Men, raise your glasses high!Today is a happy day for a couple of my good friends – Dan and Rachel. That’s right, they are getting married tonight! It’s one of those happy and unexpected stories of love lost and found again. Boy meets girl. Boy and Girl drift apart. Boy meets Girl again in a new city. Boy is surprised he still has feelings for Girl. Girl is just as surprised. Boy and Girl begin dating again. Boy and Girl move in together. Boy and Girl get married and move to Guam. Who hasn’t experienced the exact same story in their own lives? Especially the Guam part. 😉 I may be making light, but today is a very big day for my buddy Dan. I know that Dan and Rachel are very much in love and I know that they are going to do great as husband and wife.

Last night was his bachelor party and he put me in charge. Luckily Dan is a low key guy and wasn’t looking for the “typical” bachelor party. I’ve mended my ways since then and all my oats have been sewn, so instead we had a nice relaxing evening of cigars, scotch and male bonding. We went to the Havana Lounge downtown and enjoyed a few limited edition Arturo Fuente Opus X cigars and a few glasses of Macallen Scotch. It was a well spent evening as we talked about where we’ve been and where the future seems to be heading and all the fun we’ve had along the way.

I believe that there are some standards that have to be met when a good friend is getting married. It doesn’t matter if it happens at the bachelor party, or not, but it’s important that these “rules” be followed at some point during the process of getting married. These are not rules that I found in some book and adopted, these are rules that I have lived and continue to live by. Allow me to explain.

1. There Has To Be A Male Ceremony
This is normally done at the bachelor party, but there has to be some ceremony that signifies the big step that your friend is taking down the path of manhood. The idea is that you only get married once, so it’s important that you highlight this fact through a proper ceremony. Strippers, or other lewd behavior is not a requirement; all you need are your close friends around. Last night Dan and I kicked back with a cigar at the Havana Lounge. Nothing fancy. Just right.

2. No Man Should Enter Marriage Without A Fine Liquor
Not because his wife is going to drive him to drink, but because there are so many important milestones in a man’s life that occur after marriage. You need to have the right beverage to toast these special moments and hoisting a Bud in the air simply isn’t going to do it.

This lesson was taught to me by my best man and groomsmen – Ken Duff, Chris LaFleur, Ken Harelson and Hodgie Coxe – when I got married. At my rehearsal dinner, I was presented with a bottle of Martell XO Supreme (around $150 a bottle) and I was totally blown away by the gesture. It was so unexpected. Over the next few years I found many moments were a small glass of cognac seemed perfect for the occassion. The start of a new job, renewing friendships that had drifted but were now tight again, my anniversary and many other special events. Every time I took a sip from my glass, I was reminded of my wedding, my vows, my friends and just how blessed my life has been.

Dan has quite a few big milestones ahead and he should not be ill equipped, so, I bought him a bottle of Remy Martin X.O. Excellence. Hopefully this fine cognac will serve him well as he moves his life to Guam in the spring as well as the many other landmark moments that will come his way.

3. A Man Should Be Remembered
The “male ceremony” is a somewhat private event, however there needs to be a public dedication as well. Normally this is done by the best man at the wedding reception. All glasses are raised in honor as one man recounts what makes the Groom a man to be respected and admired. Unfortunately, Dan’s wedding is a private affair for family only and somewhat non-traditional to boot. These kids today! 😉

With no venue in which to perform my duty, it fell upon me to wax poetically at the Havana Lounge. However, Dan deserves better, so I’m forced to post my toast here on the weblog. Please raise your coffee cup, water bottle, diet coke, or whatever you have handy as I present to you…

A Toast To Dan Westman

Gather ’round my friends
And lend me your ear
For I have a tale to tell
That you’ll all want to hear

About a man named Dan Westman
Whom I know quite well
His tale is one of honor
No rumors here to quell

There once was a man from Nashville
Strong, handsome and good of heart
Graduating from college with honors
He was off to a great start

The women, they did fawn
And make such a ruckus
They all wanted his attention
Time and exclusive focus

“Oh, if only he would take me out
and make a proper woman out of me
Then I could say that I’ve lived
And lived a life that was happy.”

Yet Dan was a man of honor
And kept his heart pure
He focused on his future
And kept his footing sure.

He would type away type away
Till all hours of the night
Generating miles of computer code
That all worked just right.

So wonderful were his programs
That he was lured away
From the safe nest of Nashville
To do work and not to play

So off he went
To the wild streets of D.C
Where the crack flowed like water
Just ask Marion Barry

Dan stayed the course
Ignoring vices that plagued all the rest
For he was a master coder
And his software was the best.

Then along came a lass
From the Navy no less
She captured Dan’s heart
And you can guess the rest

This sailor ran him to ground
Taking him off the market
Dan’s single life was now useless
All he could do was park it.

Soon it was “Aye Aye Captain”
And salutes to his First Mate
Rachel had tamed this wild beast
And only she did he want to date

Dan was in love
Of this there can be no doubt
And the women of Nashville?
Oh how they did pout

From the rooftops you could hear
“Dan Westman is gone. He’s left us to pine”
Yet Rachel and Dan were quite happy
Their love – sweet and sublime

D.C became a place of wonder and magic
This place, it was the best
They moved in together
And made their own little love nest

Together and content
As a couple they did live
What more could they do
What else could they give?

The answer was clear
And Dan did not stutter
He offered Rachel his hand
And her heart was a flutter

Of course she would marry him
And live forever as man and wife
Dan was the one
And this felt oh so right

So tomorrow is the day
And Dan has found his mate
Tomorrow Dan will wed
But this is not the end of his fate

For the love of a good woman
Is the best thing for a man
It keeps his feet grounded
Not mired in sand

Tomorrow is not the end
But the beginning of a new start
Dan and Rachel become one
And share one common heart

So raise all your glasses
And send up a cheer
Dan Westman is getting married
And there is nothing to fear

Because Dan is the lucky one
And this we can all agree
He has the love of a good woman
Who will make him happy

And with my last words
My little poem comes to an end.
For it is I who am honored
Because he called me friend.

Best wishes to you Dan. Holly and I wish you and Rachel a long and happy marriage. Cheers!