Wedding Etiquette – Chapter 6 – The Best Man
If ever there was someone who is not necessarily part of either family, but who is thrust into the limelight and a role of responsibility, it has to be the Best Man.
So let us begin before the wedding. Etiquette dictates that it is the Best Man who has to arrange the Stag Party. This should not be the night before as it is always done in the movies for comedic effect. Normally the previous weekend where neither work nor the wedding can be disturbed by high jinks.
Then on the day the list is seemingly endless.
- The first and most important role is to get the Bridegroom to the ceremony early and most importantly sober.
- He should bring with him the ring(s)
- Then if he is sensible he is to organise the Ushers. He can delegate the following;*
- Fitting of button holes
- Issuing the order of service
- Organising the seating within the ceremony
- Organising the collection of wedding presents and storing them safely
- Organising the Bride and Bridegroom’s luggage to go away is in the right place
- He should arrange payment of the Clergyman.
- He should be beside the Bridegroom for support and to handover the rings at the right time.
- He should witness the signing of the registry
- He should accompany the Head Bridesmaid up the aisle at the end of the ceremony
- He should make a speech in response to the toast to the bridesmaids/bridal party.
- He should read out any messages or telegrams from absent friends and family
- He should share the first dance with the Head Bridesmaid
- He should check that everybody is having a good time.
- When it is all over he should return any hired clothing with Head Bridesmaid to the outfitters.
Not much then. That is why so many people accept being Best Man with reluctance. It is not just about the speech, but that can be the biggest hindrance of all.
So what has changed?
In principal most of the above still stands if no Toastmaster is engaged. If a Toastmaster is engaged he can take charge of all the administrative type roles. All the delegated jobs that are given to the ushers are passed to him to either carry out or delegate (again to the ushers who need something to do!).
As for telegrams these were replaced by faxes 25 years ago and these were in turn superseded by emails. These can be also passed to the Toastmaster.
Finally at the end of his speech. If the toast given by the Father of the Bride is only to his daughter, then the Best Man gets to give the Toast to the Bride and Bridegroom but only if there is to be a further response. This is very common now as invariably Brides get to say a few words.
Anyway regardless of how much he has to do, or she as is often the case, they generally need a week off after it all! It is definitely the shared most difficult role on the day – that is unless you employ a Toastmaster.