May the best man whine

Nov 1 22:00 2003 Christopher Ford Print This Article

Title May the best man ... FordDate October ... ... guide of what not to do and say when asked to be best ... from the gourmet food, the fine wine and

Title May the best man whine
AuthorChristopher Ford
Date October 2003

A guide of what not to do and say when asked to be best man.

Aside from the gourmet food,Guest Posting the fine wine and extravagant table décor there is only one reason why the wedding reception overshadows the ceremony as the highlight of the day. The speeches.

Food is hurried; nerves are frail, and double the amount of booze is consumed on the head table than anywhere else in the room. Video cameras are set to record and the speakers themselves are set to entertain. The best man’s speech in particular must be witty, interesting, and profound. The closing and deciding chapter in his duties as, well, the best man.

More often than not, the best man will lack public speaking experience, and fear sets in as the commonplace reaction. But with thorough preparation and research, anyone can shine. Anyone can rise to the occasion.

But what happens when the best man hasn’t prepared at all? When the best man was never asked to do a speech until a microphone was thrust in his hand at the last second, to discover a room full of expectant faces gazing up at him? How interesting can it be? The answer is very.

I flew from Birmingham, England, to land in Atlanta, Georgia, greeted by Shane (the groom) and his bride to be Kirsty with great anticipation. Shane was an old school friend. He’d asked me to be best man, when his only love interest was a 4-ft poster of Yasmine Bleeth, of course I accepted. And now I was to live out the honour.

The wedding was two days away, and much still remained to do with little time to do it. Dress rehearsals to rehearse, and seating plans to plan. Yet as the trans-Atlantic best man, my call of duty was merely to don the tails, hold the rings, and wish them all the best.

The speeches, I was advised earlier, would be merely a toast. It wasn’t customary in the United States, or at least in Kirsty’s family, to deliver anything other than my congratulations. So I relaxed, marinated my pasty skin with sun oil, and soaked up the southern atmosphere. The next day was spent golfing with the groom’s father, discussing the merits of his son’s newly acquired green card, and sending a few Budweiser’s home.

On Shane’s last night as a bachelor, we stayed overnight at the hotel far from the bride’s eye to satisfy superstition. Though much to my disappointment, it wasn’t spent in a hot tub with college girls sinking Moët, not when there were tables still to be set and ice sculptures to rearrange.
On the big day, I was disappointed to find out that a mid-afternoon wedding still called for an early rise. Given the soaring temperatures expected at mid-day, I wasn’t looking forward to life inside the top and tail, and my only immediate worry was how to control unwanted perspiration. That, and not losing the two gold rings they were about to swear an oath upon.

Rings on finger, sweat marks under control, we were called through to the reception area. The food, like the day, was immaculate. Disappointingly, the reception was dry. I think I had uncovered some rum in the cheesecake, but was far from break dancing when the band came on. We respected the family’s religion, and I mingled with the guests discussing how smoothly the day had run.

Suddenly, conversation quieted, and all attention turned to the groom. I became very concerned why he had pulled what looked to be 3 to 4 sheets of handwritten paper from his pocket. Confused at how many people he could possibly have to toast, I pulled the empty lining of my pockets to indicate how many sheets I didn’t have.

If looks could kill, I would have made a widow of his bride before he’d put down his punch. Hastily, I scribbled down some thoughts on a napkin, but knew it would take a miracle to pull this off.

50 minutes and 7 sheets of handwritten paper later, I was asked to take the floor to a rapturous applause. All the fruit punch in Florida couldn’t have stopped my mouth from drying up as I confronted the room full of 200-strong unsuspecting guests, all thirsty for a good laugh.

I have chosen not to reiterate what was actually said that day. I have also chosen not to watch the wedding video, or speak to the groom again. If there was a spade to hand, I would have first struck the groom with it, and then proceed to dig a hole large enough to climb in. But there wasn’t. What there was however, were coughs, sighs, and one heckle requesting that I “got on with it”, because that particular gentlemen didn’t have all day. This was of no comfort to me, nor were my words of any comfort to the bride, the groom, or anyone else. I will remain thankful however, to the waitress who let out one solitary clap at the end of my speech, and to the inventor of the hotel mini-bar.

I learned some valuable lessons that day. For one, Americans don’t understand the northeastern accent, nor do they appreciate sarcastic comments in jest about a groom’s sexuality. But the most important lesson learned that day, was to prepare and research for a speech. Not just your words, but also your audience. Until you do that, do not even consider mentioning the time you discovered your best friend burping his worm over Yasmine Bleeth, unless your absolutely sure it will get a laugh.

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About Article Author

Christopher Ford
Christopher Ford

Male, 24 new to the writing industry and looking to develop my cynical approach to the world.

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