Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…… and Andrew. They say that every silver lining has a cloud and so apologies but here I am.
For those who don’t know me, my name is Lee and I am the best man. I am very friendly, house trained, rarely bite and will be found in the not too distant future, somewhere near the bar. I would also like to mention that I am a complete novice at public speaking. And I have this overwhelming urge to prove it to you today.
I would firstly like to thank Becky, Aaron and Andrew for their speeches, you have left me with a hard act to follow, so huge thanks to all of you for that!!
On behalf of the bridesmaids and myself, I’d like to thank Andrew and Kerry for asking us to be involved in one of the most important days of their lives. I know they've both put a tremendous amount of effort in to the planning of this wedding, and I can only hope that, apart from this speech anyway, everything else will have exceeded their expectations. Speaking of the bridesmaids, may I first just take this opportunity to say how beautiful you all look today, you really are a picture. Secondly I just want to thank you on behalf of Andrew for getting Kerry here on time today as for those that know Kerry, she is normally late for everything so this is a great achievement in itself!!
The bridesmaids come second only to the beautiful blushing bride who is, I’m sure you’ll all agree, looking simply stunning, and Andrew, who just looks simple and stunned! Colleen, you must be extremely proud. However, I must apologise to Christine as this is the best I could do with Andrew, after all I’m a best man not a miracle worker. I must admit I wasn't sure who would be wearing what today, after seeing how much Andrew enjoyed wearing the wedding dress we got him for his stag do last month, I half expected him to have it on today!!
Next, I’d like to take some time to thank a few people who on the face of it have a fairly easy day – they have to cope with all the difficulties of standing around pouting and looking pretty, they’ve spent a lot of time and on their hair, make-up and outfits, and without them the day just wouldn’t be the same – ladies and gentlemen, I give you the ushers - Aaron, Lewis, Ryan and Bradley.
I’d also like to thank all of you for being here today, especially those of you who knew that I'd be saying a few words - it’s very touching that you still decided to come. To see this many people here at a wedding in a different country amazes me, I still can’t get over how far people will travel for a free meal and some complimentary booze. Seriously though Andrew and Kerry, seeing this many people go to all this effort to be here to celebrate with you today is a real credit to you both. I’m sure everyone here agrees with me when I say what an absolutely stunning place this is not only to visit but to have it to host one of the most important and special days of your lives. I do have once concern however…. I just hope we don’t all end up at home later on and find ourselves with the same problem Kerry will… with a little bit of Salt in our mouths!!
I first met Andrew through work 5 years ago, and I can honestly say that he is one of the best blokes I have ever met. He has been a brilliant friend over the years and it truly is an honour to be his best man. We've had some excellent times together and I know we will continue to do so in the future! No one was happier than I was when Andrew met Kerry; seeing their romance blossom was like watching a fairy-tale unfold, and, sure, I know what some of you are thinking, 'what fairy tale’s that Lee - 'Beauty and The Beast'? Well no it wasn't I’ve got to say that you’re wrong and I wasn't thinking of Beauty and the Beast at all…. I was thinking more of Shrek to be honest.
So how did I become best man? About 18 months ago, me and Andrew were out having a few drinks and later in the evening while finding ourselves alone at the bar, after some general chit chat Andrew looked me straight in the eyes, then his voice went all quiet and trembly and he asked how I felt about marriage, I was rather taken aback, I told him I was flattered but what happened between us happened, we both had partners now and had to move on....
One of the best man’s tasks is to make sure Andrew got here on time and in decent form, sober and smart - it is my responsibility to make sure his face and hair are in order. Now at this point I would just like to point out that I wasn’t extremely drunk this morning when I took him to the barbers…. his face is meant to be like that and I didn’t take him in upside down!!
Now, as part of the speech I am apparently supposed to sing Andrew’s praises and tell you all about his many good points. Well, to be honest I’m not a great liar, and I’m definitely no Sinatra. I did have a few cracking stories to share with you, mostly show and tell stuff, but the props I’d taken from Andrew’s ‘special box’ under his bed were confiscated by customs in the airport on Thursday.
I had wanted to begin by telling you a little about Andrew’s years growing up and, given that pictures usually paint a thousand words, I wanted to find a photo to represent this period to show you all… so I asked around. In my quest, I was sent a cute photo of Andrew lying on a sheepskin rug, in his birthday suit, dribbling, his cheeky grin covered in the chocolate from a biscuit held in his hand; as I say I was looking to get a photo to enlarge and present to you today but given this photo was taken only last week I thought it might cause a little too much embarrassment….
I also wanted to find out what Andrew was like during his early days and fortunately, whilst investigating Andrew’s school days, I came across a number of school reports and I have a couple of extracts for you:
Technical Drawing - Although very keen, Andrew has a distinct problem differentiating between inches and millimetres!!, no change there then Kerry!!
Music - Andrew takes a very hands on approach to music, but I wish he’d concentrate his efforts on playing in a band rather than with himself.
I’ve heard a few of you comment throughout the day just how calm and collected Andrew looks today, and I must say that I agree. However you didn’t see him at 8am this morning lying face down on his bed with me rubbing his back trying to get him to eat one more spoonful of Rice Krispies!!
You may be also surprised to hear that Andrew hasn’t always been this good looking. Now I’m not saying he was an ugly baby, but Christine only had morning sickness after he was born. Andrew was also the only baby in Hullwith shutters on his pram!!
At this point in my speech I would have liked to have told you about the stag weekend, but the law of the stag does not allow me to do this, and besides Andrew's solicitor has advised caution until the charges are fully investigated. Getting me a drink or two at the bar later may help to loosen my vocal chords. Alternatively, those who attended may want to buy my silence and copies of the photographic evidence.
As we near the end of the speech I just want to say how much of a great couple you make together, and how lucky you both are to have found each other. You’re both absolutely perfect for one another and it’s great that you’ve each found someone to share the rest of your lives with that seems to fit together so effortlessly. You must make so many people so proud each and every day. Adam, Amy, Christine, and Colleen, you must all be so grateful to have these two great people in your lives. And let’s all just share a thought for Bob too, who sadly isn’t with us here today, he would have been so proud and happy for you both.
There is however one more person who is prouder than all of those here today and that is me. As nerve wracking as today has been for me, I would do it ten times over to feel as honoured as I was when you asked me to be your best man. I can’t put into words how grateful I am to be such a big part of this special day, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough.
Finally, when I was preparing today’s speech I thought I would conclude by summing up Andrew in a few kind words. Struggling for inspiration I turned to some of the stag party to give me the first words that popped into their heads when they thought of Andrew. All I’ll say is…. Salter, I think it might be time to get some new friends.
Now its customary for the best man to give some words of wisdom to the newlyweds on marriage. Me not being married, I can’t speak from experience so I went out looking for happily married couples that could offer some advice…... however I’m still looking!!!
And finally, to the one part of my speech that isn’t a duty. On behalf of everyone here today, may I wish you both many, many more years of happiness and a long and fruitful marriage. So, I’d like you to raise your glasses and join me in a toast to say Congratulations to the newly Mr & Mrs Salter. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Bride and Groom.