Jewish Wedding Tradition - Best Man Speech

This is an actual Best Man's speech that was written according to this handbook's method. The couple liked it so much, they put it in their wedding album:

"First, I'd like to thank Rich for allowing me the privilege of being his Best Man. It seems to be genetically encoded in all men to choose the friend with the most socially 'macceptable traits to represent him during the wedding process. Rich has proven this to be true. Even though this is the case, I'll ultimately be judged on my abilities as the Best Man, to give a heartwarming speech that prompts at least one guest here today to say, 'Oh wasn't that nice?'

"We should also give thanks to Rich and Lynn's family, as it's their day too. I've had the fortunate experience to have a second set of parents during my life and they were Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Their hospitality and kindness toward Rich's friends is legendary, and we're all appreciative of everything you've done for us. Having met Mr. and Mrs. Jones and spent some time with them, I've learned that they are no different from the Smiths. It's understandable how two such great people with such close-knit families have come to fall in love with each other.

"Getting to know

Lynn over the past year has been a pleasure as well. I've never seen her without a smile on her face. She's a vivacious individual, and this appears to have rubbed off on Rich.You see, it used to be that with Rich you never knew what was going on in his head, especially when it came to relationships. Even if you pried you weren't going to get much out of him; he always wore the poker face, and his nonchalance was irritating because his buddies always wanted to know what was going on. So when

Lynn started becoming a fixture with him, we started buzzing about the two of them. Then we started noticing some strange things after that. Rich and Lynn would start holding hands in public and sitting really close to each other at functions. And then we would ask Rich how things were going, and instead of changing the subject, which he would typically do, he would actually answer, 'Really good.' It was at this point we knew they were destined to be together.

"And

Lynn, it's my OpInIOn that you've done well for yourself in snapping up Rich. What Rich lacks in height and in golf skills, he more than makes up for in cIraracter. Rich is a man of unwavering principle, superior intellect, and high moral standing. He's a great man and an even better friend. To say Rich is a changed man because of

Lynn would be an understatement. Myself or any other single man should hope to be as lucky as Rich and find a woman as beautiful and kind as

Lynn to spend the rest of our lives with.

"At this time, I'd like to ask everyone to please stand and raise their glasses. I'd like to propose a toast to Rich and Lynn: Speaking for all your friends and family gathered here today, I'd like to bestow best wishes to you both, for health, happiness, and good fortune. This is the best day both your worlds have ever seen. Here's to your tomorrows being even better."

The First Dance

It's common for the wedding party to join the Bride and Groom for a song or two at the end of the Bride and Groom's first dance. This may also occur after the Bride's dance with her father or the Groom's dance with his mother. These are really the only times that you'll be expected to dance in front of the crowd. It can be an issue because many men don't like to dance. I've taught many men my secret dancing technique and they've put me in their wills, so it must work. (I have it on my to-do list to put together a "Learn to Dance" video for men at weddings, so let me know if this is something you'd want.)

Top Ten Wedding Pick-up Lines

There are no good pick-up lines at a wedding. There are only good ways to start a meaningful conversation with a stranger. Pick-up lines are for bars; conversations are for weddings. It may seem like a small distinction, but in fact it's an important paradigm shift that must be made to be successful. If you want to keep using pick-up lines, focus on the wait staff or bar staff at the wedding and not the guests.

The Garter Belt

What is there to say about this custom? After the Bride has thrown her bouquet to a single woman, the Groom takes the garter belt from his Bride's leg and throws it to a group of single men. The man who catches the garter then puts it on the leg of the woman who caught the Bride's bouquet.

I haven't been to many weddings that still practice this custom.

There are many good reasons for this and if they are not obvious to you, then there's little I can say to help you. All I can say is, if it is part of the festivities, the Best Man has to help gather the single men. Try to keep the whole thing orderly, and dodge that garter belt like it was a live grenade.

Cultural Variations

If you're fortunate enough to be invited to a wedding that includes customs from the Bride's or Groom's culture that are different from yours, keep an open mind and join in the festivities wherever possible. Remember, your friend has asked you to join in celebrating his marriage in this way-if you show interest in their customs or traditions, the family will probably appreciate your interest and teach you everything you need to know. Below are some widely practiced cultural traditions.

African-American Weddings

A unique African-American tradition is "jumping the broom," a practice that began in the era of slavery, when marriage between slaves was illegal. Slaves would circumvent this law by having secret ceremonies in which the Bride and Groom would exchange vows, then jump over a broom that had been placed on the floor. The act symbolized their crossing into a new life and a new family. Many African-American couples commemorate this tradition today by jumping the broom at their reception.

Jewish Weddings

For those of you who haven't been, Jewish wedding ceremonies and receptions are usually very festive, with many unique practices even a oy can enjoy! Here are some of the basics:

The Kituba

This is a traditional Jewish wedding contract, signed by the rabbi, the Bride, the Groom, and two witnesses. If you're the Best Man, you'll probably be one of the signatory witnesses.

Hava Nagila (pronounced ha-va na-GEE-Ia)

A traditional song played at wedding receptions, during which the Bride, Groom, wedding party, and guests dance the hora, a folk dance that involves multiple circles of people with intertwined arms moving in alternating directions while stepping in an interweaving pattern. Don't be shy-jump on in and you'll be led.

Chair Dances

Another dancing tradition, in which the Bride and Groom are lifted on separate chairs and moved around each other, often while they hold a handkerchief between them. It's the Groomsmen's job to lift both Bride and Groom-and often their mothers and fathers as well once the Bride and Groom are done. Take your cue from the wedding couple as to whether their parents should be lifted. And be carefulbecause the only thing you want to see broken at a Jewish wedding is a wine glass. L'Chayim!

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