If that’s really the best man, how come you’re not marrying him?

No matter how non-traditional you’re planning for your ceremony to be, it’s almost a given that you’ll be choosing a ‘best man’ to stand with you on your wedding day. And it’s one of the traditions I’m most in favour of keeping alive. As you stand at the end of the aisle, waiting to snatch your first glimpse of your bride, he’s the guy cracking jokes to break the tension, passing you a hanky, or a breath mint, keeping you calm and composed. Every groom needs a good best man.

It’s important that do have the BEST best man – the obvious choice might be the bride’s brother, or the bloke you’ve been friends with since primary school. But your decision should be based on more than mere expectation, long-standing friendship, or even a sense of family duty.

It’s usually the best man who organises the stag party, so you need someone you can trust to bring you home again in one piece. He’ll be making a high-profile speech at the wedding, so you need someone who you know won’t humiliate you in front of your friends and family. Never underestimate the potential cringe factor of inappropriate comments or drunken practical jokes, for you or your guests. Depending on how much you follow tradition, your best man will be in charge of a number of small but important details –  from making sure you arrive at the ceremony relaxed, prepared, and on time to bringing the rings safely to the ceremony, taking care of the marriage licence, and even delivering payments on your behalf to any vendors who wish to be paid on the day. He has a lot to live up to in terms of the guests’ expectations of him, which puts him under a fair amount of pressure, and by default, if he’s not up to the task, it puts you under that pressure too. Seen from this angle, your kid brother, or your hilarious drinking mate from uni might not be the obvious choice for this role.

You’re ideally looking for someone who is trustworthy and reliable, organised, who can provide a calming influence if you’re getting wound up. If possible, choose a best man who knows some of the VIP guests, and has the social nous to help make your guests feel welcome. Most importantly, make sure your fiance at least gets along with him – it will make things easier in the long run. If you happen to have a good relationship with your Dad or Grandfather, it would be incredibly appropriate, and quite an honour, to ask them to take on the role your best man – a best man who knows you really well, and is guaranteed to be looking out for your best interests.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Best Man App
    Mar 23, 2010 @ 17:07:41

    When selecting a Best Man it is worth noting that family is forever whereas friendships no matter how strong can often fade away with time, so perhaps consider give the job to your brother, if you have one.


    • weddingwhisperer
      Apr 15, 2010 @ 00:48:54

      Good point, Dave!
      I guess that’s similar to the way that godparents often slip out of people’s lives, such that the children wouldn’t be able to pick them from a line up – even though they had, at the time, [apparently] the closest friendship with the parents!


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