You’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. You can tell he’s nervous as he licks his lips and looks you deep in the eyes. His hand gently takes yours as he gently stammers those fateful words.
“Will you be my best man?”
You have to say yes. Hopefully the guy asking you is a childhood
friend, you’ve grown up together and you know him inside out. However,
he might just be Dave from the office, who has no friends other than the ones
he pays online to take off their bra, and who has finally saved up
enough to import his wife-to-be from somewhere you can’t even pronounce.
Fuck it. You’ve been asked and so you must comply.
The Good News
Nowadays, being a best man is not as difficult as it used to be. Back
in the day, a best man was practically meant to organise the whole
bloody shindig. Nowadays, with the increasingly frequent use of wedding
planners and the autonomy of bride and groom, most of the stuff is
actually taken care of. Also, the best man traditionally used to have to
marry the bride if the groom didn’t turn up. On account of either too
many best men locking their grooms up on the big day, or chickening out
because of this, this appears to no longer be fashionable. So you’re
pretty much off the hook, but there are a few things you should take
The Bad News
You will have some predetermined tasks. Being a best man
basically means that you’re not going to enjoy the wedding as much as if
you were a simple guest. Once you’ve come to terms with that, all you
need to do is figure out what needs to be done. And do it well. You
don’t want to be remembered as the worst man.
Before the wedding
Your biggest task is arguably also your most rewarding. You have to
throw your buddy (or Dave from the office) an epic stag do. This is
where things have become more complex. In the days of our forefathers, a
bachelor’s party involved getting pissed at a bar in Mgarr, then
driving the groom-to-be down to his fiancée’s parents’ house, stripping
him naked and leaving him tied up on their doorstep wearing nothing but
20 rotten eggs and a bag of flour. The 21st century brings with it some more finesse.
Many best men are planning stag dos abroad, for a variety of reasons.
One is that it is an excellent opportunity to have a fantastic boys’
trip, where memories can be made and friendships can be strengthened. A
more shady reason is that the traditional omerta’ can be better
kept if stuff happens far far away from home. For whatever reason, a
trip abroad is always a good idea, since it also opens up opportunities
for varied activities. Canoeing, abseiling, shooting AK-47s,
quad-biking…these are all possibilities you might want to explore.
If you decide to stay local, you probably want to organise an activity anyway since “insiru demel”
is not exactly an original or exciting plan. Clay pigeon shooting is
always fun, as is paintball, go-karting or archery. But don’t forget the
booze. Whilst fun can certainly be had without alcohol, a stag do is an
opportunity to let loose and chill out with your male buddies, so a few Cisks are in order. It goes without saying that personal transport is frowned upon, so organise a van or two to ferry people around.
A word of advice. Always be in tune with your groom’s wishes. If he plays bass in a punk rock band and has always been the one you took home in a moist mess after a night out, it’s unlikely that he’ll enjoy a countryside hike, followed by a five-course meal at The Arches. Conversely, if he’s marrying his first girlfriend who he met at a Youth Fellowship meeting, an ecstasy-fuelled tour of Paceville’s strip clubs may not be his cup of tea. There’s nothing worse than having a groom walk out of his own bachelor’s party, so make sure you know what he’s into before planning it. If in doubt, ask.
Other than that, before the wedding, you’re pretty much sorted. Go
and get measured for your suit, buy a decent present (splash out a bit,
cheapskate, he chose you to be his best man!) and sort out your and his transport to the wedding and you’re fine.
The Wedding Day
You might consider meeting him (and perhaps the rest of the
groomsmen) a bit before the ceremony. Having a few drinks together
before might help steel his nerves, but don’t get him drunk. The
missus will not enjoy that, and neither will he the next day. As the
best man, you’re in charge of the rings, so keep those bands safe and
handy. Stand next to him as he watches his bride glide up the aisle and
smile at appropriate times. Sort stuff out as it crops up: move chairs
around, mop up the flower girl’s vomit, resuscitate his great aunt if
she has a heart attack. You’re the Winston Wolf of the wedding. If
there’s a problem, fix it.
At the reception, whatever you do, don’t expect to enjoy yourself. You probably will anyway, but that’s not your priority. Your job is to be available for guests to hand over gifts, bring chairs for nanniet and order taxis for inebriated great aunts. Make sure you don’t lose the gifts, keep them safe in a locked suitcase, which you must make sure makes its way to the newlyweds when they leave.
The best man’s speech has become increasingly popular nowadays. Don’t ad
lib it unless you’re a seasoned public speaker, perhaps not even then.
Keep it short. Nobody will fault you for not spending ages yapping on
about the “hilarious” episode when he was sent home from duttrina for shitting himself. Don’t mention his previous shags, don’t mention the strippers he groped during the stag do, don’t ever
insult the bride. Remember that your audience may include his
grandparents, the bride’s parents, and some underage cousins. Keep it
cleanish and subtle. Consider doing something different, like a poem,
song, dance, video or something like that, but only if you’re convinced
you can pull it off. If you’re more of a shrinking violet type, then
stick to simple stuff. Rehearse.
Make sure there are confetti for the cake-cutting and for the “going away”. And when it gets to the time of night when it seems like the couple should leave, gently let them know. If you’ve been doing your job and keeping them stocked up with drinks, they’ll probably be a bit tipsy and enjoying themselves a lot, so they might not notice that there are 6 policemen demanding that the music is switched off and only 4 people left in the venue. Do mess up the going away vehicle; whipped cream penis shapes on the windscreen and condoms on the wipers are a sure win. But don’t cause any damage, that’s just not nice.
After the Wedding
Make sure the suits are returned and chill…your job is done!
Just keep in mind, much like a marriage, the relationship between a
groom and his best man is not just about his wedding day. You are a
shoulder to lean on, a listening ear and a sounding board for thoughts.
When things go well for your mate and his spouse, you’re there to cheer
them on. If things go tits up, you’re there to support. Remember, you
were chosen as a best man because you were already a best friend. Be
mindful of that, and you’ll be fine.