Ladies & Gentlemen, Relatives & Friends.
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Bernie, I’m the bride’s Father.
It was Sir Winston Churchill who said: There are two things more difficult than making a speech:
Kissing a girl who is leaning away from you, ……and climbing a wall which is leaning toward you! …. I have a feeling that making this speech,… might be like trying to do both at the same time…. however I take comfort in the fact that this isn't the first time today,…… I've stood up from a warm seat with a piece of paper in my hand.
Not everyone here may be aware, but the human brain is a most fascinating and complex machine. …..It starts work the moment we are born,…. and never stops until the moment we stand up to speak in public.
So on that basis please forgive me for reading my speech.
Being the Father of the Bride, it’s my privilege to make the ‘first’ speech of the afternoon …..At least I thought it was a privilege, ….until I realised that I’m actually the warm up act …for the two main speakers! ….Who are of course the Groom, and the Best man,
I would like to start by saying thank you to Michelle and Darren for organising such a splendid occasion…. I know that an awful lot of time and effort has gone into the planning, …and I am sure you will agree that it’s a tremendous success….. On that, they are to be congratulated.
Also….on behalf of Michelle and Darren, …My Wife Heather and I,... Darren’s Parents Hazel and John, …..What a real pleasure it is to welcome all the relatives and friends who are here today ..to ‘celebrate’ their marriage... I know that many of you have travelled long distances to be here ….so thank you all for being with us... on this very joyous occasion.
Before I go any further I would now like to ask…. that just for a moment....we remember those who have meant so much to us from our respective families, ….but who sadly cannot be with us today.
I’m certain however that they’re all here in spirit,…….and that they would be very proud of the happy couple….. on this their special day.
So ladies and gentlemen can I please ask you to remain seated…….but join with me now in raising your glasses……… as I make the first toast of the day “To Absent Friends and Family …………………
At 11:09am on the 10th January 1978, Michelle struggled into the world, …it caused Heather and I quite a worry for a few minutes initially, as the umbilical cord was wrapped around Michelle’s neck….. Shortly after Michelle was pronounced okay,… the midwife wrapped her in a blanket held her up to me and said ''''She looks just like you Mr Barry....she''''s got a big smile and a Cleft Chin…..
Then she realized her mistake, and turned Michelle the right way up!...
It doesn’t seem five minutes since Michelle was born and here I am today, speaking at her Wedding.
Since then there have been many more proud days along the way notably the birth of Michelle’s sisters,… Laura and Charlotte, who are the lovely bridesmaids here today, also the births of my 5 grandchildren Chelsie, Eoin, Sophie, Ryan and Ben.
I feel extremely lucky and humble in being able to say that I have three wonderful daughters …..and seeing them here together gives me great pleasure, and reinforces the deep sense of pride I already feel today…... Indeed, earlier as I accompanied Michelle to the registry office there could not have been a prouder father,…….. and as we walked side by side to the altar I thought, and I’m sure you’ll agree, that Michelle looked absolutely stunning ….. and Darren,….Well he looked absolutely stunned.
While preparing this speech for Michelle, I needed some inspiration,….. so I decided to look at a few photographs of the kids when they were younger .......I came across some beauties,…. tears welled up in my eyes as I clicked through the albums on the computer,….. one picture that stood out from the others …was a striking photograph of our precious little girl lying on a rug,… in front of the fire,…dribbling, ..gurgling, ..huge eyes, ….and pointing playfully at the camera lens. ….What a treasure she looked as she tried to stand on her little wobbly legs....But I promised not to mention her 18th birthday party,…. so I’d better say no more!
At this point in the proceedings, …it is traditional to bring up an embarrassing moment from Michelle’s past or to highlight a strange character trait….. so that you can all have a good laugh at her expense. …….But, on the basis that she has much more on me, and in the interests of self preservation I am going to pass on that one.
………….But, there was a time when I was looking after Michelle who was about 15 months old at the time, ….I got distracted playing the Atari (the 1980s version of a playstation for the younger guests),… and took my eyes off her for a brief moment. ….When next I looked there was Michelle drinking her wee from her potty ….Remember this Darren when you next kiss her.
For those of you that don’t know me,.. I am quite shy, reserved and laid back - and for those of you that don’t know Michelle she is the complete opposite. - So as I look down along the table I see a very talented-… independent – ….attractive - ..gorgeously stunning ..woman.….Michelle, no doubt you’ll agree is a reflection of her mother - …..Her reflection from me of course is her Computer skills (spending most of her time on Facebook) - her organising talents - her humour - good and bad - and her allergy to housework. ….. Her mum Heather and I are very proud of how she’s grown up ………and are delighted that she’s found someone who she obviously loves …….and cares for so much.
Now, what can I say about Darren that you don't already know? Well...... according to a very reliable source, ….Darren tried really hard to find a wife before he met Michelle. ……I understood he sent his photograph to a Lonely Hearts Club …..but they sent it straight back saying 'We're not that lonely'.
I remember when we first met,.. we started to talk about football …..and I asked him,” Darren, just what is it you like about going to Selhurst Park?”….. Is it the scintillating football? …..The thrill of the win? ……The passion of the crowd?... “I Dunno” He replied, I’ve only been going for ten years.
WHAT YOU CAN say about Darren, ….is that to be in his company for a short time, …is to think you have known him all your life. …..He is such a friendly, easy going, happy-go-lucky young fella,….. the life and soul of any party, and a pleasure to be with….. Darren it is a huge honour, ….and a real pleasure to officially welcome you into our family.
I now have some special thanks to make:
I would like to thank Heather for producing such a loving, warm hearted and beautiful daughter, ……and for her devotion in making Michelle the person she is today.
To Hazel and John for creating the perfect partner for Michelle.
To the 'man upstairs' for providing a great day for photographs.
To Michelle's Bridesmaids and indeed all the ladies - for looking so beautiful.
To Eoin for being such a handsome paige boy,… and Chelsie and Sophie for being such pretty flower girls ,
To the hotel management and staff who have done (and are still doing) a wonderful job in looking after us all.
And all the others too numerous to mention,…. who have helped to make this day a success …………………………….
Now it is customary on an occasion such as this…….. for the father of the bride to offer the newlyweds some profound piece of advice,… so here goes...
Happy marriages begin when we marry the one we love…..they blossom when we love the one we married.
When children find true love, Parents find true joy.
We cannot fully enjoy life, unless someone we love enjoys it with us.'
Not my words, but I completely agree with them.
Finally, Good people,
I would ask you all to be upstanding, ….raise your glasses …and join with me in this toast:-
Here’s to the past, for all you’ve learned.
Here’s to the present for all that you share.
Here’s to the future for all your plans together.
And here’s to Love, Laughter and Happy Ever After.
Ladies & Gentlemen - Friends
I give you the Bride & Groom, - Mr & Mrs Broadfoot,