As any regular wedding attender will tell you there is always something to look forward to even if the rest of the day is boring - the speeches. We had decided to have the speeches after the meal to give the audience time to have some drinks and warm themselves up to the task of laughing at every small attempt at humour. Eleanor was quite worried about what Andy might come out with in the best man's speech but I think the wine helped to calm the nerves. We were pleased with the meal - the hog roast seemed to go down well and the selection of home made cakes for dessert looked fantastic. But soon enough it was time to stand up and gibber before handing over to Andy.
At least this is what I meant to say!
It's funny standing here because when I think about a wedding I imagine myself sat where you are looking at a nervous groom stumbling through his speech and if we are honest at this point I'm normally looking for the next free glass of wine, I wish I'd paid more attention to what is normally said now.
Eleanor asked what I'd like my wedding to be like and I said I didn't mind so she started looking at sunny beaches far away...I then added I didn't mind as long as my friends were there so sunny beaches turned into Lain's barn. So I'd..no my wife and I would like to thank you all for coming, I know it can be a pain and this time we have added the extra complication of a Sunday but we greatly appreciate you all making the effort. A special mention to Ed who has come the furthest from Australia and to Edward who at one day must be the youngest.
Talking of friends there is someone who couldn't make it here
today. Tragically she died in a canoeing accident only last
weekend. I don't want to say too much except that she will be
sorely missed by all who knew her. Ladies and gentlemen please be
upstanding for the first toast of the evening...
To Jane and other absent friends.
If any of you know of my artistic talents you will realise that the table decorations are not my own work. My wife and I would like to thank my mum for putting them together despite only getting back from holiday on Tuesday and we have a little token of our appreciation. I'd also like to thank Eleanor's entire family for making me feel welcome and we have a gift Pauline as well, in part for not laughing at me too much when I repeatedly fell off her windsurfer.
some people have asked where I first met Eleanor, in fact I remember this quite clearly. We sat opposite each other during our phd's. Being students we had time to investigate what games had been foolishly installed on our computers. I distinctly remember feeling infuriated that I couldn't beat Eleanor's high score at snakes so perhaps I was initially attracted by a challenge. While my phd might have suffered my snakes came along in leaps and bounds.
Fast forward to the night of the proposal in a hotel room in Vienna. Eleanor has gone to the bathroom and I have a fake plastic ring in my pocket. I don't know what possessed me but I thought I'd try it on. I do know that it didn't come off as easily as it went on, in fact I got quite desperate as I heard the toilet flush and almost dislocated my finger getting it of. I only hope that the slight tear in my eye was put down to the cold.
Fast forward again to us strolling through a park in the dark and when we heard a couple of what sounded like gun shots in the background Eleanor must have been wondering if there was a nice surprise at the end of this walk or a six foot hole. Eventually we found Mozart's statue and much to Eleanor's surprise I asked her to marry me. Much to my surprise it seemed quite a long time until she answered. I'm pleased to say that she made me a very happy man and said yes.
Now fast forward to now. I'm very proud to be standing here and
being able to call you my wife and I only hope that I can be all
the husband that you deserve. I'm sure you'll all agree that my
wife looks absolutely stunning today so ladies and gentlemen will
you please be up standing.
We have some more thank you's to get through (thanks and presents to flower girl and bridesmaid - unsure of exact words)
So finally onto the best man. Firstly he is a habitual liar so please disregard anything he says. That said he is organised and I must thank him for the stag weekend but I'm sure he will fill you in on the details later. I do however still have a pair of shoes left over from the stag weekend if anyone recognizes these and would like to claim them (Hugh gingerly puts his hand up). I have a present for the best man but I'll hold onto it for now and see how his speech goes. Incidentally for the ushers, in the interests of keeping this speech short I'll give you your presents at the bar later. Let me present the best man.
Best man's speech
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen; bride and groom. My name's Andy Hamilton and I'm the Best Man. May I firstly say how wonderful Eleanor looks today along with her two bridesmaids Sarah and Hannah.
I will also say how fabulous my wife looks, she gave birth to our son yesterday. This of course, was all planned. Colin, never forget my son's birthday... it will be a continual reminder that your wedding anniversary is the next day.
I must confess to a degree of surprise when Eleanor allowed Colin to pick me as his best man (yes, I know who wears the trousers) as, on the first occasion I met the bride, I made a really big impact on her. Unfortunately this was with a tennis ball smacked straight into her chest whilst playing cricket.
It's really an honour to be standing here as Colin's best man, especially considering the number of men he's had in his life, but I'm sure that was just a malicious rumour from his Uni. days.
For those that don't know Colin so well, you might look at his glasses, and on first impressions you might think he was a nerd. In truth... it's surprising how accurate first impressions can be. He's been pretty much a model student; particularly excelling at Maths and Physics though school and University. Being largely unable to relate to what a model student might be, I looked up the definition of model in the dictionary and was enlightened to read: 'of being a small or miniature version of something' - which seemed to be an uncanny description of him.
Part of the best man's job is apparently to throw a little embarrassment on the Groom. I've asked around and whereas some people have a couple of skeletons in their closet... Colin has more of a cemetery.
It was in Cripps Hall at Nottingham University that I first met Colin and there are many, mainly drunken, stories I could tell. I could mention an impromptu dip into a canal, the denial of hair dye use, chillis secreted in sandwiches, leaping onto the back of complete strangers in the belief it's your housemate and tales from the stag night, sadly, however, I have been told to keep those skeletons well buried to protect the guilty.
Now make no mistake, Colin is solid, dependable, trustworthy and has full anti-lock brakes and sat nav... sorry, it seems an advert for a Volvo made its way into my notes.
In Colin, Eleanor has found someone who will always make sure she is financially secure. Andy Cross told me that about 10 days into their Lhasa - Kathmandu trip people discovered Colin had been secretly harboring a healthy sized pack of chocolate coated coffee beans, which seemed like great news if not for the fact that Colin rationed people to 3 beans each. Which doesn't seem too miserly, if not for the fact that they were close to a big town where they could easily restock. With instincts like that, a financially secure future is inevitable.
They say that the line between genius and madness is a fine one, and Eleanor has proven that she is a genius in her field... which is why she must have decided to keep her madness at home by marrying Colin.
And hopefully she is giving him a home too... which means he will no longer turn up at my parent's house in Sandwich unannounced... leaving them to turn away the odd stranger who 'knew their son'... forcing him to sleep in a car. Now it's Eleanor's job... to force him to sleep in a car.
In Eleanor, Colin has found someone who shares his love of travel, adventure, insane physical endurance and dry sarcastic wit. He's found someone who will put up with his practical jokes, stubbornness and belligerence and desire to take his body to the limit and often beyond. He's found someone to put up with him....to stand up to him....and most importantly... someone to stand by him as his wife.
I think we can all see the bride and groom together when they're grey and hobbling around on sticks...which at the rate Colin's going will be about five years.
It leaves me to say a few thank you's ....to the ushers who've helped the event run like clockwork and finally, a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped to make today so wonderful.
Ladies and gentlemen. Please could you all stand and raise your glasses, and join me in wishing them both all the love and happiness a couple can possibly have, to the bride and groom, the adorable couple...
...to Eleanor & Colin.