WEDDING DAY

I honestly didn’t realize how much effort and energy is expended by people in an actual wedding party until my friend’s wedding on Saturday. In the past, as a guest, all I’ve had to do was RSVP, buy a card and gift, show up at the ceremony, show up at the reception, eat, and drink. That’s so easy. If you’re actually involved in the wedding, it’s more like doing all day marathon. It’s exhausting!

The night before I checked into a hotel with my friend the groom. We did this because the first of two tea ceremonies would be at the same hotel at 9am in the morning. I only got five hours of sleep that night since we were busy with last second preparations for the big day. My friend had it even worse. He was so amped up from all the running around and worried about missing some vital detail that he was restless for almost the entire night. It didn’t help that I snored. He said he got about 30 minutes of sleep.

Our alarm woke us up at 7am, so we could have plenty of time to get ready. Since we are dudes, it didn’t take us long to change into our suits. We actually had to wait nervously for about 25 minutes in the room as we waited for the signal to go to the massive suite where the bride’s relatives were waiting for us.

Just after 9am, we were given the ok to the suite. The tea ceremony there was for the bride’s family. It was the biggest and longest tea ceremony I’ve ever seen. Usually these things take about ten minutes and include only the immediate family. This one was about an hour-long. There were so many family members there.

After that was done, the bride, groom, maid of honour, myself, the wedding photographers, and a few helpers then drove from the hotel to the groom’s parents’ house to do their tea ceremony there. That was about fifteen minutes of driving. The tea ceremony there was quick, taking probably less than ten minutes. There were some light refreshments served afterwards. We couldn’t linger too long because we then had to go to a golf course club house to prep for the wedding ceremony.

It was another 15 minute drive to the golf course for setup of the guest book, meeting with the officiant, last-minute consult with the event planner at the golf course, and setup of the music system. The bride also changed into her wedding gown at this point in a private room. Did I mention that I had both the rings at this point? I’d been carrying them all morning from the time we left our hotel room to the golf course. My biggest nightmare was that I’d somehow lose the rings somewhere and somehow.

We had about an hour to set up before the start time of the ceremony and guest began to filter in almost immediately. For a 1pm start time, people were cutting it really close. Some people were too late because the wedding procession was about to begin and there was no way they could get to their seats without disturbing it.

As for my turn in the procession, I’d practiced it before and people told me to slow my walk down. I tell ya, I knew I should go slow but when almost 200 people are watching you walk, you get nervous and you just speed up. The ceremony itself went without any major problems. My nightmare here was that I’d somehow get light-headed and pass out in front of everyone and ruin the ceremony. I did not do that. The only slight hitch was that I had a little bit of trouble getting one of the rings out of the leather pouches they were stored in.

After the ceremony ended, the guests were directed to the next room where light snacks, cake, and champagne was served. The food came out almost immediately, which was very impressive. It was at this time that people could also get photos taken with the bride and groom.

After about an hour of mingling, the wedding party had to go out to get pictures taken. The couple decided to go out to Steveston for their photos. It’s a beautiful and quaint part of town by the ocean. You have to remember though that on Saturday, there were torrential rains and gale force winds out. It was also very cold. The bride and groom were forced to be under umbrellas almost the entire time for their photos. They were out there for almost two hours when the lack of sunlight forced them to stop.

It was then off to the restaurant where the reception was being help to set up there. We had about an hour before dinner was served. We had to set up the table cards, seating charts, video slide show, and a GoPro camera.

This was the last event of the day but I still had to make my best man speech and toast. When the guests arrived and dinner was served, I was happy to be eating some delicious Chinese food but that only meant my speech was coming up. I think my speech was three courses in. As they were clearing away the second course and getting ready to serve the third course, I could see the emcee giving me the signal that I would be up soon.

I had sorta practiced my speech the week before but I wasn’t really worried about the execution of it. I have no problem with speaking in front of large groups and I have a lot of experience with that. My only worry was the content of the speech. Would people find it funny or entertaining? Would it wind up being just a big inside joke that only the groom and I would understand?

It was too late to worry about that because I was introduced to everyone and I was up. The words just flowed, I paused when necessary, and worked the room as much as I could. To my relief I did get a few laughs and I got to the end where I toasted the bride and groom.

It was such a weight off my shoulders once I was done and could sit down again. I drank a whole glass of wine in one gulp. That was my last major responsibility as the best man. The rest of the dinner was quite relaxing after that.

Being the best man for my friend’s wedding was definitely an honour. No best man should ever take that role lightly. It will require effort, planning, some inevitable stress, and patience. You are there for the groom and you need to do anything that’s required to make the wedding go smoothly. I’m not sure if anyone else will ever ask me to be best man but I sure learned a lot about wedding this time around.

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