From Red Coat to Red Cape a Professional Toastmasters Tale!!

I guess the alarm bells should have rang at the very beginning when the bridegroom was ready to meet with the registrars, but the best man was only just getting into the shower. The bridegroom’s side of the congregation mainly consisted of hard-core Irish truckers. They were absolute gents, some of whom I’m still in contact. They did, however, like to partake in the ‘golden liquid’ of which they were professional consumers. One of the groomsmen explained, they very rarely get to drink as they’re always on the road, and this being a special occasion they were going to make the most of it!!

This didn’t phase me. I trusted my training. My trade craft had prepared me for these situations, and I never considered it a challenge. Everything ran like a well-oiled machine. My training at The Guild of International Professional Toastmasters ensured that would be the case. The ceremony started on time apart from the 5 minute delay to allow the bride to be late.


There was perfect coordination with myself and the photographer to get the photographs taken in record time, allowing the happy couple to socialise before their wedding breakfast. I even saved a bridesmaid’s dress from failing with my trusted pocket of safety pins. I was on fire! I felt good – this was going so well. The bride was smiling, a couple of guests were asking for business cards as they were getting married too and wanted to utilise my services. The breakfast was finished, coffee and toasting wine was served, and we were ready for the speeches.

The brother of the bride spoke on behalf of their late father, it was moving. The bridegroom delivered his speech perfectly. He originally didn’t want to give one as he didn’t know what to say, but with my assistance prior to the day, we got his thoughts down on paper.


It was now time for the best man’s speech, the pinnacle of ridicule and humour at the bridegroom’s expense. It was then that it dawned on me that, Lenny (made up name for the purpose of this blog) the best man, had been incredibly quiet up until now. With the groomsmen’s assistance I had done a pretty good job of deflecting him away from the bar, but unbeknown to any of us he had been devouring several refilled hip flasks of Bushmills, which he had hidden under the table.


He was quick! He staggered to his feet, swaying like a willow in the wind, and grabbing the microphone from the bridegroom, before I had even got the opportunity to announce him. I would like to say what followed were melodic lyrics of appreciation and gratitude to his best mate, however, the reality was that the room was now being swamped  with an incoherent, drunken blur, assisted with a strong accent and a lot of dribbling.


The only words that were legible were the obscenities, which unfortunately were frequent. Despite the guests being in absolute stitches, I could see the smile dropping from the bride’s face – I had to act fast and use the skills I’d been taught. I slid up next to the best man and between the next two swear words, as he drew breath, wiping the dribble from his chin, I gently seized the mic from his limp hand and said, ‘Well, I don’t think anyone else could had said it like that!!


Lenny, the best man ladies and gentlemen!!’ He swayed, he gazed, and he smiled and dropped to his seat!
I don’t know whether the standing ovation and cheers from the guests were for me or for Lenny, but what I do know was the bride smiled at me and whispered, ‘thank you,’ which was followed by a hug before I left at the end of the evening.


I had a lot of the guests wanting to buy me drinks, telling me I was fantastic and how I saved the day and I was even booked as Toastmaster for two other guests for their wedding. That was the day my red coat became a red cape!


Perhaps not a usual wedding but it can be said it’s just another day in the life of one of the Fellows from the Guild of International Professional Toastmasters.


Vince Hawkes