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Being the Best Man: Ten Wedding Nightmare Scenarios

In an ideal world, none of the things mentioned in this article would happen. The entire wedding process would go swimmingly, the happy couple would glide into wedded bliss and you would turn out to be the perfect best man.

But we don’t live in an ideal world. Cock-ups are certain to happen at one stage or another. If you avoid the ones listed here, then you’ve done well.

Stag do injuries

Shaved eyebrows and the odd black eye are just about passable. As long as you hold the stag party long enough before the big day, they have the time to, at least partially, grow back or heal.

But broken limbs are another matter. While a fractured fibia won’t stop the groom from being able to say ‘I do’, the bride won’t be at all happy if his ring finger’s wrapped up in a sling. And since you’re in charge of the stag do, you’re going to be blamed. Perhaps that military training day in Kabul wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Lose the ring

If Frodo managed to get all the way to Mordor without losing his ring, then you should be able to get your groom’s wedding ring as far as the altar. The trouble is that wedding days are often more perilous than epic journeys across Middle-earth. And you haven’t even got Gollum and the Orcs to deal with!

Remember that classic scene in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral when Hugh Grant loses the ring at the crucial moment? This scene is just one of hundreds of similar celluloid tales all designed to alert best men of the pitfalls of mislaying the most important object of the entire day. Be warned.

No-show bride, no-show groom

With a bit of inventiveness, you can just about cope with most wedding absentees. If the band doesn’t turn up, use a stereo. If the photographer’s late, then pose for photos in the evening. If the vicar’s ill, then get a replacement from a nearby church. If you lose the ring, use a Hula Hoop.

But without either the bride or the groom, no wedding can possibly take place. The event just ain’t happening. Luckily for you, long gone are the days when the best man or the chief bridesmaid had to step in as replacements. Nowadays, a no-show bride or groom means game over.

If the groom is the one who has done a runner, you’re responsible for both trying to find him and for breaking the news to the bride and her family.

Ceremony interruption

At 99.9 per cent of weddings, you always get an awkward silence when the vicar asks all those present if they know of any reason why the couple shouldn’t be allowed to marry. ‘Speak now or forever hold your peace!’ he proclaims to the congregation. At which point everyone holds their breath, not quite sure whether someone might dare pipe up.

Aside from the occasional bored toddler, no one ever does – except in films. But if someone did burst into the church, like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate, imagine the chaos that would ensue.

Wedding fight

Every wedding has a fight, even if two page boys just start squabbling over who’s getting the biggest piece of cake. However, things get slightly scarier when the protagonists are larger . . . and drunker. The sight of two men wrestling on the dance floor in hired penguin suits is not a pretty one – especially, when Dancing Queen is blaring out of the stereo. And don’t go running for the shelter of the bar. As best man, you’re expected to help break things up.

Speech embarrassments

Over the years, some downright cringe-worthy speeches have been delivered at wedding receptions. Speakers have used their minutes in the spotlight to reveal embarrassing details that, in the cold light of dawn, they realise simply should have remained unsaid.

Normally the revelations concern other members of the wedding party. The worst one of all was the groom who wrapped up his speech by drawing two honeymoon aeroplane tickets from his breast pocket, handing them to his bride and best man sitting beside him, and then publicly announced that he’d known all along they were having an affair behind his back.

Needless to say, don’t even go there.

Drunken guests

An afternoon of flowing champagne and an evening of free bar service spells disaster for some guests. You can always spot them at receptions – they’re the ones weaving their way in between the tables and dancing vigorously to Abba with a bottle in each hand. Just as long as they stay merry and don’t get abusive (or start singing), you shouldn’t have too much trouble. But your job as best man is to keep an eye out for anyone who gets too plastered.

Dodgy weather

The summer months in the United Kingdom are notoriously unreliable when the weather is concerned. This reason is why marquee weddings are so widespread. But even with a huge white tent to shelter under, the wedding party still has to negotiate between the church and the reception. And in a rainstorm, this task is not easy.

When the weather’s wet, the back garden (or wherever the marquee’s situated) can soon turn into a quagmire. Fortunately, rainy weddings are considered good luck. Try telling that to the bride, though, whose wedding dress train has been dragged across a muddy lawn.

Family feuding

At most weddings, the families of the bride and groom are generally very civil. Even if potential clashes are possible, the relatives normally manage to prevent them from bubbling over. But occasionally, the emotion and stress of the whole day, not to mention the booze, all conspire to cause interfamilial strife.

If both the bride’s and the groom’s mother have turned out in identical dresses, take this fact as a sure sign that things may go awry.

Avoiding temptation

Another wedding cliché is that while the bride and groom are swooning over one another in wedded bliss, the romance of the whole occasion starts to infect other members of the wedding party. There you are, standing next to the groom, all smart in your suit, and suddenly you start noticing amorous glances coming from the bridesmaids. Don’t even go there.

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