Can My Son Be My Best Man?
Choosing a best man for your wedding can be a difficult decision. For many grooms, the obvious choice is a brother or close friend who has stood by your side for years. But what if you want your son to stand up as your best man on the big day?
There’s no right or wrong answer, but there are a few things to take into consideration before asking your son to take on the best man duties.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Best Man?
First, think about what you’ll be asking your son to do as your best man. The responsibilities often include:
- Organizing your bachelor party. Your best man plans the event, including coming up with ideas, securing a venue, sending invites, and arranging activities for the night.
- Assisting with wedding planning. He may help select your tux, attend vendor meetings, coordinate transportation, and assist with other day-of logistics.
- Making a toast at the reception. Your best man will likely give a meaningful yet humorous speech highlighting your relationship.
- Handling the rings. A huge responsibility is protecting your wedding bands and presenting them during the ceremony.
- Providing moral support. More than anything, your best man should offer guidance and reassurance leading up to your wedding.
- Standing by your side at the altar. This may be the most visible duty as your best man literally stands up for you during the ceremony.
Make sure your son is ready for such obligations before asking him to take on this esteemed role.
Is Your Son Old Enough to Be Your Best Man?
Most best men are at least 18 years old. Beyond age, think about your son’s maturity and responsibility levels. Can you trust him to handle important wedding tasks and be there for you leading up to the big day?
If he’s too young, you risk:
- Him struggling to juggle his own schoolwork/activities along with best man duties.
- Him not grasping the gravity of the role and neglecting responsibilities.
- Drama with friends if he’s not equipped to plan and oversee the bachelor party.
- Him feeling extremely stressed and anxious about standing up in front of a crowd.
If you’re worried about any of the above scenarios, you may want to choose an alternate best man so as not to put undue pressure on your son.
Does Your Son Want This Responsibility?
Along with assessing your son’s readiness, gauge his interest in being your best man. Does he seem eager and honored at the thought? Or does he appear ambivalent, nervous, or disinterested?
Keep an open dialogue and give your son the option to politely decline the role if he’d prefer not to take it on. Being the best man brings a lot of pressure, so make sure he doesn’t feel obligated, as that could breed resentment.
How Will Your Other Kids Feel?
If you have multiple children, be conscious of how choosing one son to be the best man would impact your other kids. Handle the situation delicately to avoid hurt feelings.
You may want to:
- Explain to your other children why you selected their brother for this special role. Make it clear you aren’t playing favorites.
- Ask your other kids if they’d prefer participating in a different way (e.g. as a groomsman/bridesmaid) rather than singling the one sibling out.
- Create additional meaningful ways your other children can be involved with the wedding so no one feels left out.
Who Are the Other Groomsmen?
Look at the whole lineup of groomsmen before cementing your best man selection. If the rest of the groomsmen are your son’s age, it may make more sense to choose him as best man since he’ll fit in with the wedding party.
But if the other groomsmen are your brothers, close friends, or relatives, consider how your child may feel standing out as the only kid amidst a bunch of adults on your side of the altar.
Will This Choice Cause Tension with Your Significant Other?
Your partner may have envisioned you asking your best buddy, sibling, or other family member to be your best man. So loop your significant other into this decision to avoid misunderstandings or tension.
Compose talking points to explain:
- Why your son holds such a special place in your heart.
- How the role would strengthen your father-son bond.
- Your confidence in your child’s maturity and responsibility.
See if presenting your perspective helps your partner understand and get on board with your hope to make your son the best man.
Will the Age Gap Impact Relationships with Other Wedding Party Members?
In most cases, the best man acts as a sort of leader among the groomsmen. So consider if the maturity gap between your son and the other guys will make it difficult for him to easily build camaraderie or leverage influence.
You want your best man choice to foster inclusive friendships between all members of the wedding party, rather than causing disconnect or awkwardness.
Logistical Factors to Evaluate
Beyond weighing your son’s readiness and reading group dynamics, you’ll want to assess some logistical factors:
- Travel: Is your son local or would he need to pay for transportation and hotel costs to participate in pre-wedding events? Be sensitive about additional financial burden.
- Wedding date: How does the timing align with your son’s school schedule, activities, and general availability? Avoid forcing him to miss major commitments.
- Wedding location: If the venue is far or requires a lot of walking/standing, make sure it suits your child’s stamina and physical abilities.
- Attire: Can you find a tuxedo or suit that properly fits your son and aligns with the other groomsmen? Get fittings done early.
- Wedding events: Will venues allow your underage son entry and alcohol at dinners/parties? Have backup supervision plans if needed.
- Speeches: Is your son comfortable doing public speaking? Provide coaching to boost his confidence, if need be.
- Stunts/content: For any wedding events involving antics or adult content, scale back plans to be age-appropriate.
Working through logistics will help determine if your son can feasibly fulfill best man duties.
Father-Son Bonding Benefits
While evaluating the practical factors involved, don’t lose sight of the invaluable bonding opportunity. Serving as your best man enables your son to:
- Feel valued in playing an important role on such a momentous occasion.
- Create lifelong memories and inside jokes that strengthen your relationship.
- Gain public speaking and event planning experience.
- Meet and connect with your closest friends/family.
- Soak up wisdom by hearing your groom/best man speeches.
- Embrace his emerging role as the “man of the house” as you start this new chapter.
Alternative Roles to Consider
If upon reflection you decide your son isn’t quite ready for the full best man responsibilities, there are still special ways to include him, such as:
- Junior groomsman/bridesman – Blend in with wedding party while having fewer duties.
- Usher – Welcome and seat guests as they arrive.
- Reader – Do a meaningful reading during the ceremony.
- Ring bearer – Carry the rings down the aisle (if very young).
You can also give him an informal role like:
- Going on a father-son outing the morning of the wedding
- Riding in the limo with the wedding party
- Joining you while getting ready to take photos and share nerves/excitement.
Any face time with you on the big day will mean a lot.
Have an Open Dialogue and Manage Expectations
Most importantly, have an open and honest discussion with your son. Cover both the exciting perks of being your best man and the significant responsibilities it entails.
Manage expectations by outlining exactly what duties you envision him handling. Gauge his reaction and ability/willingness to meet the commitments involved.
Make it clear there is no pressure and you’ll give him time to sincerely decide if he can properly fulfill the role. Keep a mutual dialogue going and let his preferences guide the final decision.
Weigh the Pros and Cons Thoughtfully
Choosing your best man is no small matter, so avoid making this choice lightly. Objectively weigh the pros and cons of selecting your son for this honorable wedding party role.
While the bonding experience and chance to strengthen your father-son relationship may tug at your heartstrings, be sure not to let emotion cloud your judgment.
Carefully reflect on his maturity, time commitments, interpersonal dynamics, logistics, and overall readiness before cementing your decision. And talk it through thoroughly with both your son and future spouse.
With open communication and astute discernment, you’re sure to make the right call on whether or not your pride and joy should stand by your side on the most momentous day of your life.