I fly to Buffalo, N.Y., this week. Another old friend has opted to marry. As a groomsman, I have little responsibility: smile, usher and stay spry. At previous weddings, as a best man, the pressure of the speech always wore on me. Save for a few embarrassing tears, however, I stammered through the toasts better than this guy.
Without lecturing Brian, who has certainly been chided in the wake of his speech, he should have known the only steadfast rule of a wedding toast: Never embarrass the bride.
During his opening joke, when he compares the role of the best man to having an inappropriate relationship with Queen Elizabeth, the bride is left staring coldly. He then references the stripper at the groom’s bachelor party – an open invitation to be killed by a newlywed.
As he seems to pull it together toward the end, Brian says the couple’s “love is as certain as the destruction of uncle Franks’ liver.” The audience hoots and hollers. The bride-to-be is expressionless.
Another rule: never imply that the groom is gay, citing examples why, including the fact that his favorite actor is Brad Pitt.
And, just maybe, you can work an interpretive dance into the speech if you can recover like this guy, who is pretty funny until he says the bride actually has a crush on him.
It truly is the best part of the reception, the toast. Raise your glass. But before you speak, do remember: It’s all about the bride.
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