Wedding Roles that Build Community

Theo is happy about the options. But which one will she choose?

[Editor's note: a few weeks ago, our Managing Editor, Kurt Heinrich, finally popped the question to his red headed partner, Theo. As a BFF of both these fantastic people - and as a bit of an exciteable showman - I couldn't wait to pitch some innovative ideas about the myriad ways in which I could add value to their special day. Without further ado, here are six roles that I offered to play at the 2012 Lamrich Weddingfest - can you guess which one(s) they chose?]

WEDDING GENERALIST

a helping hand who does everything from airport pickups to food prep to creating diversions.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Application of critical thinking, problem solving and motivational yelling in general direction of people
  • Constant, enthusiastic repetition of trademarked catchphrase: “anything you need – I only do solutions

LOWLIGHTS:

  • Lack of focused specialization of this role could result in “scope creep” and “wedding takeover”
  • Could confusingly combine “general” and “Stalinist,” resulting in conflict with German guests

DOES (OR DOES NOT) WORK WELL WITH THESE OTHER ROLES:

  • DOES NOT WORK WITH ANY OTHER ROLE – a generalist, by definition, is doing a bit of everything
  • WORKS WITH EVERY OTHER ROLE – a generalist, by definition, gives support by doing a bit of everything

THE GUY WHO MARRIES YOU

a spiritual – yet “rationally Germanic” – modest and meaningful unifier of two souls.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • High moral standing will allow for qualified representation of spiritual and/or legal bodies/institutions
  • Powerful oratory skills will captivate audience (in person and on “higher-plain”) in very special ways

LOWLIGHTS:

  • Attempts to “warm up the crowd” could transform into twenty-minute stand-up-comedy routine
  • Lack of “script vetting” might result in tri-marriage, which isn’t really bad, but would be kinda weird

DOES (OR DOES NOT) WORK WELL WITH THESE OTHER ROLES:

  • BEST MAN OR MAN OF HONOUR – affiliation with specific “camp” could unbalance ceremony content
  • Works well with EMCEE HORN 5000, as colourful robes and audience-buy-in connect both speaking roles

BEST MAN

the dude who organizes a mostly-illegal bachelor party, holds rings and makes the groom feel like a king.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Intimate history with Kurt and loving understanding of his likes, dislikes, fears, secrets, and Germanity
  • “On-the-ground” knowledge of Vancouver and outgoing connector of Kurt’s world-spanning friendships

LOWLIGHTS:

  • Kurt might die and could possibly get arrested at the bachelor party  – he will definitely get injured while naked
  • Corduroy suit will take away from other groomsmen…and Kurt (corduroy suit will be grey or grey-like) [Editor's note: this refers to an inside-joke about a time when Kurt bought a $1,000 grey suit and was then asked to rent a different colour suit for a friend's wedding, because it didn't match the other suits].

DOES (OR DOES NOT) WORK WELL WITH THESE OTHER ROLES:

  • Huge conflict of interest with the MAN OF HONOUR and GUY WHO MARRIES YOU roles
  • Jives with WEDDING GENERALIST, EMCEE HORN 5000 and THAT GUY (after midnight) roles

MAN OF HONOUR

typically a lady, but it’s the twenty-first-century; the bride’s go-to guy for everything non-girlie.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Thorough knowledge of Theo Lamb, parties, red-hair, and defusing girl-related political situations
  • Standing next to each other, John and Max (in dresses) will make everything more fabulous

LOWLIGHTS:

  • Not easily squeezing into form-fitting dress and/or Kurt being jealous could taint wedding fun
  • Spectacular height difference between bride and MAN OF HONOUR

DOES (OR DOES NOT) WORK WELL WITH THESE OTHER ROLES:

  • ANY. OTHER. ROLE. It is absolutely unacceptable for the MAN OF HONOUR to lead any other wedding-related-responsibility that would take away from the Queen-like worship of Bride Theodora Lamrich

THE EMCEE HORN 5000

deliverer of touching, hilarious, media-rich, and edutaining content with “couple-first” focus.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Exceptional application of exceptional media-supported oration and exceptional humour-related skills
  • Comprehensive knowledge of Lamrich-couple positions John as a powerful couple-oriented storyteller

LOWLIGHTS:

  • At times, THE EMCEE HORN 5000 becomes self-aware and tries to overthrow the human race…
  • Re-application of flipchart humour could seem redundant and “so last year” for some attendees

DOES (OR DOES NOT) WORK WELL WITH THESE OTHER ROLES:

  • Works very well with THE DUDE WHO MARRIES YOU role, as their combination will “set a nice tone”
  • Does not work well with MAN OF HONOUR or THAT GUY roles due to conflict of interest and idiocy

“THAT GUY”

it’s what you get when you cross friends, strangers, a few drinks, showmanship, a stage, and Horn, John Horn.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Hilarious, debaucherous and fire-juggling-dancing-singing entertainment for the whole* family!
  • *probably not well-suited for children under 10 or old people…I’m just saying

LOWLIGHTS:

  • Three words: wedding on fire
  • Not everyone at a wedding “gets” John Horn humour; besides, it’s your wedding, not John’s birthday

DOES (OR DOES NOT) WORK WELL WITH THESE OTHER ROLES:

  • Goes well with BEST MAN or MAN OF HONOUR duties, but only if THAT GUY arrives after midnight
  • Does not go well with EMCEE HORN 5000 or THE DUDE WHO MARRIES YOU or, really, any of the roles

Has Kurt been "That Guy" at a party before? No. No he hasn't. But he has been a Huge Friggin' Rap Star!

Steve Sloot: A Family Guy

My sister’s wedding.  This was the focus of thousands of hours of pain, frustration, tears, and general fret.  And that was just me.

Being in a family living in four different provinces, thousands of kilometres away, it takes a bit more than Christmas to haul us all in to one spot.  That’s why the ancient Greeks invented weddings (totally made up).  And for those of you who have sizeable families, or very loud families, or maybe a combination of both, you’ll know that the very foundations of your otherwise nice, regular life will be shaken to the core for two weeks.

I’m in week two.

But, as we all know, family is community.  Everyone says it: “family first.”  And most of us are compelled to spend time with our family, our loved ones, the people who’ve known us the longest – all the awful little things you did when you were a kid, the mistakes made, the terrible people dated…everything.  Some of us can’t stand our families and end up resenting the time they’ve taken away from watching Hoarders.  Me?  I’ve developed a taste for them, much like someone who’s developed a taste for Aqua Velva.

Speak of Aqua Velva, it was my grandfather who stayed with me.  In my bachelor.  My small, newly moved-into bachelor apartment.  Let me tell you something about old people: they don’t sleep like the rest of us.  No, they wake-up at four in the morning and insist on reading, loudly, the newspaper, shuffling around with pill bottles, and deafening sweater vests.  They don’t eat like the rest of us either.  My grandfather has a penchant for roast beef and white bread.  Why?  Because he’s been eating it for 83 years, that’s why.  Think Pavlov and think of a whole lotta ringing for decades.  Would you stop salivating?

Editor's Note: since Steve Sloot is a savant who writes posts 17 minutes before deadline and is more about "words" than "images," I made an educated guess about what his family might actually look like - Steve is the one in the white shirt, I think.

But I was the lucky one.  As cliché as it is, the ancients (as I like to call my grandfather…to his face) have a lot to offer.  He’s a natural comic, blessed with Seinfeldian timing and devastating wit.  He’s arguably the funniest person in our family, maybe all of Norfolk County.  And he’s got his material down.  A line for everything, a dry serving of levity when needed.  Hilarious.

It wasn’t the joking around or the endless stories of bootlegging ships in Lake Erie, or the new found fame of selling paintings to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell (true story) that made me happy I had a one week dose of Puppa…no, it was the perspective that only comes with being around to see Haley’s Comet twice (not true).  As a young man, having Puppa around forced me to consider the bigger moments that are coming up in my life, the ones I haven’t thought of yet.

And it made me realize that my community is full of people in their 20s and 30s.  Where are the ancients in my day-to-day?  How do I befriend them?  Is volunteering at the Manor the only way?  Do I secretly resent the Blue Hairs when they take my seat on the #99?  Is my life’s education incomplete without the delivery of knowledge from someone who’s been around forever?

Roast beef and white bread for thought.

The Community of Public Speakers

Says* Jerry Seinfeld: “You know, I just read this survey that said the number one fear of Americans is public speaking. The number two fear is death. [INSERT SUBTLE LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE]. So, let me get this straight. This means that, at a funeral, the majority of people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”

I love weddings for a myriad of reasons – food, drink, meeting new people, dancing, love, family, boozy-hookups, hilarious grandparents, worlds-colliding, troubleshooting/last-second-wedding-party-heroics, “missions”, and many more reasons – but I have to say that it is the speeches that make my heart smile the most.

Wait a second. Let me re-phrase that. Speeches that are impeccably performed and tastefully delivered at my favourite parts of weddings make my heart smile the most. And, let me tell you, this past weekend I attended – and emceed – a wedding in which the speeches were absolutely first class.

What made the performances – and, yes, they were definitely performances – so spectacular was the near-perfect combination of genuine love for the person/people being discussed, timely humour, smart delivery, avoidance of inside jokes, and (for the most part) brevity. Here are three simple tips on how you can give great speech, whether it’s at a wedding or not:

  1. Know Your Audience. Any stand up comedian, politician or professor will tell you the importance of this one. Know who can take a joke and who can’t. Know what the audience knows. Tell stories to engage them. And, for goodness sake, make the speech somewhat mysterious so that everyone hangs on your every word until – BAM! – you hit ‘em with a fantastic punchline or metaphor.
  2. Don’t Drink and Talk. This advice transcends weddings. Sure, there will undoubtedly be some boozers in the crowd, but that’s where they belong: in the audience. Unless you are John A. MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Tony Stark, or my Uncle John, you’re not qualified to deliver a well-crafted speech after eleventeen scotches. You might think it’s funny – and, hey, three of your buddies might, too – but the thing about weddings is that, believe it or not, 50% of the guests will be slightly buzzed or dead sober. Besides, this is your [INSERT RELATIONSHIP HERE]‘s most special day – do you really wanna be that guy at the wedding?
  3. Keep it Short, Sweet and Snappy. Four pages. Double spaced. Times New Roman. People will never remember exactly what you say in a speech, but they will remember how you make them feel. So, think of the three things that you want them to remember about your message and be sure to weave-in such themes throughout your story. Also, be funny, touching or funny and touching. Because, when sprinkled throughout the audience, sounds like “awwww” and “hahahaha” are delightfully contagious!

Weddings aside, public speaking is one of (if not the best) “soft skills” – which is basically a non-technical ability reflective of your personality – that you can have. Why? Well, as Mr. Seinfeld pointed out, it’s an incredibly rare one skill to possess. And there’s no better place to hone your speaking craft than in front of a community that is nearest and dearest to you.

Good luck. And have fun with it!

*this quote was paraphrased and, well, if I butchered it and Mr. Seinfeld’s attorneys track me down this will mark the third time the same attorneys have made life difficult for me.