Before I start, I was speaking to the Father-of-the-bride Damian last week and he told me last week that he’s running a sweepstake on the length of this speech. So I suggest you make yourselves comfortable as I’ve gone for an hour and fifteen minutes.
Anyway, good afternoon everyone, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Rich and I’m the best man. I’m sure you’ll all agree that today has been a brilliant wedding celebration; and we’ve still got Matt’s dancing to look forward to later!
Firstly, I would like to thank the bridesmaids; Emma, Debs, Kerry and Mollie; and the flower girl Zara - I’m sure everyone will agree that they are looking fabulous and have done a great job in supporting Naomi and getting her here today. Indeed, they are only outshone by Naomi herself, who, I must say, looks absolutely amazing.
As for Matt, well, what can I say, you look adequate. I would also like to make special thanks the ushers...for at least turning up sober.
It was a bit of a shock when Matt first asked me to be his best man. I questioned what I had done to deserve such an honour. I wondered about how many people he’d asked prior to being stuck with me? And most importantly, would I still get a free meal if I turned it down? Naturally I didn’t want to take the chance, so here I am.
Now, traditionally, I am supposed to use this opportunity to recall embarrassing moments to ridicule Matt. However, I’ve been put under strict instructions not to mention the time we stole a set of traffic lights, the time we were chased by the police or the time he ran from a taxi without paying.
I’ve known Matt for about 10 years now, since we started university together in York.
Matt studied Economics, or at least that’s what he tells people. In my mind, he spent most of his time playing snooker, 10-pin bowling and of course, playing Mario Kart.
In keeping with the student stereotype, we also spent more than our fair share of time in the pub. It was on one of these nights out which led to Matt first meeting Naomi – on Naomi’s very first night at uni.
We were staggering around the halls of residence on our way home from the pub, with the intention of stealing beer from the 1st years. Naomi and Emma were naive enough to open their doors to us and kind enough to offer us drinks. Despite looking a little worse for wear, Naomi obviously saw the potential in Matt and as we now know, things turned out exceptionally well.
After finishing uni, Matt and Naomi moved to London...and I soon followed. I have since had the pleasure of getting to know them as a couple and we’ve accepted Naomi as part of the group on account of her being able to drink more than Matt, but also run further!
So, two years ago, when a group of us had the brilliant idea to run the Athens Marathon, it was no surprise that Naomi was the first to sign up. Being true to his nature, Matt was a gentleman and said that he would run alongside Naomi and support her the whole way. That is exactly what Matt did, until with 10k to go, he made a bid for glory and kicked for the line, leaving to Naomi to finish on her own.
I think Naomi had the last laugh though, as we spent the next day watching Matt hobble around Athens with a knee twice its normal size!
One of the other duties for me as best man, was to help organise a proper send off for Matt. After some discussions with Matt, we decided that that we would spend three days of detox and relaxation at a spar resort in Barcelona... or something like that anyway.
The weekend was quite the event and I’d like to thank all of the guys who went for making it so memorable. Between us we lost:
Our friend Nils;
Matt’s dignity; and
enough money to solve Spain’s financial crisis.
Unfortunately, what goes on tour stays on tour and therefore, I’ve been sworn to secrecy by all of the guilty parties.
I can however, share some of my personal highlights which include:
Matt spending the day at the beach dressed as a baby;
Matt lying across a bar, topless, in pair of blue flashing sunglasses; and
Smuggling Matt through security at Barcelona airport attached to a pink pony balloon named Penelope.
Despite all of this, we got Matt home in one piece, with only an incomplete tattoo of Bugs Bunny on his thigh as a lasting mark of the occasion.
Now, as you would expect, I’ve spent the last few weeks worrying about this speech, but the whole point of it only really occurred to me recently, and that is that nobody could possibly stand here and feel more proud and honoured than me to be able to represent Matt on this – the most important day of his life.
Matt, I cannot thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to be your best man and for sharing in your special day. You’ve been a fantastic friend to me over the years, and I’m sure this will continue in the future. Anyone that has spent time with you and Naomi knows how great you are together and I would like to wish you both a lifetime of happiness.
Naomi, take good care of Matt, and please make sure that you lend him back to us every so often as, despite his faults, we quite like having him around.
Well, I’m sure that you’ll all be pleased to hear that I’m almost done.
All that remains for me to do is to ask you all to charge your glasses, stand, and join me in wishing Mr & Mrs Wardle a long and happy life together. If you could all please raise your glasses – and toast - to the Bride & Groom!