The Home vs Away Debate by Best Man Baz

Our Best Man contributor Baz from Best Man Beacon is debating the merits of getting married at home vs getting married abroad. It can be a difficult decision for some people so do read on…

Traditional Church Weddings versus eloping to an overseas paradise

This debate is as contentious as what’s best, ‘radiator undies’ in the winter months or getting a cwtch from your mum after you’ve fallen off of your BMX in your primary years? Let the deliberation commence.

Argument ‘for’ tying the knot off into the wide blue yonder

I’ve been a lucky sausage and attended a hat-trick of overseas weddings. I’ve toasted to the happy couples in Brisbane, Jamaica and Las Vegas. Being a Welsh man, the sun is as likely to be seen in the sky as much as a vegetarian is likely to be seen in an abattoir. Therefore a wedding in more tropical climates than in Abercwmnosun is a guaranteed people pleaser. “The sun isn’t everything” I hear you old fashioned partisan traditionalists say. Well, when you have a Mojito in one hand, you’re perched on a seat in a pool up to your waist at a ‘swim up pool side bar’ and scantily clad beauties are frolicking around you then I beg to differ. Jamaica’n me nostalgic mon…

Jamaica. Image Source

Jamaica. Image Source

Another winner is that a wedding abroad in my experience has been as relaxed as a melted Choc Ice. Particularly in Jamaica. Our airport transfer bus driver on arrival was more laid back than a broken deck-chair. He was the most chilled out man I’ve ever encountered. It was fair to say he hadn’t ‘shot the Sheriff’, however he had most definitely blazed up a ‘Fatty’ while driving the bus. A cliff top wedding overlooking the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean was one of the most stunning weddings I have ever experienced. Yea mon.

If I could personify the Oz wedding as a Sheila, it ‘banged like a dunny door’. It was epic. Once again I experienced an outdoor wedding, this time overlooking a pristine Golf Course near Brisbane. The traditional free bar was a humdinger and with my pastey complexion I stood out like a Bull Dog’s balls. As soon as the locals realised I wasn’t a ‘Pom’ they gave me a fair suck at the sauce bottle and many a bond were formed. This provided its own uniqueness. Another benefit of a wedding in foreign climes is that you can explore new and amazing sights. Home based weddings, as beautiful as they can be, can often blur into one another. A wedding abroad most certainly will not be forgotten.

Arguments ‘against’ flying the coop and keeping it gangsta in the hood

If you’re like me and you’re ideal temperature is 20 degrees Celsius, then being dolled up in your Penguin Suit while hotter than a mid-summer terracotta Otter in 30 plus degree heat isn’t the most comfortable of times. At least a home wedding provides a cooler climate so that you aren’t sweating like a Sumo Wrestler on a cross-trainer.

God's Country. Image Source

God’s Country. Image Source

It’s more inclusive to all. Apart from a wedding gift the guests don’t have to cough up an arm and a leg for a flight. Also, you don’t have to experience great aunty Gladys unkempt foliage in a bikini if you handle your nuptials in your shire.

In a nut shell

On a foreign encounter you can contain your guest list to a chosen tight knit squad, so uncle Plonker and aunty Wassock can fall by the wayside and chances are you will not need your umbrella-ella-ella.

Getting married in your shire will keep the traditionalists happy and you won’t have to guilt trip family or friends into spending top dollar on a jet away. Your ‘it’s insanity if it’s not Christianity’ relatives will be happy that you may choose to do the deed in the big man’s house. Mo wedding guests mo presents..

The Role of the Usher

Baz the Best Man has returned this week with some great advice on how to handle the responsibility of being an usher. Ladies pass your laptop, phone or other device to the men in your life (or the men in your wedding!) and just put your feet up.

Groomsmen - Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

Groomsmen – Image by Maria Farrelly Photography

 

The Usher’s Parable

I am going to share my adventures and the experiences that friends have had down the route of being an Usher/Groomsman. A ‘Parable’ is defined as – A story that is used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. I can’t fathom a more appropriate explanation of the Usher’s role. Arguably, bar the speech, this is a tougher job than being a Best man. As the Best man chills at the alter grinning like a Cheshire Cat with the Groom on the Wedding day cwtched up on their cotton wool wrapped pedestal, the Ushers are getting their hands dirty on the front line. The Ushers are doing anything from Car Parking duties; showing the guests to their pews; acting as the last line of defence by the church door in case a volatile ex attempts to rock up; to shepherding the guests for photos; to acting as a peacemaker should any evening guests get a little fighty; to even cleaning up the potty should an excitable, petite guest try to chug two bottles of vino on an empty stomach in an hour and leave ‘Exorcist’ style projectile carnage in her wake. It was like a scene out of ‘Nam’ and not Chelte’nham’.

Last line of defence

The entire wedding expedition can be as unpredictable as a drunk Elk in an orchard long after apple picking season is over. If un-planned expect more cock-ups than in a Red Light District. If you are clued up on what is expected of you and are alert in case of any outlandish surprises then that will stand you in good stead. (See 7Ps blog) If the Best man is the Striker and in pole-position to score then the Ushers are the defenders at the back preventing any slippery attackers from hitting the back of their net. Initially you have the Stag Do juggernaut to contend with. The Stag Do (previous blog) can get unruly faster than you can say “Ow, that nipple tassel just hit me right in the eye.” Unless you’ve got a Best man who’s a total legend then be prepared to step up to the mark and help out when required. I’m not suggesting you do a ‘Donnie Brasco’ and snitch on all of the reveller’s shenanigans. I would suggest that if any ‘Loose Cannons’ (See blog) go Bat Turd loco then help the Best man out and reign them in a touch. On the Wedding week the best approach is to communicate clearly with the rest of the team so that everyone knows their roles. Whether that be directing traffic or ferrying around for last minute pick-ups at the Florists, Tailors and so on and so forth. If you avoid stepping up and taking on responsibilities expect to be as successful as the chat-up line “I like your eyes. Can I keep them?”

Too many bowls of ‘loud mouth soup’

On the Wedding day people are in the unusual scenario of being seated for an extended period of time, they’re dolled up in their best bib and tucker, have access to ‘free alcohol’ (to an extent) and are often seated with friends who they haven’t seen for ages. Inevitably some people will get excited. Enter Giggly Drunk, Tipsy Wipsy, Emotional Drunk, the Hulk Smash, Look at Me!! and the Projectile Canon. If you can go above and beyond and keep an eye out for the last three drunkard styles then you can avoid either separating fisticuffs, awkward moments or cleaning up the aftermath of projectile fine dining and ‘Time Travel Juice’. The most appreciated Usher involvement in my opinion is definitely if a guest plays the ‘Look At Me’ card. The Best man has a tough enough job with the speech so if someone heckles him in a menacing way it can be as awkward as Rain Man on a Speed Dating night. Be a metaphorical “excellent driver” and discuss with the other Ushers and Bridesmaids on a tactical pre-emptive strike.

In a nut-shell

Communicate with the Best man and Groom to make yourself aware of your expectations. Don’t get yourself stuck in a hole and try to dig yourself out. Get your ‘dancing daps’ on and live the Ushering dream.

Best Man Speech Preparation: Pre-Speech Nerves

Our expert Best Man Baz is back this week to tell the guys how to handle pre-speech nerves.

When it comes to pre-speech nerves ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’

Read on to discover how to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.

The immense crippling nerves that are commonly associated with public speaking and Best man speeches in particular are one of life’s conundrums. Other bizarre universal quandaries are – Why is the ‘Letter S’ in the word ‘Lisp’? Why is the word ‘Dyslexic’ a high scoring Scrabble word? Why does Coke taste better out of a glass bottle than out of a can? No idea… Some things are just too loco to comprehend. It’s more annoying than the incorrect overuse of the word ‘literally’ or the incorrect use of the word ‘pacific’ instead of ‘specific’. Without being pacific this literally drives me nuts.

The best way of combatting ‘Best man speech’ nerves is to approach it like this: ‘If you always prepare in the same way you’ve always prepared then you will always achieve what you’ve always achieved.’ Therefore if you have a negative experience in memory then approach this speech completely differently and treat it as a positive opportunity and not like an Albatross around your neck. (See ‘7 Ps’ and ‘SMART’ in previous instalments.)

If you have crippling nerves regarding the speech then I suggest stripping everything down and approach the opportunity differently. If you’ve suffered from nerves on a similar occasion previously then try to remember your body’s symptoms at the peak of the nerves. Common symptoms are erratic breathing, an increase in heart rate, sweating like a ‘Lady of the Night’ in Church and having the desire to drop anchor in Pooh Bay. How you feel (anxious, scared, trapped, isolated) and what you think (I’m going to have a mare; I’m going to be a laughing stock; everyone knows I’m petrified) both marry up together as a negative behaviour (Common bodily symptoms above). Nerves will be a thing of the past if you feel (excited, confident, relaxed) and think (What’s the worst that could happen?! I’m not going to die up here. I’m prepared. I’ll do it like I practised. It’s going to be a laugh and a chance to wind my mate up) then you will behave in a more confident, positive way and you’ll be in control.

An option which always chills me out is Yoga. I’m not suggesting for a second that you buy some incense, hug the nearest Oak Tree and start wearing Linen trousers. Yoga classes focus on breathing, relaxing and focussing your mind. Once you get used to it you will find ways of focussing your breathing and heart rate so that you can overcome stressful situations. Once you’ve overcome the misconception that Yoga classes are full of hippies and flatulent OAPs consider these two words. Yoga Pants… The whole point is to approach the whole ’Best man experience’ differently and in a positive way which works for you as an individual.

In bygone Best man speeches I have witnessed seemingly confident friends fall apart at the microphone faster than a counterfeit Optimus Prime. One Best man forgot to number his speech cards; he managed to drop them and cocked up his card order. He cracked on in a flustered, chaotic manner for 10 seconds or so and then had to sit down and the Groom tentatively had a crack at the title and save the day. It’s the closest thing to human Jenga that I’ve ever seen. The poor guy just crumbled and collapsed before our very eyes. (See ‘7 Ps)

Another Best man took Dutch courage to a whole new level. He drank so much he even sounded Dutch. “I’d like you to all be upshtanding for a toasht.” With a few ‘F – Bombs’ thrown in willy-nilly I can safely say that he was as much use as a glove on a foot. I always have a hip flask on go on the wedding day with my usual tipple of Mr Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum or Mrs Disaranno (other tipples are available). That way the Groom and I can have a cheeky slug to take the edge off if required. I find that a half a dozen slugs of Lucifer’s fiery sauce suffice. If this is favourable to you then remember to pace yourself, particularly if the speeches are after the food, it can be a long shift so take it steady and don’t peak too “Shoon”.

Coming up

An example of my first Best man experience.

Cwtchfest! DIY Workshops

At Cwtchfest! THIS SUNDAY we will be holding a series of DIY workshops that you,our lovely readers, can get involved in. Emma from Sylvie & Joan has organised these for us, with workshops from our Homemade Bride Kate, Best Man Baz and  some other lovely friends of Cwtch the Bride.
Here are all the times and details – many of the workshops have a limited number of participants so if you are keen to get involved make sure you are there early!
buy-tickets-here-1

When

11.30 – 12pm – Naturally Crafty: Jam Jar Favours
12.30 – 1pm – Baz Price: Best Man Speech Writing Workshop
1.30 – 2.10 pm – The Flower Hive: Buttonholes
2.30 – 3pm – Kate Petersen: Photobooth Props
3.30 – 4pm – All Sewn Up: Festival bunting

The Details

Naturally Crafty – Jam Jar Crafting
Upcycling Jam Jars is a stylish and cost effective way to add that personal touch to your wedding day. At Cwtchfest, Sam from Naturally Crafty will be demonstrating how to make a variety of venue decorations and favours from simple jam jars. You will leave the workshop full of ideas and inspiration to match your wedding theme. You will learn tried and tested techniques and have the chance to have a go there and then.
Sam Littlefair got married in 2014 and her DIY wedding featured on Cwtch the Bride. She now runs a handcrafted gift and wedding hire company, Naturally Crafty.
(Max 12 participants)
The Flower Hive – Seasonal Buttonholes
Would you like to learn how to learn how to design and make your own unique buttonholes for your festival wedding? Come and try your floristry skills using spring flowers and hedgerow foliage.
Eva is owner of The Flower Hive, based in Pencoed, close to Cardiff where she grows a wonderful selection of traditional cottage garden flowers  grown in accordance with organic and bio dynamic principles.
(Max 10 participants)
Flower Hive 1
Kate Petersen – Photobooth Props
Kate our very own Homemade bride will be helping you create your own selection of photo booth props for your wedding. This will help create some fun, different and relaxed photos that will help break the ice. From moustaches and lips to tiaras and bow ties, these props are sure to help guests smile and get silly for the camera.
Kate Petersen has worked in the wedding industry for many years as a hair and make up artist and maker of exquisite headpieces and beautiful bouquets.
(Max 12 participants)
All Sewn Up – Festival Bunting
Making your own bunting for your wedding day is a fantastic way of adding your own personality to the venue.  You could even arrange a hen party to get your best friends involved in making it with you?
At Cwtchfest, Helen from All Sewn Up will be demonstrating how to make simple bunting and will give you ideas and allow you to have a go there and then, by hand or by machine.  The All Sewn Up Workshops are based in Swansea, on the edge of Gower and run by award winning designer Helen Rhiannon.
(Max 8 participants)

If you still haven’t bought your tickets – hurry! There isn’t much time left!

buy-tickets-here-1

Best Man Speech Preparation, Part 2

Baz the Best Man is back this week with part 2 of his advice on tackling the daunting task of the best man’s speech. See Part 1 here for the 5 basic breakdown points of the dreaded speech.

Best man Speech preparation Part 2

Here’s my tried and tested format on how best to approach the big day like a champion. The ‘SMART’ principle.

S – pecific

M –  easurable

A – ssignable

R – ealistic

T – ime related

Specific

When complimenting during your speech. Focus on how amazing the Bride and Bridesmaids look today. Remember to congratulate the Flower Girls and Page Boys on a fantastic job if any are involved. This is an ideal time to perhaps read out any Wedding Cards from relatives who couldn’t make it or raise a toast to absent friends or family. Run this past the Bride and Groom so that you have the accurate information or risk making yourself look like a Brad Pitt (If you know your Cockney Rhyming Slang)

In terms of sharing how and when they met it’s best to use specific occasions and milestones to give a little extra sincerity and meaning. Include funny anecdotes of them together. Focussing how they met and ‘fell in love’ is a great jumping off point. Share memorable (ideally funny) stories of the Groom’s childhood, teenage years and adult life.

Measureable

I would initiate measuring from two angles. Firstly look at the overall timescale from being asked to be Best man and the Wedding day. Trust me if you do an Ostrich and bury your head in the sand you are just turning the heat up on the pressure cooker. Be proactive and have the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ written down as soon as you can. Then use the SMART principles and Bob’s your uncle and Fanny’s your aunt.

Secondly I have personally found that around 10 minutes is ample time to cover the ‘5 Basic Breakdown Points’ in your speech.

Assignable

If this amount of time seems like an eternity then I would encourage you to tap up other members of the Wedding party to ease the pressure. Some examples are allowing the Groom to say a few thank yous; perhaps the Chief Bridesmaid/sister/or a best friend would like to say a few words or read a poem or if one of the Ushers has a story they would like to share (They could speak themselves or write it down for you to relay) then hunkydory. As long as you’ve covered the 5 areas then it’s a job well done.

Realistic

Just because you’ve seen another Best man speech of an elaborate dance routine or Show Tune number it doesn’t mean you have to compete. If you fancy a crack at the ’Title’ then all you have to consider is the preparation time and the skills required. If you can implement a musical number, a slide-show or something that goes above and beyond then I recommend that at points 3) or 4) are your times to shine. Sandwiched by Thank yous, compliments and the concluding Toast.

Breaking into song & getting the bridesmaids involved

Breaking into song & getting the bridesmaids involved

Timescale

This underpins your whole planning stage from being asked to be Best man to the Wedding Breakfast. You can view the time you have in the know as time to worry or time to plan. See ‘7 Ps’; ‘5 Basic Breakdown points’; ‘SMART Principles’ and most importantly think positively. When I have the meat to the bones of my plan I tend to record myself on my phone video recorder a week or so prior to the big day to see if I have open and relaxed body language. If possible look up from your notes occasionally and look toward the Bride and Groom to give a personal touch. Above all the most important elements to your speech after you have settled on the contents is the ‘Volume’ and the ‘Clarity’.

In a nut shell – When you have your final speech write it down so that it is easy for you to read on pocket sized cue-cards and look after these like a new-born baby Panda. Number the cards and the public speaking world is your Oyster.

Coming up – Handling pre-speech nerves. How to be as cool as the proverbial Cucumber and not shudder like a defecating pooch.