One of my best friends is getting married in a week, and I was given the honor of Best Man, but it’s always confused me what this specific job is. Although I suppose the maid of honor has it hard, putting up with the brides stresses, sorting out the morning and making sure the bride’s make-up, hair and dress are ready in time. I am thankful that my morning as best man comes down to a quick McDonalds breakfast before the wedding. But it’s always confused me what exactly does a Best Man do!
Of course when you are asked to be Best Man the first thing that comes to your head is the Stag do, which we celebrated almost a month ago dressing the groom-to-be in a sassy Princess Leia costume (AKA Princess Lay-Her). After all that spending, drinking and general messing about the speech is what you think about next, and is what really starts to daunt on you!
The first fear that comes with any speech where it’s almost mandatory to add humour is, “Will they laugh?” and it is a growing fear amongst all Best Mans across the world that may not consider themselves humorous. One thing that is comfort to me is that
1. People will be slightly tipsy.
2. High off the endorphines of the day and;
3. People tend to laugh at anything in fear of being rude.
Some best pieces of advice to me was, to bring your personality out, be straight to the point and just write your speech like its a conversation between friends because that’s when people are most humorous. Another piece of advice, which was possibly the best advice was to have someone there as a ‘laughing cue’ because when you hear someone laugh at these events, you laugh along with them, it’s rude not to. I’d perhaps don’t want to do that, because that would be cheating!
Another thing that comes to any wedding role, is ‘What is Tradition?’ and ‘What is done today?’. These lines seem to blur, no one seems to know exactly where people sit, the order of speeches and who does what. Traditionally the Best Man never gave much of a speech, a few words about the new couple first, then they would read out mail and messages from those who couldn’t attend, thank those you did attend and thank the Bridesmaids. Then during minglin, he would decorate the marital car with cans and ribbons ready for their departure.
In America the tradition will go further, in the states it’s common for the Bride and Groom to leave for their honeymoon during the reception or close to when it’s finished. The Best Man would, few days prior, have their luggage, passports, credit cards and any other belongings to pack in the marital car (and also pay for the marital car) as well as decorating it accordingly. He would then pay for the hotel reception and ensure every guest has transport for going home, and pay for that transport if need be. He would pay any fee’s that needed to be paid cash-in-hand on the day (like flower deliveries, choir boys, organists, etc). Unlike the Bride’s father that would pay for everything that needed to be paid in advanced. – Boy I am glad I’m not American!
In England before Stag culture in the 16th century, the Best Man would pay the ministers fee, it would also be an odd number for good luck, he would also ensure that when the Groom left for the church he had everything he needed, because once on-route turning around was bad luck. Best Man would usually pay any outstanding fee’s, but these are not his main responsibility. His main responsibility was to actually assist in the kidnapping of the Bride, and to protect the Groom from harm if the Brides family wish to fight back. If the family retrieved the Bride back, the Best Man would pay the ransom fee to the Father of the Bride, which was usually given to the Bride.
It’s funny how traditions change, but it’s also a very good thing! Nowadays a Best Man may never do a speech (if there is a best man at all) and a lot of Best Man duties are tailored on what the Bride and Groom want, rather than passed down traditions.
On that note, hoped you learnt something, I sure have this past week sorting out a speech.
I’d like to end on Congratulations to Hannah Smith (soon to be Murray) and Joel Murray, their wedding is on 16th July 2011.