The Best Man
published May 22nd, 2014
The big day is fast approaching and you’re laying in bed feeling somewhat anxious. The words “What have I let myself in for?” enter your head as you begin to exhibit nagging doubts and bone-chilling dread about the momentous day ahead of you. “Why did he pick me? Out of all the guys he’s met, why me?” you mutter, as you break into a cold sweat… you then get up out of bed and pace the room, your mind going round-and-round like a demented hamster on a wheel. You think about all those watchful eyes staring at you and start to question if you can deliver… your Best Man speech.
Don’t worry, these feelings are perfectly normal. At first you may feel a little proud… “Hey, I’m the man! The Best Man!” but as the wedding day gets closer you find yourself saddled with all these responsibilities like arranging parties, ensuring the day runs smoothly, and that dreaded speech. Oh, man, that speech. You’ve gone over it again and again in your head and even practiced on multiple occasions in front of the mirror, but you’re still worried about fluffing your lines or losing confidence in that hilarious joke half way through the delivery and ruining the punchline.
Relax. It could be worse. According to the Internet (where everything that is written is true) when the German Goths dreamed up the Best Man tradition almost 2,000 years ago the best man had to fight off the bride’s furious relatives when the groom kidnapped her. So just be thankful that you don’t live in that day and age.
Returning to the present day, and If you want to make a great Best Man then you simply need to follow a few basic steps…
You’re now the groom’s personal advisor for the wedding planning and arrangements. You don’t need to get involved with the wedding planning itself, but you should be on standby to offer the groom any help that he may need. Be his confidant. Helper. Advisor. Drinking partner. A shoulder to cry on, perhaps…
Oh, and you’ll need to be available to get measured up for that tuxedo well in advance.
It’s also your job to arrange a bachelor party. That’s if the groom wants one. Don’t just assume because it’s some kind of tradition. Discuss ideas with the groom before arranging anything, and be sure that the party has his blessing! This is where you need to don your Planning Hat well in advance. Don’t forget that the Best Man should be the responsible member of the party, and not the one who suggests tying the groom to a tree and leaving him there all night… in his birthday suit. Yes, you have to be the “designated driver” so to speak. The sober one. That’s not to be confused with “boring”.
Prep the groomsmen on what they need to do on the day, and ensure that their tuxedos have all been tried on… with ample time to spare. On the wedding day itself you’ll mostly be assisting the groom, so make sure he looks sharp and focused. You need to play “mom” by straightening his tie, licking your finger to remove that speck of dirt from his forehead and making sure his cuff links are on right. Most importantly though, you need to get him to the church (with any documentation that may be required). Oh, and don’t forget the rings!
Don’t play that joke of pretending to have lost the rings during the wedding ceremony. It’s not big, funny, or clever… and may give the father of the bride a heart attack.
Now we get to the meat in the metaphorical sandwich…
The toast (best man speech). This requires creativity, patience, hard work… and perhaps a bit of ingenuity. It’s never too soon to plan for this, so carry a notebook with you at all times. Keep a pen and piece of paper beside your bed, and even take it into the shower with you. The thing about writing speeches is that you never know when inspiration may strike (quite often when you’re not even thinking about writing the speech). To begin with just write down any thoughts that pop into your head. How do you know them? Where did you meet? How would you describe them? Can you impart any marriage advice? Has the groom matured since meeting the bride?
It may take a while but all those paragraphs will soon form a cohesive speech.
You need to perfect that ‘tapping a spoon against a glass’ routine in order to get everyones attention. That never fails. Then introduce yourself, as not everyone in the room will know who you are. Others may be too drunk to remember.
After a quick joke you may want to deliver an amusing anecdote. Keep it clean. There’s a good chance that children are in the room or that this is being recorded. Your words will follow you for the rest of your life…
Do not under any circumstances mention exes.
Don’t ramble on for too long as people tend to “zone out” after 20 minutes and start updating their Facebook or tweet about how they’re losing the will to live. You can usually gauge from peoples faces if you should continue or bail out before things get ugly. If you get a huge laugh after 15 minutes you may want to close, as it’s always good to go out on a high.
Closing is the easy bit. You just need to say “I propose a toast…” raise your glass and say cheers. You can’t go wrong. Unless you spill wine down your tux when you come to drink it.
Say it from the heart, and speak the truth. Even if it does sound overly sentimental.
Speak clearly, slowly, and stand straight with your head held high, and make regular eye contact with the guests. Remember, you’re the Best Man… not the Best Mouse.