Here's How to Be the Best Best Man

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So, your buddy's getting hitched. That's great! What's more, he's asked you to be his steward along the path between bachelorhood and matrimony. That's... a different story altogether.

At AskMen, we're all about making better men, but this is something else -- you have to be the best man. It's a big responsibility, but we're here to help. From bachelor parties to writing the perfect best man's speech to 11th-hour jitters, here are the dos and don'ts for doing your part to ensure that your friend's first wedding is his only one.

Don't: Be Afraid To Turn Down The Offer
Yes, it's typically an honor to be tapped for best man duties, but for a reason -- the position requires a great deal of commitment and responsibility. No, it's nothing compared to actually planning a wedding, but it's more than just booking a hotel room in Vegas and handing over a wedding band. If you aren't realistically prepared to hand over several hours and many hundreds of dollars (or more) to the cause, respectfully decline. You'll still be a part of the wedding, but agreeing to bite off more than you can chew could do more harm than good.

Do: Get A Head Start On Planning
If you're close enough to be his best man, chances are his engagement won't come as a surprise. Once he successfully pops the question, one of the first things the couple will do will be to approximate the date (since the bride's friends will harass her until she does). Once he anoints you best man and they come up with an idea of when it's going to happen, the gears should start turning. Unless it's a shotgun wedding, it's going to be too early to start making any hard plans. You should start thinking about when the wedding will take place, where everyone will have to come from for the bachelor party, and so on. Speaking of which...

Don't: Schedule The Bachelor Party Too Close To The Wedding
Once you have a date set in stone for the wedding, the temptation is to coordinate the bachelor party shortly before the wedding (particularly if the wedding is a "destination" wedding which, honestly, is grounds for ending the friendship). Do not do this. It's used as a movie plot device for a reason -- nothing good ever happens when the bachelor party is the day before the wedding. Give yourselves a solid month buffer between the debauchery and the nuptials.

Do: Consider The Groom When You're Planning The Party
For many men, the impulse when planning a bachelor party is to design some clichéd blowout extravaganza in Vegas. And, if that's how the groom rolls, fine, do that. But not every guy wants to celebrate his last days as a single man in titty bars and casinos, so it's important to consider your friend's character when planning activities. Nowadays, there are all sorts of things you can do for a guys' outing -- paintball, wine/beer/spirits tours, camping, backpacking, and so on. It's ultimately going to be about the groom and his closest friends hanging out together, and you can do that almost anywhere.

Don't: Forget The Other People In The Wedding Party
When you're planning the bachelor outing, don't forget that it's not just you and the groom, but the rest of the wedding party and whoever else he invites as well. That means that even though you and the groom might be able to afford, I dunno, skydiving followed by a wine tour through Napa, that doesn't mean everyone else can. You don't necessarily have to put everything up to a vote, but try to give the other guests options when you're planning the itinerary. Their choices ought to give you a hint as to what they can handle. If half the people aren't able to participate because of time, money or distance, the groom won't have much fun at his own bachelor party.

Do: Take Care Of The Groom
Though nowadays costs have become so prohibitive that it's unreasonable to expect the groom to have his entire bachelor party funded by others, that doesn't mean you shouldn't make a concerted effort to make him feel special and taken care of. Buy him his first drink at each bar you visit. Let him have his choice of bed or room at the hotel. If you're renting a lady of the night for the group, let the groom have first dibs. You know, that sort of thing.

Don't: Abandon Him After The Bachelor Party
Though the bachelor party is the largest responsibility a best man can have, things don't end there. You can more or less sit pretty between now and the wedding, but you have a few things to tend to. Once he's chosen whatever godawful thing the groomsmen will be wearing, take charge of making sure everyone gets fitted beforehand and returns the suits afterward. At the rehearsal dinner, keep him out of trouble -- with the end in sight, he might take it as an excuse to get totally blotto. That's not ideal, for obvious reasons.

Do: Coach Him Through The Wedding
Once the big day arrives, you're almost at the finish line. Given how much prep work the ladies will be doing the day of, you'll have a ton of free time on your hands. Don't let him sit there and stew in his own nervousness. Get him out of the hotel. Take him golfing, take him to lunch, whatever -- just keep him busy so he's not sitting there idly. "Cold feet" are more of a movie trope than they are a reality, but it's normal for him to be anxious about the monumental change that's about to happen. Have an encouraging word ready, pat him on the back, and don't let him dwell on it. Things will be such a blur to him that he won't even remember it anyway.

Don't: Lose The Ring
Duh. Who are you, Gollum?

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