Fulfilling The Best Man Duties

I spent all of New Year’s Day writing and stressing out about my best man speech. My college bestie gave me a few good ideas the night before, but the evening was over before I could churn out even a first draft. With Lisa’s advice from months ago open in my browser, I spent many hours trying to come up with an overarching theme that would connect several small and seemingly meaningless aspects of my friend’s personality. The theme changed a few times before I finally stopped over-thinking and just wrote a speech from beginning to end. Both my mom and college bestie said it was good, so my first complete draft of my speech became my final and only draft.

My high school bestie invited me to stay at his house that night because he had the house all to himself (the bride and groom can’t see each other the night before the wedding). Figuring this was part of my responsibility as the best man (and I hadn’t done much else up to that point), I kept my friend company while he did some last minute work for the wedding. Right before bed, I went over my speech in my head a few times. I didn’t practice it out loud, but I made sure I knew the flow and the key words to stress.

The wedding had a morning ceremony with a lunch reception. The ceremony was held outside. It was very cold, and there was a forecast of rain for the day, so the ceremony was kept brief (but it was still lovely). The food was good, but I didn’t eat much of it because I was so incredibly nervous about my speech. Eventually, the DJ announced that the matron of honor and the best man (me!) were to give special toasts. I drank a couple sips of champagne (the only alcohol I drank beforehand) and went up to the mic.

Even though I felt extremely nervous, I tried to make my speech sound natural. I looked at my paper a lot (I had the entire speech typed out, not just highlights), but I made sure to look up every once in a while. I mostly looked towards the bride and groom, because I didn’t want to see how many eyes were actually on me.

I was surprised that the audience actually laughed at the funny parts and said “aww” at the heartfelt parts. At the end of my toast, my high school bestie (the groom) gave me a big hug and told me it was an amazing speech. Afterwards, I received a lot of compliments about my speech from both friends and acquaintances. Everyone said I didn’t sound nervous at all! Over the last couple days, my bestie has thanked me many times for my “awesome speech” and everything else I did for him before/during/after the wedding.

For months, I felt like I wasn’t doing anything to fulfill my best man duties. I dreaded everything about being a best man at first, but now I really feel honored to have been given such a title. I’m glad my friend thinks I filled the role well!

A special THANKS to Lisa for her great advice! Yay!

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Best Man

In other unrelated wedding news, my high school bestie is getting married! He and his fiancée got engaged a few months ago. His fiancée is furiously planning the wedding, even though the tentative wedding date is about a year and a half away.

I was hanging out with my high school bestie and his fiancée a couple days ago, and they informed me that I’m going to be the best man! They chose me a long time ago, but they neglected/forgot to tell me until now. My high school bestie also hasn’t told the other groomsmen that they’re groomsmen!

I’m honored and flattered that my high school bestie chose me to be the best man, but I’m already nervous about giving a speech at the wedding a year and a half from now. I hate public speaking!

Also, isn’t the best man supposed to plan certain things for the wedding, like the bachelor party? I’m going to be away at graduate school for the next couple years, so I wonder how involved I can be in planning anything. I hope I can just delegate the responsibilities to someone who will be around to help.

Uninvited Wedding Gift

My first college roommate and I never really got along. While we had nothing against each other, we never were very close either. The dorm room we shared in our freshman year was split in half by an invisible line. My roommate had the left side of the room, I had the right, and we always stayed on our own sides. If we were ever in the room at the same time, we would keep to ourselves, rarely saying a word to each other. It wasn’t nearly as awkward as it sounds.

Even though we weren’t close, my roommate and I shared the same circle of friends all throughout college. We occasionally made small talk at social gatherings, which somehow became easier after we stopped sharing a room, but we would never made an effort to hang out by ourselves.

My college bestie recently told me that my old roommate is getting married later this summer. She was invited to the wedding. I wasn’t, of course, but I wasn’t expecting to be. I overheard my college bestie talking to a mutual college friend about where my old roommate and his fiancée registered for wedding gifts. A couple of the stores where they registered have online stores as well, so I decided to look at the registries online.

Since I wasn’t invited to the wedding, I know that I’m not obligated to buy a wedding gift. Even still, I like to think that my old roommate and I are friends on some level, so I bought a gift anyway. I had the online store add a little note sending my old roommate and his fiancée my congratulations and well wishes, and that was that.

Is it weird that I bought a gift for a wedding to which I wasn’t invited?

Brief Recap

Wow, it’s been a month since I last posted anything. That’s the longest hiatus I’ve had since I started this blog. I didn’t want to wait this long, but life has a way of becoming busy. A brief recap:

My Thanksgiving weekend was great! I went to my uncle’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Growing up, I used to go to my uncle’s house for Thanksgiving every year, but I hadn’t been in nine years because I lived away from home for college and graduate school. The turkey was juicier than I remembered (I always thought turkey was dry), but the stuffing and biscuits were just as amazing as ever. I love stuffing. Besides the food, I also love the idea of Thanksgiving. It’s nice to have a day to reflect on what we often take for granted. We all need a little perspective sometimes.

A few days after Thanksgiving, my sister got married! She was the most beautiful bride ever (though I might be biased). I didn’t cry during the ceremony, but my eyes got a little watery during my sister and her husband’s first dance. It was just too cute. The whole wedding and reception were simply amazing (and I got to take a lot of cake home).

The weeks after Thanksgiving were beyond busy. I had a take home final exam for one of my classes, and I literally spent an entire weekend working on it, only stopping to eat and sleep. My finals were stressful, and every day was more tiring than the previous one, but I prevailed! I ended up getting over 100% in one of my classes (over the entire quarter) and almost 100% in another. All in all, I had an amazing return to school, and I hope it continues next year too.

After classes ended, I immediately had to work on my applications for graduate school. I hate writing essays, and some schools require two of them! I finished almost everything for the applications, but there are still things to be done. I have to set aside some time next week to work on those.

My brother came back from medical school for the holidays about a week ago. Usually when he comes back, I don’t have time to do anything on my own. Most of my week has been spent cleaning the house in preparation for Christmas and watching TV shows on Blu-ray with my brother. He got my addicted to Heroes last year, and now it’s Lost. I’m not complaining about spending time with my brother. I love my brother, but I barely have a spare moment to myself (I only have time now because I woke up a little earlier than him).

And here we are: Christmas Eve. The season (and the year in general) moves very quickly. My family has our huge dinner and family gathering tonight, so I still have lots of cleaning and preparing to do.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Caught In The Middle

My sister’s wedding is less than a month away. She sent out her invitations a few weeks ago. Because our grandfather lives with our uncle, she sent one invitation to our uncle and included our grandfather in the invitation. We have two aunts in Taiwan who already told my sister months ago that they will not be able to attend the wedding, so my sister didn’t send them invitations. Our grandfather will also be in Taiwan during the wedding, so he will not be attending either.

A few days ago, my mom got word (from our other aunt, I think) that our two aunts and our grandfather didn’t get invitations, so she called my sister to tell her to send invitations to them. For some reason (maybe a traditional Chinese culture thing), my grandfather is expected to have a separate invitation, and our two aunts are supposed to  receive invitations because they’re family.

Because wedding invitations are expensive, my sister didn’t order any extras. In order to send the additional invitations, she had to ask some of her close friends to give back their invitations and explain why. I don’t think my mom understands the huge hassle it is to send these invitations (even when they will definitely be declining).

If it was just a matter of family respect, then it’s almost understandable why they need to have invitations. It’s a hassle, but we all have family obligations. But there’s more to the story.

My sister’s dad is my mom’s first husband (so technically, my sister is my half-sister). My sister’s dad’s family hurt my grandfather’s pride many years ago (the story is far too long to discuss here), so our grandfather refuses to attend the wedding because my sister’s dad will be there.

Apparently, when my mom told my sister to send the additional invitations, she repeated that “your dad hurt your grandfather very badly” (in Chinese) at least ten times. It also seems like our two aunts in Taiwan are not attending for the same reason. If they can’t attend my sister’s wedding, that’s fine, but does she need to know that they’re not attending because of her dad?

My sister has been dwelling on her conversation with my mom for days. She told me this whole story online last night and said she couldn’t stop crying, so I called her to try and comfort her (not that there’s much I can do).

She feels bad for what happened, but she can’t change the past. She feels like she’s forever being punished for events that happened over thirty-five years ago that have nothing to do with her. Obviously, none of what happened is her fault; she’s just unfortunately caught in the middle.

She can’t understand why our grandfather and our aunts can’t put the past behind them to attend her wedding. After all, the wedding has nothing to do with her dad. The wedding is about her and her fiance. It’s a once in a lifetime event. My sister is the first grandchild and the first to get married, but she feels like she’s not worth making the sacrifice for. She made a very valid comparison: If she were to pass away (which won’t be for a long time, knock on wood), would they even attend her funeral if her dad is there?

She’s afraid that she’ll be thinking about all this during her wedding, which should be one of the happiest days of her life. Whenever she talks like this (which happens every so often after she talks to my mom), it breaks my heart. There’s nothing I can do. I can’t change the past either. Our family can’t let go of what happened, and the only person who suffers from the whole thing is her.

I Love Weddings

I went to my high school friend’s wedding today. It was held at a country club, a serene retreat protected from the surrounding busy streets. The bride’s gown was absolutely beautiful (I really wanted her tiara too), and even the bridesmaids’ dresses were lovely. I love weddings. They’re so romantic, and the whole day is full of life, love, and laughter. I’m honored and glad that I got to be part of my friend’s first day of his new life.

The reception was really nice, though I’ve never been to a wedding reception that wasn’t nice. However, I always dread the dancing portion of wedding receptions. I’m really self conscious and stiff when I dance (and I’ve never slow danced before). I tried to sit and watch most of the time, but I was dragged onto the dance floor a couple times. No one made fun of my lack of skills, so it turned out okay.

The one thing that bothered me today was that many of the pictures I took with my camera didn’t come out as well as I would have hoped. I expect good pictures from a 12.1 mexapixel camera (from Sony, of course), but rarely do my pictures come out with crystal clear clarity. Maybe it was the lighting, or maybe it was my using the automatic settings.

Perhaps a camera is only as good as the photographer using it. After all, a bad workman always blames his tools, right? Oh well. I got some good pictures of the ceremony (it was outside and sunny), but some of the later pictures at the reception (indoors, after dark, sometimes fast action) were subpar. I wonder if I should have gotten a Canon (gasp!).

Seeing my high school friends today felt like another reunion (like yesterday). One of my friends who I hadn’t seen in eight years has already been married for a year and is finishing medical school in two weeks! There are days when I compare my (bad) luck with love (and life in general) with others’, but today I was genuinely happy to see my friends and catch up with them.