Wednesday 21 August 2019

The umbrage and drink taken at Irish weddings

'The best man's speech should be scripted and vetted and edited. Best men can ruin marriages. Best men are loose cannons, especially with the few drinks in. There seems to be a convention that the best man has to slag off the groom'
'The best man's speech should be scripted and vetted and edited. Best men can ruin marriages. Best men are loose cannons, especially with the few drinks in. There seems to be a convention that the best man has to slag off the groom'
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

I'm a broken man. The head is as split as the San Andreas Fault. An elephant could fall through the crack in my head. And it's from lads asking me to write wedding speeches. Best men, fathers of the bride, fathers of the groom, fathers of the grooms and fathers of the brides. And they all say, "Ah sure it's no bother to you."

Yes it is bother to me. It's as if writing isn't work at all. Every man's job is easy except his own. And now with the gay weddings, the workload will be doubled - even the priest asked me one time if I had any good jokes for after the dinner.

I gave a groom one of the father's jokes and the man who used it was nearly divorced before the pavlova with seasonal fresh fruits.

It goes something like this: a Kerryman arrived at the airport hotel and asked for a room. His bride was still in her wedding dress and the receptionist asked the groom if he'd like the bridal suite. "No," says he. "I wants no bridle, sure I'll catch her by the ears."

It didn't go down very well.

His new mother-in-law took umbrage. And said as much to the groom's mother, who took umbrage at the mother-in-law taking umbrage. There was a frostiness that went through to the Christening, which was so close to the wedding the new baby almost became a page boy.

Then there was the groom who asked me for a joke and I said, "Can't you make it up and say that your proposal went along the lines of 'how would you like to be buried with my people?'" And he fouled it up by telling the guests that he asked her if they could have the honeymoon right now. Which sounds dead funny over a few pints, but the affected bride was in a more romantic frame of mind and was upset because he didn't tell the true story, which was a proposal on a cruise ship with him producing a ring with a diamond on it the size of a golf ball and getting the lad who played the fiddle in the orchestra to play some sickly old love song.

Then he goes and blames me. And the mother-in-law stops me in the street and she full of umbrage. She says, "What did you go making my son-in-law tell lies for and all the money you were paid for it."

I didn't get a cent. No one ever thinks writing is work and so if it's not regarded as work why should anyone get paid for scribbling a few lines, and they all say, "Sure if I had the time I'd do it myself." As if I had all the time in the world.

The groom also said that the bridesmaids were dying for a man and were gamey out when they had a few vodkas in, which had nothing whatsoever to do with me.

The bridesmaids were fine busty girls. Is it okay to say that? You'd be half afraid to say anything now for fear of umbrage being taken. The groom, admittedly with drink in him, said in his speech that their future husbands would never have to pay for a boob job.

Umbrage and more umbrage.

Up until I realised there was no money in wedding script writing, I was going to open an online speech-writing service for weddings. It would be easy enough to do, I thought. There would be toasts and harmless jokes and welcoming Lulu to the family and the groom would say how well fed he was when he called to Lulu's house and how he was made so welcome.

When the truth might be something along the lines of the father went after him with the shotgun when he caught the unlicensed groom-to-be, as he then was, sneaking in to the daughter's room in the middle of the night. And he was hardly looking for someone to answer the rosary for him, the father might say.

For years the women weren't let talk at all at weddings. No speech at all by them. But by all accounts, the brides more than made up for that silence in the years to come.

The best man's speech should be scripted and vetted and edited. Best men can ruin marriages. Best men are loose cannons, especially with the few drinks in. There seems to be a convention that the best man has to slag off the groom.

I was told the story of a best man's speech that went horribly wrong. The best man told a story about the stag. I wasn't there and I've changed both the location of the ceremony, the wedding reception and some other details in the interest of marital harmony.

The groom was fond of a bit of dancing and, before he entered a strip club, he is reputed to have said, according to the best man, at the wedding, "Here we are now, boys, headin' for dirty dancin' in Amsterdam, and they just goin' in to last Mass in Toomeenbawnaroon."

Hold on a minute. I had just better take a minute to Google Toomeenbawnaroon. Sound. We're safe. No such place.

I just got to thinking that Toomeenbawnaroon, which I made up out of my head, could really exist and it might be the kind of place where nothing ever happened and so might not show up on Google.

So if you're from there and if your son went on the stag to Amsterdam, well it's a different Toomeenbawnaroon. So please do not take umbrage.

Irish Independent

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