Who Gave Cole a Mic?

This summer I attended three weddings in three weeks. Two of those were on consecutive days. One of those involved manning the microphone and DJ booth and putting the future of my nascent MC career on the line. Before I dive into that, though, some important background.

Five or six years ago, a few friends and I were at a bonfire, and we started discussing marriage and relationships. My buddy Jake and I had a brief sidebar.

“Jake, I want to speak at your wedding.” He and I had been friends for a long time, so it seemed like a reasonable request.

“Sure thing, man. You can do that!” Nailed it.

Fast-forward two years. I hadn’t seen Jake in a while, and he came over for drinks on a May evening with that same group from the bonfire. In true Jake fashion, he was about a half hour early. Also important—he was engaged.

“So, Jake, when’s a good time to remind you I’m speaking at your wedding?”

He laughed. “This is a great time for me to tell you that’s NOT gonna happen.”

Fast-forward again to August, about a month before Jake’s wedding. I wrote a speech, despite his claims that I wouldn’t be allowed to give it, and sent it to two of his groomsmen, one of whom was his brother Luke. Luke read the speech and responded to my message “I’m going to make this happen.”

And happen it did!

MC 5

The Preamble

Back to trying new things. Luke proposed to his girlfriend Natalie a few years later. I met Natalie for the first time at a zombie room escape adventure, which we absolutely destroyed. After their engagement, the happy couple asked if I would MC their wedding. Always eager to amplify my voice, I heartily agreed. I also imagined their conversation that eventually led to putting me in this role:

“How do we stop Cole from writing an impromptu speech?”

“WE LET HIM MC.”

OR

“We can’t find an MC. Our first 10 choices are booked.”

*sigh* “Call Cole.”

A few months flew by, and I asked Natalie when she wanted to meet to discuss details, i.e. how loud my mic should be and how many single ladies would be in attendance. Oh, and maybe what I should actually do. She told me they needed a bit more time to iron some things out, which I took to mean one of two things:

  1. They needed a bit more time to iron some things out
  2. They no longer wanted me to MC, but couldn’t figure out how to tell me

Luckily, the latter was an irrational fear, and we met a few weeks later. I had my tasks outlined, and I was ready to MC the crap out of this wedding.

The Ceremony

I started things off right—I pulled into the venue, a bit tired from my two hour drive (I had a wedding in Iowa the night before) and wandered around like an idiot, trying to find someone I knew. I stumbled into the photo shoot and was aggressively shooed away by the photographer. I found the family in the reception area and was NOT shooed away, so I changed into my suit. Of course, the single tie I brought to a double-header wedding weekend had a stain on it. Tide-to-go did little to help.

MC 3
Ruining pictures with stained ties since 1991.

As the ceremony approached, my nerves took over. I went to the bathroom more times than I care to admit, and that only made my nerves worse because the venue only had one bathroom. What if I had to go and it was taken? What if I got diarrhea and had to wait for the bathroom while simultaneously shirking my MC responsibilities? The struggle is real.

I’m proud to report that after a crash course with the sound board, the ceremony went off without a hitch, and the bathroom situation presented zero issues. *Wipes sweat off forehead*

The Reception

For the most part, the reception went very well, save for a few fumbles that most people didn’t even notice. While I risk damaging my MC career, I’ll share them here.

Important note: MCing is terrifying. I was SO scared of screwing up. Not because I would embarrass myself (goodness knows I do that plenty), but because I didn’t want to ruin Luke and Natalie’s special day.

My first task was to introduce the wedding party. Jake asked when I would introduce him as the Best Man, and I told him he’d come third, after the parents. During the actual announcements, however, I forgot to read Jake’s name. He stood in the door looking at me like this:

MC 7

I noticed and called his name. Crisis averted.

My second and more noticeable screwup happened when I announced the bride and groom’s first dance, but didn’t have it ready to play. I searched for it on the computer and it was there…grayed out. With no internet connection, I couldn’t download it. Let me tell you: it’s not a pleasant experience announcing a newlywed couple’s first dance only to have them stand in silence for three minutes while you search desperately for a way to play the proper song and everyone is watching.

I lucked out and found the song on my phone. My instructions were to play it all the way through. The problem: I was in the middle of a text conversation with my Dad, and I didn’t want to live through the torture of hearing “DING!” at any point during the song. This resulted in a few consecutive events:

  1. I quickly teed up the next song on the computer so I wouldn’t have to relive this turmoil
  2. I monitored my phone like a hawk so it wouldn’t sleep and ring at an inopportune moment
  3. I missed Natalie’s subtle cues to fade the song out because I was so preoccupied with my phone. She had to spin Luke around quicker than the song’s tempo would reasonable allow and whisper “COLE, fade out!”

With a shaky hand, i faded the song out and opened the dance floor, which Jake and I later overtook with our immensely aggressive interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” That looked something like this:

It was a genuinely beautiful night despite my MC antics, and I couldn’t be happier for Luke and Natalie—thanks for letting me be a part of your special day!

Next Week: Cole tries to run away from his problems.

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