The Best Man
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The Best Man's Responsibilities

The role of the best man is pivotal in making the wedding day a success. Whether the occasion is formal or informal, there are arrangements to be made, rituals to be observed, courtesies to be extended, and the groom's hand to be held.

Checklist of Best Man's Responsibilities

Get immediate confirmation. Ask the groom what he expects of you, and do this as soon as he names you his best man. Write down what he says. Later you may be glad you did so. At the same time, you could agree `who does what' and line up all the other participants, including the bride's father and the ushers or groomsmen.

Agree terms. Tell the groom (and bride!) when they may contact you. As the day approaches, they will fret about arrangements and they may even have occasional doubts. Let them know if you can be contacted day or night, and set the boundaries in advance, otherwise irritations could occur. That is when you'll be glad you agreed who does what in advance.

Hire suit. If you are going to hire a formal suit, book it right away, or not later than a couple of months before the wedding. This is one thing you must not leave to chance. And while you are at it, book the groom's suit as well. Also the suit for the bride's father, the groom's father, and anyone else in the family party who will be a front-row participant. Book the suits from the same firm, to ensure a consistent look, and plan how the suits will be collected and returned. It may be a good idea to ask if the people concerned need to have a fitting beforehand, and to make the appropriate arrangements.

Stag party. If the groom wants a Stag party (or agrees to have one), you should be the one to arrange it. It should be an occasion when he and his mates have fun, and you may even embarrass him a little. But please don't do anything that will cause lasting regret, and make sure you arrange for him to get home safely afterwards. Remember, what you and the boys find hilarious may not have quite the same appeal to his bride in the cold light of day.

Rehearsal. If it's possible to have a rehearsal of the wedding ceremony, have one. The tension of the big day itself will cause someone to make a mistake and diminish the dignity of the occasion unless you all know what you should be doing, and where you should be standing. The best man must be included in all such preparations.

Catering. As best man you will have no direct responsibility for the catering. However, someone needs to ask certain questions, and that person might as well be you. For example, what will done for vegetarians? If pork is being served, will there be any Muslims present? Will there be some non-alcoholic beverages other than water, for drinking the toasts? One useful suggestion is to have coloured stickers placed on the backs of the chairs of vegetarians, so that the catering staff do not have to keep asking, 'Which one is the vegetarian?'

Transport. You will need to arrange transport for people to get to and from the church or registry office (especially for the elderly), and for the bride and groom to leave for their honeymoon. If you are hiring a car or cars, make sure you have the agreement in writing, and that the car hire company has, in writing, the schedule for the day. Check whether other key people will need transport on the day, remembering that they will be drinking and may not want to drive. Find out what parking arrangements exist for guests and plan to include them with the wedding invitations, preferably with a map.

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