Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Ultimate Wingman

When Cory asked me to be his best man, he immediately said there was no other person he could think of to fill this special role on his special day. That statement meant a lot to me considering the great obstacles we have had to overcome to maintain our friendship. Geography, time zone differences, etc. But yet we still made the effort and somehow it miraculously worked. So a little over a year later, the big show went down in the OKC and I had to play the role of the ultimate wingman- the groom's best man.

Adrenaline, caffeine and alcohol played a vital role in my survival of the weekend that was. After about four hours of sleep because of a Dynamo game I had to work the previous night, I left my apartment Friday morning for Hobby Airport to catch my flight to OKC. Thankfully the flight was short. Cory picked me up and immediately we were off for final wedding preparations. We dropped off my bags at his crib downtown, then it was off for tuxedos, his house, then the rehearsal dinner. We had a little downtime, but it was hardly relaxing that Friday. What made matters more awkward was the fact that I didn't know anyone in the wedding or anyone who was going to be there. For the past 365+ days, Cory and Jilian's families and friends had heard: "Cory's friend John is going to be the best man." I was known only in name.

When we arrived at the gardens for the rehearsal, I could the feel the eyes looking at me wondering who this guy was standing next to Cory. Thankfully, Jilian arrived just in time before I lost it and introduced me to her bridesmaids and family. This was my first wedding and I no clue what to do, especially as the best man. I'm thankful we ran through everything a couple times or it could have been ugly. I was paired with Jilian's cousin Jessica who definitely shared her cousin's sense of humor.

At the rehearsal dinner, I spent a good amount of my time answering the question: "So John, how do you know Cory?" Pause while I take a deep breath ... I enjoyed seeing their facial expressions when I told them I was friends with Cory since the fifth grade when he lived in Indiana. I don't think Jilian's family had any idea Cory ever lived in the Hoosier state. Once everyone was served I gave the speech I had been thinking about for nearly a year. I saw quite a few teary eyes, so you know it was a good one. The guys had plans of going out on the town to give Cory one last final hurrah before the main event tomorrow, but a wonderful Oklahoma thunderstorm had other ideas. So we had guys night out at Cory's apartment and let's just say we finished a bottle of Jameson's Whiskey three ways and invented the Bear Grylls drinking game. I'll end this part of the story with that.

Surprisingly enough, I felt great the next morning. The actual wedding day was quite relaxing. Everything was ready to go. We slept in, ate some food, and watched tv until it was time to leave for the gardens where the ceremony would take place. All of the groomsmen had to get dressed in a closet. Bodies were on top of each as we struggled to put on our monkey suites. Then there was another factor- the heat. The Lord blessed us with a sunny day and a nice breeze, but it was still in the 90's which made life pleasant in four layers of clothing. We took pictures first, but Cory and Jilian had a special, private first encounter. Before I knew it, we were lined up into formation and walking down the aisle. My hand were full too. I had Jilian's wedding band dangling on my finger and a special champagne glass in a cloth in the other. Luckily, I didn't screw anything up and the ceremony went smoothly.

Once it was over, I wanted to get my dance on and party. However, the food buffet, cake cutting and my second speech/toast cramped my style. I only knew about one speech ahead of time. Now I was told I had to give another when my best material had already been used. So I told a story in a similar style to the one told in the movie Old School. Yeah, you're feelin' me- you love it. So I gave another kick-ass speech that made everyone both laugh and cry. Maybe I should make a living by writing best man toasts and speeches. Could be fun? After much anticipation, it was time to dance, but there was not much room to begin with and all of the little kids occupied the remaining space. Oh well. I kept drinking the free Boulevard Wheat. Before long it was time for Cory and Jilian to go off to their hotel room and do their newlywed thing. I told Jilian to be gentle with Cory. She assertively shook her head no. I shrugged my shoulders replying: "Very well."

Meanwhile ... as all of these festivities took place, word had gotten out that the best man was a single, eligible bachelor. I became curious of this when several members of both families approached me telling me of a niece, daughter or female family friend they would like to introduce me to. I don't think I've ever had so many people trying to get me ass in my entire life. Too bad they don't live in H-town. I went back to Cory's parent's house for the after party, but once everyone sat down and relaxed, they began to drop like flies and call it a night. I felt I should probably do the same, so I went back to the hotel where my mom stayed only to find the bridesmaids having an after party. I tossed my bag in mom's room and went down to the lobby. Unfortunately, what happened at the Bivona residence soon repeated itself at the hotel. Darn.

Luckily, I got to see Cory and Jilian the next morning going to the airport. Me to Houston, them to Cancun. Darn. This weekend was great and I am glad I got to be a part of it. The more time I spend with the Cory and Jilian together, the more I can see that they are meant for each other and words cannot express how truly happy I am for them. Hopefully I'll find a love like that someday. And when I do, I know they'll be there.

To Cory and Jilian, I wish you only the best.

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