In my 31 years of living, I’ve attended several weddings but never been in one. Now, in 2008, I find myself in the odd position of being a groomsman in Ernesto and Lae-Lae’s wedding in two weeks and being the best man for my brother’s wedding at the end of July. I’m excited but I don’t know what to do.
Specifically, it’s the latter that concerns me. It’s a honor and I’m happy with it and all, and I know, theoretically, that they’re not much for me to do. My brother organized the bachelor party—a Texas Rangers baseball game and a bar; no strippers—so that was off my back.
For me, it’s just a matter of keeping the tuxedo clean (easy), keeping the rings safe (easy enough) and making a toast to the bride and groom (oh dear god). As you can guess from the parenthetical statements, speechmaking is not my forte. I’ve been told, a decade ago, that I have a voice (and a body) perfectly suited for radio, but I’m sure neither of the words I will write nor the vocal delivery I’ll have when the time comes. I’m scoured YouTube for best man toasts, but the delivery and quality of camerawork varies wildly. They all try to be funny—the YouTube videos are like stand-up comedy tryouts—and generally toast the couple early on. Beyond that, there’s no consistency, and I need help in shaping this thing.
That’s where you come in. What advice would you give to a best man? What are things you’ve heard in speeches that ring true or false, or that you’d rather lose a kidney to science than ever hear again? What do you think is the appropriate tone? Would you recommend any books, movies, etc., that might help? Any assistance would be appreciated.
Out and about:
David Remnick profiles Phil Schaap—jazz historian, radio host, and Charlie Parker obsessive to the nth degree.
David Bordwell and Kristen Thompson argue the merits of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
CultureSnob announces the Self-Involvement Blog-a-thon.
A long, thoughtful interview with Nicholson Baker, in which he discusses his controversial Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization.