Brit Dopers! Help me be the best Best Man!

Two very dear English friends of mine are coming here to the US to get married this summer, and have asked me to be the ‘Best Man™’

From my short time of residence in England, I suspect that their traditions are a bit more involved (speeches and toasts and whatnot) than what we are accustomed to…

Help me out please! What do I need to know to make their wedding special…or at least not a totally Amuricanized disaster?

Any suggestions for the Matron of Honor? Mrs. Verona has been honored as well!

Any help will be greatly appreciated! By us and by those about to be hitched!

  1. Go rent Four Weddings and a Funeral Immediately.

  2. Watch said movie.

  3. Avoid doing anything Hugh Grant did in that movie (with the possible exception of sleeping with Andie McDowell if you can bed her).

  4. Impress your friends with your knowledge of British weddings.

Oh dear God – on no account should you bed Andie McDowell either. Ugh.

I doubt there’s any significant difference – the best man’s speech is still customary, as is the best man embarrassing himself/the groom/the bride/the bridesmaid the groom slept with after the bachelor’s party in the course of said speech. Try to maintain a littledignity, and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for the replies so far…since Mrs. Verona is likely to read this I will state… um…for the record…that I am not considering bedding Andie McDowell…(I am realtively certain that Ms. McDowell is not considering bedding me either…but big points for anyone offering evidence otherwise) although I will not presume to speak for the groom and who he might wish to bed.

What about the bachelor party? Is it the same as here…an evening of generally uncontrolled and never discussed in public debauchery? Or is it a more…dignified affair?

alternatively, try this site

useful check list, stag night procedure, hints on content of speeches, and even a few jokes

Quite apart from speeches, one of the duties of the Best Man on the day is to ensure that the bride and groom don’t have to deal with any mundane details - silly little things like (but not limited to) shepherding the folks into formation for the photographs,or retrieving their departure vehicle from the car park (for the big ‘off’) - the Best Man need not necessarily do these things himself, but he should make sure that all the details are taken care of.

Thanks for the help! I think that I have pretty much got a handle on the logistical side of things… I am most concerned about the toasts and speeches as that is not part of the wedding tradition in my family.

I guess if all else fails, I will just have to ensure that there is plenty of drink available. With enough drink, no one will remember whether I gave a bad speech or not…

Thanks everyone!

From my research at the time I was best man (for an American), British best man speeches seemed much more involved. Not just a toast, but an honest-to-God speech.

Ok - I’m planning my wedding at the mo’ and here’s what things I’m expecting my poor downtrodden Best Man to carry out.

1 - The Stag Night. Your job is two fold, make sure he has a good time, and get the poor sod home in one piece with a full complement of eyebrows, his hair the right colour, no unfortunate tattoos and so forth. It should indeed be an evening of debauchery and horror, but it’s incumbent upon you to make sure the groom survives unscathed.

2 - Car parking, arranging lifts, looking after elderly grannies, paying any out of pocket costs on behalf of the groom, returning hired garments after the party. You know the score already so I won’t go into details.

3 - The speech. Woo! SmackFu is quite correct - the best man does not just give a toast, you need to deliver a proper speech. In fact, it doesn’t normally include toasts at all - the general arrangement is that the Bride’s father toasts the bride & groom, then the groom responds, with a speech thanking his parents and the guests and ends with a toast to the bridesmaids and the rest of the bridal party. The Best man then responds to that toast, giving a five, ten minute speech wishing the couple the best of luck, perhaps sharing some anecdotes about how they met - then start embarrassing the groom :slight_smile:

Jokes are compulsory - the best man’s speech is expected to entertaining and lighthearted. On the other hand it isn’t a stand up comedy routine, you need to judge the tone correctly - nothing really risque - obviously if your friends met in a strip club (not that I’m suggesting they did :slight_smile: ) you don’t mention it.

There are some good tips here…
<A href="Toast Examples for Best Man Speeches - Confetti>Confetti</A>

Good luck!

Oops. Made a mess of that link. It should be here

Easy! He’s a ‘clean head’ and has no hair or eyebrows to speak of and comes complete with a full array of unfortunate tattoos.

This is what really has me worried. I am not much of a public speaker, and I want to do the tradition justice without losing my friends in the bargain! Thanks for the link…it looks like it will be helpful.

hey, do you know them???:eek:

In addition to being the funny speech-maker, the Best Man is also expected to help out a lot during the day - you’re essentially a valet/butler for the groom. Duties include paying various people (the groom should give you the money to do this!) such as the driver, organist, etc. and you should be around to help him get ready, and to organise the Ushers (aka Groomsmen in Ireland, anyway). I believe you should toast the bridesmaids in the speech.

I was a friend of mines best man last October, he wasnt a very dear friend, but i was his oldest friend. Don’t like to say it but I got the short straw. The wedding was fine but the speach was my stumbling block.

I have done public speaking at university and even done stand up comedey. But the thought of making people laugh just on the subject of my reallynot very funn friend was daunting to say the least.
had I known him better i could have managed, the speach was ok nothing amazing but I have never in all my days felt fer like it. Good look Mate.

Off to IMHO.