Groomsmen not only accompany the bride and groom on the wedding day, but ideally for the rest of their lives. That is why newly engaged people often take a long time to think about whom to choose for this important task. Most of them choose someone who is very close to you and whom they trust completely, for example their best friend. Sometimes close family members are also entrusted with this task.
In any case, it is a special honor when the bride and groom ask you if you want to become their best man or maid of honor. But sometimes the joy of having been selected is followed by sheer panic: “What does a best man actually do? Or what do you have to do, what can you do at all? ”We have put together some interesting facts about the how-what-when-and-why of this wonderful tradition.
Groomsmen and bridesmaids - traditions with commitment
Groomsmen and bridesmaids have a lot in common, but they differ in one essential thing. Both take full care of the bride's well-being, but only the maid of honor signs the marriage certificate. Of course, this also applies to male groomsmen. From a purely legal point of view, the function of the maid of honor is very official, but the emotional and practical support of the bride and groom is always in the foreground. This is why it is so important to choose a close reference person for this role.
Origin of the tradition "bridesmaids"
The bridesmaid tradition is very old. Originally, at the wedding, unmarried girls who look similar to the bride should go ahead of the couple in fancy dresses in order to confuse evil spirits and distract them from the next bride. The bridesmaid has retained this protective function to this day, even if it is interpreted quite differently: as a close reference person, the bridesmaid should stand by the bride's side and thus ensure a successful celebration.
Choosing the right bridesmaid
If you as a couple have not yet decided whether and how many bridesmaids you want to choose, it is always helpful to ask yourself: Will this person be able to support me at the wedding party? Do I find her presence positive even in stressful situations? And can the person react flexibly to possible difficulties? A good friend, sister and other close caregiver who meets these requirements and is also patient and creative would be perfect as a bridesmaid. formal dresses for women
Duties of a bridesmaid
As a bridesmaid, it is paramount to keep the bride away from any stress. Of course, this is especially true during the wedding celebration, but as a bridesmaid you can be a help for the certainly stressed bridal couple in advance. Just take a few small errands from them or help, for example, with sending out invitations or creating room decorations for the wedding day. Of course, bridesmaids can also help with choosing the wedding dress. During the wedding itself, they accompany the bride to church or during a free wedding on the way to her future husband. The bridesmaids can wear the train. Compared to the maid of honor, the bridesmaids themselves have a more relaxed task at the celebration: You can of course participate in the planning and execution of wedding games or be available to waiters and guests for questions, otherwise you will mainly be busy celebrating . Experience has shown that the bridesmaids are particularly important when an emergency situation arises. That is why it is always desirable that the evening proceeds in such a way that the bridesmaids' task is mainly to be happy with the newlywed couple.
By the way: the male counterpart to the bridesmaid is the bride's guide. According to tradition, it was his job to protect the bride from earthly dangers, for example from looters. Today he has the same duties as the bridesmaids.
The groom is a nice alternative for a groom who cannot choose between several best friends as groomsmen.
Origin of the "best man" tradition
Groomsmen were originally even more important than they are today, because without them there was no evidence of a wedding. In uncertain times, for example during the war, sometimes no official documents could be viewed. The best man or maid of honor vouched for the fact that the bride and groom had really said yes. On behalf of the church and the state, the office of "best man" was an important post.
Do you need groomsmen?
Until a few years ago, it was still mandatory to name two witnesses for the legal marriage. In the meantime you can get married without a witness. Only in the Catholic Church is the presence of two witnesses still required. However, you shouldn't forget that in addition to all the joy, a wedding always requires a lot of prepartion and someone close to you can be of great moral support on this important day. At the same time, the maid of honor can then formally testify to the act of marriage. To do this, he must be 18 years old and physically present. Even in times of digitization, it is not enough to connect your best friend via Skype. Apart from the fact that this would also not do justice to the tradition of the best man. After all, in addition to the formalities, a marriage is also a poignant moment that one likes to share.
Choosing the right groomsman
The most important tip is to choose someone you trust one hundred percent. Resistant friendships are ideal, as are close siblings or other relatives. If you are unsure whether the person is the right one, ask yourself: Will I still be friends with this person ten years from now? And in twenty? What does this person do when the worst thing I can imagine for my wedding happens? If someone, despite great panic and bad emotional chaos, is by your side and makes you feel good, then he or she is the right person.
Duties and responsibilities of a witness
The legal duty of a witness is to witness the marriage. To do this, you have to meet certain requirements in Germany. Must witnesses
- Be 18 years old (14 years for church weddings).
- be present in person at the wedding ceremony.
- master the German language or have an interpreter.
- Have valid identification documents (don't forget your ID card or passport at home!).
For a successful wedding, the role of the first bridesmaid (= the maid of honor) and the best man is very important, because they can actively support you in the preparation and the process of the celebration. In addition, most of the tasks are fun. As an engaged couple, however, make sure that you don't hog your groomsmen and bridesmaids too much. Sometimes brides overwhelm their maid of honor with ideas that are too precise or with expensive and time-consuming plans. Most groomsmen are happy to help, but you shouldn't see them as your private wedding planners, you should also give them time to celebrate.
Here are possible tasks for groomsmen:
Take care of organizational matters
Price comparisons at flower shops or DJs, communication with the wedding guests (e.g. via hotel rooms, transports from the train station to the party location etc.) or smaller errands such as handkerchiefs, aspirin, special shoes for female guests or taking care of the table decorations are typical tasks that you do the groomsmen can help well. Some couples, for example, have their friends (mostly groomsmen plus bridesmaids) give them a wedding cake.
Plan a stag or hen party
The groomsmen traditionally organize the stag party. Arrangements with the bride and groom are particularly recommended with regard to the guest list, but the day of the bachelorette party should remain a surpris Groomsmen can also plan a possible hen party . Both are not a must, but of course often a great pleasure for the surprised. You know your friends or family members best: Think about whether the planned trips, games or bars will really appeal to the bride or groom. You are the only one who can decide whether the day will be wonderful or rather uncomfortable or even embarrassing for the engaged couple.
One of the most beautiful duties of the maid of honor is to advise the bride about her wedding dress. Men traditionally go shopping for their suit and accessories with their groomsman less often, but he, too, can be available as a critical and honest contact person. Of course, this shopping advisor function also applies to decorations or other errands. As a future bride and groom, you only have to buy the gift for the bridesmaids and groomsmen on your own.
Maintain an overview
With all the small and large errands, you quickly lose track of things - this also applies to the wedding day itself. Therefore, one of the tasks of a groomsman is to provide the couple with practical assistance. This could include, for example, waking the groom in good time, driving the bride to the hairdresser, packing the wedding rings , decorating the carriage or the car etc. It is important that you allow yourself to be drawn to the wishes of the bride and groom and simply keep all stress away from them . A list can help to keep track of the most important tasks.
If there is an unexpected minor or major disaster, it is advisable as a maid of honor to have an emergency bag with you. This should contain tools to improve make-up and hairstyle. But you should also take headache tablets, spare tights, a mirror, deodorant, chewing gum, blister plasters, etc. with you. So you are prepared for any eventuality. A list with all the telephone numbers of those involved is also advisable so that you can contact the right person immediately in the crowd.
Procedure of the wedding ceremony for groomsmen
The groomsmen sit or stand right and left next to the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. You bring the rings with you to the registry office and under no circumstances should you forget your identification documents. At the end of the ceremony they sign the wedding certificate, otherwise they have no official duties other than handing handkerchiefs and removing the bouquet from the bride. Many groomsmen also organize the arrival of the bride and groom on the forecourt of the registry office: They hand out soap bubbles, have rice or flowers thrown, provide sparkling wine or instruct the photographer. Even the first little games like the traditional sawing of a tree trunk together sometimes have space here.
The first dance of the evening traditionally belongs to the bride and groom. Then the two dance with their new in-laws and finally they ask the groomsmen before everyone else is allowed to storm the dance floor. However, this regulation is usually interpreted less strictly. So if you are an absolute dancer, you can certainly discuss this with the future wedding couple before the celebration. Ambitious groomsmen take a dance class and show all guests how standard dance works.
Wedding games and surprises
The wedding games can also be planned by the groomsmen. Of course, you don't have to come up with all the games yourself, but it is important to set a time frame and to have an eye on who's going to come and when that would be possible. In addition, the best man can reject suggestions for games in advance that he thinks is inappropriate. The same applies to surprises like kidnapping the bride or decorating the marriage bed. Some couples are very happy about it, others find it less funny.
The most important task of the groomsmen, which should not be neglected, is celebrating. With all of the duties and responsibilities you should not forget that this day comes only once. Enjoy the happiness of the bride and groom together and be happy with them. After all, the role of the best man does not end on the wedding evening, but traditionally he is the patron of the marriage of the two newlyweds. This means that in the future he should keep inquiring about the relationship between the two and even act as a mediator if there are disputes. A very meaningful tradition that can still be taken seriously today.
The best man's speech at the wedding
Don't worry, a speech doesn't have to be. If you don't think you can do it, then maybe it's better not to. But of course the bride and groom are very happy if you address a few personal words to them. A speech by the maid of honor is also possible - sometimes it is an original variant to take on this task as groomsmen together and to split up the speech. Some speakers feel safer this way.
In terms of content, you can make few mistakes in the wedding speech: Usually you thank the bride and groom on behalf of everyone for the beautiful celebration, followed by personal words that you can tailor to the bride and groom. What suits the two? Think about whether, for example, they would be happy if you told everyone about their first meeting with your partner. Funny anecdotes can be loosening up if you're the type yourself. At the end you should say your congratulations and celebrate the couple with the guests. In addition, the best man wishes everyone a nice celebration in his speech. There is no guideline on how long a groomsmen speech should be. Ask yourself honestly beforehand: Do people like to listen to you for so long or is the speech lengthy? Who likes to be in the spotlight the wedding speech shouldn't be a problem for him. Sometimes you can also see unusual variants such as a rap by the groomsmen. But this then requires special courage - and perhaps also skill.
How many groomsmen can you have?
You can now get married in Germany without a witness. Whether this is recommendable would be another question. At the registry office no best man is compulsory, but two witnesses (one for the bride, one for the groom) are allowed to sign. In the Catholic Church there even have to be two, otherwise the church wedding does not apply before the law. If you get married in a Protestant manner, however, you no longer need any witnesses. Two witnesses of Muslim faith must be present at an Islamic wedding. It often becomes difficult for the couple when they cannot choose between several close friends. Then the number two is often not enough. Is it allowed to choose several groomsmen? Of course, theoretically you can also have several witnesses, infinitely many, who then no longer have an official function. In the registry office the number is limited to two witnesses. But here a church wedding can be the solution: In consultation with the pastor, up to four witnesses are allowed in the Catholic and Protestant churches. Those who marry in church and civil ceremony can theoretically name two witnesses for one wedding and four for the other. In this way, all good friends will find the place by your side that they deserve. However, the distribution of the tasks for the wedding preparations may then be less clear because nobody feels responsible anymore. That's why good communication helps in such a case - several witnesses also mean several shoulders to distribute the organizational tasks. This can be an advantage if you are good at delegating. Another possibility would be to name bridesmaids and groomsmen in addition to best man and maid of honor.
How do I ask my maid of honor?
Of course, you can either ask your maid of honor directly or call. But most of the time, as a bride, you have the feeling that this special moment with your best friend, sister, cousin, etc. shouldn't just be dealt with in a normal conversation or over hundreds of kilometers of telephone cables. Men are often more pragmatic. Either way, it is important to ask early enough. After all, there is nothing more terrible than that the maid of honor is on vacation at the other end of the world or has important appointments on your wedding day. In addition, it is also good for the organization of the wedding if the maid of honor is not available to help you five days before the appointment. If you want to ask your maid of honor in a way that suits the special moment,
A great invitation
Invite your future maid of honor, for example, to a self-cooked meal or take her out to the restaurant. She will surely wonder what that is about, and then you can ask your big question in peace.
A big mystery
For friends of puzzles and secrets, whose groomsmen live further away, this is the perfect option. Simply wrap your question in the form of a scratch-off picture, a puzzle or a fortune cookie and wait until your friend has nibbled off the question, put it together or rubbed it free.
There are also nice surprises for maid of honor in the form of candles, chocolates, mugs, bracelets and all other small gifts. You can get creative and do handicrafts yourself, but of course there are also wonderful gift ideas online. If you would like to remain a mystery, you can surprise your godmother with a fine fountain pen. If she then asks what she could use such a gift for, she simply replies that she will have to sign something important soon, namely your wedding certificate.
A personal letter
The nice thing about letters is that you can keep them for years. In contrast to a fleeting conversation, something written is a lasting memory for the maid of honor. Of course you can also design the letter with photos or you can give a photo album with shared pictures and the important question on the last page of the book.
A homemade surprise
Brides whose maid of honor lives near her can also surprise them with something homemade. Sometimes a cake, cup cake or muffin can also be sent if it is properly packed, but this is risky. Either you bake the text of your question in the cake, for example in the form of a solid core of the muffin. Or you write directly on the cake with icing or edible letters.
A little photo shoot
If you want to capture the exact moment of the question, you can organize a photo shoot for yourself and your girlfriend. This can be either private or professional. Here, too, you will surely encounter astonishment at first, but then the surprise for the future maid of honor is all the more beautiful.
What do I wear as a maid of honor?
There are some rules about how to dress as a maid of honor for the wedding. However, it is first of all important to always comply with the framework of the wedding ceremony. In times of rocker weddings, beach weddings or hippie weddings, it would be inappropriate to speak of a fixed dress code. Some couples choose to include this on the invitation. You should orient yourself to this first. Otherwise, the top rule is not to outshine the bride and groom with his outfit and at the same time to be festively dressed.
In church weddings, the ladies should especially consider not to be dressed too sexy. Pastel and blue tones are always recommended for weddings, whereas white is taboo as a color for the bride. Men don't go wrong with suits, shirts and ties. For women, flower prints and dots are more or less timeless. It doesn't have to be a dress either: some women feel more comfortable in a chic trouser suit. The bridesmaids are sometimes dressed in the same shade or even the exact same dress, following the American example. However, some bridal couples prefer to leave that to the individual taste of the individual. By the way, an old saying says that the groom's affair wears red at the wedding. So you should also reconsider this color choice.
The most important day in life has to be shared
Seldom does Albert Schweizer's saying apply as much as it does to a wedding:
"Happiness is the only thing that doubles when you share it."
Therefore, groomsmen are the second most important people on this day, because they are the ones who are closest to the bride and groom. In addition, they usually know both families and of course the bride and groom well enough to prevent possible discrepancies or the like. As groomsmen, it is wonderful when you can organize everything in such a way that you still have plenty of time to be happy with the two newlyweds and to spend a wonderful day together. Because like the love of the bride and groom, this day is also unique.
Checklist with the most important points for your groomsmen
Are you the best man? Are you really looking forward to this important and honorable task? Then here is a checklist with the most important points:
Before the wedding:
- First of all, you should check the appointment to see if you really have the time. You may be able to request more than one day of vacation to help the bridal couple.
- ID card / passport
- It is very important that you check the validity of the passport and, if necessary, have it extended in good time at the municipality / passport office, especially before the school holidays you have to expect waiting times, which can take up to 4 weeks.
- When buying a suit / dress and shoes, make sure that you are not fancier than the bride or groom, maybe there is also a motto to consider (e.g. traditional costume) Buy your shoes in good time, they may have to be broken in, you will spend many hours in it.
- Bachelorette party
- The organization of the bachelorette party is a very demanding task. The bridal couple should feel comfortable and have fun too. It's best to talk to people who are close to the two of you.
- The speech
- If you want to prepare a speech, pay attention to whoever wants to speak besides you, the order, the time and the duration of the speech. However, you are not required to give a speech. It also makes sense if you talk to other speakers so that nothing is told twice.
- Advice on wedding dress / suit purchase
- When buying a wedding dress or suit you should of course go along and advise. Your dress or suit should match the style of the bride or groom. If the bridal shop doesn't offer it by itself, you can take a bottle of sparkling wine and glasses with you to toast the successful purchase.
- The organization
- Help with the organization is certainly very welcome, tasks such as greeting the guests, removing the presents from the bride and groom, putting flowers in the water, etc. you can take on or delegate. Making clear arrangements is important if you take over the organization.
- Save important phone numbers
- Saves all the important phone numbers in the cell phone, so you don't have to search the whole location if, for example, one of the organizers is needed.
On the day of the wedding:
- Wake up the bride / groom
- On the morning of the wedding day you can wake the bride or groom in good time, have breakfast with him / her, help him / her to get dressed and calm down if necessary.
- Pick up floral decorations
- If you pick up the flower arrangements from the nursery and decorate the car, you may also be able to take the bride's bouquet and the groom's lapel bouquet with you.
- Insert passport and rings
- Do you have the passport and rings with you? The concept for the speech? It's best to have everything ready the evening before.
At the Registry office:
- Support of the groom
- While the groom is waiting for the bride, you can greet the guests with him as best man, introduce them to each other and show them the seat.
- Have rings ready
- Having the rings ready is your job as a best man, as a maid of honor you take the bride's bouquet from the bride so that she has her hands free to sign.
- Testify / Sign
- You testify to the wedding with your signature. This is your main job as best man.
Immediately after the wedding:
- In the evening
- It is often the case that the newly married couple withdraws at midnight, then you are their representative. Possibly. you can bring them both home or to the airport.
- After the celebration
- At the end of the celebration you can say goodbye to the guests and bring the presents that the newlyweds received into their apartment. If the couple wants to travel right away, they will certainly be happy if you can arrange the payment modalities for them afterwards - if not paid in advance. The restaurateur, the DJ, the service staff still have to be paid.
The time after:
- If you still want to help with the process, you can for example: get photos from the photographer or bring back the rented car.
- Even after the wedding, you may be available to the couple (if desired) as a confidante with advice and action
- wedding day long sleeve formal dresses
- When the first year is over, do not forget to congratulate the couple on the first wedding anniversary, with a card, in person, or with a small gift you can remember this day again.