The Groom's Wedding Speech!
Well, I have been lacking in electronic chatter of late, but I was all set to break that by doing something easy - rather than having to think on my fingers with a proper report, I have just emailed a copy of my Groom's speech to hitched.co.uk with the intention of linking straight to it as an example Groom's Speech for other prospective bridegrooms. No mess, no concentration, no editorial required - just a bit of soppy-speech filler for you lovely people who weren't able to join us on our big day. However, since the most recent speech examples were posted from June 2004, I reckon I'm not going to make it through the backlog.
So here it is in full. Aside from the masses of bits that I changed in bed the night before the wedding when I realised it was lacking a certain "something" - you'll just have to have the rough cut instead! And the "hilarious" improvisations aren't there either...
Although, as you will no doubt hear in a later report, I was not at all nervous about the day itself, I was a little bit cacking myself about the speech the afternoon beforehand, especially when I heard it would be recorded on video. I could hardly eat or drink over the wedding breakfast, which I assure you is most unlike me. But, unexpectedly, it went down an absolute storm, even if I say so myself...
Thank you for those kind words, P... or should I say Dad!! And may I thank you for your good wishes, and for so kindly raising a toast to L and myself.
And although you mentioned L's parking faux-pas in your speech, she'll be very pleased that you didn't mention everything that she was concerned about beforehand. Yep, she'll be extremely glad that you didn't mention that time at the recycle bin where she had considered removing individual pages from her magazines, having seen a sign on the bin saying "no yellow pages"! On her behalf may I thank you for your restraint there!
Now, when L told me that a wedding very rarely passes without the Bridegroom having to make a speech, I quickly rushed to the internet for some research. As you do. Apparently there are websites out there with archives stuffed full of other people's tried-and-tested wedding speeches. Now my own research was brief, but it quickly became apparent that most of the speeches that you hear at these occasions are cobbled together from bits and pieces of other people's speeches. I thought that I'd use this opportunity to share this dirty little secret with you. Though don't worry - I would never do such a terrible, lazy thing myself, of course.
--------------- PRINCE OF WALES JOKE ---------------
Right, as Prince of Wales, it has often been difficult balancing my royal duty to the nation with my personal life with Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall...
Erm, no wait, that's not right... [THROWS AWAY PAPER] I'll start again.
--------------- MORE HUMOUROUS INTRO ---------------
[PAUSE] Seriously though, on the subject of Charles and Camilla, similar to Their Royal Highnesses there was some controversy about us not getting married in a church today. However I can reveal that the truth is that, considering the unique singing "talents" of my mother's side of the family, the thought of standing in front of their wall of sound during the hymns justifiably filled me with panic...
No, this speech should be easier than that. As groom I've been told not to worry about speaking as the audience would all be behind me. Which... makes me think... that... I'm facing the wrong way... [LOOKS ROUND] Alright, OK, a very bad joke - I won't do too many of those today - I'll save that honour for the Best Man.
-------------------- FIRST THANKS --------------------
Right, as you might imagine, I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the occasion today. It's not that the magnitude of the occasion is dawning on me. Rather, it's the sheer pride and joy that I feel when I look over to my beautiful, wonderful bride. And I do feel so very lucky.
I also feel extremely lucky when I look out around the room and see so many of our family and friends here, and speaking on behalf of both of us may I thank you all for helping to make it such a special day - it means a whole lot to us that you can share our celebration. I tell you, the excitement has been building like nothing else over the last few weeks and months, and we've both been so looking forward to getting our family and friends together to help us celebrate...
--------------- HOW WE MET ---------------
[REFLECTIVE] ... Family and friends.... [PAUSE] Yes... [PAUSE] friends. That's how it started for myself and L, of course.
It's traditional at these occasions to say how the married couple met. Well, the first time I met L was...well, I don't actually remember the first time I met L... she's always been somewhere in my world, even when I was too young to realise... thankfully some memories fade, and she doesn't remember me as a horrible screaming five-year old child having tantrums during swimming lessons.
No, we became proper friends at school, and for too long that's how it remained. However, looking back we've probably always wanted to be together. And after we'd left school, whenever the holiday seasons came round, it was strangely always a certain A and L tactically acting as the driving force for everyone to meet up.
However as friends it took some time for both of us to find the courage to follow our hearts, but since I moved to London a few years back the preparatory flirting started getting more intense! However, when I look back I can clearly trace where the next stage of our friendship started. I was feeling a little lost one evening, wandering along the bank of the Thames towards Tower Bridge. I'd recently introduced L to the joys of text - I SAID "TEXT" - on her new mobile phone, but that night she called me up for a chat, and she made me feel so alive again.
[HIGHER] And from then on, our visits became more frequent, and we became much less hidden about how we felt for one another. I was especially keen to impress L on one visit she made to London and I pulled out all the stops. Having visited her in the Midlands for the Easter holidays, I drove her back down to London, showing off my collection of gangsta rap in the car along the way, gallantly took her to all the classiest Wetherspoons pubs in the centre, dragged her round the tourist sights... but alas, I didn't quite get the signals I wanted in return, the thoughts of romance being offset by constant complaints about her admittedly painful shoes.
I wasn't put off, however - I figured I could easily buy her some new trainers. And still, not wanting to separate, she didn't take too much persuasion to stay another mostly shoeless day when I asked... PLEASE DON'T READ ANYTHING RUDE INTO THAT!
--------------- HOW WE GOT TOGETHER ---------------
But the real origins of our relationship were a few weeks later, at our friends T and J's wedding. When I went to pick her up from her parents and she came downstairs all dressed to impress, I felt that I'd never seen anyone so beautiful in my whole life, and we proceeded to spend the rest of the weekend together much to the exclusion of everything else. Our friend M hit the nail on the head when he posted a wedding photo of us on his website jokingly captioned "the next couple"...
Not long after I made the first of a regular series of trips up to Birmingham to see her. Things had changed - we felt much more than friends... I remember that weekend so clearly - we had what felt like our first proper date together, a romantic meal in Pizza Express bookended by a few pints in some dodgy Irish bar, and we just talked and talked and talked. We talked about what music we would each have at each of our eventual weddings... we talked about the dream I had that Saturday night about us sharing a tropical holiday together, eating strawberries in the sun... we talked about the dinosaurs that I sensed around every corner - and even THAT didn't seem to worry her! We explored the Lickey Hills together, lieing chatting in the sunshine, both of us wanting to hold hands but both of us too shy to dare. I even offered to put my coat over a puddle for her (perhaps fearing more foot complaints!) Most pertinently, we talked about how couples try to overcome their inhibitions in order to get together in the first place - I span out a line about going to the cinema and pretending to stretch [STRETCH], just to put your arms around your date... and then we agreed that I would return to take her to the cinema the following weekend. And despite L insisting that I might stay another evening and drive back to London before work the next morning, we still had not said what we wanted to say...
Thankfully, further text messaging took us so close to the brink that L had to call to ask whether I was actually asking her out or not... thank God for modern wireless technology!
--------------- THE PRESENT ---------------
And from then on, every day of my life has been wonderful. She has lit up my world with her fun and her life and laughter, even on the gloomiest of days. I don't know if any of you have seen the film Before Sunrise, but the words of the Street Poet in the movie seem quite appropriate,
"Latched in life Like branches in a river Flowing downstream Caught in the current I'll carry you You'll carry me"
- and its true - we hold each other up, through rain and shine, making every day seem brighter than the last.
[PAUSE] This is why we are now married.
And so to today.
--------------- MARRIAGE ---------------
I read just the other day that the word "bride" comes from the Old English name for 'cook', while "groom" originated from 'male child'. [TURN TO L]So L, it's official - from now on I'll play the computer games whilst you do the cooking! THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE AROUND HERE!...
It's true that we will wake up tomorrow as the same people - the same couple - the same unit. However, as described in the words of my Uncle P's earlier reading, we will also wake up tomorrow feeling strengthened and fortified (hangover permitting). "Marriage is a commitment to life - a promise. A potential, made in the hearts of two people who love, which takes a lifetime to fulfil." There's a lot of truth in those words. We will wake up as family. Although we ourselves already know that we want to be together for life, by celebrating our commitment today we wanted everyone else to know as well. And it does genuinely feel very much like the next exciting stage of my life, of our lives..
But that's enough about us for now, I've got some people I'd very much like to thank.
--------------- THANKS - GUESTS ---------------
Firstly may I thank you all for making the long journey through my speech! And on behalf of both of us may I reiterate our sincere thanks for joining us today, and for all of your generous gifts. Some of you will have travelled a long way to get here, and we appreciate the effort that you've made - we've got people here from Scotland, Ireland, Israel, France, Coventry... Expenses forms will be available from the Best Man.
--------------- THANKS - BEST MAN & USHERS ---------------
And talking of my Best Man, I would like to thank T for all of the help, support and friendship that he's given me over the last 14 years since we first met at University. T's been one of a number of people who've teased me about getting together with L when we were still "just good friends" - and he's been very patient over the last decade waiting for us to get together!
T has been instrumental in keeping me sane throughout my wilderness years, and I can't thank him enough for all that he's done for me. And as I want him to be kind to me in his later speech, T, please accept this token of my gratitude for everything that you've done to get me here today! [HAND OVER GIFT]
And not wanting them to feel left out, to my Ushers A and R and not forgetting my nephew J, there's a little something here for you as well if you'd like to come over to collect your gifts - many thanks for all your help. [HANDS OVER GIFTS]
--------------- THANKS - PARENTS ---------------
I'd especially like to thank both L's parents P and M and my own Mum and Dad for everything that they've done in making this such a wonderful day. Personally I'd like to thank my parents for the masses of love and support that they've given me over the years, and for always reminding me when I was a single man that "L's ever such a nice girl"! Honestly, I couldn't ask for more fabulous parents - I'm very lucky. And I couldn't ask for more from my second set of parents as of today, P and M, who along with L's brothers have welcomed me firmly into the bosom of their family, and what a nice bosom it is! And thank you, of course, for having brought L up to be such a wonderful, lovely and loving person without whom I would be utterly incomplete. L is as devoted to her family as I am to mine, and I assure you P & M that I am going to be devoted to your daughter for the rest of my days. And I'd like to present my mother and my mother-in-law with these small tokens of our appreciation and love [HANDS OVER BOUQUETS]
---------------THANKS - L ---------------
But there is one person who I would like to thank the most, and that is my beautiful wife. [TURN TO L] L, in our time together you have made me happier than I have ever been before in life, and by agreeing to marry me you have made me feel like the happiest man alive. I know that not a day goes by when I don't tell you that I love you, but today is the first time I can say "I love you Mrs P". Thank you for everything.
And finally, I would like to thank the bridesmaids, G and little K, both of whom I'm sure you'll agree are looking beautiful today as always. May I especially thank G for all the valuable help she has given us both in preparing for the wedding. You may not be aware, but the lovely invitations that you will have received were designed and single-handedly crafted by G alone, and we couldn't have hoped for a better job. On L's behalf I'd like to also thank her for the support that she has provided my wife not only for today but since the day she married into the M family herself. [HAND OVER GIFT]
And so, ladies and gentleman, before the most stressful part of my day starts - the Best Man's speech - may I ask you to charge your glasses and to be upstanding for a toast to... The bridesmaids!
Yep, I think that the guests only listened as far as the Prince Of Wales joke...
In the UK we have speeches by the Father Of The Bride, the Groom and the Best Man as a bare minimum. It took the three of us 53 minutes according to the person runnning the book on the speech length...
The only thing I remember of my wedding speech was the ominous sound of the father-in-law polishing his double-barrelled shotgun in the corner!
I do remember that it wasn't the epic piece of oration that yours appears to have been - it was something along the lines of 'Please don't shoot, it takes two to tango, it's not all my fault - oh look there's a kid running off with the wheels on your car'! :)