The cake had been ordered, dresses fitted, suits measured, florists consulted, guests confirmed.
Yes, all the ingredients were in place for a wedding; the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids, the best man, and two sets of families, with the excitement building as the big day got ever closer.
But then, with just seven weeks to go, something completely unexpected happened.
People often talk about devastating wedding disasters; the cake didn’t look like it was supposed to, the rings got lost, the DJ didn’t show up, red wine got spilled down the bride’s dress, a fight broke out, or the photographer’s camera didn’t work.
Trust me when I tell you that none of those things matter at all.
For they are not really disasters. Upsetting, perhaps, yes, but not devastating.
You see, seven weeks before my wedding, my best man died in a car crash.
Suddenly, instead of joking with him about what he was going to say in his best man’s speech, I was standing in front of a very different congregation, delivering his eulogy.
“I know he was nervous about speaking in front of all my family and friends” I began, “well he had the last laugh, because this is ten times worse.”
I’m not going to share the whole eulogy here, but I ended with this: “Even though he won’t be at the wedding next month, he was, and always will be, the best man”.
Amid all the grief and turmoil we decided to go ahead with the wedding as planned.
I knew that no-one could replace my best man; it would have been impossible shoes for someone else to fill, and he had always been the only candidate.
We shared the best man duties among two members of his family; his seven year old son became ring bearer, and his father gave a speech.
Although, of course, it wasn’t the same as having my best mate there with us that day, this was the best solution we could think of, to acknowledge the tragedy that had happened, while also honouring his memory and still including him in the event as much as possible.
In short, it felt right, and I know he would have approved.