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The Duties of the Best Man

We recently discussed, thanks to an interesting TikTok video, the duties of the maid (or matron) of honor and a bride’s bridesmaids. 

But it got us thinking. What about the men?

It’s no secret the groomsmen get to put in a little less work than the bridesmaids, but it doesn’t mean they’re off the hook completely. 

First, let’s look at the origin story of the best man and the groomsmen. Groomsmen essentially were needed when “marriage by capture” was still a part of wedding ceremonies. (We discussed this previously in the history of why a bride stands on the left and a groom on the right.) The best man was considered the “best fighter” or who the groom trusted enough to ensure the bride didn’t run away or any of her family try to protest the marriage and kidnap the bride back. (How romantic, right?) The groomsmen acted as bodyguards of sorts to not only help the best man, but in cases where the bride’s family gave a large dowry, they were there to protect the couple from robbers or “bad spirits.”

Luckily, the role of best man and groomsman today takes on a more touching description – as the best friends and family members of the groom. However, their role is not only to be a good friend. Emily Post – the authority on all etiquette – has shared a few official duties of the best man and groomsmen of the groom on and before his Big Day. 

Those include:

  • Rental or purchase of wedding attire
  • Transportation to and from the wedding location
  • A bachelor dinner, if given by the groom’s attendants
  • A contribution to a gift from all the groomsmen to the groom
  • An individual gift or a group gift from the attendants to the couple (if being in the wedding is not the gift)

The breakdown of the rules did not include any extended thoughts on a full bachelor party, but we’re taking “a bachelor dinner” as something that could also be a part of the bachelor party and events.

Not all wedding traditions have survived intact to modern day but having your best friends and family members standing beside you – with no threat of kidnapping or robbing – is one we hope continues for years to come.

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