On July 25th, 2015 in a historic train station in Virginia, my brother set forth on a journey with the love of his life. Sarah and my younger brother were married and I couldn’t be happier for them. I had the honor of standing by my brothers side as his best man and the whole thing went without a hitch. From what I could tell the two of them were not nervous about if the other was the one; instead they were excited and ready to be together.
My brother picked a wonderful woman to marry and her family is just as awesome. There is so much I could say about the wedding but I’ll just say you had to be there to experience this kind of awesome and wonder.
The wedding was very beautiful and so much fun, but getting to that point took a lot of work from a lot of people. I am sure Sarah’s parents were very busy organizing everything and my parents were just as busy organizing travel for our family and friends along with setting up the rehearsal dinner. For myself I was just as busy, for the last three months I spent most of my free time trying to write a great speech that honors my brother and shows everyone what an amazing man he is. I was also very busy organizing and setting up a bachelor party worth remembering.
I had watched a few different styles of toasts trying to figure out which style to go with: the roast, the embarrassing story, the rap song, and a few others… I settled on the one that just tells my brother that I love him and that I am proud of him. Writing the speech was one of the trickiest things I have had to do in my life, thankfully I had some great friends to listen to it and tell me their thoughts. Let’s just say plenty of jokes were cut from the speech. My first draft alone almost was about 8 pages. From there I trimmed the fat and brought it down to a few things that I really wanted to mention. There were a few key things I wanted to make sure I said and feel most speeches should touch on.
First make sure you thank and acknowledge the parents and siblings of both families. Second make sure you are not mentioning any very sore subjects or put anyone really down. Finally make sure you tell them that you love them and that you are honored to be there by their side.
Below is my final edit of the speech. I did screw up a bit and skip a line or two but for the most part this is what was said.
“Good Afternoon everyone. I’m Frank Scheer, Harri’s brother and the best man for today’s festivities. And if you didn’t already know that, congrats on successfully crashing the wedding. The food’s great, isn’t it?
It’s a true honor to be here, standing up in front of friends and family, on the day when my brother gets to marry the love of his life. I haven’t seen him this happy since he got back from Austria and spoke three more words of German than before he left.
Now, a lot of best man speeches focus on crazy stories that happened between the best man and groom, trying to embarrass him a little while letting others in on their lives. But I have no interest in embarrassing Harri – I’ll leave that to Sarah. I simply want to talk about how much my brother means to me and how proud I am of him.
Growing up, it felt like Harri followed me everywhere…from Cora Kelly to G.W. Middle School to T.C. Williams. We had different interests, with me going into ROTC and Harri becoming a great athlete, but we always found time to bond when we’d fight to the death over control of the N-64. And when no one won that grudge match, we’d settle it ON the N-64. These matchups became so frequent that Vegas started laying odds on the winner. I remember when a kid in math class tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Good luck tonight Frank. I’ve got $100 at 3-1 that you take down Harri in Mario Cart.’
But when he wasn’t beating me in video games, Harri shined and really came into his own in high school, starring in rugby at T.C. Williams. Our school was made famous by the movie “Remember the Titans”, but it was Harri that REALLY put us on the map with the most influential group out there – high school rugby enthusiasts.
He continued to make me proud as he took his rugby prowess to the next level, starring at VCU. It was there where he met the woman who would change his life forever, his lovely bride Sarah. This was a golden age for VCU – a run to the Final Four, and a pairing of these two incredible people. And for you Hokies out there, the Final Four is something schools that play basketball do.
The relationship that they formed in Richmond blossomed over the years, and is truly one to behold. I’m incredibly happy that he found her, as she has not only enriched Harri’s life, but that of our entire family. Sarah has made Harri’s life in Richmond incredible. So good, in fact, that he never came back. Harri has continued his rugby career with the Richmond Lions, and him and Sarah have recently bought a house together. I’ve always been proud of him, but particularly for his decision making here.
Taking out a mortgage gets you a nice house in Richmond….that same mortgage gets you a storage locker in Northern Virginia. And in addition to taking that big step of buying a house, Harri just got accepted to grad school. My brother is taking the world by storm, and I couldn’t be happier for him.
This great life Harri has carved out for himself was certainly helped along by coming from a great family. He’s blessed with a wonderful parents, Frank and Arja, and a smart, good looking, charming older brother. What better way to honor our father Frank, a huge train enthusiast, than to have this wedding at a train station? Nice touch, Harri. And this wedding is a special treat for our mother Arja, as this is a the culmination of a long journey that began in Finland and brought us to this momentous day. There aren’t enough words, in English or Finnish, to describe the pride we all have in the man you’ve become.
Harri is not only blessed to come from a great family himself, he truly couldn’t have picked a better family to marry into. Sarah’s mother Jean is a teacher, molding the young minds of tomorrow, and her father Steve proudly defended our nation as an Air Force pilot. Steve, I speak for everyone here when I say thank you for your service.
It’s also been a pleasure getting to know Sarah’s beautiful sisters Kristen and Amy, as well as her brother Steve, who just started driving. This should lead to many sleepless nights for the Virginia Highway Patrol. I’m honored to be here with the rest of the bridesmaids as well. Aren’t they all beautiful? I hope they at least stay for the wedding cake before someone else moves to Australia for a guy they just met.
The groomsmen are a great bunch too. A combination of rugby players, soldiers and construction workers …let’s just say this bar will get a good workout today. And these guys were a sight to behold at the bachelor party in Lake Gaston. Let me paint a picture for you … we had an ensemble of men with the blood-alcohol level of the Kennedy’s rowing a broken-down pontoon boat like Vikings. It had all the staples of a Viking outing…large amounts of red meat, loud singing, terrified women, and the sacking of English villages. I’m kidding, of course. There was no singing. But a great time was had by all. A toast to you, my Viking brothers. And especially you, Harri the Terrible.
Harri, you’re a lucky man. These are some incredible people you’ve surrounded yourself with, and it’s meant everything to me that we’ve become closer over the years to the point where I have this honor. As I’ve said before, I couldn’t be more proud of you. You’re an incredible brother, a good friend, and will be a great husband. I wish you and Sarah the best that life has to offer, and many, many years of good health and happiness. Sarah, we’re thrilled to have you in the family and welcome you with open arms as one of our own. And if you can learn a few words of Finnish, that’d be the icing on the cake!
I love you both, and would like everyone to raise their glasses…to the bride and groom! Cheers!”
So with me finally getting the speech done I was really able to relax. The wedding was so much fun and we couldn’t have been surrounded by better people. The groomsmen alone were a riot and a sight to see. I will always remember the bachelor party and all of the funny things that occurred. I have said it several times but I will say it again, it was a true honor and privilege to stand there with my brother as his best man and watch him marry Sarah.