If you were living in the dark ages, you would be asked to defend your best friend's honor with a sword, and groomsmen gifts would consist of gruel and chickenbones. Today, being a best man still has its share of responsibilities--being the ring bearer, getting singles at the strip club, etc. Play it smart. After all, you are being counted on to put together a clutch performance as the right hand man! Here is a general outline to help you get organized:

The Bachelor Party

  • Organize bachelor party. If you want something beyond the average groomsmen gifts, this is the place to score points. The party can include dinner, cigars, sport outing (e.g., golf or tickets to sports events), hotel party, strip clubs, groomsmen gifts, etc.
  • Talk to the groom first and find out what he wants to do. Of course you can plan some surprises, just use your head-- the one with the brain in it!
  • Give yourself time. Organizing the party in one week will not work and cause you un-needed stress. Bribe the boys with the promise of better groomsmen gifts to help you.
  • Go over the list of invitees with the groom. You'll want to ditch father-in-laws and any loose-lipped relatives who might sing like a canary when it's time to get "X-rated."
  • Talk to all invitees before the party about costs, the agenda, etc. Nobody wants any surprises the day of the bachelor party-unless those surprises are first-class groomsmen gifts.
  • Coordinate a designated driver or hire a limousine service.
  • Make sure the groom to be does not come home with itching and/or burning sensations in his weenie, or else be prepared to do lots of explaining to the bride-to-be!

Rehearsal Dinner

  • Because this typically happens a day before the wedding, your pal will have much on his mind and doesn't need to worry about the details. Contact all the groomsmen and make sure they are attending the dinner, on time, have directions to the site and are sober. Remind them that their groomsmen gifts hang in the balance.

The Wedding Day

  • Keep the groom on schedule. The schedule is typically organized by the bride who will distribute copies ahead of time. Go off her schedule and prepare to die!
  • Drive the groom to the ceremony site one hour before the wedding photographs. You should be in your tux for photos as well. Autograph and mail as funny gag groomsmen gifts.
  • Offer to take the check envelopes to pay the clergyman, musicians, photographers and other service providers. Non traditionally speaking, this responsibility also can be given to a wedding consultant, father of the bride, or even one of the bridesmaids.
  • Witness the signing of the marriage license. Keep the groom's hand steady--he probably will be shaking like a farm animal preparing to be slaughtered.
  • When you're backstage with the groom, help him prepare for the final call - Yes, you might see your buddy cry for the first time. Just make sure his tie is strait and assure him there's still time to get outta here if he says the word.
  • Hold the bride's ring for the groom (if there is no ring bearer) until needed by the officiant. Check for any holes in your pockets first, and don't fumble the hand-off!
  • Drive the newlyweds to the reception if there is no hired driver. Resist urge to pilfer the groomsmen gifts propped in the passenger seat.
  • Be prepared to dance with bridesmaids and relatives of the bride and groom. Watch Spanish networks ahead of time if you don't already know how to do the Macarena.
  • Drive the newlyweds to the airport for their honeymoon if there is no hired driver. You're probably catching on by now that you should be prepared to do some driving, so fill up the tank and check the oil ahead of time.

Speeches & Toasting

  • Offer first toast at the reception. This usually occurs before the dinner. Thank him for the honor, the groomsmen gifts and for no longer providing competition with girls.
  • Find out if you will be speaking from a podium, platform or table. Most importantly, use good taste when you speak. No need to bring up the time you both banged Mrs. Robinson in 12th grade after class no matter how poignant.
  • Consider having wedding toasts written for you.

Out of Town Guests

  • Offer to pick them up at the airport.
  • Be prepared to do some entertaining with guests before the wedding day. (Hey, maybe you'll get lucky with one of the groom's cousins.)

Formal Wear

  • Your last major task as best man is to return all tuxedos to the shop. Make sure all groomsmen and ushers give you tuxedos in good condition and on time. This is crucial-you don't want to have your groomsmen gifts garnished.
  • Congratulations! Like Angelo Dundee was to Mohammed Ali, so is the best man to the groom.