Tag Archives: wedding

be a good best man (part 1).

2 Aug

Like the groomsman, the role of the best man has been well documented.  The Knot and others have done a good job in making tidy little lists that will ensure your success in this oh-so-important role.  However, my job as your pilot on Grown Man Air is to do more than simply take you to your destination – I want you to think.  Gentlemen, please return your tray tables to their upright and locked positions – here are the tools you’ll need for being a successful best man:

-The Bachelor Party: One of the first duties you’ll fulfill is that of Bachelor Party planner.  Your groom, and presumably your best friend, deserves a heck of a party to celebrate his big decision to get married.  Did you notice how I put that?  “Celebrate his big decision…” NOT, “Say goodbye to his freedom.”  Do you see the difference?

A common mistake is that bachelor parties are some ridiculous tribute to the last taste of freedom and, therefore, involve excessive flirting, hooking up, or at worst, strip clubs.  Grown Men don’t go to strip clubs, ever.  And while this is a future post for another day,  it’s just important to know that celebrating marriage isn’t about tempting the monogamy gods one more time, it’s about celebrating a big decision in a man’s life and sending him off with a boat load of fun, class, and dignity.

Sadly, I found this pic. AFTER I wrote the post.

Having significantly killed the jovial mood, let me end the bachelor party section with this.  Best men, you all are the sole organizers of this shindig.  Have a discussion at some point with your groom and see what he’s hoping for. Then, execute the party planning with a type-a tornado of efficiency and delegation.  The groomsmen are the infantry and you’re the general – get those guys to help out with clearly defined, easy to execute jobs.  I can assure you that with the right mindset (celebrating the groom!) and some attention to detail, you’ll honor your friend with a tremendous bachelor party.  Also, don’t let anyone get tattoos that night.  Some fresh “bros before hoes” ink will not bode well with the bride.

-The Wedding Day: Here’s what happens inside of the groom’s head when he wakes up on his wedding day.  “Wow, why am I waking up in a hotel room?  Oh man, I’m getting married today!”…time elapses…flashes of standing at the alter… “I do”…Boom Boom Pow playing at the reception…leaving in a limo…hotel… “Wow, why am I waking up in Maui? Oh man, I’m on my honeymoon!”

Best men, the groom has a lot on his mind and really needs your help.  Your job is to be the attendant to the groom through the entire process.  If that guy wakes up and is dazed over by the bigness of the day, he needs to somehow end up at the church, in a tux, on time, with his overnight bag, the extra box of wedding favors, and the 2 zillion other little things he was supposed to remember.  Your job is to make sure that all of those things happen, with or without his full consciousness.

For the most part though, the groom isn’t the bumbling doofus I’m making him out to be. And usually, the most helpful function you can serve is to be the great friend you’ve always been.  The importance of hanging out and keeping the day focused and calm for your groom is paramount. On the wedding day, do whatever you’ve got to do to insulate that guy from any last minute craziness and make sure that he’s able to maintain the focus he’ll need to be able to stand on the alter and promise some pretty important things to a pretty important woman.  And, once again, whatever you do – no tattoos.

Alright fellas, this is the end of part 1. You may take a bathroom break now and prepare for part 2, where we’ll finally talk about the dreaded best man toast!

Ask a Grown Man: Vol. VII (Wedding Edition)

29 Jul

I’m shocked that I actually got guys to ask wedding questions!  Nice job, gentlemen.  Let’s do this…

Dear Non Man-child,

I am a grown man of 30 and so is my fiancée to be (30 yrs old, not a man), and we are wondering what the most appropriate way of telling future wedding guest, we would rather have cash instead of gifts?  We both have more than enough toasters, pans, plates etc and would rather take the money and run (due to age and stage).  Is there a nice and easy way to accomplish this without pissing people off and making me look like a D-bag?  Or am I going to have to spend the first six months of marriage making Target returns?

Love and hugs,

Cash Money Millionaire,

Oh Lord, you’re so ungrateful!  “I’m Luke, I don’t want my grandma to get me a punch bowl – my 40-year-old (male) fiance and I already have 50 zillion punch bowls! We don’t have time to return this stuff – we’re upwardly mobile 30-somethings that simply must be at every indie movie premier!”

Just messing with you, Mr. Skywalker. You’ve asked a solid question that I bet a lot of couples are afraid to ask, and I’m happy to answer it.

Cash as a wedding gift is likely the most logical present.  Really, it’s a win-win for both parties involved.  You and the Mr. can use it to buy whatever you may need, and you don’t have to fuss with non-registry duds, duplicates, or as you said, “six-months of Target returns.”  Additionally, the giver can simply stuff an envelope and save an exhausting trip to commerce hell.  Everybody wins, right? Well, kinda.

Giving a gift at a wedding is really for the giver.  People want to know that they’re supporting you and your spouse in your new endeavor.  While you could clearly accomplish the same means with cash, people get a vibe that maybe they’re just chipping in on that month’s rent – which lacks the sentimentality.  I fully understand why you and your husband-to-be don’t want another toaster, as it’s quite difficult to get Sandals Jamaica to accept a Cuisinart for your couples massage.  However, you may have to meet in the middle. Here are some options:

a) Register at a place that’s fantastic at returning merchandise (like Bed Bath & Beyond, not like Target – they’re literally the worst).  Then, when people inevitably don’t get excited about giving you money and insist on buying dip trays, at least you’ll be guaranteed cash for the return.

b) Spread the word among your family and wedding party that cash would be rad-tastic.  They’ll understand and, in turn, tell others. At the end of the day, the cash discussion is probably best served (and the least tacky) by having face-to-face discussions.  I really don’t think it’s good manners to put it in the invitation.

c) Register at a bank.

d) All of the above.

Luke, you’re in a hard spot that I bet a ton of people find themselves in.  You’ve got everything you need (“toasters, pans, plates, etc.”) but wouldn’t mind some start-up funding on your new enterprise.  And while I wish it was totally acceptable to go all cash, especially for folks like you and your groom (I’m not dropping this joke) who are well established enough as individuals that you don’t require most of what’s considered a wedding gift, we’re just not there as a society and I think you’re going to have to make some returns. Hopefully though, getting the cash conversation out there and registering with generous businesses will alleviate some of the burden.

Good luck to you and your lovely fiance! I’m sure she’s wonderful.

All about the Benjamin’s,

I’ve got a question for you, GM.

I asked my best friend to be the best man in my wedding – because he’s been my best friend.  Now that the wedding is approaching, he seems unsupportive and I don’t think he likes my fiancée.  How would you handle the situation in a classy way?  Is this something I should have asked him about before asking him, or should he have declined to be my best man?  I just feel that the person who is my best man should also be supportive of the wedding itself.

Kind sir,

This is one crappy situation.  I can’t imagine struggling with your friend and trying to honor your fiancée at the same time – I’m really sorry you’re having to deal with this junk during a time that should be anything but dramatic.

That being said, your friend must be politely taken to the woodshed.  I don’t know the back story of why he could possibly dislike your fiancée, but in the final analysis, you owe it to her to take care of this.  The final sentence of your question was spot-on.  The best man should indeed be supportive and have your back completely as you stand there with your bride – no exceptions.

Grown Fiancé, the classy way to handle the situation is do what, I presume, you already know you have to do – have “the talk” with your best man.  There’s nothing harder than taking a situation like this head on, but there’s also nothing more effective.  He needs to know how you feel, he needs to be given the opportunity to share his side, and at the end of the day, you need to both move forward in honoring your bride-to-be by making sure that this guy is 100% on board.  If you can’t see eye-to-eye and get him to a place where he’s supportive, then he’s effectively voided his best man contract and needs to be uninvited. You simply can’t allow that tension to be a part of your wedding.

I know you’ve got it in you to do the right thing. I’m sorry you have to do it but appreciate you making the first of many bold moves to fiercely defend and respect your wife.

Good luck,

That is all, Grown Men.  Until next Thursday, keep asking those great questions…

be a good groomsman.

28 Jul

Good day, Grown Men, and welcome to day two of wedding week! Today, we’re going to throw down the gauntlet for the groomsmen.  The groomsmen is likely the most misunderstood job of the entire wedding as it appears, at first blush, that there’s not much for them to do other than usher, stand, and party.  But I say, “Nay, groomsmen – you’re the infantry, the back up, the groom’s [dramatic pause] men!”  You’ve got an important role, and one that we need to discuss.

Here at You’re a Grown Man,  I try hard not to retread the same content that’s been written about, ad nauseam, all over ye ole’ internet.  Because of this stance, I’m going to just shoot myself in the foot and tell you that there are a number of good sources to get the specifics of the groomsmen job.  I found a solid one on TheKnot.com, but there are others if you simply ask Jeeves.  That being said, today I’m going to cover some of the lesser discussed points of groomsmen etiquette in order to advance the cause of nuptial knowledge (it’s sort of an alliteration, isn’t it?).  Here we go…

-Be supportive in bachelor party planning. While it’s typically the best man’s job to organize the details of the Stag Night, the groomsmen have multiple opportunities to step up and take some of the burden. In my real life, I’m in the midst of being a best man and planning the bachelor party. The other day, I casually mentioned to one of the groomsmen that we should go fishing as part of the weekend.  His immediate response was, “Awesome idea, my brother has a ton of gear, I’ll make sure he brings it, we’re set on fishing.”  Whew.  Thanks, groomsman!  Now I can focus my energies on more important things like figuring out how many PBR’s will fit in a Volkswagen-sized-cooler and where in the world I can get a child-size Wham! t-shirt for the groom to mandatorily wear all night.

-Be supportive in finances. Groomsmen-to-be, here’s what you’re going to need to pay for.
1-Your tux rental, suit purchase, or whatever the bridegroom tells you to wear. I pre-apologize if that chap asks you to buy some huge, frumpy, linen shirt for his beach wedding – yuck.
2- Your share of the bachelor party, pre-wedding party, or whatever the best man invites you to.  The best man should be very open about finances, hopefully he will be after reading tomorrow’s post.
3- Drinks and food.  If you see your groom heading to the bar or flagging down a waiter, you absolutely must intercept that guy with a “Oh hell no.  I’m buying.”  Grooms don’t pay for anything.
4-Anything else, within reason, that you’re asked to buy. If you get a text 30 minutes before the ceremony that reads “Oh shiz, I forgot…can u pick up shaving cream, a box of condoms, and shoe polish?” – do it.  And don’t ask for repayment – it’s just part of the job.

-Be supportive of the bride, bridal party, parents, pastor, florist, photographer, cookie table attendant, etc., etc.,. The days before the wedding, not to mention the actual day, are fraught with little details, changes in plans, and last minute freak-outs.  Every wedding has them, no matter how fantastic the wedding coordinator is – unless it’s J. Lo.  Anyhow, your role as a groomsman is to pay attention and help out as needed.  Let’s say you overhear one of the bridesmaids saying, “Oh no, I forgot my purse in the car, and it’s raining!”  Guess what fella, this is now your job.  Her updo won’t survive the downpour.  There are a zillion examples like this one that could illustrate my point.  However, I will leave you with this – pay attention to everything that’s happening and do whatever you can to make the day a tiny bit smoother.

And finally…

-Support the groom. Your main job, by far, is to make sure your groom is as care-free as possible.  This guy has got a lot on his mind and really doesn’t need to be focusing on anything other than that sweet woman who he’ll be meeting up with in a few moments.  Sometimes, support looks like sneaking him a little preview from the bar and having a laugh. Sometimes, it looks like saying “No way man, I’ll make sure your aunt has directions to the reception.”  Support can take on a lot of forms, but the overarching point that I’m trying to make is that it must be given.  The role of the groomsman is not one of simply attending and leaving, it’s one of doing the stuff that nobody got assigned and, usually, nobody is being asked to do.

Grown Men, be good groomsman – I know you can do it.

Tomorrow, the best man…

be a good wedding guest.

27 Jul

It’s wedding week here on You’re A Grown Man and I, for one, am really excited about this.  Every day I’m going to tackle one of the major roles a fella can play in a wedding (guest, groomsmen, best man, and groom). Also, we might have a super-special fifth post – oh the excitement!  In any event, it’s going to be glorious.

Grown Man, why are you pimping out your sick blog for an entire week!?  I hate weddings!

You can moan and groan all you want, but you’re going to have to attend a wedding at some point.  And, while I know you’d rather be doing literally anything other than jumping around to Love Shack for the thousandth time with a belly full of chicken or fish and a half gallon of bottom shelf beer, you’ve got to go.  Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiin roof – rusted (busted?)

Alright, leading off our series today is the concept that you should be a good wedding guest.  We’re going to do this in all bullet points because really, not much is expected of you other than to not be a doofus.  However, it is my civic duty to give you some specific pointers and save you from yourself.  Allow me to begin…

– RSVP, ASAP. Gentlemen, you disappoint people at every turn with your inability to return a call or email.  However, when you forget to do those things, it’s just impolite and usually not that big of a deal.  But when you don’t RSVP, your name remains blank on guest_list.xls and you become an increasingly heavy millstone around the neck of those who give a crap about place cards and wedding favors.  You may not understand how much work goes in to planning a wedding, but believe me – it’s a lot.  Répondez s’il vous plaît! Sorry to yell at you in French.

– Bring a gift. I’ve already written a beautiful and touching expository on this so I’ll leave it to myself to prove my own point.  Bottom line: You have no choice, bring a gift THAT’S ON THE REGISTRY.

– Figure out your own transportation and lodging. The bride and groom may be kind enough to include a suggested hotel in their wedding announcement.  But if they don’t, you really can’t call them and add your needs to their plate.  Again, they’ve got a lot to do and you’re a big boy who can figure out his own life.

-Never be the center of attention. “Center of attention! What ever could you mean!?” Oh, I don’t know: getting sloppy drunk, being loud, walking around and getting in the background of every picture, dancing a little too close for too long with the 15 year old cousin (yes, I’ve seen it), stealing all the disposable table cameras and taking 500 pictures of your junk (yes, I’ve seen it), signing the guestbook 15 times with names like “Gary Coleman” and “Your Balls” (yes, I’ve seen it), etc., etc.  It’s okay to have fun and yuck it up with your pals, but anybody’s wedding other than your own is not about you – it’s about them.  Be cool, broseph.

-Thank someone for the party. Somebody in that room paid for your booze, tiny mesh bag of dinner mints, and 55-year-old chronically depressed D.J.  You really should say thank you.  Customarily, the bride’s parents flip the bill and ought to be the recipients of your hearty hand shake and genuine (non-drunk) thanks.  However, you can always just play it safe and thank the bride and groom for their generosity.  It’s good to be grateful.

-Don’t leave too soon. Let’s say the reception is booooooring, and I mean really unbearably terrible.  Well buddy, you’re just going to have to wait it out.  Listening to awkward speeches in a gross VFW with terrible food is probably only comparable to the 6th or 7th circle of hell.  However, you’ve got to stay until the cake has been cut and served.  There’s no getting around it – that’s just the way it is.

Before we go, I’ve got one more…

-Keep your tie on! There’s something about the reception that seems to beckon men to ditch the tie and unbutton the top button.  This is not acceptable.  I don’t care if the ceremony is in Sub-Saharan Africa or you’ve just been challenged to a dance-off by freaking J.T. himself, you’ve got to remain fully dressed.  Your tie may come off when, and only when, the bride’s parents leave.  When they’re gone, the reception just turned into an after-party and, my good friend, it’s time to Watusi like it’s 1999!

That’s all for today.  Tomorrow, I shall take the groomsmen to task.

A very special thanks to @accessoriesdiva, @chrisstorms, @krisarruda, @mahfrot, @perpetualpeeve, @sholeh, and @joelrakes for the Tweets that gave a lot of good content to this weeks series.

give a proper toast.

13 Jul

There are a number of things I love about writing You’re A Grown Man: getting to be obnoxiously sarcastic, women emailing me saying that they’re going to “make” their boyfriends read the blog (sorry, man), and resurrecting nuances of etiquette that are being discarded.  Today, my good men, we’re bringing back a good one – the toast.

When I say toast, most of you mentally head to a wedding where the best man gets up  and brings the reception to a grinding halt .  “Oh man, you remember that time we said we’d marry the hottest girls ever!?  We were so drunk, bro! Anyway, I’m really glad you’re marrying Jenna – she’s very wholesome.” Nice one, chief.  And while the best-man toast has become abhorrent, that’s another 600 words for a different day.  Today however, we’re talking about the good-old-fashioned, couple of beers with a broseph on a Monday night, toast.

courtesy Life.com

Here’s what happens right now when you go out.  Your drink comes, somebody mumbles something, and the trough is open for business.  What we’re missing is the formality, the class, and the recognition that comes with replacing the mumble with a sentence or two that expresses warmth and gratitude.

“But Grown Man, I’m not as funny as you!  You would know the perfect thing to say! I’m just a dumb animal.”

You all know I make up these quotes, don’t you?  Anyhow, here’s what you do,  think of someone or something you’re grateful for.  For example, last night I did a toast for my friends newborn son.  I had just held the baby before we went to the bar and the little guy was on my mind.  So, I raised my glass and said “To Hank”, and my friend said, “Yep, to Hank” and we both had our first sip and thought for a moment about how pleased we were to know that baby.  The whole moment changed for us and a trendy craft beer became a shared experience between friends.  That’s what a toast does, it acknowledges that the time together is paramount and worth having a drink over.

Because I know you need structure and order, here are the rules:

1- Make the toast short.  We’re not doing a long, rambling, monologue about the finer points of life – we’re honoring someone or something.

2- Make eye contact.  If you’re with one guy, look him in the eye.  If you’re in a group, scan the table.  Go here if you forget why you should do this.

3- Spill away.  It’s supposed to be good luck if you spill a bit o’ the drink during the clank.  And, while I think there’s no such thing as luck, it’s just right for guys to bang the glasses.  Much like a hearty handshake or good slap on the back – guys aren’t meant to be ginger with each other.

4- Have a default toast prepared.  Sometimes, there isn’t someone or something that pops into your head when you raise the glass.  For just such an occasion, have one in the bag.  I usually use, “Eat, drink, and be merry” or “To good friends and good spirits”.  Or, if it’s the holiday season, I use “God rest ye merry, gentlemen.”  Oh man, guys love that one! It never fails to sound über-classy.  In any event, just think of one and share it with the class in the comments below.

5- The toast isn’t as vital on the 2nd, 3rd… 19th rounds – but it’s still a good move and will get progressively more amusing as the evening carries on.

Gentlemen, that’s all for today.  Give this one a try, I can assure you it’ll garner respect and admiration from those who you floor with your Grown Manliness.

“To Hank!”

ask for her hand in marriage.

9 Jul

It’s wedding season in America.  We’re in the three-month period where every airport is filled with young, doe-eyed couples who can’t wait to get to Sandals for, let’s just say, a lot of “mommy & daddy” time.  However, it’s also a time of year where many young men start realizing that if they want to be booking their own flights to Fiji next summer,  they better pop the question – soon.  Breath deep fella, it’ll be okay.

Grooms-to-be,  getting married is a great thing (assuming it’s to the right person).  And in the course of an engagement, you will take part in a million rituals, some of them formal (the engagement dinner) and some of them informal (pretending like you care about flowers).  But one of them, in my mind, is the most important ritual of all and it’s the first one you’ll encounter – asking for permission to marry your lady-friend.

Here’s why this practice can’t be lost.  Men are, by default, predatory.  It’s in our nature and it’s a good thing.  We use this instinct to push ourselves to do well in our jobs, to ask women out, and to refine ourselves to be better men.  The downside is that women, who are every bit as smart as men (actually much smarter) can get duped by us.  Now, I’m not being disparaging of women – it’s quite the opposite.  Men just have a way of presenting an amazing image for a long time in order to win the girl.  We know it’s true, don’t we?  When we’re trying to date a women, we’ll buy flowers and make mix tapes (I’m keepin’ it real) every freakin’ day.  But very often, once we realize we’ve hooked them, the flowers stop and the Memorex goes mute.

The reason we ask for her hand is marriage is because you can’t kid a kidder.  When you’re sitting across the table from a woman’s father, he knows you, he knows your tricks, and he’s been you.  Asking for a hand in marriage is the ultimate litmus test of predator vs. good man,  worthy of my daughter vs. worthy of my Remington, husband vs. con-man.

Thus far, the reasoning for asking for her hand has been focused on the negative.  In all reality though, this lost form of etiquette is usually an incredibly positive move.  For the most part, by the time you get around to asking, everyone knows you’re going to do it.  Typically, everyone likes you and this conversation usually is just you being classy and them feeling valued.  Truly, 99% of the time, this is going to be a great memory for you and her family.

Before we finish and go about our weekend, let’s address one more point.  Dads aren’t as prevalent as they used to be. Sadly, a lot of the wonderful women we’ll get to marry don’t have a dad to ask.  Here’s my advice:  Over the course of getting to know your bride-to-be, you’ll get a sense for the most influential person(s) in her life.  When it’s time to ask, ask those people.  It doesn’t have to be a dad, in fact, if she does have an awesome dad, I’d consider including her mom and/or most treasured friends in on this conversation.  Why?  Why not.  While you don’t want to ruin all the fun of her making the “I’m engaged” calls, you do want to make sure that you have all your bases covered and that the people who she treasures most are on-board with you.  Again, it’s just what a classy, Grown Man does.

And fellas, when you do get up the courage to ask for her hand in marriage, don’t be a turd about it.  Make eye-contact, tell them how much you care for her, don’t be afraid to show emotion, and say, “With your permission, I’d like to propose to [girl who’s about to book tickets to Fiji].”

Go forth and multiply.

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