Welcome, pals, to our monthly Problem Pal segment, where we give actionable, anonymous advice on all your wedding woes.
So No One Told You Life Was Going To Be This Way has written in with a worry I reckon everyone’s had planning their wedding:
How do I pick a best man without insulting my other friends?
It can be hard enough working out how to choose your wedding party, but singling out just one of your friends to be your best man, maid of honour, or mate of honour can feel like a minefield.
Scrap the wedding party titles
The best way to make sure everyone knows where they stand without telling them they’re not your top-tier friend is not to have titles in your wedding party at all. Don’t have a best man or a maid of honour. Have groomsmen and bridesmaids. (Or groomsmaids and bridesmen.)
You could even go one step further, like our real bride Lucy, and not have a set wedding party at all. Have everyone be a guest at your wedding.
…or give everyone wedding party titles
Or – go the other way. Call everyone in your wedding party your best men and maids of honour. There’s a bit of a trend in weddings now to have three or four best men instead of groomsmen and ushers, and I honestly think it’s fantastic. You don’t need to single anyone out with a fancy title – everyone important to you is there and is equal.
Give everyone clear, defined roles in your wedding
Of course, you likely only want/can survive one stag do and one best man speech, so it’s important to take the things you’d like your wedding party to help with – your hen or stag do, showers, speeches, readings, ushering duties – and work out who would be the best person in your wedding party to help with each one. Divide all the tasks between your wedding party. It doesn’t have to be equal, but try not to have everything on one person’s shoulders so you don’t have a best man or maid of honour in everything but name.
(Want more than one speech? That’s fine too! It’s a good idea to give everyone a time guideline – say five minutes – if you’re having more than three speeches in total, but you don’t have to have just one friend speak. There’s no strict rules you need to stick to – decide what feels right for your wedding, whether it’s your brother giving a speech, your five best mates from uni, having open-mic speeches, or not having speeches all together.)
Once you’ve worked out who you’d like to do what – ask them!
It can be hard, with weddings, to make sure your friends don’t feel pressured into helping; no one wants to think they’re letting you down when it comes to your wedding, but they might not be able to help or to do everything you need. Tackling that could be its own Problem Pal column, but a good rule of thumb is to ask them one-on-one, so there’s no social pressure, and tell them you only want them to do it if they’d enjoy it and you’d completely understand if they’d rather not. And mean it!! If your most organised friend isn’t up for throwing your bachelor party, have a back-up plan. Throw your own! (At least you’ll be in control of the stripper situation…)
Communicate exactly what’s happening to everyone in the wedding party
Then, when you’ve divvied up the task list and everyone’s happy to help out, communicate exactly what’s happening to everyone in your wedding party. Send an email, make a WhatsApp group, or write everyone a ‘will you be my mate of honour?’ card which lays everything out.
(I’ll just leave these here…)
Introduce your wedding party to one another and explain who’s in charge of what. (So you don’t accidentally get two showers!) That way, everyone knows exactly what they need to do – and no one feels hurt or excluded.
What do you think? Do you have any tips for making sure no one in your wedding party feels left out? Or do you have any wedding worries of your own that you’d like a little advice on?
Leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help keep you whelmed.
Until next time, pals!
Your pal for all problems (preferably wedding-related but try me),
Photo by Burst.