Best Man Checklist
There’s a lot to think about as Best Man and if you’re going to do it properly you need to do a bit of planning and a bit of graft if you’re going to make a success of it. Here we outline the things you need to think about from the time of being asked right through to the day it itself in our comprehensive Best Man Checklist
6 – 12 months out
The engagement party
- It may seem a bit early at this stage but there’s some groundwork to be done and an engagement party is the perfect place to do it as a number of the wedding party will be there.
- You’ll probably know a lot of people there already but maybe not all. In either case, there are probably three groups of people you should look to talk to:
- The groomsmen/ ushers – these lads are likely to be a great source of material for the best man speech so good to get them thinking early doors about stories involving the groom.
- Also, depending on the clothing arrangements you may also have to co-ordinate suits – you don’t want the wedding photos to end up like a band shot for ACDCs Christmas calendar!
- The chief bridesmaid – you’re opposite number. If you don’t know her already now’s a good time to get her contact details. She could help with some of the stag do and who knows if your both single – it doesn’t harm to do some early ground work!
- The parents – time to validate the decision that you’re the best man! Be respectful, charming and polite. They want to see that your trustworthy to take care of business on the day.
6 – 9 months out
- Check with the groom if he’s planning to hire morning suits.
- If he is you’ll need to go for a fitting and will therefore need to allocate some time to try stuff on.
- If not you should look to get in touch with the other guys so you can co-ordinate your attire.
- You should look to have similar coloured suits, shoes and belts and ideally buy the same styled tie– here’s some gooduns.
- Remember you should not try and upstage the groom as he’s the main man on the big day so bright colours or ‘comedy ties’ are a strict no no.
- If you’re looking to buy some clobber specifically for the occasion then check out our style section.
6 months out
The Stag Do
- Oh yes! Such is the importance of this momentous occasion we have dedicated an entire section to the cause. But for the purposes of the checklist here’s some things you’ll need to do:
- Decide if it’s a day or weekend and get an understanding of peoples’ budgets.
- Draw up a list of names for the invite and gather email addresses.
- Determine the location – no easy task so see our Stag Destinations section for some suggestions
- Those involved need to know how much it is likely to cost and if they need time off work so email your suggested itinerary including travel times, accommodation and any activites to all those concerned before booking so they know what they’re signing up to.
- If you’re going to get any Stag Do Costumesyou’ll need to do so in advance here’s some places you can get it.
- See our Best Man Speech section for extensive advice on writing and delivering a speech but a few pointers for now:
- Decide if you want to write it or not! If not there are people who can do it for you!
- If you’re writing yourself email the grooms mates, bride to be and family for material
- If you’re a joint best man you should arrange at least two rendez vous’s, one to plan it and work out roles and responsibilities and the other to run through the material.
- Note: it takes longer to write if there’s two of you as you need to meet up discuss and both be happy with the end result. Our suggestion is to allow at least three meetings to get it right.
1 Month Out
Things you may need to buy
- Cigars – if this isn’t an occasion worthy of a cigar I don’t know what it is. Here’s some places you can get some good deals.
- Although not tradition it is becoming increasingly common for the best man to buy the groom a gift, this may be x, y or z – here’s some ideas
- The pub is a common place to go for one last drink before the time comes but if the opportunity doesn’t present itself you may want to consider a hip flask so you and the groom can share one last drink together before he ties the knot – you can buy them here.
- Decorations for the car you can buy some here
- Confetti to hand out to the kids – will get you brownie points with the parents
The day before
- Check if there are any events that is likely to increase traffic, cause diversions or generally cause any hold ups e.g. a football matches, festivals etc and factor in to timings for tomorrow
- Go to a travel update and local news station website on the morning to see what the score is
- Charge your phone
- Drop a text or call the groom to reassure him you’ve got everything under control
- Remind the groom to bring money for the church fees if there are any and of course the rings!
- Print out taxi numbers so you can hand out to guests if necessary
On the day!
- Meet the groom at least a couple of hours before you need to leave for the venue – he needs some moral support.
- If he’s going straight on the honeymoon check he’s got tickets and passports luggage in the right vehicle.
- Collect the buttonholes for the groom, the ushers and yourself
- Check in with the family’s to check if there any messages that you need to pass on
- You should be looking to arrive at least 30 minutes before the ceremony is due to begin.
Before you leave you need to ensure:
- you have the rings(s), cigars, hip flask
- money for the church fees
- you call to the bridal party telling them you are leaving
- details of any seating arrangements
- Check you have some confetti if the venue allows it.
- Check the Order of Service sheets have been brought to the venue
- Make sure your ushers are wearing their buttonholes.
- Organise ushers one on each side of the entrance to hand out Order of Service sheets.
- 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.
- Remind the ushers of any special seating arrangements at the ceremony and pass it on to the ushers
If it’s a Church Service you will need to:
- Pay the church fees
- Take your seat with the groom on the front right-hand pew while waiting for the bride.
- Hand over the ring(s) at the right time during the ceremony — your big moment.
- 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.
- Turn your phone off!
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 father of the bride 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
- Make sure that all the guests have directions and transportation to the reception
- Some spare maps also don’t go a miss
Your reception role
- Familarise yourself with the seating plan and who’s on what table so you can help people find their places
- Collect any messages from the bride’s father
- Check to see if any messages have been delivered directly to the reception venue.
- Join the receiving line, if asked
- 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.
- Once the speeches are over, you can breathe a sigh of relief and announce the cutting of the cake.
The evening bash
- Get dancing
- It’s tradition to dance with the maid of honourfirst, joining the bride and groom mid-way through their first dance.
- If cameras have been put out on the guests’ tables, for example, ensure they are used throughout the reception and collect them at the end.
- 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
- Check taxis
- check the bill and ensure any outstanding payments are settled at the end of the night.
- 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.