PICKING THE BEST TEAM

With the six nations in full swing, the business end of the football season approaching and best men all over the world frantically planning stags, I thought it apt to focus on how multiple best men can really help or really hinder each other.

In these modern times it's not unusual for a groom to choose two, three or even four best men.  This comes down to a number of things, the fact that people are less likely to stay in one place all their lives these days, different experiences create different friendships and this is represented by choosing best men who cover the different phases of your life. As a generation of men we are also a lot more sensitive and emotional and are simply not cut out for the cut throat decisions our Fathers and Grandfathers made concerning who was getting the gig. Thirdly, quite often several heads are better than one when it comes to the immense responsibility that goes with organizing a stag these days.

Our choices of best men tend to cover the different aspects of our personality. We've all got the solid, dependable mate who is always at the end of the phone if we need them and has stopped us making numerous horrendous mistakes over the years. Then there's the mate we phone when we've just been paid and want to start drinking as soon as possible and ideally end up in a stolen pedalo hammering down the Thames. Ideally there's also the mate who fits somewhere in the middle between those two.

I have shared a best mans role a few times and luckily I was very good friends with the other guys. However, I've attended many a stag where the best men have failed to agree on things and it's made the whole process a lot more complicated than needs be. It's important to remember that the most important person in all this is the Groom to be. They're nervous enough about the stag as it is and they don't want to spend the first night holding two of their best friends apart whilst dressed as a Chicken.

As illustrated by the famous occasion Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer came to blows on the pitch, pressure can do funny things to people who are thrown together. Organizing a stag is difficult, people flake out at the last minute, get ridiculously drunk at airports and often act like five year olds as soon as they have to do something they don't really want to do. As a joint best man you need to rise above all the drama and remember that it's a few days out of your life but hopefully one of the best experiences your friend will ever have. It's important to put differences aside and focus on the important things, like how you are going to get twenty five Smurfs into a club!

SINGLE BUT PETRIFIED TO MINGLE

It's that time of the year again, the Christmas tree has been packed away, Short Circuit 2 is no longer on every half an hour and the days of having a Quality Street breakfast and a Pringles lunch are consigned to history.  It's also highly likely that your facebook timeline is being besieged with photos of smiling, shrieking couples pronouncing their Christmas engagements . Of course you're happy for your friends ( well maybe not for Tom and Carol as Tom is SO not right for her, but that's another story) but as a mid thirties singleton it's perfectly natural to have a quiet reflection and then two bowls of Vienetta whilst screaming "When's it my turn!"

One of the worst things for me about this time of year is the constant flow of articles that suggest you should be out there chasing your dreams, smashing your targets and approaching every male/ female with a pulse. For some reason we are programmed to pressurise ourselves to the point of exhaustion that when we wake up on the first of January we will be a new person. All of our quirks and insecurities will be packed away with the fairy lights and that rank jumper your Nan bought you, replaced with a bulletproof, achievement machine. Apart from wanting to shed a few pounds and eat some more greens, nothing sums up this unrealistic life transformation more than peoples expectations when it comes to love.

  As always the worst thing you can do at this time of year is compare yourself to others. Everybody has that well meaning friend who seems to get chatting to a potential future husband/wife wherever they go. The type of person who makes you feel like a Monk because you managed to go to farmers market without hooking up with at least three people. I've got several mates who make Will Smith in Hitch look like Adrian Mole.Smooth talking, men about town who get more tinder notifications in an hour than I do cards on my birthday. The one thing that never fails to amaze me when I speak to them is how they actually find the time for all this romancing? Surely other things must get in the way?working, sleeping, watching Modern Family in a onesie? Fact of the matter is, everybody is different and somethings come more naturally to people than others.

If someone asked me to go and give a speech to 200 people tomorrow it wouldn't overly bother me. However, if someone asked me to approach a beautiful stranger in a cafe and start talking to her I would be hyperventilating to the point of collapse. It's always baffled me when people talk about how much they enjoy that side of single life, for me nothing fills me with quite as much dread as when I am out for the evening with a mate who enjoys 'going on the pull'. I'm sure there are people who manage to naturally combine chatting to attractive strangers with a night out with mates but I am definitely not one of them. 

I wouldn't have been involved with as many weddings as I have if I wasn't a massive romantic. I've had the pleasure of hearing how plenty of relationships have started since I've been doing this and it fills me with hope that some of them have started with an awkward, bumbling conversation in a WH Smith. For all those looking for love in 2017 I salute you and wish you well, remember though, there's a lot of people in the world. There's a lot of different ways to meet someone and it doesn't mean you are going to live out your days with a hundred cats if you haven't got four phone numbers by the end of February.

Be kind to yourselves and remember................staring at someone on a bus will only work if you are on the set of a romantic comedy. In real life it will just make someone uncomfortable. Good Luck!

 

 

SEE YOU LATER 2016

Unless you were a huge fan of Leicester City,didn’t much care for being part of the EU or you’re Donald Trump, I think it’s fair to say that this year has been pretty rubbish.I’m sure that I’m not alone in hoping that 2017 brings a lot more positivity.

Therefore I wanted to use my last blog post of 2016 to thank everybody who has contributed to making this such a great first year for theweddingspeechguy.  A couple of years ago I was stood in the pouring rain outside Earls Court exhibition centre, holding a bag of disintegrating flyers that I had attempted to hand out with various levels of success.  It turns out that standing outside the national wedding show is a great way to meet Brides and their Mothers, but not as handy for targeting nervous best men.  I remember sitting with a pint whilst ringing my now useless flyers into an ashtray and wondering whether there actually was a chance of making this speech business work.  Roll on a couple of years and what an experience it’s been. 

I don’t think I will ever be able to match the excitement I felt when the first speech request came rolling in. I vividly remember reading the email I got back from the satisfied client at least fifteen times, before checking my bank account to make sure the money was definitely there! Over the last year I have written speeches for weddings as far afield as Australia and Las Vegas, got to know the life stories of some amazing people and received some fantastic feedback from satisfied customers.  I had the honour of working with the guys at Flashlight TV to produce our award winning advert and met a lot of other really interesting people who are attempting to turn a particular skill or passion they have into a career.

Without doubt the best part of this year has been sending a finished speech to someone and knowing that instead of dreading the wedding, they’re now frothing to get up there and deliver their speech. I can’t describe how much enjoyment I’ve got over the years from seeing a room full of people smiling and laughing at something I’d written. To be able to give someone else that feeling is pretty amazing and something that I hope I’m able to do for many other people in 2017.

I can’t end this blog without thanking all the people who have helped turn an idea into an actual business. Lee Gant, Danny Lewis, and Phil Stubbs for cheerfully handing out badly spelt flyers in the rain, Katy Fox for pointing out the mistakes in those flyers,Scott Mason for all the website help, Simon, Ross and the team at Flashlight for the amazing video, Dai Naylor for all his support as always and last but not least John Ulyett who I think about everyday and was a massive, massive help when I wondered whether it was worth trying at all.

Oh, and to anyone who has read the blog, retweeted a tweet or emailed me and asked for a speech!

Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year!

BEING THE BIGGER PERSON

Unless you have been living in a tent in rural Antarctica for the last month, you will be painfully aware that the next president of America will be Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. There hasn't been much room for mutual respect or professionalism in this campaign and both sides have pulled no punches in trying to discredit the other. When the cameras are off it's highly likely that Donald and Hillary pop on their onesies and watch the Kardashians together, but in the public eye at least, their distain for each other shows no sign of slowing down.

When it comes to relationships, the odds are stacked against us finding someone who gets on with every single friend or family member we have. Most people tend to grudgingly accept their in laws into their lives and do what they can to avoid spending every christmas shivering in a spare bedroom in the middle of nowhere. When it comes to our best mates it's a little trickier. With people choosing to get getting married much later in life now, our best friends have often been the most important people in our lives for longer than we can remember. When someone comes along and threatens that relationship it can lead to bitterness and antagonism that makes Donald and Hillary look like BFF'S.

I've attended many weddings where there has been a very uneasy alliance between the best man and the bride, the maid of honour and the groom or everybody and the father of the bride. Throw into that mix a large quantity of alcohol and a microphone and you have a recipe for a punch up before the prosecco has been poured.

As tempting as it can be to use a best man or maid of honour speech to settle a long running score with your friends fiancee, in reality your only going to make yourself look insane. You might harbour a secret dream that your friend is going to see sense at the final hour and leg it down the aisle to freedom. In reality, that's as likely to happen as Trump and Clinton fist bumping and deciding to call it a draw. The world is made up of very, very different people, some of whom you will get on with, some you will be able to take or leave and some you hope will be eaten by a Bear. It's possible that one of the latter will end up marrying someone very close to you. In that case you need to take a deep breath, sink your body weight in booze and pretend that you are "really, really happy for them"

Unless they're about to marry Donald Trump. In that case you should probably say something.

BUILDING A STAG 4: SURVIVING THE STAG

A stag weekend should be one of the greatest pleasures a man experiences. Admittedly he will approach it with a sense of dread and probably not feel tip top for a good couple of weeks after it, but he should look back on it as a golden time spent with his best friends in the world.

As a best man it is your responsibility to ensure that this is what happens. Unfortunately, the path of the smooth stag is beset with many obstacles, the main ones being the other gentlemen who have been invited. Unless the stag has never ventured out of his street/ local pub it is likely that the lads invited will have varying personalities, opinions and drinking abilities. For some, the weekend will be about a few days away from the pressures of hectic jobs and raising young children, for others it will be about narrowly evading arrest, handing over large sums of money to strippers and drinking until their kidneys are on the point of collapse.

The most important part of the stag will be the first evening. Whatever you have planned for the next day, there is no way on earth that anyone will take it easy on the opening night. You will be faced with different stags arriving at different times from different locations and there will be a fair chance that some of the lads will only know the Groom to be. That’s why as best man it’s important to recognize who might need introducing to others and who is likely to try and take over the night if you let them. In short, you need to be like a football manager, and by that I don’t mean open to corruption and bribery. A good manager will know the lads who need an arm round the shoulder and the lads who will need calming down if you are going to have any chance of getting into a decent bar. You will also need to have a backup plan to turn to if things don’t go as planned and you are refused entry to your planned destination. There’s nothing worse than prowling round an unknown location dressed as Smurfs. People will get restless and agitated and the stag will pick up on all of this, increasing the stress on your shoulders. 

As the old saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ and this is never truer than on a stag. Be confident, stick to your guns and make sure that you enjoy it as well!