This blog post is the second instalment of Surrey Wedding Planner Grant Morgan’s Best Man’s Guide.
On the day and during the wedding
So, the morning of the wedding is finally here, the groom’s hands are too unsteady to fasten his cufflinks or knot his tie. No matter! The best man has set the alarm in good time and will have already accompanied the groom to breakfast. The best man, checking his watch, knows there is plenty of time to spare and aids his friend with his cufflinks and tie.
This is, at least, what should happen.
Making the morning of wedding as stress-free as possible will have a positive knock-on effect throughout the rest of the day. Ideally, the best man should aim to have the groom at the ceremony venue a minimum of 45 minutes before the ceremony starts.
Once at the venue the best man should introduce himself to the official conducting the ceremony and then make his way to the front of the church to welcome guests.
Surrey Wedding Planner Top Tip: the best man should also ensure that the ushers arrive in good time. This will give the best man a final chance to run over duties expected of the ushers.
Once the general duties have been taken care of i.e. orders of ceremony circulated, guests seated correctly, the best man will have a few simple tasks to perform whilst at the ceremony venue:
- to hand over the rings at the appropriate time
- be present at the signing of the register
- accompanying the chief bridesmaid down the aisle after the ceremony
- rallying the bridge and groom outside the church (who, at this stage will be swamped by well-wishers) for the official photograph(s)
- showing the wedding party to their correct vehicles for departure to the reception venue
- settling any outstanding payments due to suppliers for services rendered at the ceremony
Once at the reception venue, the guests will normally enjoy a drinks reception lasting approximately two hours. During this time the temptation will be to join in the Pimms or champagne being handed out by the waiting staff however, it would be foolhardy to do so with several key tasks yet to be undertaken and the speech, as yet, undelivered.
Instead the best man, with the help of the ushers, should use this time to:
- mingle amongst the guests, quietly making sure everyone has a beverage and canapé and is generally comfortable (e.g. fetching chairs for the elderly or providing cover if it is a particularly hot day)
- liaising with the chief bridesmaid to make sure everything is going to plan. If for any reason it is not, it’s prudent, where possible, to discretely remedy the issue without the bride or groom knowing
- gathering family and friends for the group shots. A good idea is to assign one usher to the official photographer to help make the process of the group shots as smooth and time-efficient as possible. Pick the usher that is most familiar with the families and friends.
NB. in the absence of a toastmaster, the duty of calling the guests to the wedding breakfast and announcing the bridge and groom may fall to the best man.
I am going to touch on the speech in this blog post however a more in-depth look at this will be the subject of a later post.
One of the more disappointing trends to have developed over recent years is the habit of Best Men ‘lifting’ material and gags from the internet. Don’t do it!
It’s impersonal, lots of other people are doing it which means lots of other people will have heard it, the material is often irrelevant but squeezed in anyway. Unless you are an accomplished actor you will not be able to deliver another author’s material as genuinely as your own.
Keep the speech to no more than 7 minutes.
The speech is out of the way and the reception party is in full swing. There now remains only a few extra duties to carry out before the day is done.
The situation varies from couple to couple but traditionally, the best man would organise the particulars necessary for the honeymoon into the get-away car. These would include the luggage, tickets, passport etc. Another duty is to settle any outstanding payments due to the venue and suppliers.
The best man should also be on hand to arrange taxis for guests and see that everyone leaves the reception venue safely.
And that’s all there is to it!
Possibly the most important role that a best man can provide before and during the wedding is that of support. A wing-man. Not noticeable but ever-present and ready to help.
Once the constituent parts are broken down into manageable chucks, it’s not as daunting as it first seems. As you successfully take each step, confidence will grow and you may even enjoy yourself before your speech is finished!
Picture of speech shot at the beautiful Botleys Mansion
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Best Man’s Guide by Surrey Wedding Planner Grant Morgan.