Ladies and gentlemen, if there's anybody here this afternoon who's feeling nervous, apprehensive and queasy at the thought of what lies ahead…… it's probably because you have just married James Rank.
To those of you who don’t know me yet. My name is Stu and I would like to thank James for finally confirming that I am actually the BEST man!
I’ve actually looked forward to this moment for a long time. It will be the first time I’ve been able to speak for five minutes in James’ presence without being interrupted!
Now it’s not that I’m saying that James is loud but he does seem to break a fundamental law of physics that light travels faster than sound…. because with James, you very definitely hear him before you see him.
It’s great to see that everyone is enjoying the wedding today, but I have to say that being best man you get to see behind the scenes – and let me tell you it isn’t pretty. Tears, hissy fits, chucking lipstick and mascara all over the place… luckily, I’ve heard that Sam was better behaved than the groom.
Quite clearly, no expense has been spared in creating this wonderful occasion for us all to enjoy. And by the way, please don't worry if you have heard any unusual noises during the speeches….. it's only James’ wallet groaning in agony.
Looking around this packed room, it's surprising just how far some people are prepared to travel for a free lunch. It's a good job James didn’t choose the menu, otherwise you would have been very disappointed to have come all this way for cheese sandwiches washed down with ALDI lager.
Now I am supposed to use this opportunity to recall embarrassing moments to ridicule James. But I’ve been put under strict instructions not to mention the time James’ fiesta door changed colour, the time that we had the winner’s podium from Northwood stadium on our heads or the time that James’ Nova started smelling of fish.
Of course… James….. I won’t say a thing. My lips are sealed. The theme of my speech is this: why marry James Rank? What is so special about him?
Over the last few months I've made extensive investigations and I think I've found the answer. One reason to marry James is that he’s exceptionally thoughtful – he’s always thinking about friends and family. In fact, he starts thinking from the moment he gets up…… and doesn't stop until he opens his mouth!
I’ve been told that at School, his sporting prowess was legendary. In fact, when he graduated he was recognised as having made a major contribution to the Schools football first team..… by sticking to swimming
He’s academically bright. I once visited him when he was at Imperial College. “I’m done here,” he told me, confidently, “They can’t teach me any more.” Now, initially, I put that down to his inflated ego. But, curiously enough, One of his Uni mates knew the Dean of the University at the time and when he asked him about James’s leaving his words were exactly the same,….. ‘we simply couldn’t teach him any more’. Another reason to marry James is that he’s very caring – especially about his appearance. It's easy to see from today that James, impeccably dressed, has always been an image-conscious sort of guy. You know, he once admitted to me that his favourite forms of entertainment were TV, Football and mirrors …. In reverse order.
He is most known however for his care of money. As he has often told me: ‘The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it back in your pocket’.
But marriage changes a man and his approach to spending is shifting. Just yesterday, while mulling over a purchase, he blurted out,
‘Well, if you’ve got it why not spend it! I’m not extravagant enough!
It’s a lot of money, but hey, you only live once!
I’m going to buy this right now! I don’t care how much it costs!’
I was really impressed by this. And dramatically James threw the packet of Jaffa cakes in the shopping trolley and marched off.
Now I’m not saying James is a skin flint but it’s a well known fact that when he suggested getting married at Alton Towers it was because he thought he could pay using his Merlin Pass and his family’s local residents tickets. I can only assume that the reason for Sam choosing James was that opposites attract. I mean, one of my fondest memories is walking into their garden for a party to see James in the kitchen wearing a floral apron making cocktails and Sam in the garden chopping firewood with an Axe…… They certainly are opposites… If the theme of my speech had been: why marry Sam? It would have been straight forward. She is beautiful, intelligent and funny. She can cook like Nigella Lawson and she’s got the patience of a saint. James, I can say with my hand on my heart that you’re one of the luckiest men alive. And she writes a cracking best man speech as well. Joking aside, it’s a wonderful honour being best man today as James is a very special person to me. He is a true friend who never ceases to amaze me with his kindness. He has listened to me through many a crisis. He gives without any thought of reward. He is a super guy and a role model of a friend. And yes, we’ve had our differences… but nothing that two lawyers and a judge couldn’t sort out. I’d like to wish the happy couple well and toast their future happiness. Ladies and gentlemen, to the bride and groom.