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Best Man Duties: A Full Breakdown

So you’ve been chosen to be the best man, but what does that mean? Don’t worry, the experts at Zola have you covered with a guide on all the best man’s duties.

By The Zola Team

best man adjusts collar pin for groom in military attire
Photo by Cinder and Co Photography

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  • Before the wedding, the best man can expect to coordinate with other groomsmen, plan the bachelor party, organize attire rentals, and handle travel plans.
  • During the wedding, the best man should get dressed with the groom, keep everyone on schedule, hold onto the rings, and help with guests.
  • The best man also stands by the groom at the ceremony, signs the marriage certificate as a witness, and escorts the maid of honor for the recessional.

If you have been asked to serve as best man, or if you’re a groom thinking about who should be your right-hand man, you’re probably wondering: what are the best man duties? In the most broad sense, the best man serves as a groom’s go-to for help throughout wedding planning and on the big day, but this supporting role involves a variety of different tasks. To ensure success in the best man department, here’s a complete list of the best man duties.

Pre-Wedding Best Man Duties

In the months and weeks leading up to the big day, the best man is tasked with handling a a few different tasks:

1. Organize and Lead Fellow Groomsmen

The best man is the lead groomsman, and, as such, should take responsibility for organizing and leading the other groomsmen. This might include serving as mediator between the groom and the groomsmen, answering questions, and helping the other guys stay on top of their groomsmen duties.

2. Coordinate Wedding Attire Rentals or Purchases

In addition to helping the groom choose the wedding attire, the best man is tasked with making sure each groomsmen secures his attire—and accessories—by the deadline set by the groom. This includes:

  • Gathering each groomsman’s measurements and sharing them with the shop or tailor.
  • Communicating the groom’s wishes on attire choices (such as tie color, shoe style, etc.).
  • Making sure everyone is on track to meet the rental or purchase deadline.

Pro Tip: Make sure each groomsman’s measurements are sent to the shop and/or tailor 2-4 months before the wedding. This will help ensure that everyone receives their attire without last-minute complications.

3. Plan The Bachelor Party

While it’s the duty of all the groomsmen to plan an amazing bachelor party for the groom, it’s the best man’s job to take the lead in coordinating the travel, accommodations, and activities. He should also divvy up costs so that the groom’s expenses are covered. Additionally, it’s the best man’s responsibility to communicate the itinerary of events with the groom and the groomsmen.

4. Take Charge of Buying The Groom’s Gift

It’s tradition that the groomsmen will collectively give a gift to the groom, usually at the bachelor party. It’s up to the best man to lead the charge on choosing the gift and collecting funds from everyone.

5. Serve as Groom’s Confidant

An especially important best man duty is serving as the groom’s confidant and go-to-person for emotional support. Wedding planning can be stressful, and getting married is a big life step—the best man should be there to listen and work with the groom through all his emotions, good or bad.

6. Attend and Help Out at Pre-Wedding Events

Unless otherwise communicated, the best man is expected to attend and help out at any pre-wedding events, such as the engagement party, wedding shower(s), ceremony rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner.

7. Handle Travel and Accommodation Plans

If any groomsmen are traveling from out of town, it’s up to the best man to help arrange local accommodations. And, in some cases, the best man may be asked to help the couple with transportation on the wedding day, such as driving the groomsmen to the ceremony on the wedding day or securing a car to take the couple to their hotel after the reception. For exact details on what’s expected, the best man should consult the groom.

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Wedding Day Best Man Duties

The best man also plays a big role in helping the wedding run smoothly. The groom and best man should work together to create a game plan in advance to ensure that expectations are clear, and that all tasks can be completed while leaving plenty of time for joining in on the fun.

1. Prepare an Emergency Kit

If the couple is hiring a wedding planner, he or she will likely come prepared with an emergency kit. However, if there’s no planner to turn to, it’s a good idea to put together a set of supplies that could come in handy in the event of a mishap on the wedding day, such as a sewing kit, stain remover, first aid kit, and a couple extra pairs of socks should a groomsman or two forget theirs.

2. Get Dressed With The Groom and Other Groomsmen

On the morning of the wedding, the best man and groomsmen are expected to get ready with the groom and help him stay calm and collected before the ceremony. To keep everyone upbeat and entertained, we recommend putting on some music and breaking out some beer (or the groom’s beverage of choice).

Pro Tip: Make sure that the groom drinks water and eats something before the ceremony begins—it’s easy for him to forget in the hustle and bustle of the big day.

3. Keep Everyone on Schedule

On his wedding day, the groom shouldn’t have to worry about wrangling his groomsmen. The best man should take the lead on keeping everyone on schedule and ensuring that everyone has what they need (like pinned-on boutonnieres) before it’s go-time.

4. Hold on to The Rings

Before and during the ceremony, the best man is responsible for keeping up with the wedding rings and presenting them for the ring exchange.

5. Help Welcome and Escort Guests

Traditionally, the groomsmen and the best man are assigned the task of escorting guests and passing out programs (if applicable). Either way, the best man should be prepared to welcome friends and family as they arrive.

6. Stand by the Groom’s Side at The Ceremony

As the best of the groom’s buds, the best man stands next to the groom during the ceremony. This makes it easy to pass the rings to the groom when the moment is right, but also serves the symbolic purpose of showing the best man’s place of honor by the groom’s side on his journey into married life.

7. Escort Maid of Honor During The Ceremony Recessional

It depends on the recessional plan outlined at the rehearsal, but the best man traditionally escorts the maid of honor during the ceremony recessional.

8. Sign The Marriage License as a Witness

Many marriage licenses require the signatures of two witnesses. The maid of honor and the best man typically fill this role. Whether the signing takes place before of the after the ceremony, the best man should make sure he’s in the right place at the right time for this important task.

9. Pose for Photos

All of the groomsmen may be asked to pose for pictures before and/or after the ceremony. In addition to putting on his best smile, the best man should take an active role in making sure everyone is present and focused during the time allotted for wedding party and groomsmen photos.

10. Give The Best Man Toast

The best man is often asked to give a toast during the wedding reception. Check out our guide on how to give a great wedding toast for tips and tricks.

11. Be a Great Guest

The groom will look to his groomsmen to make sure that the wedding is not only stress-free, but fun. The guy bestowed the honor of best man should lead the pack in being great wedding guests throughout the evening: chat with other guests, drink responsibly, participate in guest activities (like signing the guestbook and snapping selfies in the photo booth), and getting the crowd pumped up when it’s time to hit the dance floor.

12. Keep an Eye Out for The Groom

While it’s not required, if the best man wants to go above and beyond for his buddy, he can keep an eye out for the groom throughout the reception. We mean this in two ways: 1) Make sure the groom is well supplied with drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and that he takes some time to eat during the reception; 2) Handle situations that might distract the groom from enjoying the celebration, such as a groomsman or guest who overindulged at the bar.

13. Ensure a Stress-Free Send-Off

It’s customary for the groomsmen to make sure that the couple’s send-off is a breeze. Whichever of the below activities are assigned to the groom’s crew, the best man should coordinate with the groomsmen to make sure everything is completed as requested. Some send-off duties the groomsmen might be tasked with include:

  • Rounding up the wedding gifts and cards and transporting them to a secure place.
  • Decorating the car (or other mode of transportation) that the couple will use to leave the reception. Keep in mind: this may not be allowed if the couple hires a transportation company.
  • Driving the couple to their hotel (or the airport) after the wedding reception, if they didn’t book other transportation.
  • Readying the luggage for the couple, if they are planning to leave for the honeymoon directly after the reception.

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