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Speech by Martin Ankers

Dear Hitched, Thanks for a useful website, a source of good advice in the weeks leading up to my best man’s duties last weekend! The wedding day was great and my speech pasted below seemed to go down well; if it can be used to help others then you are more than welcome to publish it on your site. Keep up the good work.

Speech Type: Best man
Speech Creator: Martin Ankers
Speech Date: Jul2004
First of all, on behalf of the bridesmaids, I'd like to thank Steve for his kind words about them. Not only have they done a wonderful job today, they look great as well.

For those of you who may not have met me before today, I'm Martin, and have known Steve since we started the same engineering degree together at Loughborough in 1992.

To be asked to be his best man today is a great honour for me and has been something worth fighting for – though sometimes I can't help but wonder how many embarrassing childhood stories he's safeguarded himself from as a result!

[Before I go any further, here's a few cards and messages…]

Steve has been a big part of a small circle of good friends I had at Loughborough. Compared to the never-changing “first week at University” questions everyone asks: your name, town and A-level grades, my first impression of Steve was his tendency to lapse into quoting from Monty Python sketches at almost every opportunity. Thankfully I was a fledgling fan of Python myself, so we started to get along well.

Another early impression was his annoying ability to be better than me at just about every sporting activity at Uni. After our year out when I'd played club badminton for a year he still walked in and made the squad ahead of me in the hall trials! A Ten pin bowling social was no fun anymore as he played for the University, and he also made the hall squash team. Having said all that, on his return from squash matches I often remember him saying “you know you've had a good game of squash when your arse hurts afterwards”. All I can say to that is that I'm glad I stuck to badminton!

But when it comes to things on wheels it's not been such an easy ride. Alright, I could talk of his achievements in overtaking a moped on his racing bike, but those of us at the driving day stag do recently are more likely to remember his problems in keeping the mini-quad bike on the racing track and away from us spectators.

I personally have mixed memories of his first car, the red Astra with the central-reservation shaped go-faster stripe, the resonant frequency at 77mph, and the brakes which strangely completed many journeys with emergency stops to wake me up! Maybe it's for the best that he's traded in his MR2 roadster for a more relaxed Mercedes!

When writing this speech, I was thinking of what advice I could give to Nicola about coping with Steve's traits and eccentricities in the decades ahead. But that would perhaps be doing Nicola a disservice – having got to know her a little over the last two years or so I know she's canny enough to have him totally figured out by now.

However, I recall one occasion where Steve really lost control, which may be worth bearing in mind. During our second year at Loughborough Steve ordered a pizza in the busy university café between lectures. After around half an hour the cook had shouted out completed order numbers up to around 50 while his order, number 42, was strangely missing. Steve calmly went up to the counter and enquired about the status of the order, and was politely told that it wasn't done yet. The cook must've realised his mistake, and within seconds of Steve's sitting down again came the shout of “number 42” and the exasperated and hungry Steve went forward for his pizza, only to open up the box and find a charred black pizza inside!

What followed was reminiscent of John Cleese in the famous Dead Parrot Sketch. Steve barged to the front of the queue of customers, set the charred remains out on the counter before the cook, and told him firmly that the pizza was burnt.

To which the nonchalant response was “No, no, it's just well done!”

Steve just about boiled over at this stage. “That pizza is BURNT!”. Again, the cook insisted it was well done.

Now the student Steve had displaced in the queue was no small lad, probably a basketball player, but in an instant Steve had turned round to him and demanded: “YOU! IS THAT PIZZA BURNT?” <finger out at student then at pizza>.

I still recall the fear in the big student's voice as he quivered “yes, mate”!

What happened next is not important, but I suppose the lesson for Nicola would be to be careful where ovens are concerned. I wouldn't like you to see that side of him, and with that in mind here's a kitchen timer to make use of <hand over timer to Nicola>. I'm not sure if there was one on the wedding list.

A few weeks back I enjoyed spending the weekend with Nicola and Steve and was struck by the amount of laughter enjoyed together in the house. I also noticed the way Steve seemed to be carrying out a lot of cooking, washing up, laundry and so on. And as if an engineering salary isn't enough, even his winnings at the local pool competition (he beat me yet again!) went straight into Nicola's pocket when she joined us later!

Some people seeing this in isolation may start to think Steve is “under the thumb”; the cynic could even say “it'll soon change when they're married”.

But I suppose if I think about it (or even if I don't think about it, it'll still be true) then I can say from the heart that as my best friend for around 12 years Steve has always been selfless, time and again putting the needs of his friends such as myself above his own. This is a rare quality Steve has which will mean he will treat Nicola like the precious jewel she clearly is to him.

In getting married today, Steve now has a new best friend in Nicola, and I have every confidence that the caring attitude Steve & Nicola have for each other and the laughter they share will lead to a great lifetime together.

So with that, I'd like to close, Steve & Nicola, by wishing God's blessings on your life together and by offering my heartfelt congratulations.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, all that remains now is for me to ask you to raise your glasses and join me in a toast – “the Bride & Groom”.