You know I really wanted to memorise this speech, but it's not easy when you have the memory retention of a geriatric Goldfish!! But, you'll be glad to hear, I have it all written on this small card.......(I had previously written this out on 12 post cards and taped them together - concertina style - so when I showed the crowd the card I then let them all unfold for effect).
Now, according to the internet, the Father of the Bride has 4 areas to cover in his speech 1) To welcome everyone to the 'Do'. 2) Say a few words about the Bride in a loving and balanced way. 3) Give words of advice to the happy couple. 4) Give the first of the toasts to the Bride & Groom.
So to begin 1) The Welcome - Distinguished guests, those of lesser distinction, family, relatives, in-laws & out-laws, friends, friends of friends, freeloaders and anyone else who has turned out for a free meal - on behalf of Karen & myself, it is my pleasure to welcome you all to the wedding celebrations of Kelly & Mark. A special welcome goes to Marks mum, Barbara & her family & to all of you who have travelled from afar - London & Spain - to be with us here in The Republic Of Yorkshire!!
I must at this moment also make a special mention of Absent Friends who are now looking down on us from the best seats in the house - Kelly's Nan & Grandad Doyle and Grandad Austin - Mark's sister Kate & Brother in law Steve and his Nan Alice. A toast to absent friends.
Keep it short Karen said, and remember the ABC & XYZ of public speaking - ABC- Always Be Confident..... XYZ - Examine Your Zip!!!
2) A few balanced words about the Bride etc. I'm sure you will all agree that Kelly & Mark like to do things their own way - the rock guitarist in the church & the Duck for the Wedding Meal are prime examples, but weren't they both fantastic!
When I first met Mark, at 6ft, 14 stones + , full beard, covered in tattoos, the first words that came to mind were Oh My God!!! Different indeed to what I expected, but someone who has proved that what you see is certainly NOT always what you get!
Kelly has been through numerous relationships in which we have all laughed and cried with her, but I have never seen my little girl with a bigger smile on her face the day they announced their engagement to us at a sunny restaurant in Spain. I knew from that day that they were made for each other. Mark - Kelly has always deserved a good husband, how lucky you are to have married her before she found one!!
This is, of course, the second time I have had the honour of walking a daughter down the aisle and each time has been magical if not tinged with a little sadness - magical because I felt like a King escorting his Princess into the next part of her life and a little sad because she no longer will be my little Princess, now being fully committed to another man. I am truly blessed to have not one but two truly wonderful daughters, both of whom I am immensely proud.
Kelly has really grown up quickly - it doesn't seem long ago that she was running around the garden in Castlefields, Shrewsbury with no knickers on, peeing on the flowers and eating mud.......thankfully she has stopped eating mud!!
Whilst preparing this speech I got a little sentimental and decided to look through some old photos of Kelly, tears welled up in my eyes, and one picture stood out, It was the striking pose of my precious daughter lying on a rug, dribbling and pointing at the camera lens. What a treasure she looked trying to stand up on those little wobbly legs........... we'll never forget her 18th birthday!!!
3) Advice to the happy couple. - Well me & your Mum have been together for 30 years, and I haven't got a clue how we did it or what the secret is - but we did it!! One things for sure, it aint easy but we never gave up.
Being Olympic year I thought I would relate marriage to the Olympics - This is a marathon and not a Sprint, with plenty of Hurdles along the way, but as long as you strive and work as a Team you will achieve the success you truly deserve.
To Mark - A great philosopher once said, a man who gives in when he's wrong is a wise man: A man who gives in when he's right....is married!
To Kelly - Kelly when you want something from Mark, just ask for it - don't forget he's a man and hints don't work!!
4) The Toast - The easy bit!
Kelly & Mark - May God abundantly bless you both; may you live as long as you wish and have all that you need as long as you live; May the road you choose be smooth and your burdens be light; May your joy be everlasting and may all your pain be.....champagne
And finally a few words from my dear old Dad - May you both be in Heaven a half an hour before the Devil knows you're dead!!!
Ladies & Gentlemen please raise your glasses to Kelly & Mark