A groomsman or best man as he is sometimes called once related a funny story about one of his friends who was asked to be the best man but had a bit of the mischievous in him. This is how the story goes (taken from the Net)
‘during the wedding ceremony, when the minister/preacher/priest comes to the part about, “If anyone has any reason why these two people should not marry, speak up now or forever hold your peace…”, have this 4-to-6 year old boy running up the aisle yelling, “Daddy, daddy.” I understand from a friend who played this joke on a relative that it took almost an hour to get the wedding started again.’
We don’t think that’s the kind of best man you should pick out because some of them can be real buddies when it comes to playing tricks, but this is one time they should leave their propensity for tricks in the house!
Choosing a Best Man – Think ‘role’
it’s a decision that is almost as important as the decision to get married. At most weddings, the role of the best man is second only in importance to that of the bride and groom. Months before the wedding, you think that you had easily done your choosing, but when it comes to the actual six months before the wedding, the choosing can turn out to be harrowing affair after all.
The best man performs duties that can make or break a wedding. He is responsible for making sure the rings are safe and actually brought to the ceremony and not forgotten in the vault at home, organizing dozens of rehearsals, giving a speech, seeing to various administrative tasks, and providing toasts.
The duty that stands out, however, is that of providing moral support to the groom. Traditionally, the best man’s duty was to ensure that the groom didn’t change his mind and leave the church. Many best men have testified that they had to persuade the groom to stay put and keep him ‘shackled’ in church so when he gets cold feet and the realization suddenly dawns upon him that’
To give you an idea of some of the tried and tested rules for choosing a best man: apart from being somebody you know and trust well, it should also be someone you can count on who will have the time and the ability to meet commitments. Stay away from friends who are constantly busy, can’t stay off their cell phones and laptop, and who do a lot of last minute business travelling. They may be your closest allies in times of war or need, but if they’re not good wedding material, leave them to their own devices.
It is no surprise that the fear of public speaking is a common thread among people. The mere thought of standing before an audience and having to blurt out a few words is daunting task. A man who has the gift of gab and can come up with an appropriately humorous speech and deliver it impeccably is a real bonus. Sources are plentiful when it comes to getting ideas for humorous or anecdotal material to help write the perfect speech.
Appearances Count’ so Does Staying Sober
Keep in mind that the person you choose as your best man will be standing alongside you on the big day and sharing much of the attention, so you want to choose someone who is presentable and well-groomed. And a good choice is one who doesn’t have a love affair with the bottle. Best men are known to ‘live it up’ during the stag party and then oversleep on the big day.
Something to mull over: you should never choose a best man who may have had a previous romantic relationship with your bride! In fact, tradition has it that the best man should be a bachelor himself just in case the groom doesn’t show up and he has to hurriedly marry the bride himself.
Choosing a best man who is comfortable working with the bride as well as the groom is a good idea. While other people may offer their opinion on who would make a good best man, ultimately the decision should be the groom’s. Some wedding planning experts suggest that you should choose somebody that you will almost certainly still like and respect thirty years from now.
How Others Do It
Around the world, different cultures and religions expect different things from the best man. In Italy, the best man greets all the wedding guests with a tray of liqueurs and is expected to cut the groom’s tie into little pieces. In parts of the Midwest, the best man passes a hat around to collect money to ‘auction’ the garter instead of throwing it. And in Germany, the best man is expected to take the bride to a bar until the groom comes to rescue her and pays the bill!
If the duties of the best man seem arduous today spare a thought for what the best man of the past was expected to endure although there is some confusion over exactly where, when and how the practice came about.
During the first and second centuries, when men would literally kidnap their future bride from somebody’s family, the best man was a bodyguard for the groom. The groom would choose from among his strongest friends the ‘best’ man became the man chosen to be bodyguard and was on hand in case the bride’s family should violently object to the marriage.
In Scotland during Anglo-Saxon times, the best man was chosen for his strength and fighting skills, rather than for his organizational ability. The Goths in Germany had a similar tradition – the groom would seek out his most reliable and trusted friend to help with the task.
At first, the best man actually stood next to the bride during the ceremony, for much the same reasons in case the bride’s family should make a last minute attempt to rescue her. According to some sources, many ancient people had a veritable arsenal of clubs and spears hidden away somewhere in the church for just such a possibility!
Apart from the threat from the bride’s family, the best man himself also posed a threat. Apparently, too many best men became a little bit too fond of the bride, and their position was changed to where it is today at the groom’s side. The bride stands to the left of the groom so the groom could keep his right hand free for defense.
Best Man: Modern Version
At many weddings today, the best man is the groom’s brother, usually the one closest to him in age. If he doesn’t have a brother, his father, uncle, cousin or other male relative, or otherwise the groom’s best and closest male friend would be chosen as best man.
it’s also acceptable for a groom to have two best men, if he simply can’t decide among the people on the list. In this instance, duties would generally be divided up equally one man would be responsible for bringing the rings, the other one for speeches and toasts. Having two best men also offers the opportunity for presenting a humorous ‘double act’ speech.
But whether your best man is your lifelong friend, brother or sister, the importance of the role is still the same. The best man is the multitasker par excellence he serves as advisor, organizer, toastmaster, greeter, speechwriter, ring-keeper, morale support, confidant, best friend and if necessary, a gofer.