Being the Best Man For Dummies®


by Dominic Bliss




About the Author

Dominic Bliss is former editor of the men’s wedding magazine Stag & Groom. He has been a journalist since the early 1990s and currently works as a freelance writer for various men’s interest and sports magazines. Married himself in 2003, he’s at that stage in his life where many summer Saturdays are spent attending friends’ weddings. The tally of nuptials was up to 32 at the last count.


Author Acknowledgements

Thanks to Nick Hutchings for providing crucial contacts and advice. To Alison Yates and Simon Bell at Wiley for constant support and reminding me that not all stag parties should result in near-death experiences for the groom. And to my wife Sally, without whom my knowledge of weddings would be severely limited. If you hadn’t said, ‘I do’, this book would never have been written.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at .

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Simon Bell

Commissioning Editor: Alison Yates

Copy Editor: Colette Holden

Executive Editor: Jason Dunne

Executive Project Editor: Martin Tribe

Cover Photo: Corbis/Jutta Klee

Cartoons: Ed McLachlan


Project Coordinator: Jennifer Theriot

Layout and Graphics: Andrea Dahl, Denny Hager, Stephanie D. Jumper

Proofreaders: Laura Albert, Brian H. Walls

Indexer: Techbooks

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/ General User

Composition Services

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services



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, there was 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.

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 early 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:

bullet 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.

bullet 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.

bullet 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: Initial Duties and the Stag Party

Here you’ll learn 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 pre-nuptial 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’ll need to tame that beast, so that 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.


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.


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 Post-it notes.


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

Initial Duties and the Stag Party

In this part . . .

This is where you get the basics on being the very best best man you can be.

Here you’ll find out about all the personal and organisational skills you’re going to need in the months before the wedding: How to deal with everyone who is looking to you to be cool and orgainsed under pressure. 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 to his bachelor days he’ll never forget.