So let’s take a walk through a little scenario that you might want to prepare yourself for…
Your best friend is getting married today. He picked you to be one of his groomsmen, or maybe you’re the best man. You helped him with things like choosing a tux, getting the other groomsmen organized, pulling off that crazy bachelor party and preparing a funny yet touching wedding speech.
You’re stressed but also very satisfied at how instrumental you’ve been so far in the success of this whole thing.
But now something is a little off. The groom is starting to get nervous. You can feel it in the air. He hasn’t started getting dressed, he’s stalling, he’s pacing, he’s just not himself. And although, thankfully, family and guests are oblivious, it won’t take long for someone to catch on.
What’s going on here?
Slowly, it dawns on you… he is scared. Of course, it’s all a little overwhelming. Maybe he’s getting cold feet. And even though he has expressed his concerns to you and the guys before, there is something about the day of the wedding itself that makes it all so much more real. You understand that, but still, it’s not the best moment!
Is this the sign of a coming catastrophe?
No. It’s actually quite natural and, if you’re well prepared, you can turn it into a special bonding moment the two of you can keep as an inside joke for years to come.
And since you’re reading this, it looks like you’re the type that anticipates all possibilities and does diligent research for solutions.
You smart devil you…
So, if you find yourself in the above scenario, you’re going to give your best friend the most sincere wedding day pep talk ever.
Just follow these six steps and you’re golden.
Step #1 – Don’t Rush Him
Take the pressure off - this is not locker room talk before a big game. Pressure spells disaster, it’s actually what’s getting him nervous and panicky right now. A wedding is a lot to handle, especially after what was probably a very stressful pre-wedding week. And now he has to stand up in front of all these people and get married… it can feel downright unbearable.
You, as a groomsman, need to keep your cool, stay confident, take it easy and imbue him with your calm energy.
Sit the poor guy down and act like it’s no big deal, like it’s totally okay. And you know what? It really is okay. Everyone freaks out before a life-changing event. Everyone gets nervous before a big performance. And this is both of these things rolled into one.
Put your hand on his shoulder, look into his eyes and convey that it’s all very understandable.
Step #2 – Reassure Him
Before you get into the real body of the pep talk, let him know that everything is in its right place, everyone knows their roles, this has all been rehearsed and the rest of the groomsmen are on it.
Tell him that no one is the wiser, the bridal party is really busy with the bride and that she will take a while to be ready anyway, so there’s no rush and there’s nothing for him to worry about.
Step #3 – Let Him Vent
This is where you let him blow off some steam to a listening ear. Have him let it all out. Encourage him. Ask him to tell you how he feels and what he thinks. Let him tell you about how stupid he finds the theme décor or how much he hates it when uncle James makes a fool of himself.
Let him even tell you about how much he’s been financially under pressure or perhaps how ashamed he felt for not paying more. Or maybe he wants to tell you about how he and his fiancée fought all the time over the smallest things like the color of the font on the invitations or having a vegan menu option just in case.
All you need to do right now is just stay as present as possible, listen and don’t flinch. Even if he says the craziest things, you are there for him and you’re not going to make him feel like an idiot.
When he’s done. You can just nod slowly and tell him you really understand his frustrations and confusion, and that it’s fine to feel this way. Let him know that most guys in his shoes would also be freaking out, but that you believe he can handle it.
Step #4 – Relate To Him
Now that you know how he feels, take a few moments to find a relatable story to tell him. It could be about your own wedding when you also felt like you were losing your mind, or it could be that time you had to take the LSAT and you were sleep deprived and stuck in traffic on the way, or it could be that time when you invested a lot of money into a business that was a little too risky for comfort.
Whatever it is that you choose, make sure that the emotions and pressures are similar to his, and most importantly, that you came out on top in the end.
This will help him realize that there are many such events in life where we all feel like we’ll pop, and that our knee-jerk reaction is to either run away or flip out, but they pass. Everything passes. And then all that’s needed is to just jump back in the game.
Step #5 – Remind Him
Now that he’s not feeling so alone and there’s a glimmer of hope and ease in his eyes, it’s time to remind him of why he’s there in the first place.
Talk about his soon-to-be-wife. Remind him of when they first started dating, how excited he was about meeting this really cool, hot, intelligent yet down to earth woman. The one he felt he could really be himself with.
Remind him of that time when they almost split up and how bummed he was, and how relieved and happy he felt when they patched things up again.
Remind him of that moment when he realized that he was going to ask her to spend the rest of their lives together. And all the cool plans they made.
Make sure he understands that during weddings people are not their everyday selves. Just look at him! He’s usually the cool, calm, collected one out of all of you and now he’s like a scared schoolboy. So, no need to judge the bride, the family or the whole wedding party based on one high-pressure event.
In the end, it’s just going to be the two of them, back to their usual selves, in jeans and t-shirts and watching Netflix on movie nights.
And finally, remind him that he’s still got his friends, and weekends with you all fishing or playing video games or drinking beers. Nothing has really changed on that front.
Step #6 –Next Steps
By now he’s probably relaxed, warmed up and even a little excited about getting married. But he might still be a little nervous about the performance itself – especially the vows. This is where you can reassure him once more that you both got this, together.
Hopefully, he has already crafted heart-felt wedding vows, practiced them and he has them written on a piece of paper just in case.
Walk him through what is going to happen now. He’s going to get dressed, he’s going to stand next to the officiant, he’s going to watch as his bride walking towards him, and he’ll definitely need no reminder to smile at this point. And then, he will take her hand and then they will say their vows…
…Or whatever sequence they have planned. You just spell it out for him as though it was really no biggie. And make sure he knows you’ll be right by his side during the whole thing and he can always ask you for anything he needs.
So, now you’re well prepared and confident that you can put out any proverbial fires that might suddenly pop up. This is the mark of a really good groomsman, and a really great friend. But before you click off, we have a few final suggestions that are just as important as the above.
Here’s the thing: you know your best friend better than anyone, so you know what you should and shouldn’t say and do if this situation should present itself. These steps are guidelines, what you need to do is craft this wedding day pep talk yourself.
We recommend you don’t drink too much during the wedding, at least not at first, because your role is important and you never know when you’ll need your wits about you.
And once things have gone smoothly and you can relax, be sure to let the groom know how proud you are of him, even if you intend on teasing him afterwards for any bloopers.