Being asked to be the best man is an honour, and a big responsibility. You may have to do a lot on the big day–so much that you may have no time to be nervous about your best man speech! There’s work to be done and fun to be had, so join us in our complete guide for the role of the best man.
Meet the groom at least a couple of hours before you need to leave for the ceremony venue and help make sure he’s prepared.
- Check he has everything he’ll need for the honeymoon especially the tickets and passports. Make sure you put the honeymoon luggage in the right vehicle.
- Collect the buttonholes for the groom, ushers and yourself.
It’s traditional to check with the bride/bride’s family for any last-minute messages you might need to pass on, or announcements you might need to make. There may also be telegrams to collect to read out at the reception, which have arrived on the morning.
Before you go
Most importantly, make sure you have the rings(s) and money for the church fees (civil wedding fees will have been paid beforehand).
- A telephone call to the bride’s father telling him when you are leaving will be welcome!
- Take the groom to the ceremony venue, making sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin. Check you have some confetti if the venue allows it.
At the ceremony
- Make sure you have the rings (again). Check the Order of Service sheets have been brought to the venue to hand to guests as they arrive.
- Make sure your ushers are wearing their buttonholes. If buttonholes have been ordered for guests, check they have been delivered and to whom they should be given.
- Get the ushers in line! Organise one on each side of the entrance to hand out Order of Service sheets. If the couple is following a traditional seating plan, make sure the ushers know to direct the bride’s relatives to the left-hand side of the church and the groom’s to the right.
- If the bride and groom have a page boy or ring bearer in the wedding party, have a chat, man to man. Make sure he knows when he’ll need to step up to the mark with the rings.
In a church ceremony you will need to:
- Pay the church fees on behalf of the groom and check one last time you’ve got those rings.
- Take your seat with the groom on the front right-hand pew while waiting for the bride. Shortly before the bride arrives, you will be prompted to stand in position at the head of the aisle, to the groom’s right.
- Hand over the ring(s) at the right time during the ceremony — your big moment.
- After the service, accompany the chief bridesmaid (or matron of honour) and the bride and groom to the vestry for the signing of the register. You may also be asked by the groom to sign the register as a witness.
- Join the procession down the aisle following in line after the bride and groom, the bride’s father and groom’s mother and the groom’s father and bride’s mother. Traditionally, you escort the chief bridesmaid from the church on your left arm.
In a ceremony at a register office or a licensed venue, you will need to:
- Take your seat with the groom on the front right-hand seats while waiting for the bride to arrive. Shortly before the bride enters, you will be prompted to stand in position before the registrar, to the groom’s right.
- Hand over the ring(s) at the required moment as prompted by the registrar.
- Sign the register as a witness, if asked to by the groom.
- Join the procession out of the room, following in line after the bride and groom, the bride’s father with the groom’s mother and the groom’s father with the bride’s mother. Traditionally, you escort the chief bridesmaid on your left arm.
When the ceremony ends
- Help the photographer in grouping guests together for photographs if necessary.
- Make sure that all the guests have directions and transport to the reception, arranging lifts where needed (carry some spare maps!).
- Make sure that you leave for the reception venue with the bridesmaids immediately after the bride and groom so that you arrive shortly after.
Your reception role
When you get to the reception venue, your duties are as follows, though some will depend on whether you have agreed to take on the role of toastmaster:
- Collect any messages from the bride’s father and check to see if any messages have been delivered directly to the reception venue.
- Join the receiving line, if asked to by the hosts, to greet and welcome guests as they move into the reception room and help them find their places.
- When everyone is seated and before the meal or buffet is served, call for silence, ask people to stand and welcome the couple into the reception room as newlyweds.
- When the meal is finished, call for silence and introduce the speeches. Invite the bride’s father to speak first. After the bride’s father has delivered his speech and toasted the bride and groom, introduce the groom to say his few words.
- The groom’s speech ends with a toast to the bridesmaids. You will reply to this toast on behalf of the bridesmaids and deliver your speech, read congratulations from absent family and friends, and close by toasting the bride and groom. You can find all the detail you need on making a fantastic best man’s speech, plus ideas, toasts, jokes and sample speeches, in our confetti speech centre .
Once the speeches are over, you can breathe a sigh of relief and announce the cutting of the cake.
Now the big speech is out of the way you can relax a little. It’s tradition to dance with the chief bridesmaid first, joining the bride and groom mid‐way through their first dance.
Your responsibilities are not over yet, however. You need to keep a general eye on the proceedings to ensure that everything is running smoothly. If wedding cameras have been put out on the guests’ tables, for example, ensure they are used throughout the reception and collect them at the end.
Have fun supervising the decoration of the groom’s car ‐‐ or whatever transport is taking them away from the venue that evening. Bear in mind though, that the car needs to remain in working order, especially if the happy couple are going straight off on their honeymoon and need to catch trains or flights later.
It’s all over
Finally, assist the hosts in bringing the celebrations to a close, making sure everyone has transport home or can find their room if they are staying overnight at the reception venue.
- The hosts ‐‐ especially if they are the bride and groom ‐‐ may appreciate it if you offer to check the bill and ensure any outstanding payments are settled at the end of the night.
- When you leave the venue, take a last look round for any stray presents or lost property. Collect them together and keep them safe until you can return them to their rightful owners.
- As soon as possible after the wedding, arrange to collect any hired outfits so that they can be returned and deposits refunded. Make sure any items left at the venue find their way back to their owners.
Find more ideas and advice in our article pages, and talk with hundreds of brides and brides-to-be in our forums.
You can also find lots of items and accessories in the Confetti shop.