I’ve been offering advice and services to Best Men for many years now but I must confess one thing I have never considered is the punchline of new Hollywood blockbuster The Wedding Ringer – being hired to actually BE the Best Man! Take that one in to The Dragons Den and it’d raise a few eyebrows I’m sure.
In the movie, Jimmy Callahan runs Best Man Inc., pimping himself out for an inflated fee as a stand-in Best Man to friendless grooms-in-need, like hapless Doug Harris, the movie’s nerdy straight man. The charade of being long lost mates and the integration of, not one but, seven ragabond groomsmen (‘it looks like the Goonies grew up and became rapists’) provides the backdrop for a series of humorous set pieces that culminates in guess what – them actually becoming pals.
Being a paid Best Man? Is that even viable?!
So it got me thinking. I’m in the Best Man trade; maybe I too should look into providing a similar service, in addition to advising on Best Man duties, providing stag do ideas and helping with Best Man speeches!
I’ve got to admit it’s a bit of a struggle to get my head around as a commercial venture. In the first instance, how many people arrive at a point where they literally can’t find a single bloke willing to take on the role of Best Man?! I mean it seems unlikely doesn’t it? This question is actually raised in the movie and almost dismissed as a dumbass line of enquiry by Callahan, ‘I’m in a very profitable business because of guys like you’ he replies when asked if other Best Men require such a product. Well he has to say that doesn’t he? Or they’d have no movie! Anyway…
Putting this initial scepticism to one side, once employed it seems a fairly cushy number on the surface. A nice hotel. Great food and wine. Pleasant company no doubt. But where it could of course unravel, is the web of lies that has been spun to support such a yarn. One slip of the tongue and the cat is out of the bag. In many ways it bears a degree of similarity to being an escort! There to provide a smokescreen of popularity and convention to an unfulfilled need. At this point it all starts to feel a bit uncomfortable. What happens if I were to bump in to one of the wedding party again? Would I have to maintain the charade? I guess I would, but if I did this gig many times over, as Callahan does in the movie, how would one remember all the back stories?! Its surely not possible!
What’s your best price for being a Best Man?
At this point I’m beginning to see why our anti-hero at Best Man Inc. had such a profitable business! All the accompanying baggage would have to come at a cost which leads us nicely on to price. How much would you pay someone to be your Best Man? Let’s say by the hour. £10?, £25?, £50?, £100?! It’s a difficult one to pin down because, unless you believe the tall story of The Wedding Ringer, such a service is unavailable to compare against. I’m guessing it would have to be costed on a case-by-case basis. In the movie the hapless groom-to-be needs a Best Man at two weeks’ notice (not sure how on earth that could happen) and is clearly desperate. Time constraints put pressure on purchase decisions – that’s why airline operators display ‘limited number of seats left’ to panic punters in to buying there and then – and so in this instance a higher price could be charged. In the event that there’s more notice then it could be lower I guess.
But you know what? The more I think about this idea, the more barmy it sounds. One of the purposes of a wedding day is to share an intimate and personal event with the most special people in your life. Aren’t the other guests going to find it bizarre that the guy taking the top job of being Best Man is someone they’ve never laid eyes on before in their life?! Including let’s not forget – the parents! How’d you explain that one away?! “Hi Mum, hi Dad, this is Oliver. I know you’ve never heard me mention his name once before a couple of weeks ago but he is in fact my best buddy in the world.” Nope, buying a Best Man is a proposition that would never work in practice! Not only is it unfeasible, the deception would be far too stressful. And so as the Dragons would say, ‘for that reason – I’m out!’