Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Romance

Anatomy Of A Best Man Speech

After I left Chicago, I headed to Atlanta. I left my parents’ house at 4 in the morning, but I didn’t get to Atlanta until after 3pm. There’s a good story behind that one, but that’s a post for another time.

When I got to Atlanta, I called my best friend who was the best man at the wedding I’d gone to Atlanta to attend. He, of all the people I know, is the best at coming off completely unconcerned. So when I inquired about the best way to get to the hotel, all he said was, “I don’t know. I got a ride with his parents, so I’m not sure what to tell you.”

Clearly I was on my own.

So I figured it would be fine to get to the hotel from the airport because the Atlanta airport had all sorts of shuttles back and forth to the area hospitals.

And I was super wrong.

The hotel we were at is in Peachtree City, which is at least a half hour drive from the airport. At least.

So no shuttle.

I was on my own. And I ended up having to take a $55 taxi to get to the hotel.

Then the taxi only took cash, so I had to find an ATM and pay ATM fees to get the money.

But finally I was checked in and in my room, enjoying how plush the bed was. I knew the wedding party had the rehearsal at some point that day, as it was the day before the wedding, so I figured I’d just hang out by myself and do a whole bunch of nothing.

Then my phone rang and it was my best friend asking where I was. He really can turn the concern on and off quite easily. I let him I know I was at the hotel and he came down to my room to hang out for a bit. We went back over the last few days and how crazy they were for him as best man.

The bride of this wedding we were there for is very detail oriented. She didn’t need or want a lot of input about the wedding. As such, my friend ended up only stepping in with best man duties when it was time for the bachelor party. For the party, they took a weekend trip to Vegas. That’s all I’ll say about that.

But things picked up in terms of best man duties right before the wedding. They let him know they wanted him to hold the ring, the marriage license, pick up the tuxes from the groomsmen to return the next day, and come up with fun events for the wedding party and guests who wanted to party extra during the weekend.

They let him know all of this on Wednesday for a Saturday wedding, which wasn’t a lot of notice. But he called me to help iron out some details of his best man speech for the wedding reception. And he called one of the other groomsman who helped with the bachelor party planning.

He and I brainstormed several times over the months on what his speech should say. When it came down to just a few days before the wedding, we finally hammered out the specifics. It made me think back to when we were in college together and we took all our classes together.

We collaborate really well together and it was fun trying to come up with a speech that was true to his current relationship with the groom, funny, heartfelt, and befitting of a wedding for young professionals (half the wedding was doctors).

After the speech was finalized, other issues popped up. I’m not going to put people’s business out there who didn’t give permission first. But I will say that my friend had to deal with an errant groomsman and a guest who’s “invitation got lost in the mail.”

All of that was handled before we got to Atlanta though, thank God.

Back to the day before the wedding. My friend and I were hanging out in my room when the groom called him. When he heard I had arrived, he came down to my room as well. I hadn’t seen him since my wedding last year. And it hadn’t been just the three of us in over five years. So we all laughed and had a nice quick chat like old times for a moment.

Then it was time for hanging. The guys went to a sports bar to watch the game. The ladies went to a spa for mani/pedis. I had a good time getting to know the bride’s friends. I hadn’t met any of them before, but they were very welcoming of my friend-of-the-groom self.

On the day of the wedding, it was raining pretty hard all day. Luckily, it stopped raining about a half hour before the outdoor ceremony was supposed to start and didn’t rain again for the rest of the night. Every detail was gorgeous, showing off the bride’s eye for detail.

I think I’ll put up a couple of pictures, just to give you a taste. It really was that gorgeous.

After the wedding, it was time for the reception. The food was good, the company was good, the music was good. What more could you want?

Then it was time for the speeches. The maid of honor’s speech was first. She talked about when she and the bride first met and it was sweet and kind of funny and very heartfelt. I was so happy about the length and mix of heart and humor in her speech because my friend was worried his speech was too long and too all-over-the-place.

Then it was his turn to talk. The whole room seemed to ripple with anticipation. We laughed about it later because we were like, “um, do these people even know him well enough to be this anticipatory about this speech?”

Is anticipatory a word? I’m much better at math than other things like English and grammar.

Anyway, so he gets up to make his speech to the sounds of laughter as people are already so sure they’re going to laugh, they’re starting it off ahead of time.

And the speech is perfect. The whole room was laughing, including the people who didn’t know him or the groom well. The groom had tears in his eyes. The bride was smiling a very large smile. It was a hit. I was feeling so proud of my friend and also patting myself on the back.

It was hard work getting that speech that perfect. We spent a lot of man hours over the months getting it just right, and it paid off.

So how do you put together the perfect best man speech?

1)      Take account of your personality and don’t pretend to be different.

2)      Think about what both the bride and groom are expecting and keep that in mind.

3)      Think of the main points you want to make (they belong together, I am his best friend deservedly so, and I’m happy to be here), and make sure you stick to the script

4)      Come up with a funny and a heartwarming story to illustrate each point

5)      Choose alternating story types

6)      Out of all your stories, take out the weaker ones and just make the point while only alluding to the stories, the groom will react to the inside joke and everyone else will feel even stronger how close you are

7)      Include wedding guests by name if you can, it just makes everyone feel closer

8)      Don’t forget to say, “to the bride and groom!” at the end of your speech

And probably, get some help from your other best friend to make sure it’s all coming together just right.

After the wedding, my friend needed help assisting the groom, so I went with him. We went to their bridal suite and grabbed up some important items. We took his tux, her dress, and other assorted wedding items that the groom’s parents were going to be responsible for getting safely home. I felt really special to be let in on that moment for them.

It really let me know i’d make a great bridesmaid of matron of honor for one of my friends, should they ever get married. The only two of my friends to get married are two guys, and neither is really the type to have a non-family girl stand up for them at their wedding. Plus, I’d rather have one of my girls get married so all the wedding-related stuff is girly. I guess I’m officially far enough removed from my own wedding to want to be involved in another wedding. So now I wait.

Also after the wedding, we put together a little hang in one of the hotel rooms for the people who wanted the party to continue. We ended up laughing, talking, and hanging out until pretty late. I only got a couple of hours of sleep before I needed to get up to go to the airport to head back to New York City.

And now for the pictures!

A beautiful wooden canopy in front of a stone altar overlooking mountains. You can't get much better than that!

A beautiful wooden canopy in front of a stone altar overlooking mountains. You can’t get much better than that!

The reception was so beautifully decorated, everyone oohed and aahed on sight.

The reception was so beautifully decorated, everyone oohed and aahed on sight.

They named their tables based on places they've traveled. I was at the Illinois table, where they visited for my wedding!

They named their tables based on places they’ve traveled. I was at the Illinois table, where they visited for my wedding!

This is my friend, our teacher/mentor/department head from college, and me.

This is my friend, our teacher/mentor/department head from college, and me.

The toast went off without a hitch!

The toast went off without a hitch!

Hanging out at the wedding after party.

Hanging out at the wedding after party.

 

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Couples Therapy

When the husband and I got married, we each had a maid of honor and a best man. We do what we want like that. His people were one of his sisters and one of his oldest friends. My people were two friends who graduated from the same college I did. I met my best man the day I arrived to college, and my maid and honor has been one of best friends since age 9.

The fraternity my best man belongs to throws this amazing party every year. I learned this year it’s only been open to the public outside the frat since 2004, which happens to be the first year I started attending. I’ve only missed two since then.

Last year, the husband went with my best man, and without me, to the party. I couldn’t get off from work after taking off so much time for our wedding. This year, we were all determined to go.

The husband decided to invite some people to join us. The only people who took us up on our offer, and then actually made financial plans to go, were the couple whose wedding I attended when I met the husband. The four of us made plans to drive to Florida and back, meeting my best man and some other college friends there to attend this party.

You may be scratching your head at this point, wondering how old I am. I’m 28. This is just a really great party. The group we were hanging out with were all in college or college age back in 2005. So, yes, we’d be older than most of the people there.

We would be even close to the oldest there though. A lot of people (mostly those associated closely with the fraternity) came back for that party every year. I”m not the type of person to want to go back for Homecoming. Honestly, Homecoming was never fun for me during college. But I like visiting, and this seemed to be as good a reason as any to visit.

So the four of us are in the husband’s car, preparing for a 16-ish hour drive to Florida. We’re laughing, joking, and eating the food the two wives had put together in preparation for the road trip.

Then, as I mentioned in a previous post, the husband of the couple announced we were on a couples’ retreat.

The husband and I looked at each other and said, “we didn’t sign up for this shit. What do you mean a couples’ retreat?”

They laughed at us and explained that as newly married couples (us just over one year, them coming up on three), it was inevitable that we’d discuss some things.

The husband and I were doubtful as we usually handle all of our couple issues in house. Then they explained that they didn’t really have any other couple friends that were  married or even heavily committed, so this was happening.

I looked at the husband and he could tell all I was saying from that glance. I was thinking, “you set this up and invited these people and now we’re on a damn couples retreat!”

He started laughing because he perfectly understood my look. His humor was infectious and then I was laughing too.

And then we spent the next three hours having what felt like a couples’ therapy session. We compared and contrasted some common arguments we had. I’d never done anything like that, and I don’t know that I want to again.

It was certainly interesting to have an outside take on things we did and said. There were definitely a  lot of, “see I told you! I’m not crazy, they both agree with me!”s being said by all four of us, which was hilarious.

Craziness like the first half of that car ride are part of the reason we’d be friends for a very long time. We all grew up in he same circles, but being married drew us together in a different, unexpected way.

I guess that goes to show that relationships grow and change, even complicated ones like a pair of newly married couples.


And We’re Still Together

Does anybody watch the TV show Pysch? I love that show. It’s so hilarious and absolutely ridiculous, but I’ve seen every single episode for all 7 seasons. A very recent episode of Psych made me think more than that show ever intended.

I’ve been following these characters for seasons, so I was feeling very emotionally invested when one of them finally got married to a woman who was perfect for him. No dramedy is complete without a possible breakup at a wedding, so when that happened, I got really introspective.

I began thinking of how much it must hurt for the guy breaking up to watch the people not breaking up. I remembered what it felt like to want to be past dating and just be with the person God intended for me.

I was happy being single because I found things about it I liked, but I have never been the type of person who preferred being single over being in a relationship.

Remembering that feeling made me feel a longing for the safety of a happy relationship. When you are committed, bad things can happen, and it’s okay.

Are there things bad enough to blow up even a very solid relationship? Well, yes, there has to be. Otherwise, the divorce rate wouldn’t be as high as it is.

But in that moment watching a couple ending juxtaposed against one taking a next important relationship step, I was so happy I was couple #2. They were happy and solid. They had quite literally dodged bullets on their way down the aisle to get married.

Luckily, there aren’t any bullets involved with the husband. Just lots of live music. And nothing about his talent is fake, so we’re a step ahead of all the couples on Psych at least.

I’m sure there is something wrong with me to become so thoughtful because of an episode of Psych. James Roday would either be highly offended or complimented.

I’m just thankful I’ve got my solid thing going. I much prefer the comfort of a happy relationship over anything else. For as long as it lasts, this is where I’m staying.

God-willing, it will last forever.


Just Stop Dogging Me Around

If you love Michael Jackson songs like I do, then you know more about his lyrics than the casual music listener. I lump him in with Mariah Carey, Steven Tyler, and Prince. Not because they are mega stars with hordes of fans. They are all lumped together because I never know what the hell they’re saying in their song lyrics.

But being the Michael Jackson fan I am, I know his lyrics. And in his song Leave Me Alone, he only strings together two full sentences in the whole thing. In spite of not saying much, he’s truly expressing how I feel right now.

Sometimes you just wanna be left alone, you know? You get to feeling under-appreciated. And the same people not appreciating you are constantly asking you for things. It’s hard not to let that feeling take over your whole world.

I’m feeling this way right now because of work. If you read this blog a lot, which I still don’t understand because I’m not that interesting, then you know I waffle back and forth on how I feel about my job.

I love my line of work and I love how I’m able to help people without having to directly deal with them. But I also sometimes hate my job and fantasize about winning the lottery and quitting Dave Chapelle style. I’ve recently realized that my love-hate relationship with my job has more to do with the people I work with than the work I do.

When no one needs me to solve an immediate emergency, I’m good. I churn out my reports and hop on the phone with a sparkling personality. I wow folks at meetings and speed through my to-do list. That scenario is the exception unfortunately.

These last few days, it’s been tough. I’m finally starting to understand why my dad was the way he was when I was growing up. He’s got a lot of difficult people at his job; his workplace has a much higher percentage of those type of people than I do. He would come home from work and not want to talk or do anything really. I remember wondering why he brought stress from work home with him.

But now I get it. It’s just so hard to leave work at work. In an effort to maintain a certain level of professionalism at work, I have to suppress my ire toward certain people and situations. The one outlet I had at work to get that shit out and not keep it bottled has been whisked away from me in the sea of changes implemented in the last few months.

So now I have nothing. I have a terrible poker face, so it’s obvious when I’m upset. In spite of my terrible poker face, my words and actions stay professional. All of that professional crap is draining, and by the time I get home, I just want to do nothing. I want to stare mindlessly at some movie I’ve already seen 100 times and go to bed early and wake up late.

My plan to deal with work is fine because it gets me through until things even back out again. But I don’t really have a good plan for being at home after a difficult time at work. I don’t know how the husband is going to deal with it. So far, it hasn’t been going well. He doesn’t understand why I’m upset and he doesn’t get why I don’t want to talk about it. It just takes so much energy to try and not be a monster at work and to try and not be a monster at home.

At work, things are too busy for someone to bother me for too long. Their phone rings or they have another meeting, so they back off eventually. But at home, there is no reprieve. The husband wants to talk about why I’m upset. And then he wants to talk about why I don’t want to talk about being upset. And then he wants to talk about why I seem irritated at the though of talking about why I don’t want to talk about being upset. I wish I were exaggerating, but this happens at least once a week.

The husband is so much better at letting things roll off his back than I am. Sometime I wish I could take on a bit more of his personality because it’s a lot harder to get him down. I admire him because It has to be difficult for him to be with someone like me who’s default is just to shut down. People, I need some advice.

Does anyone have both a demanding job and a spouse who wants all of your attention when you’re at home? How do you find a balance? How do you stay sane?

This weekend is a birthday party for one of my friends. I’m sure I can rally and be in a good mood after work on Saturday for this party. I can always rally for a holiday or birthday, but there won’t be any more of those until the middle of next month. I guess I’ll just cross my fingers and hope things calm down at the job.