I’d like to start by re-iterating R’s thanks to you all for joining us here today. It’s been a long journey for everyone to get here and we’re really touched that you all made the effort to come. There aren’t many times in life when you have your family and closest friends together in the same room, and the presence of each and every one of you here makes today even more special for us – so thank you.
I’d also just like to say a special personal thanks to a few people. Firstly, thank you to my wonderful bridesmaids: X, Y and Z – you’re the best friends a girl could hope to have and you’re incredibly precious to me. Thanks for all your support leading up to today. I love you girls.
Also I’d like to thank all of R’s family for being so welcoming and kind over the past 12 years. And thanks to M in particular for all the embarrassing photos and stories of R you’ve shared with me which have proved useful blackmail material over the years! How do you think I finally got him to marry me?! Also, thanks to R’s brother and sister-in-law, P and E, who got married here eighteen years ago. It was actually E’s suggestion that we consider this venue and it’s not every couple that would be happy for you to copy their wedding venue, so thanks guys and we hope that being back here brings back lots of lovely memories.
And also thank you to my wonderful parents. Mum and Dad, thanks for all the emotional, practical and financial support leading up ‘til today. And thank you in general – you do so much for me – and you’ve given me the confidence to think I can achieve anything I want in my life – even wining an argument with R – which can take some doing! You’ve shown me so much love and support that I’ll probably never be able to repay and I want you to know that I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
However my biggest thank you today goes to my new husband for loving me and for (finally!) marrying me. R, you’re the perfect man: handsome, intelligent, funny, ambitious, kind and sensitive. I remember on our first date being struck with a sense of having such a connection with you. And after nearly 12 years, five house moves, two house purchases, two cross-country relocations and many ups and downs, I still haven’t lost the spark for you and I still think you’re the best person on this planet. So thank you for marrying me.
As many of you know, R and I have absolutely no hobbies or interests in common at all! I fact, we’re pretty much complete opposites! But who needs stuff in common? It’s over-rated! More importantly, we have the same life goals, the same priorities, the same attitudes to people and money and work and the same sense of what’s right and wrong in life. We say that we’re soul mates and over the last 12 years I feel like we’ve become adults together and somehow shaped each other into becoming better people.
Those of you who know R well, especially those of you who have worked with him, will know that he thrives on praise and positive feedback. In fact, he goes so far as to actually regularly request it from his line managers at work! So when he told me this in the early days of our relationship, I thought ‘Hmm… this might be a useful technique for managing him in our relationship too!’ In fact, one of his favorite games to play on a long car journey is the ‘Top 5 things I love about R game’. It’s not really a game, I just have to list the top 5 things I love most about him at that point in time. Unfortunately, he never seems quite as interested in playing the ‘Top 5 things I love about C’ game, but our honeymoon will involve a lot of driving, so here’s hoping! So R, today of all days, I thought you might appreciate hearing my top 5 things. So to start our marriage as I mean to go on, with plenty of praise and positive feedback, here are the top 5 things I love about you:
Number 1: You can do anything. They say girls tend to marry a man who is similar in personality to their dads, but I always knew it would be hard to find someone who could live up to my dad’s standard because he can do absolutely anything from repairing a car to baking bread and giving financial advice – he’s a hard act to follow! But R, I think you can do pretty much anything as well. Over the years, you have done practical stuff like installing a new bathroom in our house, artistic stuff like producing amazing graphic design at work, organisational stuff like leading an enormous fireworks display, you’re an amazing cook and you’re annoying good at any sport you try. The one thing I have discovered which you don’t seem to be very good at is making a good cup of tea (he puts the milk in first, I mean, what’s that all about?!) but they say practice makes perfect, and you’ve got the next 50 odd years or so to work on your tea making skills.
Number 2: You’re unfailingly honest and you can’t lie. And I have an example of this. Some of you know that I do the odd bit of creative writing and I once asked R to give me some feedback on a short story I had written for my creative writing group. So I read it to him and I asked, ‘What did you think? Was it good? Did I develop the characters well? Did I get my messages across?’ R’s feedback (which I remember word for word, as it’s etched on my soul) was ‘Well, C, you’ve tried, but in trying, you’ve failed!’ It hurt a little bit at the time but you were completely right, it was crap and your feedback helped me to go on to write better things! I couldn’t be with a ‘yes’ man, you’re genuine through and through, and it means I can trust you. And thankfully over the years I’ve developed a thick skin…!
Number 3: You’re strikingly intelligent, in fact, I think you’re probably the most intelligent person I know. When I tell you my problems, particularly something that’s worrying me at work, you can instantly see the best solution. It’s like having a professional mentor on hand who can coach me through any difficult situation. And I am really sorry for the many late night conversations in bed, talking about my work problems, when you’d rather be doing something else… sleeping of course!
Number 4: This one is quite short and sweet. I love hearing you laugh. It’s the best sound in the world.
And finally, number 5 of the top 5 things I love most about you: I love how caring and sensitive you are when it comes to animals. We always say that if we won the lottery, we’d open an animal sanctuary and take in all the three-legged, one-eyed, mangy cats and dogs that no one else wants. In fact, the sight of an animal suffering is more than you can bear. We just can’t watch Pet Rescue in our house… In fact, I remember a time in the early days of our relationship when you took me to a park and we sat watching the ducks for a while. When we noticed a duck that only had one leg, I remember how much it upset you and how you really felt its pain: you wondered in what terrible accident it had lost its leg, whether it found enough food, whether the other ducks ostracised it and did it end up swimming round in circles? Your genuine empathy and distress really surprised me – here was this cocky guy I’d been dating, who was practically shedding tears over a poor, one-legged duck!
As an aside, and not that this diminishes the memory of that touching occasion at all, I have to tell our guests that once you’d finished empathising with this poor duck, and dried your tears, it put down the leg it had tucked up under its wing, shook itself and waddled off quite happily on two legs!
So that’s it from me, but I would like to end with proposing a toast to my wonderful husband, who is amazing in so many different ways, so would you all please stand and raise your glasses, to R!