• Peter Roehrich

What's A Best Person To Do?


Picture of person in suit.
Picking a best person is common in weddings and a lovely honor to bestow.

In thinking of a wedding, we often imagine a man standing next to the groom. This, of course, would be the best man. But why have a best man, and what is he to do?


Tradition

Let's get this out of the way now: you don't have to have a best person, and if you do have a best person, there's no requirement that you select a man, regardless of your gender. I'm all about tailoring your ceremony to your personality, and if that means jettisoning tradition, well, I’ll help you throw it overboard. And a note on vocabulary: I will use the terms “best person” and “partner” to refer to the member of the wedding party and the member of the couple, respectively, because I believe they are gender neutral.


Why

Getting married requires a lot of planning and a ton of mental energy. The best person’s role is to take stress off the partner by taking care of some logistics. This lets the partner be more present for other planning activities, and present for their other half.


With this in mind, I see the most important role of the best person as being a trusted confidant, sounding board, and assistant to the partner. This means before the ceremony, and it also means during and after. Most importantly, selecting a best person is a way to honor an important relationship you have, and to signal the role they played, and will continue to play, in your relationship. Read on for what this looks like.


Planning

Your best person can help you with wedding planning.


In the run up to the ceremony you can lean on your best person to help you in selecting other wedding party members; your best person probably knows you and the people you're considering for your wedding party well, so it only makes sense to involve them.


Once your wedding party is formed, your best person can be the point person for arranging their activities. Usually the wedding party holds the partner’s party before the ceremony (if one is desired). Coordinating this and arranging details with the rest of the wedding party falls squarely in the best person’s wheelhouse.


Attire is another realm of the best person. As couples often choose to have their wedding party wear matching outfits or outfits that resonate with the event theme, and your best person is an ideal coordinator, communicating styles to the rest of the wedding party and even setting up fittings.


While you probably don't require your wedding party to give you a gift, they often do want to give something to each of the partners to commemorate the big day and their part in it. The best person is in the unique position of soliciting ideas from the wedding party members and being the one to purchase it.


Ceremony

The best person usually doesn't get too much time to rest on the wedding day. They are often instrumental in making sure details of the ceremony are attended to, even if you have a wedding planner.


The best person should be familiar with the timeline for the big day. In the hours before the ceremony the best person communicates details and instructions to the wedding party. They keep the group's preparations on time. I've seen best people do this very effectively, and it requires constant motion.


A best person can greet those very important guests as they arrive. Whether they escort closest family to their seats up front or stop by to welcome them once seated, it's a nice touch that brings warmth. They also can stand at the door with a few other members of the wedding party to extend an outstretched hand to guests as the enter.


The biggest role the best person has on the big day comes during the ceremony itself: holding the rings. Unless you're super confident that your ring bearer is going to reliably walk down the aisle, usually meaning they're on the older side, I suggest giving them “decoy rings”, entrusting your actual bands to your best person directly. At the appointed moment in the ceremony, I give the best person a prearranged signal to pass the rings to me so I can hold them while the couple exchanges them.


Reception

Once the best person’s logistical duties are complete, they have a few entertainment related tasks during the reception.


The best person often gives a toast. This can be anxiety provoking if the best person isn't used to public speaking, so the best person should practice it a few times before the actual event. Importantly, the best person should probably refrain from too many drinks prior to the toast, lest it turn into something, uh, awkward! A toast can be simple: a few words about how they know the couple and some well wishes.


Aside from the toast, the best person can help the couple and the guests have fun. Hitting the dance floor and making conversation with guests are all part of this.


Wrap Up

Selecting a best person is a great way to honor an important relationship on your wedding day. Do you plan to have a best person at your wedding? What duties do you think they'll perform?

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