Professional Best Man (and the amazing things that have happened since I first proposed this job)

Five years ago I proposed a new job idea:

Professional best man.

It remains a role that I am waiting to fill. Let me explain.

Although I meet many outstanding best men in my role as a DJ, I also meet many who are too nervous to deliver the toast, too drunk to assist a groom in need, and too disinterested in the role to be of any use.

Besides, why burden your best friend with this role if all he wants to do is have a good time at the wedding as well?

Instead, hire me. Your professional best man.

What, you may ask, are my qualifications for such a job?

They are, admittedly, quite extensive:

  • I’ve attended more than 500 weddings as a DJ, guest, groom, member of the bridal party, and best man, so there is little that I have not seen. As a result, I will be ready and able to assist in almost every unexpected or unusual circumstance.

  • My experience and expertise will allow me to ensure that the DJ, photographer, caterer and other professional staff are doing their jobs to the best of their ability and serving the bride and groom to my exceedingly exacting standards.

  • I have extensive experience in dealing with in-laws, drunken guests, angry girlfriends, belligerent uncles, and any other potentially disruptive wedding attendee and am adept at deflecting these distractions away from the bride and groom.

  • I can deliver an outstanding toast. I am often instructing tragically unprepared best men on what to say just minutes before their toasts and making them sound quite good.

  • I am a skilled party planner and will give you the bachelor’s party of your dreams while also ensuring that you do nothing that you will regret the next day.

  • I possess a wide range of interests and am skilled at ingratiating myself to a wide range of people. I can do jock and nerd equally well and rarely meet someone who I cannot find common ground. We may not be best friends after your wedding, but for the duration of our nuptials, I will be surprisingly likable and chameleon-like in my ability to blend in with your group of friends. And who knows? One of my best friends is a former client. It could happen for you, too.

And what if you want to hire a professional best man but have a friend who also wants the job and would be upset to learn that you went with a professional?

No problem. Simply have two best men.

One who will get drunk during the cocktail hour, hit on one of the bridesmaids during photos, deliver a humorless speech, and forget to end it with an actual toast.

The other will not drink at your wedding except when capping off an amusing and heartfelt toast, will keep your best interests in mind at all times, and is skilled and experienced enough to ensure that everything goes smoothly on your wedding day.

Don’t you deserve another friend on your wedding day?

A friend absent of personal needs and petty grievances on your big day.

A friend who will guide you through and past every awkward, annoying, unfortunate, and potentially disastrous moment of your wedding.

Don’t you deserve the services of a professional on your wedding day?

A professional best man.

Since I proposed this idea back in 2011, a number of surprising things have happened:

  1. Three grooms have attempted to hire me. Two lived in California and one lived in the UK, and their wedding dates dd not align to my schedule, so I had to decline.

  2. One groom hired me, explaining that he was marrying a woman whose culture demanded that the best man be an unmarried, never-before-married friend, and he had no one in his life who met these qualifications. I explained that I did not meet the qualifications, either, but he didn't care. He planned to lie to his fiancee and tell her that I was a lifelong bachelor. My wife wasn't pleased, but I agreed. After hiring me and planning for six months, he backed out without explanation.

  3. A bride strongly considered hiring me for her husband, who is "a great guy" but lacks any real close friends. Ultimately she decided that it might hurt her fiancee's feelings to hire me and opted not to.

  4. At least three television producers - two reality show producers and one documentarian - have contacted me about appearing in their television shows. We explored the possibility in all three instances, but nothing came of it.

  5. When The Wedding Ringer, a film about a professional best man, came out in 2015, the actor and star of the film, Kevin Hart, contacted me, crediting me with coming up with the idea first.

I await the next step in this journey to make this job a reality. At least once.

Wedding advice: No impromptu toasts.

Wedding season is upon us. On Saturday my partner and I will begin our 19th season as wedding DJs.

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When we started back in 1996, we still had a cassette deck in our rig and had no cell phone, laptop, or GPS.

I don’t know how we did it. 

Almost two decades later, I’ve learned a great deal about the mechanics and etiquette of a wedding. Throughout the 2015 wedding season, I’ll pass on some of my hard earned wisdom from time to time, and if you have a question related to weddings, please feel free to ask.

Today’s topic:

Impromptu toasts.


My advice:   

As charming as an impromptu toast may seem, it’s not. Don’t do it. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Wedding and receptions are often timed to the minute. An unexpected five minute interruption can cause problems that you cannot begin to imagine.
  2. The order in which people are chosen to speak is often decided upon for a very specific reason. The bride and groom, for example, may ask the Maid of Honor to deliver the final toast because she is funny and will alleviate some of the weight of the Best Man’s toast, which references the groom’s grandmother who died two weeks ago. Your unplanned toast may ruin the carefully constructed order entirely.
  3. Brides and grooms choose the people to deliver speeches carefully, and they often receive more requests for people to speak than they can accommodate. Oftentimes a request to speak is declined for the sake of time or a myriad of other reasons (If we let you speak, we’ll have to let Uncle Joey speak, and that would not go well). Assuming that your toast will be welcomed and appreciated is oftentimes not correct and can result in the need for awkward explanations later.  
  4. If the bride and groom had wanted you to speak, they would have asked you to speak.
  5. Delivering an impromptu toast or speech is an excellent way of appearing like an attention-seeking narcissist on a day when you are clearly not supposed to be the center of attention.

If you want to say something charming and lovely about the bride and groom, do so privately. Propose a smaller, less formal toast when they stop by your table. Offer a private toast when you find yourself alone with the married couple. Or just take the couple aside and say a few words.

If your goal is to say a few kind words to the bride and groom, you don’t need the microphone and the attention of every guest in order to do so.

If you feel like you need the microphone and the attention of everyone at the wedding in order to make your toast, ask yourself if your toast is less about the bride and groom and more about you.

It almost certainly is.