‘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…

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Battle of the Bridezilla. “We’re gonna need a bigger Best man.”

My numerous Wedding day ‘coordinator’ roles tend to arouse curiosity. The minute I tell people that I’m a Bride Wedding Negotiator (BWN), they want to know what it’s like to talk to people who are flirting with absolute desperate scenarios that could de-rail into a crisis at any second.

Since I was 22, friends, family and onlookers have encouraged me to jot down my chronicles over the last decade of working within such intense pressurized combat zones and share the lessons I have learned in convincing unstable people to down their weapons and surrender peacefully. I have gathered intelligence and established protocol in bargaining approaches, high-risk taking, crisis negotiating and evacuation procedures.

The Bridezilla is what is known in the trade as a Catastrophizer. They can be very unhinged, erratic and can explode without warning. Alone, they can be managed with tact (avoiding additional stress such as ‘not’ sharing the Stag Do stripper war stories of the Groom), by using positive language (the power outage with the knackered Marquee generator will only add to the ambiance), managing emotions of the Bride (exiting stage left), having contingency plans (Spa days, Chick flicks, “Look over there” and any other possible distractions.)

Having a strong and reliable Task Force around you is the best form of advice I can offer. If you have patience and creativity within the Task Force of people around you and the collective willingness to ‘do whatever it takes’ to diffuse the stress bomb that is the Bridezilla; then you are as ready as the maiden cliff top flight of a Barnacle Goose chick. The usual suspects are the Groom, Ushers, father of the bride and anyone who you would trust with your last Rolo. It’s of the up-most importance to adopt the patience of William Wallace. “Hold. Hold. Hoold. Hooold. Hoooold. NOW!!” Then chop the target down like the ‘Warrior Poets’ you are.

The Bridezillas of the wedding world are few and far between. You are more likely to come across a Bride who is a legend for 99% of the time and then when you least expect it their meticulous plan will hit a pot-hole on the road to the big day and you will have a ‘Wild Cat’ on your hands. (Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver and save the Groom to-be like you’re diving on a rogue grenade to save him.) The Bride’s I have had the pleasure of being a Best man or Usher for have been totally chilled, minimal stress and we’re still talking to this day. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’. Be prepared, stay safe and if in doubt, stop, drop and roll.

As always take a look at ‘our services’ if you require any assistance.

Coming up – Best man experience number two. Speech highlights of a fun-packed, free reigned crack at the Best man title.

Next Blog Mother In Law

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…