Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “wedding planning

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.

 


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.


Back to the Grind

The day that shall forever be known as “The Day I Didn’t Become Infamous For Starting A Strep Epidemic” preceded a day I barely remember.

I was so damn sick, y’all. It’s not even funny. I acted like a whiny little bitch all morning, and the wonderful man I married put up with it.

He asked if I wanted soup, and of course I did. He offered to go buy me Progresso soup. I was hurt that he’d suggest canned soup to me when I had an amazing recipe for chicken noodle soup.

So I whined that I wanted my soup recipe, and he offered to go the grocery store and then cook it for me. I laughed incredulously at the thought that he could make home-made soup.

I’m so damn rude sometimes. But the husband acknowledges that even with me talking him through each step from the couch, something would likely go wrong.

At this point, I had no intention of getting off the couch. Feeling as horrible as I did, my raging hunger finally got me up off the couch and to the stove. I drugged myself up really good so I did no coughing, sneezing, or sniffling over the soup.

The soup was delicious and totally worth the worsening malaise. The husband rubbed my lower back for me after we finished eating because he’s the best.

The next 30 hours after that are a complete blur. I took medicine and mindlessly watched episodes of Misfits. It’s this British show we get through Hulu Plus. Crazy sci-fi weirdness and lots of slang I don’t understand, but I love that show!

When it was time to go back to work, I felt better. I’m still working on getting rid of this cough, but at least no one in my family got sick. I let my co-workers know who was the lucky winner in the Who-Got-Me-Sick Sweepstakes. I’m just glad I didn’t get the flu or strep throat.

So now I’m back on a three day string at work. Working hard and keeping pace with the constant change has become and every day part of life. At this point, we don’t even get whiplash when something major changes. But I will focus on the positive and be grateful that I don’t have one of those jobs that is the same day in and day out. Monotony blows.


Going Down The Aisle And Back Again

Divorce and marriage are swirling all around me now. The husband and I are just fine. We’re better than fine actually. No the divorce and the marriage have nothing to do with us. It’s just all the people around us.

If I’m counting right, I currently know of three separations/divorces in process. And I know of, as of last Saturday, five engaged couples. The reason this stands out to me is that all eight couples were at my wedding, and only one of the couples had their current status at that time.

Engaged Couple #1: Dr. & Dr. They came to our wedding as an engaged couple. They met while in medical school. The guy went to college with me and my best friend/my best man. They have an interesting relation that causes mixed opinions amongst those who knew him before they got together. Their wedding is later this year, and it will be a lot of fun since it’s down in Hotlanta. I’m mostly just waiting to see if I’ll get an invite. I got a save the date-ish, so we’ll see.

Engaged Couple #2: Heading for an Island. On a double date we went on once, they discussed wanting to move to Hawaii, which is where the woman’s family is from. She’s an artist, and an amazing one at that. She designed our wedding invitations and the husband’s CD cover. He’s a teacher and jazz musician. I’m quite sure their kids will be gorgeous, and part of me is already plotting on marrying off one of my kids to one of theirs.

Engaged Couple #3: Might As Well Get Married. I met this couple during my ill-fated years in med school. He was in law school and she was getting some sort of Master’s degree. They ended up breaking up and they ended up back together. Again, mixed opinions. But they seem really happy at the thought marrying each other. And their wedding is also will be a blast.

Engaged Couple #4: Actually Getting Married For Real. The guy was one of my best friends for years. He was one of my bridesmen at my wedding. He and his girl have been off an on since college, and they have been going strong for years now. She has mellowed him in a way it took me a while to get used to. They seem so happy together. And if anyone was going to get him down the aisle, it’s her. They’ll probably get married on an island, which will definitely be fun.

Engaged Couple #5: The Just Right Marriage. The guy was the husband’s best man. They’ve been friends since they were young. They were in a band together in high school and that band has since had reunion concerts. I can’t think of anything clever or snarky to say about it because honestly I just enjoy their music, so someone please crack a joke about it on my behalf. His girl is amazing. Their kids will be gorgeous and she loves him to death. Plus, I think he just really wants to have a wife. How lucky that when he decided he wanted to marry, he had the perfect girl in front of him?

Now on to the divorcing couples. I’ve actually decided to only write about two of them. The third is something that isn’t common knowledge I have no idea if certain people I know read this blog, so I’m not even going there.

Divorce #1: The Joyous End. The man is one of my close friends who I’ve known since we were kids. He was also my other bridesman. That’s right, I had three men standing up with me. His soon-to-be-ex-wife is this chick he met at a party a handful of years back. She was everything he’d always wanted, she just also happened to possess some extra qualities he didn’t want. Things really went downhill after their wedding in April 2012. Yup, their wedding was in early 2012. The only thing all his friends agree on is that since they’ve separated, it’s like getting our friend back. The change was so gradual, we kind of forgot all that happened that took him so far from the person he was. Perhaps he bounced back so quickly because they weren’t married long.

Divorce #2: Why’d You Even Get Married? This couple wed in August 2012. I make a habit of not going to weddings of marriages I can’t in good faith support. I let myself get convinced to go to this one because of the travel time between the ceremony and reception. That meant one thing: party bus. Since it was a cash bar reception, the drinks we bought did supply most everyone in our range at the reception. Good times. But back to this divorce. This man is a walking party, and his bride is so not. There was some cheating, some lack of bill paying, and a thought towards a My Best Friend’s Wedding type intervention in the days before the wedding. Either way, they ended up getting married. She ended up regretting it. I ended up going back to my assertion that I really shouldn’t go to the weddings of the people I don’t think should get married.

It’s weird when we think about all these weddings we may potentially have to go to in the next year. Only one of them is for someone who is one of my close friends. And their wedding will likely take place somewhere the husband and I can’t even afford to travel to. The rest of the people are friends of the husband or the best friend.

But it’s really the divorces that are getting to me. These people all had their weddings the same year I did. There were a bunch of weddings at my church during 2012, so the track record really isn’t all that bad. It still gets to me though.

As a newlywed, I can’t imagine ending my marriage. The husband and I have had some serious ups and downs since we’ve been together. As angry and hurt as I was when it happened, I still can’t imagine separating. If anything, all the strife has only confirmed we’re supposed to stay together. I likely would’ve divorced, maimed, and/or ruined any other man had we gone through the same things.

What makes a marriage fall apart that quickly? I just can’t wrap my head around it. If you suspect your guy is cheating, why still get married? I think one’s parents would prefer losing a deposit and dealing with that over paying out the full $25,000 to pay for a wedding and then having nothing to show for it but a divorced daughter a few months later.

The other thing I’m also thinking of is the fact that none of my girls are getting married. Sure, one of my close guy friends is getting married, but that’s different. I want to plan a bachelorette party and a bridal shower. I want to pass on the bridezilla sash they made me. Statistics swear that black men aren’t getting married. I know five who are getting married. We just haven’t found any to marry my friends yet. They’re working on it though. Kudos to them for not settling because then they’d end up like Divorce #2.