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The Tradition of the Best Man

Among the Germanic Goths of northern Europe in 200 A.D, it was tradition for a man to marry a woman from within his own community; yet, in times of short supply, men wanting a wife often took matters into their own hands and kidnapped one from a neighbouring village.

Securing a bride was generally not a one-person operation; it called for skill and courage. As such, the bridegroom would seek out the “best” person to accompany him. Typically, his strongest friend (or, best friend) — a companion carefully selected and fit for the task — helped the bridegroom on his daring adventure. Hence, the tradition of engaging a “best man” as a sort of “partner in crime.”

While securing the maiden of choice was one thing, there was always the risk that the bride’s family would attempt to force her return. This presented another challenge for the ever loyal best man, who remained armed and alert at the groom’s side throughout the marriage ceremony. Later, he stood guard at the newlywed’s home to protect them from intruders.

As much as this is German folklore, there are actually records of weapons, such as clubs, knives and spears, being hidden under altars in many ancient churches, presumably in case there was a need to protect the groom in the event that the bride’s family arrived to retrieve her.

Today, the bride stands to the left side of the groom. This tradition originated from the need to position the bride where she could be protected, and so that the groom’s right hand was free to defend himself should the need arise.

If this all sounds like a dangerous obligation for the nominated best man, some will tell you that making the best man speech can be equally terrifying. If that’s the case, simply call on The Occasional Speaker. We take the pain out of public speaking for our heroic best man – and, for that matter, all speech makers at your wedding celebrations.

We’ll help you to craft a speech and deliver it with all the style of a polished presenter. You can actually enjoy making your speech.

Like some help to write or deliver your wedding speech?

Feel free to call The Occasional Speaker at 0400 778807, or fill out our contact form to request more information.

We’re here to help!