Man Up

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The big day is approaching and suddenly you’re feeling the nerves – that’s because you’ve never done this before. Calm down, read this, be prepared
‘Chuck away the protocol and make sure you use your speech to thank everyone, including the best man and ushers, mums and the bridesmaids, and give them all a lovely gift’

Be punctual
Obviously in films it’s hilarious when the groom is in the best man’s car on the morning of the wedding, trying to get dressed in the passenger seat, racing through traffic. It’s less hilarious in real life when your future mother-in-law is waiting at the church gates. So get there on time, and be sociable for 20 minutes or so before the bride arrives.  

Be groomed
Don’t experiment with facial hair today. Seriously, not today. If you’re a beard person, that’s fine, but a surprise hairy face on the day of your wedding is going to make your about-to-be wife feel like her dream wedding photos have just gone up in flames. Plus you’ll probably regret it in years to come. So unless you’re sure, stick with shaven. 

Give guidance
Yes, your ushers and best man are supposed to be there to help you, but the fact is, they don’t know anyone, they haven’t been involved in any of the arrangements, and now they’ve got lots of people looking at them in expectation. So give them some tips on family situations, introduce them to people, tell them what they need to do, and let them know the schedule. And if they still make a mess of it, then you can ridicule them. 

Look happy
It is not okay to look like you’re being dragged reluctantly through this wonderful, brilliant, amazing day. You need to be engaged with what’s going on, positive about it all, and accept the fact that you’re going to have your photo taken a lot. Just smile and have fun.

Dance
Not just the first dance, but all night. Oh, and by the way, if your future wife suggests learning some kind of routine, and maybe introducing some kind of Dirty Dancing moment, this is the point at which it’s perfectly acceptable to put your foot down. You’re not Patrick, she’s not Baby, the guests are not an audience.

Be nice
It is fun to hang around with your friends near the bar, taking pats on the back and popping outside every now and then for a cigar, but it’s antisocial, and other guests will start to think the bride has made a mistake. Talk to relatives, friends, friends of friends – everyone made the effort to be here and brought presents, so display gratitude and social skills. 

Speech!
The best man gets the tough job when it comes to the speeches – the expectation is he will make people laugh, but not in the wrong way, and without offending anyone, and without any in-jokes... Basically it’s impossible for him. For the groom, however, all you’ve got to do is say nice things about your wife, which hopefully isn’t hard. The thing to remember is to be honest, personal and avoid any vague ‘she’s so lovely’ guff.

Give thanks
It was all about you (and the bride of course), but lots of people put in a great deal of effort (and possibly money) to make sure that it was the best day of your life (which it generally is). So chuck away the protocol and make sure you use your speech to thank everyone, including the best man and ushers, mums and the bridesmaids, and give them all a lovely gift.   

Don’t get sozzled
You don’t want to have any regrets, so stay relatively in control, limit the early drinking, and have plenty of food and water. Once the speeches and food are out of the way you can relax a bit. However, remember that even after the reception has finished, and after the guests have left and you’ve retired to your room, you still have wedding night duties to perform.

Published in: January 2016

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