I'd rather get this posted now kinda dirty than never post it because I'm busy trying to put everything in some sort of laid-out prose form...so prepare yourself for bullets!
* Mike asked me to be his best man, which meant I would be expected to provide a toast/speech at the rehearsal dinner on Friday night and at the wedding reception on Saturday evening. I tossed ideas around in my head for a while, but didn't settle on the theme for each toast until a couple of days beforehand. The bulk of both toasts were cobbled out and set in order within 24 hours of my giving them. I was also in charge of the wedding rings and I lost neither ring.
* The rehearsal dinner was at Husk in SoBro(?) (South of Broadway in downtown, just inside the interstate inner-loop) where we had fancy rustic food in their "stable" behind the main building. My toast during the dinner quickly noted that I don't have blackmail stories to share about Amanda, I know Mike keeps things to himself so I shouldn't share his blackmail material, so I was thus forced to talk about myself. I talked about how this marriage was killing the vicarious bachelor life I've lived through Mike and our bachelor weekends when I would visit. Those bachelor weekends ended with my coming home to family. Now, M&A were creating their own home...and in a dozen years when JD and I are empty nesters, M&A could live vicarious empty-nester lives through us.
* One of the bridesmaids shared the story of "Charlie." During her college years, Amanda worked out the qualities of her ideal man and gave that ideal man the "Charlie" moniker. For years, when the bridesmaid would talk to Amanda about who she was dating, she would ask if the guy was Charlie. Amanda never felt compelled to say yes. That is, until she met Mike/Ben. When the bridesmaid talked to Amanda after her first date with Mike, Amanda quickly volunteered that he was the "Charlie" she had been searching for.
* JD had a lot of wine to drink and got more drunk than I've seen her in a few years. She just couldn't stop herself from telling everyone how drunk she was.
* Woke up the morning of the wedding feeling discombobulated with a nagging feeling that I had or was about to drop a ball. It was about then that I got a text message from Mike about just bringing my wedding clothes instead of wearing them to lunch. Yup, 45 minutes later I was picked up from the hotel and spent the rest of the day with the groom, his men, and photographers. We had lunch at BLVD (I had a hot chicken sandwich, a goblet of Chimay white, and a glass of Yazoo's Dos Perros) and then headed to the bed & breakfast to get changed in the groom's suite.
* If there was a wedding tradition or superstition, Amanda tried to use them all in their favor. So, the first time M&A saw each other on their wedding day was when she appeared at the door at the back of the sanctuary. I know she was starting to cry before coming down. Since I was behind Mike for much of the time, I will take the maids' comments of Mike also crying on face value.
* The reception allowed me to enjoy more Yazoo beer by having Dos Perros available. Would have rocked if the hefe or Sly Rye Porter were available...
* The wedding reception toast I gave focused on Mike's multiple names and titles. Despite being named "Benjamin Michael Berry," my parents decided to call him "Mike." First he was my baby brother (insert memories here), then he was by little brother (insert memories here), before coming my teen brother (insert memories here) and getting the nickname of "Shortlegs" from Dad. At Auburn, Mike became Benjamin, then Benji, and finally Ben. He was an architect student, then became a landscape architect. Now he was taking on a new title - "Husband" - and so a new name - "Charlie" - was also at hand. I wished them well as Mike/Michael/Shortlegs/Ben/Benji/
* It was really good to see most of the relatives come to the wedding. There were some kids of one of my cousins that didn't come, but I got to see some of the Auburn wing of the family that I haven't seen in a decade or so.
* The Berry clan danced. And danced. I think Calvin logged the most time on the dance floor. I was second, Harper and JD were close at third, and Nigel was just barely behind them since he seemed the least certain on how to dance. I did the splits twice and came home with a baseball-sized bruise on the inside of my right knee from one or both of those splits. My FIL, Andy, took quite a bit of video of us all dancing. Once I've edited the video to compensate for his flipping the phone landscape after starting recording in portrait, I'll post a link.
* Amanda's family are Italian by heritage, so there were some Italian songs thrown into the mix. As things were winding down, the DJ asked for all of the Italians to get up on the dance floor. While that was going on, I sat in my seat pondering what ethnicity could possibly be used for my family. We're pretty darn "Southern" with one great-grandmother that was French and another that was Cherokee. I didn't think of the obvious, until the song was over and the DJ segued into "Sweet Home Alabama." It was then that my entire, extended family got out on the dance floor. Folks who wouldn't come to the floor for "The Twist" or any other song for the past 3 hours leapt from their tables and waved their hands above their heads.
* Danced so much at the reception, I found myself STARVED when we got back to the hotel. Thankfully, Hattie B's Hot Chicken was basically right across the street, so I got some hot tenders and tried Turtle Anarchy's Portly Stout while I waited for my order to be done.