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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: A friend of mine recently asked if I would be the best man at his wedding. Of course, I told him I would be happy to. However, there is one problem: What exactly do I do? I want to make sure I'm performing all the duties that are expected.

Would you please print a "job description" for me and all the other best men out there who are not completely sure what they are doing? It would be greatly appreciated. -- THE BEST, BUT A LITTLE LOST IN NEW YORK

DEAR BEST: It is an honor to be the best man, and one that is usually accorded to a brother or closest friend. As I point out in my booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding," the best man's job is to help the wedding proceed smoothly. The duties vary somewhat, depending on the type of wedding, but they typically include:

-- Making sure the ushers have their attire and appear for the ceremony on time;

-- Providing his own outfit;

-- Acting as a witness and signing the marriage license;

-- Either separately or with the ushers, providing a gift for the groom;

-- Attending the rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner, if there is one;

-- Volunteering to help the bride's mother in any way he can;

-- Arranging for the bachelor dinner;

-- Helping the groom dress and accompanying him to the church;

-- Taking charge of the wedding ring;

-- Presenting the clergy with the envelope containing the fee for the ceremony;

-- Offering the first toast to the bride and groom;

-- Mingling with the guests at the reception;

-- Helping the groom dress for going away;

-- Checking the car and luggage, and reconfirming the hotel reservations;

-- Driving the couple to the airport or hotel.

DEAR ABBY: The letter from "Mother of the New Kid on the Block," whose son is having trouble finding new friends in a one-friend-at-a-time neighborhood, prompts this letter. She said he gets on his bike and goes to another boy's home, only to find the other boy is not allowed to entertain more than one boy at a time.

Why does he have to go to someone else's house?

When our son was small and we moved to a new neighborhood, I invited the four neighbor boys near my son's age to our house on a Saturday afternoon for lemonade, stories and games. They enjoyed themselves so much they came over to our house to play every day. It was no trouble for me because my son was happy playing with his new friends in a safe place. I knew where he was and what he was doing at all times. The other mothers appreciated the fact that their children were supervised.

Yes, it takes some extra effort, but everything worthwhile takes work and commitment.

Abby, I'm glad I did it because my son had a happy childhood and grew up to be a well-adjusted man. -- JUANA O. ACOSTA, OXNARD, CALIF.

DEAR JUANA: Your solution was wise and loving, but it would have been more fair had the other mothers taken turns entertaining the children. Sharing the load lightens the burden.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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