Best Man

spam70September 4, 2006

A fried of mine asked me the other day if I'd be his best man. Of course I said yes ...

But as I'm living in Germany I have no clue about duties and responsabilities a best man has in the US (he's living in Texas and marrying a local). I don't know what will be expected from a best man and I would like to find out what a typical US-wedding party is like?

In Germany, we do some speeches, parlor games and some performances. Is it the same in the US? Or does a typical US-wedding consist of speeches and dancing only (like Hollywood makes us believe)?

I would very much welcome your perspective and feedback.

Regards from sunny Munich,


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At U.S. weddings there are no parlor games or performances. Your duties will include: 1. attending the rehearsal, usually held the day before the wedding
2. attending the rehearsal dinner, usually held immediately after the rehearsal
3. on the wedding day, you will need to arrive early to be in the wedding photos and assist the groom in whatever way he asks. You may be asked to help seat guests before the ceremony. When the ceremony begins, you will either walk in with the groom or walk in with the maid/matron of honor. You will exit at the end of the ceremony with the maid of honor. You will probably be asked to hold onto the bride's ring (in your pocket) until the minister or officiant asks for it during the ceremony.
4. At the reception you may be asked to give a toast. It doesn't have to be long. Any other activities that occur will be decided by the bride and groom. Many weddings have dancing, but not all. As you can see, your duties are pretty easy.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 10:45PM
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in America, the best man acts on the groom's behalf on the wedding day.

Since he's stuck in the receiving line after the ceremony, the best man is often asked to distribute envelopes w/ the groom's payments to the officiant, organist, anyone else the groom has prepared them for.

The best man often drives the groom wherever he's going; the bride will have info on that. Lots of times the best man drives the groom to the church, and the groom leaves the church in the limo. If there's no limo, the best man may end up as chauffeur for the day; again, the bride will probably make those plans; take your instructions from her.

The best man may need to work w/ the groom (and sometimes the bride) to plan how the couple will leave the reception. The bride may have arranged a car, or they may need a lift to their hotel, or back to the groom's home where his car is, etc.

The biggest thing you need to do is to plan to be around the groom all weekend, paying attention to him, and what he has to do, etc. So you can say, "here, I'll stick your coat in the other room for you" and he can go on kissing aunts and teasing cousins.

Or you can say, "you need some lunch--want me to get you a ham sandwich?" if he's distracted.

Or you say, "sure, I'll go find the minister for you--wait right here."

Basically, run his errands for him, because he's going to be really scattered, much in demand from other people, etc. Be a second set of hands (and maybe a second brain) for him whenever you can be. Don't let yourself get distracted by hanging out w/ the other friends of the groom, or indulging in a big food fest at the buffet (or drink fest at the bar).

I think the likelihood that you'll be asked to give a toast is VERY VERY high; don't do something jokey and embarrassing (as is apparently the custom in England; in America the best man's toast is expected to be affectionate and TASTEFUL!)

You may be asked to sign the marriage license; most states require at least one witness, sometimes two, to sign the license (the bride & groom sign, and the officiant signs). Ask the groom and bride whether they want you to do that.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 1:26PM
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here, the best man can often arrange the bachlor party. in our experince, that's a round of golf and a sporting event (ours was the pro baseball team)the guys did go via limo, clubbing after (no, NOT that kind, lol) and were driven to a friend's home to spend the night.

since you're flying from such a great distance, you might have the groom make arrangements...

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 11:14PM
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"Sometimes" the best man's most important duty is to get the groom to the church or designated place of the marriage in a reasonably sober condition!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 3:30PM
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