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The Best Man - A Short History

Updated on June 23, 2012

You think you have it tough...

A lot has changed when it comes to the way weddings are done. For instance, if a friend were to call you to ask you to be their best man at their wedding, the scenario today would be a lot different than it was years ago. This will come as good news because very few people get honored with the opportunity of being a best man at a wedding and unlike past experiences, today you will not have to go and abduct the bride from her home as men who used to live in Scotland and Britain did in the past.

For people who lived back in the 16th century, being a best man had a totally different experience. It was basically the role of the best man to join the groom so as to go and kidnap the bride to be from the comfort of her home.

This is no longer the case during the present day. When one gets the opportunity to be a best man, their role is to try and help the groom to prepare for the wedding day. It is the responsibility of the best man to prepare a befitting send off for the groom by organizing a bachelor party. They also have the duty of presenting the nuptials with the rings on the day of the wedding. In the past, the best man had a totally different role from the one that is currently designated for them.

Kidnapping of the Bride

The tradition of kidnapping the bride can be traced back to the Goth community of Germany. In the past, it was customary for people to get married to women who lived in the same locality as them. As time went by, the ratio of men to women became a bit imbalanced. There was a shortage of women who were eligible for marriage. This forced the men who wanted to get married to go searching in the neighboring towns for prospective brides. The groom would go and ask one of his closest friends to accompany him to the village where the woman he wanted lived. They would then kidnap her and he would proceed to marry her.

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It was basically the duty of the best man to act as the bodyguard for the couple. They had to guard them against the family of the bride since they were expected to try and come up with ways of getting her back. The family of the bride was supposed to be kept away from the place where the ceremony was to take place unless they were willing to accept the man who had kidnapped their daughter. The best man also had the responsibility of protecting the bride from any other men who would be interested in kidnapping her.

During the wedding ceremonies, the best man was required to stand guard with a sword on the right hand of the groom. This was to make sure that they would not come under any threat during the wedding and if anything were to happen then the best man would step up and defend the couple. Considering all this, you should consider yourself lucky when called upon to take the best man responsibility. This is because the only challenge you get to deal with is the best man speech.

So, you should consider yourself lucky that you have only the best man speech to deal with.


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