Being the best man in my cousin Tim’s wedding was one of the most stressful moments in my life. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I accepted his invitation. However, I was excited as well. My wedding experience was picking up. Age of 14: attend first wedding. Age of 26: attend first friend’s wedding. Age of 27: be in a wedding.
WAIT! Be IN a wedding? I played it cool, mainly because I was busy with school. But, then, suddenly, I was boarding a plan to Minnesota and I hadn’t thought much about what being the best man required of me. I began Googling “best man duties,” which returned a variety of lists that turned out, looking back, to be wholly inadequate. The listed duties focused on ensuring the groom had packed his bags for the honeymoon. Well, there was no immediate honeymoon planned.
So, what do I do? My two big responsibilities were down to: (1) holding the rings at the wedding and (2) giving a toast prior to the reception dinner. That sounds easy enough, unless you know how bad I am at giving coherent toasts.
I spent all of Friday running errands with Tim, who appeared far calmer than I felt. He had his few things to do – pick up tuxes and the wedding rings, get a haircut, buy lighters, and buy new car tires. Here, I had thought that the day prior to one’s big day was to be spent in chaos, meticulously preparing for more chaos. But no, he had time to give me a tour of the city and make a decision between touring and mid-level summer tires. (He had driven over on winter tires, which, when used in warmer months, sounds like the car is unzipping the road.)
The rehearsal dinner was fine. I met my equal – the maid of honor who was the bride-to-be’s younger sister. The families chatted over pizza until we were shipped off to the church. I’m told this is all routine.
It wasn’t until three hours prior to the wedding that I began to stress. I didn’t – couldn’t – do much to change how things would play out, but I learned a lot in the process. Thanks to another of Tim’s groomsman, who possessed far more wedding experience than me, things went smoothly. I’m not talking about big things. I’m focusing on the minutia of the whole wedding day. I’m referring to guy stuff that smooths the edges. What I’m talking about is stuff not listed on theknot.com’s list of best man duties – mainly, cigars and cars. Gabe came through on the cigars and we arranged some cars.
Actually standing in the wedding was exhausting. All sorts of things were racing through my head: smile, don’t look at the bride’s maids for fear of crying myself, don’t annoy the bride, do I have the rings?, stand still, don’t fart, wow it’s hot, wow the pastor is talking forever, etc. I had my shoulders locked in such a way that they would be sore for three days. I’ve lifted weights and been less sore.
The DJ, who upon our arrival at the reception, was dressed in a leather vest, had disappeared along with the know-how of how to operate his microphone. Once that was smoothed out, I kept my toast short and not-too-awkward. The bride and groom are great people. It was easy to toast them. Plus, they had made the excellent decision of serving breakfast food complete with an omelet bar for dinner, so I wasn’t about to delay getting to that.
The experience was fun and it was an honor to be Tim’s best man. Perhaps from seeing too many movies, I expected a groom to have some jitters. But there was none of that. He was a rock because he knew he was making the right decision in marrying Olivia. That was cool to see.