Ladies, Gentlemen and anyone who might have sneaked in for a free meal, my name is James and I am the brother of the bride. It is my privilege to make the first speech. At least I thought it was a privilege until I realised that I’m actually the warm up act for the groom and the best man. With that in mind I’ll try to be like Ronnie Corbett – short and entertaining!
I would firstly like to thank everyone for coming today, we have guests who have travelled in from far and wide including places like New Zealand and the US. I think its shows how much we all want to be here today to celebrate Holly and Craig’s wedding, it has been a wonderful day and even though the sun has set we have the whole evening ahead of us. Which brings us nicely onto the time that every bride fears.....what is he going to talk about....is he going to tell about the time when...??!! Well as you instructed Holly, I won’t tell of any of those times even though it cost me 99% of my first draft.
As such I did what any self respecting younger brother would do, fail miserably, and then steal one from the internet. I’ve not read it yet so I do hope it’s a good one.
At this moment in time I am full of admiration and pride for the commitment they have both made today and one day hope to follow in the example they have set. Although when I get married I'll do it for one of the real reasons... money.... or under the cosh. That said, I think we all agree that Craig matches Holly very well and since we've known him, we've come to realise how special he is to her; and anyone can see that they're made for each other.
Craig, I would like to welcome you into the family, even though you have been part of it for a good while now. I think you have been with Holly long enough to know what you are letting yourself in for, so to be honest I haven't got any sympathy for you. From the first time I met you I believed you would be a special person in Holly’s life. You're kind, funny, have all 10 fingers, and well mannered. Yet in spite of all these facts you still claim to be a Spurs fan.
I will break my promise on the ‘no stories’ policy just once by reminiscing back to the early 90’s when Holly and I were in the car going to school. I have a very vivid memory of a game we played about who Holly might marry and the surnames that would be a humorous addition to Holly (I was trying to marry her off just so I would get to sit in the front seat all the time). Most of them were Christmas themed like Bush, Tree, Day, Wood, or even my personal favourite Holly Jolly. Little did we know that all those years later I would be standing here making this speech, introducing our very own Holly Garland.
I raise my glass to honour my sister on this, her wedding day. It is hard to find the right words to express the depths of my feelings. She is a wonderful sister, (Holly, you’ve spelt wonderful wrong) and I am sure she will make as fine a wife. You are looking beautiful today and it proves the one thing I’ve always known about Craig – he is clearly a man of vision … .occasionally blurred, sometimes double, but nonetheless a man of vision who’s been lucky enough to find my Sister.
Holly and Craig have obviously worked really hard organising everything for today but their hard work has definitely paid off. I'm sure everyone here agrees that the ceremony was wonderful. Although in the run-up to today Holly and Craig did have a bit of an issue with the seating plan and who to put where. So as brother of the bride, I offered to step in and help work something out. I decided to use the wedding present list, the biggest items nearest the centre, and work back from there. So if they can hear me over in the corner there, thanks to Phil and Jan … for the box of biros……
On a more serious note it seems like the done thing is to offer some guidance on marriage so I found something with a more pragmatic message - Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction. A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. Another one that I really liked, though somewhat less constructive, was the observation that when a man holds a woman's hand before marriage it is love; after marriage, it’s in self-defence.
With that in mind, I know that Craig has chosen well and I believe that Holly has too and I wish them well for a long, happy and prosperous future together. I can't stress enough how proud I am today, and how good it is to have you all here. Once again, I hope you all have a wonderful evening.
I would like to thank you both for the honour of giving this speech, it has been a great day and I, like everyone here is privileged to share it with you. Ladies and Gentlemen, please be upstanding and raise your glasses for the first of many toasts. Here's to the future, for all that you look forward to together. To the Bride … Holly…The new Mrs. Garland.