Good afternoon ladies and gentleman....yes, I think that covers everyone. May I begin by thanking James for their kind words and on behalf of the bridesmaids thank you for all your compliments – I must agree, along with Jenny, they all look absolutely stunning and have done a smashing job today.......I only wish I could say the same for the grooms men.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Chris, and for those that do.....you’re welcome. I’ve known James for years, since we were both toddlers...and despite that I still agreed to come to his wedding.
Anyway, I’m sure you all know the purpose of the Best Man speech....for those who don’t, I’ll sum it up for you – No matter how well the day’s events have gone so far....this is the moment I’m personally remembered for.
So whether you laugh, groan or cry...a giant round of applause...scratch that...a STANDING OVATION at the end would be appreciated!
Shall we get going? Cameraman...please make sure you get my good side....hopefully I’ll get through this without doing anything that goes viral on YouTube!
I’d like to begin by once again thanking you all for attending today and voice what you’re all thinking by congratulating the lovely couple. As captain of what I’d refer to as the “Backroom Staff”, I’d like to say how utterly thrilled we all are they both found each other.... sometimes people are just made for one another and that’s certainly the case with James and Jenny....aka “The JJ’s”.
It was actually not far from here in Polperro that James and Jenny became engaged. Later that evening James gave me this greatest of honours.....I finally get to attend a wedding at the head table.
I jest of course, when I was asked to be Best Man I immediately accepted. It’s a great honour, but I’d be lying if I said my first thoughts weren’t about having to deliver this speech. Naturally, standing in front of a large number of people and trying to be both funny and sincere isn’t something most people excel at....believe me, I’m no different. I spent time searching the internet for ideas and jokes....but all I stumbled across was weak and tacky material.
In fact, James was kind enough to lend me the book that saw him through his first best man assignment. I have to admit it helped me, some of the sample speeches were hilarious...the only problem though was James had read it and thus would no doubt recognise any plagiarism. That’s when it struck me......... I’m going to have to make some effort here!
Most of you will find it hard to believe that the “Roasting of the Groom” was the hardest part to write....it’s not because I lacked material, believe me I have tonnes, but mainly because James is the Best Man for my wedding. So a titanic struggle of anguish took place in my mind. Should I play it safe and hope James returns the favour....or should I just get the first punch in, go all guns blazing and make him squirm like a worm on a hook.....I’m sure you’re all keen to find out which road I took. Well James, I hope you’re comfy!
James told me to ignore any outside influence from friends about what to include in this speech.....James, you’ll be happy to know I took your advice and this is all from the heart. He also said he chose me, not just because I was the brother he never had....but because he trusted me to do a good job...
...Just like he trusted me on a fateful summer holiday in Bournemouth a decade or so ago to apply blond streak highlights to his hair. Now, for those of you not familiar with the outcome ... I can assure you it wasn’t pretty! Only after turning a few streaks of blond into an entire head of bleached blond hair did I fully appreciate the need for hairdressers to undertake training! I give credit to James though....he lasted the remainder of the holiday resembling an albino Duracell battery with little complaint. Hey, he even got some cheeky looks from a couple of let’s say “well dressed gentlemen”.
Anyway, upon our arrival home James had grown weary of his new hair colour.... admittedly I fully expected he would do........what I didn’t expect is that the person he chose to shave his hair off would be me! Now most people would think “once bitten, twice shy”...but, I love the way James gave me the opportunity to atone for my error....although .... it’s more likely he wanted to avoid spending £5 on a barber!
Rewinding several years, as a child, James was very attached to his parents. Hey, I can’t fault that...it’s very sweet. In junior school we‘d often go on school trips, this of course meant being away from our families for up to a week at a time. James wasn’t too keen on this....in fact; he’d often refuse to board the coach. The only way his parents could convince him to join the school trip would be to promise him the latest Karate Kid film......James, to this day I can’t work out if this was because you missed your family or just a cunning tactic to procure the latest film blockbuster.
Suffice to say this behaviour stopped as James grew older.....again I’m not sure if he just learnt to cope with being away from home........or that now he was working, he could afford the latest films himself.
Fast forward 25 years and then picture the scene....it’s 1 o’clock in the morning on the Saturday just gone.....it’s James’ stag do.............actually, I don’t think I should mention the stag do.... Suffice to say we all had a good time........and James, it seems the recent visit to a tanning salon has covered that facial tattoo up a treat!
Well James, you’ll be happy to know that brings an end to the roasting of the Groom....it’s just occurred to me that throughout the years I’ve done far more stupid things than you.....and after all I can’t ruin a marriage before it’s even begun....well, not again.
Before I move on, a quick word about our venue today – Fowey Hall. Wonderful venue, I’m so happy James and Jenny chose it. Did you know its rumoured that the classic tale of Wind and the Willows was written here...and that we actually sit in the building the legendary Toad Hall was based upon....and where Toad himself is believed to have lived....now, although these rumours can’t be confirmed, I’m sure you’ll all agree that James has done a cracking job of impersonating him today.....James, sorry, I guess I lied, but I couldn’t resist that one!
To be totally honest though, this venue has been very well selected with lovely food, scenary and most importantly company from you all today. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the music later....that is of course only if you have a passion for Dutch Techno!
So.....James......what can I say about James that does justice to how strong, generous and unique he is? Well, a man is moulded from his experiences and the journey he’s been on. That couldn’t be more true, take James and just a couple of his past careers –
Bar Manager – Yes..James was entrusted with the role of bar manager at a couple of establishments... And through his hard work and tireless persistence, I truly believe this is where his love for alcohol really blossomed.
Also, whilst working in one of these establishments – Spago’s – a family friendly bar/restaurant, he would often dress up as a clown and provide the entertainment to the children on weekends. This is where James developed his utter thirst for entertaining people......and it’s just struck me......possibly also his love of make up!
Anyway, moving along we reach his time as a police officer...James learnt how to handle extremely stressful situations, defuse conflict and put life in prospective on several occasions. This developed the determination and confidence that are so apparent to all of us lucky enough to know him today.
James, I know I speak from my heart when I say you are the best friend I could ask for. No one I know is stronger minded, as naturally funny, caring and loyal as you.
Ladies and gentleman there simply is no one else like him, now some may be thankful, but we’re all so lucky to know him.
Tom (brides dad), you’ve given us all an insight into Jenny’s life growing up...but I thought I’d just say a few words myself.
Jenny, I don’t know much about your life back home in South Africa, but I am so grateful you made the decision to try your luck in England. Since you and James realised the love you have for each other you’ve been a great friend, flat mate and now I’d even say a sister to me. With your constant smile, gentle nature.....and willingness to tidy up, I can’t state enough how happy you’ve made James. Thank you.
It’s only fitting that James found the perfect woman in Jenny. Having lived with them at the beginning of their relationship I feel privileged to have seen them grow together...the two of them couldn’t be more welcoming, friendly or generous with what they have. I’m certain they will be very happy for the rest of their lives.
Well, tradition has it that the Best Man is to offer a few words of advice, however as I have no experience of marriage I’ve had to ask around.....Now James, next year you’ll be my Best Man...this excuse won’t wash with me!
What I do have is some advice for each of you...
Jenny......if he ever threatens to leave you....wait and hold out for a firm promise.
And James, if you’re clever you’ll always have the last word......however, if you’re very clever, you won’t use it.
So on that note, can you all raise your glasses this toast to the happy couple.....
James and Jenny, on behalf of everyone here may you enjoy a wonderful evening, night and most importantly a long and happy marriage together.....Ladies and Gentleman, to Mr and Mrs James and Jenny Boucher! Cheers!