January 25, 2011

Putting Your Muse(s) to Work

In the fall of 2002, I gave a rather horrific Best Man toast at my older brother's wedding in Miami Beach. I perhaps remember it as a much bigger disaster than it was ... but it was far from a success. I had just turned 19, and in my mind, I had written the most well-crafted, well-balanced speech of all time. It blended pop culture references with a sweet sentiment about Jessica's inexplicable love for my brother. I expected the entire room to be simultaneously slapping their knees and crying hysterically by the time I was through. 

As it turns out, no knees were slapped that evening. And the only person who was crying hysterically was my inner child, who crouched behind the open bar for the remainder of the evening.  

Enter Angie and Alicia, two ladies I've been stalking this past week after discovering them on Twitter. As professional writing consultants for wedding vows, speeches, toasts or whatever, Angie and Alicia (known in some circles as the Vow Muses) give voices to the voiceless. Angie and Alicia bring closure to an event that I still refer to as the greatest failure of my writing career. Nine years later, I'm comforted in knowing that there are two personable professionals out there in the wedding world who can prevent vows, toasts and the like from going south. 

How does it work? Simple: consultation, writing, reveal, revision, collaboration, revision, completion! And aside from injecting you with eloquence and elocution, the muses can also edit your ceremony wording, pen a love poem, revamp your wedding website content, and prepare you for your impending public speaking engagement.

To test their skills, I decided to give Angie and Alicia three extreme but plausible scenarios in which a groom would need ... well ... a script. See their responses below as evidence of their serious writing prowess and their wicked sense of humor.

You've flown across the country to surprise your girlfriend's father at his home and ask for his daughter's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, on that sharp turn into the driveway, you took out his mailbox with the rental car. On top of that, your return flight departs in an hour, so you've got zero time for small talk. How do you apologize for the damage, get his blessing and prove to him that this mailbox incident is not an indication of your potential ... and accomplish all of that in two minutes or less?

Good afternoon Mr. Guglia, it’s nice to see you again. I have an extremely important request of you and not much time to chat, unfortunately, though those sweet new golf clubs near the stairs may warrant a follow up phone call. Your daughter, Julia, is a wonderful woman. And she takes after her mother, so kudos to you on that. I’m here to request your blessing before I ask for her hand in marriage. Because I don’t want this to turn into a “Meet the Parents” situation, and because my return flight leaves in 50 minutes, I will make this brief: your daughter is the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I will take care of her come hell or high water for the rest of her life. Oh, and you’ll see that I’m quite adept at resolving chaotic situations as I’ve already called a handyman to fix your suddenly dilapidated mailbox… You’ll be happy to know that I’m also working on how to better handle stressful situations and continuously improving my driving skills. With this hesitant handshake and your confused expression, I know exactly how you are feeling even if you can’t conjure the words to express it. Thank you, Mr. Guglia, I look forward to cursing the opposing sporting team with you on Thanksgivings for years to come.

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You're stretched out in the backseat of a car, en route to a hospital somewhere in the middle of the Nevada desert. Your memory is fading, but if you remember correctly, your boys dragged you out into the woods for the bachelor party of a lifetime. Unfortunately, while they did remember the Vienna sausages, they managed to forget the snake bite kit. When your leg tripled in size, they decided to seek medical attention. While you writhe in the backseat, how do you thank them for ten memorable minutes of the bachelor party of a lifetime and, at the same time, suggest that one of them start sucking the snake juice out of that wound?

Dudes, seriously, you guys are awesome. You know your bros are there for you when they plan a totally wicked bachelor party. You know your friends care when they pack you a lunch, take time off work and agree to be in your wedding. Hell, if it doesn’t work out with Brenda, I may just come knocking on one of your doors for more than a couch to sleep on, if you know what I mean. But seriously guys, I know this didn’t go to plan -- unless you planted that bastard of a snake because you didn’t actually get Monday off work -- but sometimes it’s the effort that counts. And speaking of effort, a guy knows he’s really got the best friends ever when one of them is willing to suck snake venom from his leg. No, seriously, I’m gonna need someone to get on that ASAP, sentimental time is over; I can’t feel my hands anymore.

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Well, the good news is that no one at the rehearsal dinner has caught on that there's a fire brewing toward the back of the venue. The bad news is that there's a fire brewing toward the back of the venue. (Something about your family and open flames never sat right with you.) As entrees make their way out to the tables and the curtains begin to blaze, you stand to deliver your welcoming toast for the weekend. So how exactly do you thank them for coming while politely asking them to get the hell out ... like, now?

Hello everyone and welcome to Beth and my wedding weekend. Thank you all for coming; we’re so glad that you could all make it. You know, someone once told me that love is like a fire that burns inside us and grows to consume our bodies and minds. At one time I would not have believed that, but some very recent events have wholly convinced me of this truth. And on that note, I thank you all for coming here to celebrate the fire of love that burns between Beth and myself, and kindly ask you to file out your nearest exit to avoid any further flames unintentionally affecting anyone else on this wonderful night. This toast will continue on the front sidewalk in 30 seconds, move it people!

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Before you leave us, ladies -- any tips for grooms out there who may be thinking about writing their own vows?

First, if you're hesitant, get help! That's what Vow Muse is for, of course, and we can save you from looking like a doof in front of hundreds of people (not to mention invoking the Wrath of the Bride). If you're comfortable writing your own vows, we advise that you remember who your audience is (grandma doesn't want to hear anything raunchy); just say what you feel (your friends can tease you later); and say just enough that your lady doesn't upstage you but not so much that your guests are staring out the windows by the end. Good luck and happy groom-ing! 
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Please visit the talented Angie and Alicia at VowMuse.com
follow them on Twitter, or contact them directly at muse@vowmuse.com

1 comment:

  1. i'm going to have to disagree with you — i was laughing and crying.