Being the Best Man For Dummies®, 2nd Edition

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Table of Contents


About This Book

What You’re Not to Read

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Part I: Getting Started with Being the Best Man

Part II: Wedding Preparations and the Big Day

Part III: The Speech

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I: Getting Started with Being the Best Man

Chapter 1: Best Man Basics

I’m the Best Man! What Am I Supposed to Do?

Important Advice to Heed

Acting as the middle man

Keeping in with the in-laws

Shining at the engagement party

Being the best, best man a man can get

Chapter 2: Stag Do’s and Stag Don’ts

Guest List Only

Clique is weak

Show me the money

Nearest and dearest

Home or Away?

Choosing the Organiser

Do it yourself

Let the pros take over

Getting Out and About

From paintballing to parachuting

The Sporting Life

On the sidelines

Evening Entertainment

Casinos: Betting you’ll have a good time

Nightclubs: Opting for a night on the tiles

Adult clubs: Stripping down to the basics

Pubs and bars: Drinking the night away

Sorting Out the Details

Organising the finances

Warming up the proceedings

Clothing the stag

Chapter 3: The Stag Party

Warming Up the Stags

No Sleep ’Til . . .

Getting ’em in

Carrying on after hours

Setting Him Up

Getting the Stag Home

Dealing with Emergencies

Putting the Party on Record

Taking photographic evidence

Getting the stag online

Part II: Wedding Preparations and the Big Day

Chapter 4: The Build-Up to the Big Day

Getting Him to the Church on Time

Preparing Your Wedding Wardrobe

Choosing your garb

Wearing your kit correctly

Ushering the Ushers

Rehearsing the Wedding Ceremony

Understanding the ceremony

Playing the part

Yes, minister

May all your problems be little ones

Organising the Groom’s Last Night

The last supper

The last-minute details

The final checklist

Chapter 5: The Morning of the Wedding

Rise and Shine

Cool as a Cucumber

Cross-Town Traffic

The groom’s wheels

The wedding car

Band of Brothers: Organising the Ushers

Dutch Courage: The Groom’s Last Drink as a Free Man

Chapter 6: The Actual Ceremony

Your Job’s Easy

Pew ! What a Lot of People: Seating the Guests

Altar-gether Now

Here comes the bride

Surviving the service

Lord of the Ring

Postnuptial Duties

Registering your approval

Marching orders

Saying ‘Cheese!’

Chapter 7: The Wedding Reception

The Reception

Guest Appearances

For What We Are About to Receive

Master of All He Surveys

Being the host with the most

Take your partner by the hand

Seeing Off the Newly-weds

Part III: The Speech

Chapter 8: Writing the Speech

Structuring Your Speech

Putting Pen to Paper

Does length matter?

Going to press

Kicking Off on a Good Note

Including the Essentials

Acknowledging the other speakers

Replying on behalf of the bridesmaids

Congratulating the happy couple

Complimenting the gorgeous bride

Dishing the Dirt on the Groom

Character traits

Anecdotes and ideas

Don’t mention the war: Subjects to avoid

Safe targets

Absent Without Leave

Quote Me on That

Some great quotes

Poetry in motion

Raise your glasses

Chapter 9: Delivering and Presenting Your Speech

Practise Makes Perfect

You’ve been framed

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Some friendly advice

Any time, any place, anywhere

Fret Not

Delivering the Goods

Making a stand

Getting your audience on side

Keeping it slow

Throwing your voice

Taking the mic

Making your moves

Making notes

Toning up your speaking skills

Preparing props

Involving the audience

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Chapter 10: Ten Great Ideas for the Stag Do

Tee Time

Fuelling Your Imagination

Monopoly Board Pub Crawl

Argy Bargey: Hiring a Barge

War! What Is It Good for?

The Sky’s the Limit: Sky Diving

The Big Blue

Viva Las Vegas

The Beautiful Game

Getting Festive

Chapter 11: Ten Best Stag Do Destinations

London, United Kingdom

Newquay, United Kingdom

Brighton, United Kingdom

Nottingham, United Kingdom

Barcelona, Spain

Tallinn, Estonia

Berlin, Germany

Amsterdam, Holland

Prague, Czech Republic

Dublin, Irish Republic

Chapter 12: Ten Wedding Nightmare Scenarios

Stag Do Injuries

Lose the Ring

No-Show Bride, No-Show Groom

Ceremony Interruption

Wedding Fight

Speech Embarrassments

Drunken Guests

Dodgy Weather

Family Feuding

Avoiding Temptation

Chapter 13: Ten Great Budget Stag Tips

Life’s a Beach

Master Chef

Raise You!

A Rambling We Will Go

X Marks the Spot

Out of Your League

Pub Olympics

Posh Picnic

Better than Hitch-Hiking

Your Name Is on the List

Chapter 14: Ten Great Drinking Games

The Cocktail from Hell

Dice Men

Beer Hunter



Match the Match

Pub Golf

Off-Ground Groom

Booze Relay

Card Sharp

Appendix: Surfing the Best Man Web

Stag do organisers

Stag do venues and events

Stag do accessories

Online photo and video galleries

Limousine hire

Get your kit on

Speech ideas

Sources of quotations

Sources of jokes

Cheat Sheet

Title page image


In a previous existence, I was launch editor and feature writer for a men’s wedding magazine called Stag & Groom. Among the articles we published, we had loads of no-nonsense advice on stag parties, speech content and wedding suits. Inevitably, whenever friends or colleagues got engaged or appointed best man, the first person they would call for advice was me. Every springtime, just as the wedding season was starting to hot up, I used to get at least a couple such calls a week, and the two topics they would be panicking about most were the stag party and the speech.

Those are the two topics I’ve allocated the most space to in this book. There are loads of other duties a best man needs to consider – and they’re all covered in detail as well – but the stag do and the speech are the most important. They are the bench marks on which all best men are ultimately judged. Wear the wrong wedding suit, and you’ll be forgiven. Forget to don your button-hole or do up your flies, and the chances are no one will notice except the bride. But mess up the stag do or the speech, and you’ll be remembered for all time as the best man who got it wrong.

This book will make sure you get them right.

About This Book

I can safely say I’ve been to more weddings in my life than I’ve had birthdays. Over the last few years, in particular, as I’ve waved reluctantly goodbye to my 30s, I’ve found myself dusting down my morning suit all too regularly.

As a result, I’ve sat through more best man’s speeches than I care to remember. Some have been witty, some have been dull, some have been cheesy and some have been hilarious. One thing a lot of them have shared, though, is an opening line that goes a bit like this: ‘Being appointed best man is a bit like being asked to make love to the Queen. It’s an honour, but it’s something you’d really rather not do!’

Now therein lies the problem. Being best man really is an honour. But, when it comes down to it, it’s an honour that nearly all of us would rather not have. That’s where this book comes in. Throughout I’ve tried to beef up the honour bit and play down the scary stuff. I’ve boiled down the many best man’s duties to their basics, stripped away the complicated, confusing bits and revealed them for what they really are – simple, practical duties that are easy to fulfil.

What You’re Not to Read

As you dip in and out of this book (it’s not written to be read in one sitting), you’ll notice quite a few tips, warnings and things to remember. If you like, you can get away without reading a single one of them. It won’t actually make you any less a best best man.

What I advise, however, is that you occasionally flick through the book and home in on those sections. They offer little nuggets of advice that will sit at the back of your mind and put you in good stead as you embark on your duties.

The blocked out sidebars are similar. Although they’re not critical to the text or to your understanding of your duties, they provide interesting little asides.

Foolish Assumptions

Forgive me, but to make things a lot easier I’ve made a few assumptions about you, the reader. I’m assuming that you

check.png Are male. Granted, nowadays you do very occasionally get female best men. But few of them buy books advising them on their duties. If you’re the exception, then I’m sorry, but you’ll have to get used to all the male pronouns.

check.png Like a drink. Stag dos and weddings tend to be well lubricated. Grooms know this. Best men know this. And a groom is unlikely to appoint a best man who’s not willing to play along. Even just a little bit.

check.png Are going to be best man at a church or a registry office. In our multiracial society, people get married under many religions and beliefs, but to keep things simple, I’ve referred to Church of England or civil wedding conventions throughout.

How This Book Is Organized

The book is split up into four stand-alone parts. It’s entirely up to you which order you read them in. The first three parts cover the three main duties you’re involved in: the stag do, the wedding ceremony and the speech. The fourth part then includes all the listy stuff that will get you thinking about the finer details of your job.

Part I: Getting Started with Being the Best Man

Here you find out about all the diplomatic skills you’re going to need in the months before the wedding: how to deal with the bride, her family and, most importantly, your groom – the man who appointed you. Then you’ll be offered all the very best advice on how to organise and execute the stag do and give the groom a proper send-off he’ll never forget. Or never remember, as the case may be.

Part II: Wedding Preparations and the Big Day

Your prenuptial duties are a cinch compared to the bride and groom’s, but there are still lots of key things you mustn’t forget. Don’t worry – they’re all in here. As are all your duties on the morning of the wedding and during the actual ceremony and the reception afterwards.

Part III: The Speech

The best man’s speech can be a beast if you don’t approach it properly. This section has all the advice you need to tame that beast. By the time the reception comes round, it’ll be eating out of your hand. Hopefully, so will your audience.

Part IV: The Part of Tens

Do you need some instant ideas on where to go on the stag do? Or what activities to get everyone involved in? Look no further than The Part of Tens.

Icons Used in This Book

Stag parties and wedding days are all about planning ahead and then thinking on your feet when those plans go awry. Often, it’s simply a case of damage limitation. To help you with this, I’ve scattered lots of icons at key stages throughout the book.

Tip.eps Soon after being appointed best man, you’ll be glad of any advice offered to you. These little nuggets provide the most useful bits of advice.

remember.eps There are so many things to remember when you’re part of the wedding party. Add to this your duties as stag party organiser, and you can see why some best men crack under the pressure. These little icons serve as mini checklists or mental sticky notes.

warning_bomb.eps The entire marriage process is a diplomatic minefield. What with the bride, the groom, their parents, the vicar, the chief bridesmaid, the ushers and all the stags to keep happy, you’ll need some help to steer yourself clear of the mines.

Where to Go from Here

A best man’s duties can vary as much as different brides’ tastes in napkin colours. Some are required to organise everything from stag do to suits to speeches, right down to the finest details. Others get away pretty much scot free.

You know what your groom and his bride expect of you. And you will have certain key areas you are most worried about. If you’ve only got three weeks until the stag do, then jump straight in at Chapter 2. If you’re sweating over the speech already, then skip to Chapter 8. Or if you need a little overview of what your general duties are, then it’s Chapter 1 you need.

Part I

Getting Started with Being the Best Man


pt_webextra_bw.TIF Visit for great Dummies content online.

In this part . . .

check Know your key roles as best man.

check Gain all the personal and organisational skills you’re going to need in the months before the wedding.

check Discover how to be cool and organised under pressure.

check Organize and execute the stag do so that it’s one for the history books.

check Give the groom a proper send-off to his bachelor days he’ll never forget.