Meaning of “Best Man”

The best man is usually a friend or relative important to the groom. He’ll usually hold onto the wedding rings until the ceremony, and stands beside the groom while the vows are taken. But what else is the best man supposed to do?  Come to think of it, what makes him the “best” man?

In the days of yore…

Back in the days of the Vikings and Visigoths, wives were often a prize to be claimed against her family’s wishes.  So a man would take along his strongest and most trusted friend to help fight off any resistance.

But don’t worry – the role has evolved over time, so being the best man doesn’t mean you’re a get-away driver!

In later years, the best man would  stand guard as a sentry to protect both the bride and groom from anyone who wished to stop the wedding. He would sometimes continue this vigil outside the newlyweds home after the ceremony – although these days, that might get you arrested as a sex offender.

A lot of old wedding traditions have disappeared over time, or morphed into something else.  For example, originally wedding cakes were not there to be eaten – the cakes were thrown at the bride as part of a fertility ritual.  I bet you’re glad that one has faded, hey ladies?

Today’s Best Man

Being the Best Man can mean different things to different people. Generally speaking;

  • You’re responsible for organizing the bachelor party
  • You’ll walk with the groom down the aisle, and stand beside him during the ceremony
  • You’ll act as a legal witness and sign whatever documents may be required
  • You’ll deliver a speech & a toast at a reception held after the ceremony
  • Serve as chief assistant to the groom – he may ask you to handle certain tasks or make arrangements for things like hiring formalwear.