremony and make 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 person 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 person keep the rings safe until the ceremony. The best person 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 their pocket.

Welcome Guests

Because the best person is typically a sibling or best friend of the groom, chances are they know a large majority of the guests in attendance. With so many connections, this makes them 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 person and person of honor. The best person should be readily available for this task, watching as the couple signs their marriage license and penning their name as well if required.

Kick off the Toasts

If a couple opts to open up the floor for toasts, the best person is often the first to step in. And because this toast may just be the biggest responsibility the best person 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 [person] is the first one out on the dance floor afterward," says Ryan. The best person should mingle at the reception to make sure guests are having a good time. They may also dance with the bride, the person 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 person 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 person 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 person to assist in collecting them so guests don't have to do much running around. It's also helpful to put the best person 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 person may step in to take care of the groom's clothing after he changes out of his wedding attire. Along the way, they 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 person 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 person 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 person may be asked to help coordinate car transportation for the newlyweds to leave the reception. And while they're at it, the best person may enlist the help of the whole wedding party to help decorate the getaway car.

  • How many best men are there at a wedding?

    Traditionally there is only one best man at a wedding. Other individuals in the groom's crew are groomsmen or groom's people.

  • How do you choose a best man?

    The best man should be someone who holds a significant role in the groom's life like a brother or best friend. They should also be dependable enough to commit to the duties required of their title, otherwise it may be best to honor them as a groomsman instead.

  • Does the best man have to be a man?

    Of course not! The honor can be given to anyone that befits the role whether that's a best man, best woman, or best person.

  • How do you ask someone to be a best man?

    The invitation should feel natural to your relationship with that person. Some choose to bring it up during a shared favorite activity or drop the information in casual conversation while others may take a more sentimental approach by writing a card or sending a gift.

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