How To Be a Best Man
by: matthew william isaac jared
As we get closer to Thanksgiving and the annual stare down between your family and your furry upper lip, I wanted to touch upon a subject that is probably flying through everyone’s mind of late, What the shit is up with all the marriages and engagements? My Facebook feed is like a running caption of “Say Yes to the Dress!!”
John Ryan (Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers) taught us a looooong time ago that it’s not cool to get married unless you have a piping hot Rachel McAdams at your arm and you are beating out “The Sack” for rights to said-dame. I hate to break it to everyone out there, but your folks are probably going to awkwardly talk about your friends who are getting married and your pals might be inviting you to join their wedding party. You might be lost, scared and alone without a clue of what to do next. Well, I was once in that boat of ignorant pigs who didn’t UNDERSTAND marriage too. Well, I kind of still am, but when one of my best friends decided to take the plunge earlier this year, I was called up from Busch League Bachelorhood to [email protected]%ing-center Best Man duty.
I wanted to recap the festivities from six months ago and fill everyone in on what it truly means to be a best man and how anybody can be a part of a badass wedding party. Although I thought marriage might not have been the best choice for anyone not living in a Quaker village, I soon came to realize that love trumps all. ***And it’s not okay to go around yelling, “Just a couple a kids who like to fuck trying to make it honest!”*** So here it goes, let’s learn how to be a best man so you know how to perform when your friends invite you to be a part of their special day.
EDITORS NOTE: I have intentionally left out all Bachelor Party tips. We could dedicate and entire arm of The Bro Journey to preparing folks for their respective bachelor / bachelorette parties, but we’ll just stick to wedding day shenanigans for this one.
1.) This is the bride and groom’s day
This is the number one rule. If you are going to be a best man or made of honor or random wedding guest, it is your duty to make their day amazing. Unfortunately, this includes telling the groom that his fly is down or his handlebar mustache would look like SHIT in the wedding photos. This would make YOUR life amazing. It really would. Can you imagine a life with one of your best friends who looked like an ass on his wedding day? So much great trash talking content! However, this day is not for you. It’s for the bride and groom and their families.
2.) Look Fly
Looking good kind of fits into the prior category. If the bride can have a suave looking group of groomsmen to show her kids pictures she will be pleased. If she has a scruff group of guys who don’t have matching ties and AREN’T wearing their bouquet things on the same lapel, well then the day is basically ruined. And it’s all the best man’s fault.
As the best man it is your job to make sure Cletus from high school, who hasn’t shaved his face in six years, at least has a few drops of beard oil on that thing and he MUST wear dress shoes. Chuck Taylors or other kitschy shoes are NOT ok unless otherwise specified by the bride and groom. However, once dance floor time has taken over then all bets are off and you can wear whatever you want. More on this in a minute.
3.) Don’t forget the rings, their vows, your speech AND the marriage license
That’s a pretty straightforward thing to remember. However, make sure you drop your knowledge on the marriage license / vows when there are bridesmaids around. I made the mistake of bringing it up when it was just the groomsmen in the “Dong Dungeon”, also known as our smelly hotel room where everyone hung out and was hungover. My fellow groomsmen were surprised as hell and they talked to the bridesmaids about it, therein stealing my moment of glory actually knowing what a marriage license WAS! Anyway, don’t forget that thing. ***It’s what makes everything legal.*** Make sure the rings are secured in your pocket and you have actually written one draft of the quintessential best man speech. Don’t forget number 1 here. Also, it would be a good idea to print out a copy of the vows if they have written their own. Make sure it’s in big enough font to see if you shaking from nerves. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it gets hot as shit up on that alter, help out your friends a bit on this one.
4.) Make sure the bride and groom are packed and ready for the honeymoon
This is another underrated move that you should use only around the bride’s father / rich relatives / bridesmaids. If you want to know if your buddy the groom is “packing” then the homies will think much different of you whilst ironically walking around with no pants on in the hotel lobby. Make sure the happy couple has sunscreen and at least a “pair and a spare” to make it to wherever they’re headed. Remember number 1 on this one too.
5.) Keep Everyone Calm
This is a VERY difficult task. Months and months of planning for this day have gone down by people you most likely don’t know who are helping the bride and groom out behind the scenes. Years and years of sweaty palms and awkward mornings have been built up so two of your friends and their families can enjoy this moment. Sometimes all those things stacked up can get people on edge. It’s best to stick to the normal topics when shit is hitting the fan and everyone is on edge. Don’t ever say, “Why are you doing this?” or, “Are you sure?” EVER. Plain and simple. Save that for the plane ride home when you can’t see straight and you blew it with the bridesmaid who knows a VC.
It’s your job to make this day go off without a hitch and talking about serious shit like that should be saved for the months leading up the ceremony. Stick to casual small talk where everyone has a mutual interest in the subject matter. Talk about “the game” or make sure that everyone knows you picked the Heisman winner correctly three years ago. Don’t start talking about mortgage rates or how your hosting costs are fucking up the ROI on that “killer app” you’ve been dicking around on for like nine years. Keep everyone calm and do your job as a wedding guest (refer to bullet number 1, please).
6.) Keep Everyone Drunk, Not Blacked Out (including yourself)
I heard nothing but grief from a few people before giving my best man speech earlier this year. I, of course, didn’t write down a single word and had the entire speech resting between my ears where I didn’t practice with a single person at all. I was drinking, but not drunk. Also known as the “have-one-or-two-beers-and-then-guzzle-a-bunch-of-water” move. I carried on that way into the night and performed at an above average level. Everybody followed suit until it was time to get nasty on the dance floor and we basically did whatever was necessary to elevate the party.
Don’t confuse “walking down the aisle” as a time to get shit-canned and stumble around with the potential of puking on Grandma. It’s your duty as a best man to make sure every other groomsmen isn’t pants-shitting-drunk and falling on Grandma. Give that lady a break, fellas!!! Also, don’t forget number 1 here, a wasted bride is an unhappy bride the next morning.
7.) Give a Good Speech
If you’ve been keeping notes thus far you should already have a copy of your speech (along with the wedding license / rings) in your pocket. If you actually are taking notes and don’t know how to give a speech, here are my tried and true public speaking tips:
Don’t be an ass.
Throw in the word, “passion” somewhere.
Refer to number 1.
Thank the people who bought your booze.
End with a joke.
8.) Dance Like Crazy
Nothing worse than a wedding where nobody is having fun and people are looking at each other waiting for one another to do something. This is your time to shine, look like an ass and send off your buddy into married bliss.
Whether you don’t believe in marriage, are happily married or are planning to get married one day there is one thing for certain, it’s never NOT hilarious when you ironically dance like your parents. Strike when the iron is hot and have some fun. I’d have to say that dancing like an ass is one of my strong suits and I really think I knocked my duty out of the park when it was my turn to be best man. If you suck at dancing, find Grandma and just twirl her around enough times to make it look fancy. (Don’t twirl TOO hard though. Those hips DO lie. Give the lady a break every once in a while.)
This day is about the bride and groom and showing your support for their love and unity. Make it worthwhile for them and cherish the friendship you have. My final advice for those who might be getting asked to be a best man this weekend, shave your ‘stache. Only this once though, all bets are off for reunions and other events taking place during Movember.