The history of the ‘Best man’ role. Sweeping a bride off of her feet, literally.

The ‘Best man’ is the King Dingaling of the Wedding train, make no bones about that. With this mammoth role comes immense responsibility. The Best man is the proverbial super glue that holds the wedding together. Just remember, a happy Bride stems the tide of a rough ride as long as you take pride, abide and guide or else prepare for your conkers to get royally fried. You can stoically and meticulously approach the role with individual gusto or you can swagger half arsedly through the motions, use a reputable stag company to take care of business and pay some smart arse to write your speech (see the good people at http://www.bestmanbeacon.com) and you’ll have more swagger than Jagger.

Back in a simpler time many moons ago when Monks had to drink Ale instead of water to avoid illness and an untimely, grizzly, demise the Best man role was as rough as a Woodpecker’s chin. The alleged origins of this iconic role originate from the Germanic Goth days of the 16th century. The Best man wasn’t selected because he was the only guy to befriend the groom to-be in University Halls; because he was funny; because he was the only one that the Bride to-be kind of liked or because he’s the longest serving friend. The Best man was chosen on his specific set of skills; particularly his sword ‘stabby’ skills and generally being the Rocky Claude Van Tyson dude of the village. To add an additional level of ultra violence the Groom to-be and Best man were accompanied by a band of shank wielding Ushers.

The reason behind this school of thought was that the romance that we guys are so sensitive and forthcoming with today, stood for sweet diddly squat back then. Pre Tinder, Moon Pig, Human Rights and Electricity days the bachelor would run his eye over the eligible lady folk of the village and if nobody tickled his metaphorical pickle then he and his Best man Rocky Claude Van Tyson would venture on a quest to neighboring villages to find a foxy, child bearing bachelorette. When a prospective wife was identified, the bachelor’s role was to snatch and grab her while Rocky Claude Van Tyson and his band of murderous men were fighting off her family and any other takers with their blades and by any general barbaric means available. The kidnapped filly had to always stand on the Groom to-be’s left hand side so that he could have his sword wielding hand free to fend off any wannabe ‘A-Team’ style rescue attempts.  Ah, young love. “Love is patient, love is kind, love is bashful to one’s head, love is kidnapping, love is gory and love is decapitating” Gore-inthians…

Just when you were starting to feel sick from the sugar rush of the sweet, sticky, romantic historical gestures. Another role of the Gothic Best man was to guard the ‘Precious’ wedding ring in a loco, malnourished, grey Goblin kind of extreme . He would stick to the Groom like faeces to a blanket. If anyone attempted to steal the ring, the Best man would chop the kleptomaniac down faster than the Groom to-be could say “Jog on you sticky-fingered plonker.”

So to all you Best men out there, thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to commit an assault, impersonate Golem, be involved in a kidnapping or to commit a mass cull to fulfill your duties honorably. Nowadays a winning plan would be to check out the modern responsibilities in previous blogs such as 24 hours Wedding day guide or Preparing for the Best man role

In a nutshell   

Marriage by capture occurred if there were no hotties within the shire. The Groom to-be would road trip to a neighbouring village with his hardest mate and the lads who were handiest with a blade and hand pick then acquire the foxiest chica in sight and fight off any opposing miffed relatives. The gang would then mosey on back home to tie the knot. True love conquers all.

As always if you’re a Best man, Groom, Father of the Bride, a Bride or Bridesmaid this year see ‘our services’ for speech writing.  Have a look at some of our previous speech writing blogs

Coming up

Happy St Dwynwen’s Day (Welsh Patron St of Love). Featuring romantic Welsh wedding proposals.

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‘Wedding 24’. 1 full turn of the earth on it’s axis. Most days blur into the other 364. Other days will be remembered until you gasp your last breath.

21:00 – 00:00 Wedding Day Eve/Lock Down

In my experience this goes one of two ways. Either the Groom to-be is contemplative, reserved and a tad pensive or they as reckless as a one legged, drunk Rodeo Clown. The latter is tricky to reign in. The last thing you want is a hung-over Groom so you have to have some restraint yourself and have a clear plan of attack. Where you’re going? How you are getting there and back? What time you are getting back to HQ? Having a big boy sleepover helps to keep the precious cargo in check. In ‘Alan Partridge’ styley; draw the metaphorical gun from the holster, knock the safety catch off, make sure there’s one in the
chamber and move and fire, move and fire. The Groom is disorientated by the clarity of instruction, the next thing he knows he is being bundled into a waiting car and escorted back to HQ. Mission complete.

08:00 – 10:00 The last meal as a free man. “Walking the mile”

What is your primary objective? By anyone’s minimal expectations you are to ensure that the Groom is stood at the altar, copusmentus, without an odour of vomitus, not blubbering like a teenage girl who has been on redial for an hour unsuccessfully trying to buy 1D concert tickets and in a calm and collected manner. To initiate this goal I would suggest a hearty breakfast as this could be the last opportunity to fuel up for several hours. Nobody likes a ‘fainter’ or a Groom’s stomach growling above the vows like Lassie beside an open mine shaft.

10:00 – 12:00 Preparation and briefing

Make it absolutely crystal clear to the Groom to-be that you appreciate that he is at an overwhelming crossroad and assure him that they have no idea how far you are willing to go to acquire their cooperation today. Especially if ‘Mr Cold Feet’ comes a knocking. Even if he is as wild as a caged nymphomaniac at a Jelly Wrestling Party you need to adhere to protocol and stick to your game plan. Don’t embrace too much down time, keep the ball rolling so that there’s no time to dwell on the inevitable and keep busy. Arrange for the Ushers to meet you so that you can all get suited, booted and dolled up. It’s imperative that you have the wedding rings in a safe place as the only thing you have to succeed in is to arrive with the Groom and the rings.

12:00 – 14:00 Establish contact. Target engaged        

Pre-arrange transport to the church/wedding venue prior to today so that there’s one less thing to remember. At the venue, accompany the Groom up to the altar and let the formalities take their course. You’re approaching the End Zone and can almost smell the Jaegerbombs, almost there.

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14:00 – 16:00 Initiate Speech. Go time…

If you adhere to the previous speech blogs (previous speech blog) and are adequately prepared then you will swagger through the next few hours. Once completed, drop tools at sundown after a hard days graft on site and blow the froth off a few well deserved barley pops, kick back and take some time to smell the roses. Touch Down and End Zone celebration boogie.

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16:00 – 21:00 Make hay while the sun shines brother

Your responsibilities are done and dusted. Joint operations will cease to exist on the same level as the days prior to the vows. The cake cutting and first dance will take their course. Sometimes this can be tough to take, as a new contact has taken over now, ‘The Wife’. They will represent the Groom on all their future endeavours and you will disappear more and more in to the shadows. “You are out of time.”

As always if you’re a Best man, Groom, Father of the Bride, a Bride or Bridesmaid this year see ‘our services’ for speech writing.  Have a look at some of our previous speech writing blogs

Coming up – The history of the ‘Best man’ role. Sweeping a bride off of her feet, literally. Nobody likes a kidnap…

The Vicar is HMS Wedding’s compass through iceberg country.

My experience of weddings as Best man, Usher and guest have made me realise the importance of the ‘forgotten person of the cloth’ who can rock a wedding like a star or can be a fun sucking abyss of blandness. Here come some tales of the good, the bad and the fugly..

One vicar was as worn out as a seasoned Pendine Sands donkey at the twilight of summer. He looked like a feral version of Mr Noel Edmonds. His breath hung in the wind after every syllable like a slap of a new-born’s nappy to the face. His jowly neck and liver spotted paws told a tale of time ravaged by the stresses of endless Sabbath responsibilities, judging village fete chutney competitions and he would clearly welcome the reaper’s bony hand putting him out of his Ground Hog Day misery. He was robotically efficient in fairness. No frills yet we knew where we all stood. This category of vicar are to be appreciated as stress will be minimal. Just lay back, close your eyes and think of the green, green, grass of home.

The stereotypical jolly Vicar is still alive and preaching like a good’un. I once saw him getting stuck in an arm chair, no word of a lie. He resembled an over-sized garden snail with a reupholstered withered shell. He’s a total ‘all-star of the cloth’. On one outing I was an Usher/bouncer outside the church door pre-wedding and the vicar and I were chatting to the Bridal troop as they arrived and his concluding words to them as he opened the door to the eagerly waiting guests and Groom were “Okay ladies. Tits and teeth. Tits and teeth.” He’s the Michael Jordan of vicars. He put us all at ease and swaggered off down the aisle like a gigantic, sassy cherub. Back of the net…

On another occasion the vicar was flat out grumpy. His sense of humour was as dry as a nun’s nasty. The wedding rehearsal for me is a great time to put the Bride and Groom to-be at ease, to establish a positive environment and reinforce a tree of trust. When the vicar tells everyone to hush up and hurry up as he wants to get back home to watch the Ospreys rugby match on telly you know you’re treading water with your dad’s wellies on. I don’t think he was cuddled much as a bambino. In fact I don’t think Jesus even loved him at all. I would go as far as to say that the bearded illusionist probably thinks he is a bit of a plonker.

My favourite vicar experience came when I was a Best man. He was a ‘Fonzy’ of a guy. Reasonably young, he liked to sink a few bevies on occasion and he was not preachy in any way shape or form out of God’s man-cave. On the eve of the wedding I ran a few potential dodgy jokes past him as I knew he was attending the wedding day in its entirety. (See Best man speech example) One of which involved a hidden tattoo the bride had of a seashell on the inside of her upper thigh. Rumour has it if you put your ear against it and listen extremely carefully you could smell the sea. The vicar laughed and high-fived me. He was a scholar and a gent from the wedding rehearsal all the way through to the ‘Chicken Dancing’ wedding night finale.

In a nut-shell

If you land an easy going, all-star of a Vicar then savour every minute and count your lucky stars. I guess it’s kind of like learning to kiss when you’re young. Sometimes you’re going to bang teeth or chafe your lips with a brace and then you get a good kisser, post Cherry Drop and it’s plain sailing/smooching. Perhaps you need to experience an angry or crusty clergyman before you can truly appreciate a cracker. My only Yoda like advice would be “Patient and open you must be and a good chance of success you will have.”

As always if you’re a Best man, Groom, Father of the Bride, a Bride or Bridesmaid this year see ‘our services’ for speech writing.

Coming up

’24 Hours’ – 1 full turn of the earth on it’s axis. Most days blur into the other 364. Other days will be remembered until you gasp your last breath. The Wedding day through the eyes of the guys.

The Usher’s Parable

I am going to share my adventures and the experiences that friends have had down the route of being an Usher/Groomsman. A ‘Parable’ is defined as – A story that is used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. I can’t fathom a more appropriate explanation of the Usher’s role. Arguably, bar the speech, this is a tougher job than being a Best man. As the Best man chills at the alter grinning like a Cheshire Cat with the Groom on the Wedding day cwtched up on their cotton wool wrapped pedestal, the Ushers are getting their hands dirty on the front line. The Ushers are doing anything from Car Parking duties; showing the guests to their pews; acting as the last line of defence by the church door in case a volatile ex attempts to rock up; to shepherding the guests for photos; to acting as a peacemaker should any evening guests get a little fighty; to even cleaning up the potty should an excitable, petite guest try to chug two bottles of vino on an empty stomach in an hour and leave ‘Exorcist’ style projectile carnage in her wake. It was like a scene out of ‘Nam’ and not Chelte’nham’.

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Last line of defence

The entire wedding expedition can be as unpredictable as a drunk Elk in an orchard long after apple picking season is over. If un-planned expect more cock-ups than in a Red Light District. If you are clued up on what is expected of you and are alert in case of any outlandish surprises then that will stand you in good stead. (See 7Ps blog) If the Best man is the Striker and in pole-position to score then the Ushers are the defenders at the back preventing any slippery attackers from hitting the back of their net. Initially you have the Stag Do juggernaut to contend with. The Stag Do (previous blog) can get unruly faster than you can say “Ow, that nipple tassel just hit me right in the eye.” Unless you’ve got a Best man who’s a total legend then be prepared to step up to the mark and help out when required. I’m not suggesting you do a ‘Donnie Brasco’ and snitch on all of the reveller’s shenanigans. I would suggest that if any ‘Loose Cannons’ (See blog) go Bat Turd loco then help the Best man out and reign them in a touch. On the Wedding week the best approach is to communicate clearly with the rest of the team so that everyone knows their roles. Weather that be directing traffic or ferrying around for last minute pick-ups at the Florists, Tailors and so on and so forth. If you avoid stepping up and taking on responsibilities expect to be as successful as the chat-up line “I like your eyes. Can I keep them?”

Too many bowls of ‘loud mouth soup’

On the Wedding day people are in the unusual scenario of being seated for an extended period of time, they’re dolled up in their best bib and tucker, have access to ‘free alcohol’ (to an extent) and are often seated with friends who they haven’t seen for ages. Inevitably some people will get excited. Enter Giggly Drunk, Tipsy Wipsy, Emotional Drunk, the Hulk Smash, Look at Me!! and the Projectile Canon. If you can go above and beyond and keep an eye out for the last three drunkard styles then you can avoid either separating fisticuffs, awkward moments or cleaning up the aftermath of projectile fine dining and ‘Time Travel Juice’. The most appreciated Usher involvement in my opinion is definitely if a guest plays the ‘Look At Me’ card. The Best man has a tough enough job with the speech so if someone heckles him in a menacing way it can be as awkward as Rain Man on a Speed Dating night. Be a metaphorical “excellent driver” and discuss with the other Ushers and Bridesmaids on a tactical pre-emptive strike.

In a nut-shell

Communicate with the Best man and Groom to make yourself aware of your expectations. Don’t get yourself stuck in a hole and try to dig yourself out. Get your ‘dancing daps’ on and live the Ushering dream.

Coming up.

Home weddings vs overseas weddings

‘Wedding Band of Brothers’ Best man experience number one for my brother. Sincere, safe and family orientated.

I shared this occasion with my brother’s Best mate who gave a great speech. One nugget he used which I have recycled was “We’re very lucky that the wedding took place at all today. Behind the scenes the Groom was admitted to hospital for a few days earlier this week. He was a patient in the Premature Ejaculation Unit. It was touch and go for a while.”

I find family wedding speeches are far easier as the guests are more forgiving, you know the majority of them and you have far more anecdotes and occasions to draw from. My brother had his roasting from the other Best man so my role was to be sincere and to welcome his missus into the family. As he is my elder brother I started by sharing that “I have known you all my life and always looked up to you. God knows why.” As the Bride and Groom had kids together I officially welcomed them to our family and shared that they have in fact been a huge part of our family for a while now. I thanked them for blessing us with my nieces and all the memories we’ve made together and will continue to do so in the future. One of my roles for the evening bun-fight was to keep an eye on my brother’s trousers of all things. His wedding suit trousers were a tad on the large side and he was constantly pulling them up. Then later on after a few sherberts my brother’s patience wore as thin as Bobby Charlton’s hair. He ‘dropped trou’ and stood at the bar chatting with guests with his trousers around his ankles. I sprinted over, pulled them up and encouraged him to sit the next couple of plays out and the job was a good un. ‘He aint heavy, he’s my brother with over-sized trousers’.

When it comes to family weddings you are likely to be way more clued up on the moral threshold of the majority therefore it’s easier to pitch your speech in terms of naughtiness. Compared to a wedding of a University friend where you may only be able to count familiar people on one hand, a family do provides a ‘safety net’ as you will know the bulk of the guest list and can already anticipate the ‘Wild Card’ guests and the people who you know who enjoy a bit of banter.

Hecklers

‘The Top Table Crew’ of the Bride, Groom, in-laws, Chief Bridesmaid and Ushers have been relatively kind to me in the past. Their heckles are the hardest to come back from as they are the Mafia family for the day. It’s an unwritten rule that you don’t mess with them on their day or you can expect to ‘wake up with fishes’ or next to a severed horse’s head. I’d advise avoiding any responses to ‘The Mafiosa’ like a Lemming should avoid cliff top picnics.

The ‘Single Table’ have been loose cannons for me in the past. There’s a higher chance that they’ve been throwing back Grand-pa’s old cough medicine, drowning their sorrows of a disillusioned vision that they will be eternally single and everybody around them are tying the knot leaving them snot-bubble crying up on ye olde shelf. Another reason that they are a ‘Heckle Risk’ is that there’s more horn on that table than in a Brass Band and in will strut ‘Mr/Mrs Look at me’. It doesn’t hurt to have a few witty retorts in your locker. A favourite of mine is “I remember my first beer” or “Have you run out of Crayons. Can we get them some Playdoh please?” or “I would insult you back if Mother Nature hadn’t already taken care of it.”

In a nut-shell.

Pitch your speech at an appropriate level which will allow for a few giggles and not cause any offence to any un-hinged individuals. We’ve all got them. If you disagree with me then I once again apologize as chances are very high that you are the token ‘Odd Ball’. That’s your journey and your journey alone. No need to drag the Best man along with you for the ride. God Speed… The last thing you want on the wedding day is drunk Uncle Nigel kicking you in the knackers for mentioning his toupee in the speech or Gam Gam writing you out of her will for a ‘Feeding the Pony’ comment. If in doubt revert to breaking bread with the Ushers and In-laws ‘to be’ and test the water a tad with a few topics that you are unsure of.

As always take a gander at ‘our services’ if you require a leg up.

Coming up – The ‘Usher’s Parable. This job can be harder than being Forest Gump’s Math tutor…

All you need to know to rock at being a Best man.

The premise of my forthcoming blogs are best summed up by one of my favourite actors, the late, great Mr Chris Farley from the film ‘Tommy Boy’. “You can get a great view of a T-Bone by sticking your head up a bull’s ass but I’d rather take the Butcher’s word for it.” In other words I’ll be your Butcher. You can ask lots of people, aimlessly search the internet for jokes and toasts or hunt on YouTube for hours of Best man speeches or you can save yourself a lot of time and have a gander at my blogs. Here you can get everything you need to know about organising a Stag Do, a break down on Best man responsibilities and advice on composing a Best man speech by looking at a variety of Best man speeches that I have composed in the past.

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been asked to be a Best man. This is either exciting for you or filling you full of dread. The way I look at it, it’s like being asked to ride at a Rodeo. You ride her until she bucks you or you don’t ride her at all. Just remember if you feel it’s too overwhelming you’ve always got the Ushers (Rodeo Clowns) to help you out. I hope my advice will be a beacon for you to achieve some sense in the wilderness that is the chaotic pressured world of being a Best man. More so, if you learn from my successes and cock-ups you will pull off all expectations in your stride.

I have had the privilege to have been a Best man on four occasions, an Usher on six others and I have written 6 Best man speeches. I am going to share all the pearls of wisdom I have learned through trial and error over the years. It’s a total honour to be asked to be the ‘Glue’ for the biggest day of a people’s lives. A day which they and their families will remember for the rest of their lives. No worries then… I’m going to share advice to ease the pressure so that you can be confident in knowing that all bases are covered. In future blogs I will share vital tips on arranging the Stag Do, writing a fitting Wedding Speech, handling inevitable bumps in the road from accepting the honour all the way through to making that final toast with a smile and a strut.

Public speaking isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. In fact I read an article recently where a poll of 2000 people in the UK shared that public speaking was found to be more frightening than the fear of ‘death’. Only the loss of a family member was deemed to be a more terrifying thought. With this in mind I will share my personal tips of what works for me and how best to relax on the big day so that you’re as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shaking like a defecating pooch.

The Stag Do is always a good craic in my experience as long as you tailor it to the Groom’s tastes. Obviously you have to take the Michael out of the Groom to an appropriate degree. There are many factors in this, dependant on what the Groom’s used to. I firmly believe that if you nail the Stag Do you will set the ball rolling in a positive light and this will build your confidence and the assurance in the all-important Bride and family members from both sides in your capabilities. This will inevitably ease the tension for your wedding day responsibilities. Destination, props, fancy dress, character assignation/itinerary lanyards, drinking games and activities are important in breaking the weekend up from a total alcohol fuelled haze to an agenda that is memorable and manageable. I have been on approximately 20 Stag Dos and I will share the ‘Dos and Don’ts’, places to go, how best to keep the Bride and Groom sweet and maintain your sanity in the process.

I will share the basic format for putting a Best man speech together so that you can add your individuality to it to make it your own. I will also breakdown the structure of a Best man speech for a variety of different weddings. I have been a Best man for my brother, cousin, a life-long close pal and a best mate. Each speech is befitting to the occasion. For example at my brother’s wedding I kept it sincere, welcomed my sister-in-law into the family and shared a few shenanigans from his younger years. A few wedding guest cards were read out. One of which was planted and shared a ‘Good luck today. We’re going to miss you. Love, all the girls from the Fantasy Lounge.’ For my cousin we rocked it Las Vegas style and duties were short and sweet, for my close pal I was given ‘free reign’ by both in-laws to play it how I wanted. One example of a gag involved a wind up involving a Sea-Shell tattoo on the inside of the Bride’s upper thigh. I shared that if you place your ear against it and listen very carefully you can smell the sea. I ran any dodgy jokes of that ilk (and there were a few more of those rascals) by the Bride’s dad and even the by the Vicar which was obviously vital to not collecting a royal beating on the big day and being banished by the church elders from the shire forever. My best mate’s wedding included an elder and religious contingent which required a monumentally different approach. I ventured upon zilch ocean life tattoo witticisms on this occasion. The speech required a prop-box, Shrek mask, Ukulele, Bongo and the four Bridesmaid’s assistance. I will share a link to this speech in all its glory.

I will also share my adventures down the route of being an Usher. Arguably, bar the speech, this is a tougher job than being a Best man. As the Best man chills at the alter grinning like a Cheshire Cat with the Groom on the Wedding day, the Usher is doing anything from Car Parking duties; showing the guests to their pews; acting as the last line of defence by the church door in case a volatile ex attempts to rock up; to shepherding the guests for photos; to acting as a peacemaker should any evening guests get a little fighty; to even cleaning up the Loo should an excitable, petite guest try to chug two bottles of vino on an empty stomach in an hour and leave ‘Exorcist’ style projectile carnage in her wake. Bless her.

Coming up

‘The Stag Do’. Tailoring the ‘Do’ to the Stag. Top 10 destinations judged on Cost, activities, drinks/prices, chicas, minimal drama, ease of travels, etiquette (Fancy dress, props, lanyards) Away leg and home leg. Live the dream…