Your best friend is getting married. They’ve announced the engagement and maybe even the date. Everyone is happy for them. You’ve heard them talk about what they want to do. They might be thinking about doing it in their home town, or finding good destination wedding packages in Europe. Either sounds great to you.
One day, he calls you and asks, “I’d like you to be my best man when I get married.” And you say yes.
Now what do you do?
Serve as a personal assistant
You’re the groom’s personal assistant during the months leading up to The Day. Make sure you know their travel plans. Help put together the hotel block and other details for everyone coming. You can even suggest some wedding venues in Germany, France, Ireland or Italy for the couple if that’s their dream or listen to the groom if he needs someone to comment about his wedding vow.
Coordinate the groomsmen’s outfits
Help coordinate the groomsmen’s outfits for the ceremony. The bride will probably have some specific requests both for style and color. Even if you’re wearing tuxedos, you’ll need to know the collar style, colors for ties/cummerbunds (or vests), and the like. Coordinate a groomsmen’s fitting, if you can.
Coordinate everything with the groomsmen…
Coordinate everything with the other groomsmen. The groom himself probably shouldn’t have to deal with those details and should just focus on the fact that he will marry the love of his life. You’ll want to make sure that travel accommodations are set for everyone.
… and with the bridesmaids, too
You can even plan carpooling for most of the wedding party from the airport if not everyone will need to rent a car.
Set up the bachelor party
You’ll probably have some form of bachelor party for the groom before he gets married. Find out what and who he wants to come. Make all the arrangements—make sure all the attendees pay their fair share of the costs.
Be on top of directions
Make sure you know how to get from the hotel to the wedding site to the reception venue.
Be at the wedding rehearsal
Most folks don’t participate in many weddings. The rehearsal is important—most of you will be in an unfamiliar place. You’ll walk through the ceremony, whether it’s going to be a short plain one or a full nuptial Mass for the wedding or vow renewal.
Be at the rehearsal dinner
You’ll probably be able to relax some at this event, because at most weddings, you’ll be giving the toast at the reception. Do what’s asked of you, and help with any cards and gifts brought by guests to this event.
On the wedding day, help the groom pass the time until it is time
Where you are lodged will influence what you do. Even a simple walk in the park is relaxing. Just remember that it’s your job to get him to the wedding site on time and sober.
Make sure the groom is completely dressed before you leave the hotel
Straighten his tie. Carry his wallet and keys. Continue to be his valet until you stand in front of the family and friends. Take charge of the rings; they should be in a secure pocket.
Make sure everyone’s ready
Get to the wedding site early—45 minutes at least. You want to coordinate with the wedding planner and the site manager. Once everything’s set, take the groom and groomsmen into a back room. It’s ok, if you all want, to have a drink before—but keep it to one.
Coordinate the ringbearers and ushers
Make sure the ringbearers, if any, have the rings, and the rings are tied to the cushion. If the other groomsmen have been asked to serve as ushers, make sure they are in their places.
During the ceremony, do as you’re told
You’ll be standing by the groom. The officiant may have instructions for you, including where to sit (if there’s time for you to sit), and when to stand. At the end, you will probably walk the maid-of-honor out of the wedding site.
You are a witness
At some point, you, the maid-of-honor, and the couple will sign the marriage certificate as witnesses.
Work with the photographers to make the picture-taking as painless as possible
Pictures are necessary, some at the wedding site, and many at the reception. If the wedding site is the same as the reception venue, see if the caterers can provide the wedding party and family with some hors d’oeuvres and/or drinks—pictures will go faster.
At the reception, you’re kind of the host
You’ll need to do some work to make sure that everyone is taken care of. Help people find their tables. Be charming.
You will be expected to dance with the maid-of-honor, and possibly the other bride’s attendants. Enjoy the dancing!
You will have to toast your best friend and his bride. Do not try to wing it—that’s the quickest way to have stage fright. Be thinking about what you want to say in the months leading up to the wedding day. And practice.
Take charge of the gifts
Make sure to take charge of gifts, especially of envelopes. The couple may want you to deposit any checks—keep a record of who sent what. Coordinate with the families on other gifts—the parents may end up taking them home.
To Decorate or not to Decorate
Some people enjoy having their car decorated before they drive away; if you’re at a destination wedding, though, you’ll have a limo—or will be staying at the wedding/reception venue. Play this one by ear.
Coordinate with the groomsmen on outfit returns
It might be easier to collect them all the next morning and return the clothes in one trip.
You are there to support your best friend. Have fun and, especially if it’s a destination wedding in Italy, France or Germany… leave some time to explore and relax!