Best man: responsibilities

June 6, 2006. Written by

The best man is one of the key figures in the wedding ritual. Not only do you play an important role in the weeks leading up to the event (particularly on the groom’s side), but you also oversee the whole day itself …

The job’s yours if you want it. But have you got what it takes?

The best man is one of the key figures in the wedding ritual. Not only do you play an important role in the weeks leading up to the event (particularly on the groom’s side), but you also oversee the whole day itself in the capacity of nuptial ‘Master of Ceremonies’. So, are you the man for the job?

If you’re asked to be best man, unless you are absolutely certain, ask for some time to think about it. Make sure you acknowledge how flattering it is to be asked, as the job traditionally goes to the groom’s closest friend or brother. However, since being best man involves making sure things run smoothly on one of the most important days in someone’s life, if you don’t feel up to it, it’s far better to say so from the outset. As best man, you need to be an organiser, a trouble‐shooter, a friend ‐‐ and, come the stag night, a chaperone.

The right stuff

If you were to compile a wish‐list for an ideal best man, the qualities you’d look for would probably include:

  • reliability
  • people skills
  • a good sense of humour
  • strong public‐speaking skills
  • unflappability
  • acceptability to the bride and her family.

However, if you really want to do the job, but don’t think you can muster all these, don’t worry. The entertainment value of weddings is often greatly improved by the best man’s deficiency in any of the above departments. If you really want to do it ‐‐ if you’d have felt offended not to have been asked ‐‐ the job is yours. The rest will follow.

If you’re having trouble making up your mind, consider what might lie behind your reluctance. Reasons for declining the offer might include:

  • a previous close relationship between you and the bride
  • present tensions between you and the bride and/or family
  • a phobia about speaking in public.

When weighing up your decision, remember that if the groom hadn’t thought you up to the job, he wouldn’t have asked. If you decide to turn him down, make sure his interests and those of a successful day, are foremost in your mind.

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