I was honored to serve as best man for my friend Jason's wedding (finally) to Kristin. I've known Jason since my sophomore year of high school and count him as one of a very few friends that has stayed with me over the long haul. I've had almost no contact with people I knew and considered friends prior to moving to Indianapolis my sophomore year. And there are only a handful of people (including Jason) since then that I stay in regular contact with.
Jason also indirectly charted the direction my life has taken. I had been in marching band in West Lafayette prior to moving to Indy. However, when I arrived at Lawrence North I was quite simply intimidated by the band there. I was coming from a 30-35 piece band that just played at football games to a 130+ piece (probably more, I can't remember) Class A competition band. I decided not to join. However, during sophomore year Jason encouraged me to reconsider and I ended up joining my junior and senior years. I cannot possibly underestimate the (indirect) impact band had on my life (mostly in ways that had nothing to do with music) with the people I met and worked with and the overall feeling of being a part of some group. It also served (again indirectly) to spark my interest in video production--an interest that ultimately determined what college I would decide to attend and likely set in motion my relationship with Lissa, the jobs I've worked (which ironically have not been video production jobs), and many other aspects of my life. It's mind-boggling to think of all the "what if" scenarios around that particular life event.
But I'm way off topic now. This entry isn't meant to be general commentary about friendship or my philisophical view of the interconnectedness of life decisions...I'm merely pointing out the extent and depth of my friendship with Jason.
Jason was the best man at my own wedding some six years ago. He was dating Kristin at that time and had been with her for about as long as Lissa and I had been together at that point, so this wedding was a long time coming. We all kinda knew it was out there, but we just weren't sure when it would be. Late last year, he and Kristin came over for a visit and Lissa noticed that Kristin was wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring. She got the dish on it and we discovered that they had been engaged for a few months, but that they hadn't been making much of a buzz about it. They hadn't even told their families right away.
I had heard bits and pieces of things that they were thinking about or trying to put together for a future wedding over the course of the next several months until finally, about two months ago, I got a call from Jason asking me what I was doing October 9. At that point I didn't have any plans on it that I knew of. He replied that that was good and asked if I could come to his wedding that day. I shouldn't have been, but I was surprised and a bit taken back. I guess the fact that it was now a concrete reality made it set in for me...even though I could have easily anticipated it for a long time prior. He also asked me to be his best man--an honor I was hoping for and delighted to have.
As it turns out, it seemed like a lot of the details of the wedding were not really in place. Jason has an insanely busy schedule that probably makes mine look like a vacation. As a result, he wasn't able to devote the time he probably would've like to planning the wedding. I learned that thebrymaster would also be one of the groomsmen. He was also one of mine. Any others were not definite...and, in fact, remained indefinite until the week of the wedding. As it worked out, everything fell into place and the wedding went off just fine. Having a small behind-the-scenes look I could see some of the chaos and last minute arrangements, but from the outside I doubt they were even noticed.
Neither Bryan nor myself ever actually received a formal paper invitation. Neither of us even knew the exact time of the wedding until a few days before when I called Jason to find out when it and the rehearsal would be and then passed the info on to Bryan. The rehearsal was set for Friday night at 6:30 with a dinner to follow immediately afterward. It was to be at the Columbia Club downtown--which would also be the site of the wedding and reception the next day. I made sure that Jason would be available after the rehearsal dinner for a "proper sendoff." *wink wink, nudge nudge*
This leads me, of course, to the bachelor party. My groomsmen had taken me out the night before my wedding--as is traditional--so I wanted to make sure that I could do the same for Jason. One of my other groomsmen had arranged for some delightful public humiliation for me, so I was threatening Jason with the same since he was my best man and was therefore "in charge" and responsible of what happened to me. In the end, these were empty threats on my part and I decided to go easy on him. But it was fun to rib him about it up to the night. ;)
The bachelor party started with a stop at Fastimes Indoor Go-Karting. Jason is big into racing, and has even been to racing school. But I knew that his busy schedule had kept him off the track for a couple years. I figured this would be a good chance for him to have some fun with it. For those of you who haven't been there, this isn't like the go-karts you'd find at a Putt-Putt. These are definitely racing-style. They are capable of speeds around 40 mph--which at that scale is really freakin' fast. The course is also quite challenging and you *will* be tired after racing there. Imagine force feedback steering in a video game...times twenty! It was just me, Jason, and Bryan. The third groomsman wouldn't be arriving until the morning, as he lives in Florida. We had a blast challenging each other on the course and raced twice before heading out when they closed at 11.
From there, it was back downtown to the Red Garter...yes, a strip club. It was only the second time I'd ever been to one--the only other time being my own bachelor party. I'll leave out the details (mostly due to laziness rather than censorship), but it was fun. Strip clubs are surprisingly inexpensive if you don't drink like me. :P One thing we thought was interesting was that the ratio of guys to girls there (patrons) was like 75% - 25%...maybe even 65% - 35%. In other words, there were a lot more women there with their SOs and in groups together than we were expecting. We also noted that these girls included the most attractive women there. That's not to say that the actual dancers weren't nice (some were quite, others...well, not so much). But, the most attractive women were just there as guests. It just struck us as interesting.
We ended up staying there until close at 3 am! From that point, it was back to Jason's house to fulfill some bachelor party traditions that were started at my bachelor party. This meant we had to go play cards and keep the groom up way later than he should be. This time around, we played hold 'em rather than euchre, which was played at my party. We didn't have a fourth, and given the current popularity of hold 'em, it was an obvious choice. Jason ended up with all our chips (we weren't playing for real money) and we finally left his place at about 5 am...a full hour later than I had gotten to sleep before my wedding. At that point, I had to take Bryan home and get home myself. Jason lives in Carmel, Bryan down near Keystone and 75th, and I in Noblesville. Needless to say, this wasn't a particularly efficient operation and I finally got to go to bed around 6:30.
The next day for the wedding, we ended up running a bit late--arriving at about 2:30 rather than 2. We were getting there early so that I could be in pictures taken of the wedding party beforehand. Of course it turned out that the photographer arrived *really* late, so it didn't end up being much of an issue. Myself and Lissa as well as Bryan and Becky all helped out doing little things as the last second bits and pieces came together. It was amusing to watch Jason work as he tried to make sure everything was inline and flowing as smoothly as possible. He spent so much time on his cell phone that it was downright comical. Once the photographer finally arrived we were rushing around to get pictures taken.
The ceremony was lovely. Everything seemed to go just fine and the venue was teriffic. I was holding onto the ring to give to Jason at the appropriate moment. I didn't lose it and I had it ready to go just as it was needed. :) After the ceremony, the wedding party kind of went off into a holding area (dining room) until Jason and Kristin greeted and dismissed all of the attendees. Then we all went outside for a bit to take some more pictures.
After pictures, it was upstairs into a dining hall for the reception. The meal was quite good and there was plenty of dancing and fun for all. The band that Jason and Kristin had chosen was pretty cool. They had a great live sound and a nice mix of jazz, blues, and rock and roll. They definitely added to the general quality of the evening.
When it came time for the toasts, I gathered up the maid of honor to go head toward the microphone. She, untraditionally, ended up going first. Oh well, it didn't matter much. It just gave me an extra couple minutes to stew in my nervous juices. Jason had made a teriffic toast at my wedding, so it was important to me to make a good one for him. I had been thinking and developing what I would say ever since he asked me to be his best man. I had taken the drive home from the bachelor party as an opportunity to rehearse to myself (it helped keep me awake for the drive home since it was soooo late). In the end, it went about how my DDR freestyles go. I had a framework of points I wanted to hit, I hit most of them, improvised inbetween, and in the end it seemed to go off just fine--missed a few things that were rehearsed, hit a few highlights that weren't. All in all, it seemed to go over well and I managed to get a laugh or two. Jasons thanks for my efforts and provided some validation and others said it was good too, so I'm satisfied that I did my duty well.
From then, the party continued on into the night. A lot of the guests were staying right there in the Columbia Club, so there wasn't much hurry to leave apparently. Eventually things started to die down and Lissa and I made our departure about the same time that the other groomsmen and their SOs were heading out as well.
Sorry that the details seem to be trailing off in this entry. I started it during the week after the wedding, but it's now almost three weeks later that I'm finally finishing it, so a lot of the details have been lost to my fading memory. So I'll just post some pictures and be done with this...
The Columbia Club made a lovely location for a wedding.
It seemed that no one knew how to properly wear cuff links--which isn't all that hard to believe since no one I know wears them with any regularity. So I was helping out people getting squared away with them. This is me getting Jason's fixed up while he was busy on the phone getting things organized (a trend for the whole day up to the wedding). He actually had pretty cool cuff links that looked like Indy cars.
Here's the groomsmen observing while the other half of the wedding party was having pictures taken.
Jason's mom helped Jason and the groomsmen get their boutonnieres on.
The groomsmen signed in with the rest of the guests. We were actually signing a picture matte rather than a guestbook. I assume the matte will go around a wedding picture in their home later. I hadn't seen that before and thought it was a pretty cool idea.
It's just about showtime. Here we are chatting and waiting with the rest of the wedding party just before starting the ceremony.
Lissa captured the
Here's Kristin and Jason walking back to The Columbia Club after taking pictures around Monument Circle.
Here's the wedding party getting ready to head into the reception.
One of the members of the band came out to the head table to serenade the newly married couple.
Jason and Kristin survey the room full of wedding guests enjoying the lovely meal they provided.
Here I am making my Best Man toast. I raised my glass, but I didn't actually drink the champagne (of course). However, Lissa told me it was quite good.
Kristin and Jason listened to the toasts from myself and the Maid of Honor.
The first dance
The parents' dance
Kristin took her shoes off at some point. I guess they weren't the most comfortable. Lissa was amused enough to grab a few pictures.
And the party continued on into the night...
Cheers to the happy couple!