If you’ll forgive me, I’m a bit exhausted right now. Also, I believe my system is still trying to flush out the last of the whiskey. I had quite a time over the weekend. I know what you’re thinking and no, it wasn’t my average bender. It was the wedding of Bryan Schools.
I was the best man, so on Friday I got out of work early to meet up with my girlfriend and head down to Richmond, Virginia for the rehearsal that night. The wedding was at The Jefferson, which is alleged to be the swankiest hotel in town. From what I saw, that held up.
We only ran through the rehearsal once, and somehow, all of the groomsmen and bridesmaids were able to get it down pat on the first take, like Frank Sinatra. Sure, all we had to do was walk in and line up in a symmetrical way with the ladies. But it was a lot to remember. For example, we had to remember to keep our hands clasped in front of us. This was very important.
What was more important than the rehearsal was the rehearsal dinner. We got to chow down on roast beef, shrimp the size of my middle finger and of course, an open bar. The cake (which apparently is called the groom’s cake, I don’t know if this is every rehearsal dinner cake’s title, or if Schools just wanted to name something after us) was the logo of the Boston Red Sox. I nearly cried when they cut it.
After dinner, my date and I parted ways. She, back with the bridesmaids and bride, and I with the groom, the fiancee of the maid of honor, Andrew, to Schools’ father’s place. There, we continued our somber celebration for the big day by drinking more Jack Daniel’s, only this time with just a splash of Coke in it. After a few of these, we hopped in the hot tub, because really, on the night before your wedding, what is manlier than sharing a hot tub with two other dudes, drinking whiskey and beer?
I ended the night on an air mattress, Schools ended his night curled up on the bathroom floor and Andrew hit the couch. Surprisingly, the hangover gods were on our side, and despite all the alcohol and dehydrating effects of the hot tub, we were able to stand.
By the afternoon, we were checked in to the hotel and the groomsmen were gathering in a board room, where we were served sandwiches and beer. I don’t know what they were thinking giving us alcohol again. Best of all was Anchorman playing on the television on the wall. Eventually we were convinced to put down the beer and get into our tuxedos. Even though we weren’t allowed to have liquor, I snuck in a flask, and Schools and I had one last shot before his wedding.
Ushering people in is really awkward. You basically have to ignore any man walking in, and only focus on the women. You then take them to their seat, and they just sit where ever they want to anyway.
When the ceremony began, we were all in our places. The bride, Brooke, as radiant as ever, was walked in by her father, and there we were. The bridesmaids on the left, the minister and Schools in the middle, and the groomsmen lined up on the right with hands in front, looking like soccer players blocking a penalty kick. The ceremony went off without a hitch, until we realized someone didn’t light the two candles which are supposed to light the unity candle. Being the honorable maid of honor and the best man of honor that we were, the two of us grabbed matches and hit up the candles just in time.
The reception was also at the hotel, which worked out, because no one had to drive. When the bridal party was introduced, I was at the very end, so I couldn’t hear many of the introductions. What I can tell you is that my entrance music was “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphys, and I ran down the line, giving the rest of the bridal party high fives like it was a basketball game.
When I signed up for the job of best man, I knew it meant I would have to be somewhat sober for the speech, but what I didn’t know was that my speech would have to wait until just before the cake was cut. So I sat there, nursing my wine as we ate, watching my girlfriend enjoy her bottomless wine glass. The things I sacrifice for friends. The worst was when the meal was over, the music kicked on–and the bar opened up. So now, I’m watching friends and family of the couple ordering as they please (this includes several friends from college, we call ourselves the Booze Team, guess what we’re known for?) while I sat there refusing drinks. Finally I persuaded Schools to move up speech time. He understood the need to drink.
I won’t quote my speech, or say how great it was. I’m not that guy. I will tell you that one of the main points of the speech was that Schools is stubborn until you offer him alcohol. The whole place nodded knowingly.
From then on, I was on a mission to inspect the bottom of every Jack Daniel’s bottle in the place. When they shut down the bar, we all headed out to a bar–the groomsmen now wearing T-shirts with tuxedos on them, but still in the tux pants and shoes.
We were about to order a round of car bombs, when suddenly it was last call. In Richmond, they close at 2 a.m., and at Capital Ale House, this apparently means 1:30 a.m. We pleaded, begged, probably cried, but we were not served that final round. Instead, we slinked off into the night. I can only assume everyone made it back.