The Bride’s journey to body beautiful.

In my experience in the roles of being a Best man and an Usher it’s unbelievable how much pressure is on the Bride in particular to look her best on her Wedding day and as a general rule the Groom can rock up, don a fancy suit, brush his locks and his work is pretty much done. There’s also an abundance of pressure for the Bride to look her best for the Wedding photos which will serve as a snap-shot reminder of the day until death do you part from your Hubby-licious. Therefore the last thing you want is for a framed picture of your Wedding day to be placed on your mantelpiece as a safety precaution to scare any kid’s away from playing too close to the fire.

In life we have two routes to our goal; commit and go the distance or look for a shortcut. When it comes to lasting results in terms of body conditioning there is no such thing as a ‘lasting’ short cut. In order to give all you beautiful Brides-to-be out there the best advice possible I have picked the brains of gym owner, Personal Trainer and all round top bloke Josh Griffiths of JG Performance. Josh’ gym is situated in Three Cocks, near Talgarth in Mid-Wales. He has been running High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Boot Camps for the last few years. (HIIT training basically means working hard in short bursts of vigour sandwiched with recovery periods) They involve Boot Campers committing to three 45 minute weekly sessions over a period of a month. Josh recommends that if you want to make significant, noticeable progress you must commit to at least 12 weeks of HIIT training and clean living. He champions positive long term lifestyle changes over quick fixes.

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Training

Before you even begin Josh emphasises the importance you need to ask ‘What am I trying to achieve?’ and to be SMART. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and work to a Timescale) At the Boot Camps Josh uses a combination of calisthenics (Body Weight exercises) such as squats, crunches and skipping married up with Kettle-Bell exercises, shuttle runs and all things High Intensity. The benefits of a Boot Camp is that you have contemplated the idea, now you’ve paid your hard earned cash committing you to a month’s camp and motivation will be on tap as you will be a member of a team of women who all have a common goal. Josh pointed out that one of the main factors to making the most out of this training opportunity is the camaraderie that develops within the group dynamic. ‘Sisters are doing it for themselves.’

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 Clean living

From a nutritional point of view Josh suggests eating a protein based breakfast and post work out proteins and carbs and always keep hydrated. If you’re sessions are early morning efforts then Josh suggests using an Amino Acid supplement with breakfast because your body is still fasting as you haven’t eaten since the previous night and you will end up burning muscle tissue instead of fats which undoes all of your well-intended hard graft. Nobody is suggesting that you live like a monk and ‘It’s all about the gains, about the gains no Vino.’ In moderation Alcohol brings lowered inhibitions and a temporary stress relief to proceedings and in excess it comes with empty calories, dehydration and hangovers. Clean living and HIIT training successes come hand in hand. What you put into the Boot Camp is what you will get out of it.

In a nutshell

Be SMART with your goals. Decide if it’s long term health improvement gains you’re after or a short term journey to look good for the framed Wedding photo or for the Honeymoon Instagram poolside and Cocktail Bikini ‘Belfie’. Hydration is vital to good health. Avoid the caffeine in energy drinks, tea and coffee. Depending on your current physical shape you will need (at the very least) 12 weeks ideally with a consultation with a Personal Trainer, take the Boot Camp challenge and most of all take the HIIT.

Find out more information on JG Performance here 

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.

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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.

‘By the power of Grayskull’ pay attention to Best man Speech preparation.

Before you tackle the components of a Best man speech such as clarity, pronunciation, volume/projection, timing, topics and natural flow it’s wise to prepare as best as possible (See 7 ‘P’s. Journey to centre of morality blog). Not everyone is comfortable with public speaking and this can breed negativity if you allow it to. From the world of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy this frame of mind is best described as a ‘NAT’. A ‘Negative Automatic Thought’ (Aaron T Beck). It’s the negative contemplation that your Best man speech is undoubtedly going to be an utter and total shower of scheize. It’s the whole ‘Glass Half Full’ philosophy which you need to adopt. I attended a Solution Focused Brief Therapy seminar several years ago and as a result of that one day I deleted the word ‘But’ from my vocabulary. ‘But’ implies possible doubt and is ambiguous. For example if you say “I’m going to try my best with the speech but if it goes wrong I’m going to look like a penis and ruin the day.” As long as you plan and prepare the Best man speech in ample time and follow the advice I give then you will be a success. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? You’re not going to die up there and the vast majority of guests will be rooting for you to do well. If you cover all the bases I’m about to share then you will be successful. Hakuna matata.

By nature I tend to mumble like a drunk octogenarian who’s awoken abruptly for the Queen’s speech when I talk and can speak very quickly when I’m excited to share something; particularly concerning naughtiness. All I do, is slow my pace down and pronounce each word clearly. On the run up to the speech I record a practice run and watch it back to assess if there’s any areas I need to improve upon. In upcoming blogs I will give you 3 separate examples of different Best man speeches that I have given over the last 10 years.

The 5 basic breakdown points of a Best man speech is as follows :-

  1. Compliments.
  2. Thanks.
  3. Share how and when they met. Include funny memories of them together.
  4. Share stories of Groom’s Childhood, Teenage years and adult life.
  5. Toast the new couple.

It’s best to approach this plan with the ‘SMART’ principle.

S – pecific

M –  easurable

A – ssignable

R – ealistic

T – ime related

Specific

When complimenting during your speech. Focus on how amazing the Bride and Bridesmaids look today (You may have to use a little artistic license at this point sometimes) Remember to congratulate the Flower Girls and Page Boys on a fantastic job if any are involved. This is an ideal time to perhaps read out any Wedding Cards from relatives who couldn’t make it or raise a toast to absent friends or family. Run this past the Bride and Groom so that you have the accurate information.

In terms of sharing how and when they met it’s best to use specific occasions and milestones to give a little extra sincerity and meaning. Include funny anecdotes of them together. Focussing how they met and ‘fell in love’ is a great jumping off point. Share memorable (ideally funny) stories of the Groom’s childhood, teenage years and adult life.

Measureable

I would initiate measuring from two angles. Firstly look at the overall timescale from being asked to be Best man and the Wedding day. Trust me if you do an Ostrich and bury your head in the sand you are just turning the heat up on the pressure cooker. Be proactive and have the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ written down as soon as you can. Then use the SMART principles and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt.

Secondly I have found that around 10 minutes is ample time to cover the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ in your speech.

Assignable

If this amount of time seems like an eternity then I would encourage you to tap up other members of the Wedding party to ease the pressure. Some examples are allowing the Groom to say a few thank yous; perhaps the Chief Bridesmaid/sister would like to say a few words or read a poem or one of the Ushers may have a story they would like to share (They could speak themselves or write it down for you to relay). As long as you’ve covered the 5 areas then it’s a job well done.

Realistic

Just because you’ve seen another Best man speech of an elaborate dance routine or show tune number it doesn’t mean you have to compete. If you fancy a crack at the ’Title’ then all you have to consider is the preparation time and the skills required. If you can implement a musical number, a slide-show or something that goes above and beyond then I recommend that at points 3) or 4) are your times to shine. Sandwiched by Thank yous, compliments and the concluding Toast.

Timescale

This underpins your whole planning stage from being asked to be Best man to the Wedding Breakfast. You can view the time you have in the know as time to worry or time to plan. See ‘7 Ps’; ‘5 Basic Breakdown points’; ‘SMART Principles’ and most importantly think positively. When I have the meat to the bones of my plan I tend to record myself on my phone video recorder a week or so prior to the big day to see if I have open and relaxed body language. If possible look up from your notes occasionally and look toward the Bride and Groom to give a personal touch. Above all the most important elements to your speech after you have settled on the contents is the ‘Volume’ and the ‘Clarity’.

If you’re having ‘sleepless nights’ over your speech then worry no further as we provide a speech writing service for Grooms, Best men and for the Father of the Bride. Check out our services for more information and you will be back to your regular REM before you can say “I’m pushing an elephant up the stairs.”

Coming up – Handling pre-speech nerves. How to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.