Best Man timeline

The best man has a to-do list before, during and after the ceremony. Get the lowdown on what to do and when it needs doing…
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The buck’s party
For better or for worse, the groom’s stag party fate is in your hands. It falls on you to give him a send-off from singledom that he’ll never forget. It’s not necessary to stump up the moolah—invitees should pitch in or pay their own way—just to make it happen… and make sure he comes out the other side in one piece.

Pre-wedding planning
As things start to come together, consider yourself ‘on call’ to pitch in with any groom-related tasks, from choosing cummerbunds to sourcing DJs. Project manage the groomsmen, making sure they’re sartorially equipped, have somewhere to stay and aware of any jobs required of them. On the eve of the wedding, your presence will be required at the rehearsal dinner—a chance to get familiar with matrimonial procedure, as well as the rest of the wedding party.

The wedding day
It may be that you spend the day with the groom, brunching and hanging out as the ceremony approaches—chores like dry cleaning and shoe shining should have been dispensed with days ago. At any rate, you’ll want to be wherever he is—home, hotel—a good two to three hours before kick off to help him get his act together and dress. The groomsmen should also be present and accounted for. Make sure everyone is in the car and at the venue 20-30 minutes ahead of time. Oh, and for god’s sake, make sure you’ve got the ring.

At the ceremony
Stick with the groom and help greet guests as they arrive. Keep an eye on the main man lest he needs water, Nurofen or a nip of whiskey for his nerves. At the altar you’ll be his right hand man, poised beside him to produce the bride’s ring at just the right moment. Repeat: make sure you’ve got the ring… and that it’s easy to get extract from your pocket when required. Immediately afterwards, you’ll need to act as a witness, autograph the marriage certificate and often slip the celebrant their payment on behalf of the groom. Post-ceremony, the photographer will want to get snaps of the main players so hang around.

At the reception
By the time you arrive with the wedding party, the other guests will be ready to be seated while you all have a drink. When the crowd is settled, the party is presented to the room, takes their seat and dinner is served. Once main course is cleared, the MC will get the toasts rolling. Traditionally, best man speaks last but nothing is set in stone—that’s up to the couple. Along with the MC, you are in charge of the reception so the newlyweds don’t have to be. Over the course of the night you may be needed to deal with any behind-the-scenes drama (the cake’s been dropped!) or reign in guests who over do it on the champagne.

Post-reception
Yes, you will need to remain upright and coherent at the end of the night. It’s up to you to get the gifts and loot from the reception to the newlyweds (pre-arrange where and how, especially if they’re honeymooning immediately) and make sure the venue is cleared. You may be called on to drive the couple to their next destination (airport, hotel?)… or at least provide an alternative.

The day after
If suits have been hired for you or the groom, make sure they’re returned.

Photo by: Getty Images
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