Ladies and gentlemen, friends, relatives, teenagers, children, and people who really came for the cricket, welcome to all of you and thank you for coming to our wedding today which has made it such a very special occasion for me and my husband. This may well be the last time Graham lets me speak before he does, so I’d better make the most of it.
So who’s here today? There are friends of mine here from school, from home – give us a cheer - (including the XXXX Dining Club) – Roger we’re still waiting for you to organise that trip to Mamma Mia - friends from University, some of the Smith family, and everyone else. I think there might even be some of Graham’s friends and family (go on, give us a cheer!). We’re so pleased and delighted you’re all here because otherwise we’d have an awful lot of food to get through.
As many of you know, when I’m not busy looking after Graham and tending to his every need, and it turns out he does have quite a few, I work in a university. So when I was feeling nervous about giving my speech today, somebody said to me, don’t worry Jenny, think of it as one of your lectures: for every 10 people: 3 will be asleep, 2 will be texting their friends, 2 won’t show up at all and will email next week with a lame excuse, 2 will be drunk, and one will realise half way through they’ve come to the wrong room and leave. And none of them will remember anything you’ve said the next day.
But first, there are some very special people who have played a huge part in making today such a wonderful occasion who I must thank. Thank you Anna, my new step-daughter, who has made this stunning cake we will shortly be cutting.
Anna has made me something I never thought I would be, but am very excited about, which is a stepmother. I wasn’t too sure what this would involve, so I’ve been reading up about it to make sure I do it properly, and I wanted to reassure Anna that the mice and the cauldron are waiting for her downstairs when she’s ready.
Anna, of course, has two lovely children, Sophie and Dylan, and weren’t they just wonderful today as bridesmaid and usher? I want to thank Anna, Sophie and Dylan for their warmth and their kindness and for welcoming me into their lives and letting me be part of the Jones family.
I also want to thank Amanda, who was my witness today at the church and who helped us get set up for the reception last night together with her husband Francis. Amanda and I have been friends since we were 13, when we used to get into trouble for giggling in Mr Porter’s art lessons together when we were at Hillside School. Who remembers the Hillside? I’m glad to say we’re still giggling together almost 40 years later but unfortunately we’re both still rubbish at art.
Thank you as well Lauren, who has been a wonderful friend since we met as first years at University 33 years ago. Lauren did one of the readings earlier and she has been at the house with me this morning helping to calm my nerves and apparently received a small payment from Graham to make sure I actually got to the church. We shared some memorable holidays together when we were in our 20s and I still fondly recall the time I collapsed at the end of walking the Samaria Gorge in Crete due to the heat and dehydration, and of waking up and finding myself lying on the ground with an anonymous crowd gathered round looking down at me and of at last seeing Lauren’s friendly and concerned face appear in the throng and say, ‘Jenny, what on earth are you doing down there?’
If I haven’t thanked you yet, it’s because … you haven’t done anything ... sorry, it’s because there are too many of you who have contributed and offered help to make today such a special occasion to name you all individually. Thank you to all of my wonderful friends who have not only helped today but who have stood by me over the years and who’ve been there when I needed someone, and you know who you are. Graham and I have been overwhelmed by everyone’s generous gifts and kind wishes on this happy occasion of our wedding.
There are of course three people who deserve an extra special thank you. I’ve read a lot of books by some very clever people, but you’ve taught me more than all of those books ever could. We have laughed together, cried together, slammed doors together (well at least I have), we’ve been hormonal together, (that’s me again) and we’ve been through so much together over the years. I am immensely proud of all of you for the wonderful adults you’re growing into and I look forward more than I can possibly say to watching you all go on to flourish and succeed over the coming years as I know you will. My children are all clever, kind, funny, and good-looking, and mainly take after their father.
Thank you Peter, Lucy and Nicholas for all your help today, for being the outstanding people that you are, and for the way you’ve welcomed Graham into your lives.
Now, this brings me on to Graham ... my husband. I will of course have to get used to my new name … Mrs ... er .... Mrs Groom.
So what was it that first attracted me tall, handsome, debonair Graham? Was it his suave, sophisticated good looks? Was it his original chat-up lines? Was it the way he prised the padlock off his wallet to buy me a drink? No, it was none of those things. I realised Graham was the man for me when he gave me .... the phone number for his osteopath. I thought that at least if the relationship didn’t work out I’d have someone to help with my back problems.
One of the things I’ve most appreciated about Graham is of course his tact and diplomacy. This was brought home to me when we were organising today’s wedding. I said to Graham, what a shame we’re not going to have a vintage car to bring me to the church. I’d have loved to have arrived in one of those old cream coloured Rolls Royces. And Graham said to me, Jenny, he said, it’s best we don’t have one because people all along the route would be all be staring and pointing and saying, oh look, there’s a wedding car; that must be the bride in there, but wait, no, it can’t be because she looks older than the car.
Graham and I get on so well together because we’re ... often in different towns .... sorry, because we're so different.
Graham is very good at dealing with life’s practicalities such as replacing flat tyres, mending things that don’t work, and cooking wonderful meals, and I’m good at watching him do all of that.
Graham knows lots of impressive technical phrases like, Porsche 944S turbo cabriolet; dual-core A6X chip with quad-core graphics; and ‘make mine a Grand Cru St Emilion’.
Some of my favourite technical phrases include, I know I left the car here somewhere; no, I don’t understand how it works either; and, I seem to have lost the children again.
Graham tends to take his time over doing things, think things through carefully and do them properly, whereas I tend to do lots of stuff really quickly. So now we’ve got the best of both worlds; we get things done very slowly and make lots of mistakes.
Now as you all know, the day we’re getting married, today, is the 30th August. I thought I’d look up 30th August to see what makes today so special. According to Wikipedia, the 30th August is the 242nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It is also the day when, in 1839, Gulstan Ropert the French prelate was born. No, I don’t know who he was either. Clearly, things have been a bit slow on 30th August.
But from now on, I will have something major to celebrate every year on 30th August, and that’s because it’s the day I married the cleverest, funniest, most caring, wonderful man. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have met my amazing husband, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is an unusual wedding in that in case you hadn’t noticed Graham and I are not exactly spring chickens. We have both been blessed with earlier loves and between us we have four wonderful children and two adorable grandchildren. They are the future and the next generation and they have all shown heartwarming generosity and kindness in the way that they have helped Graham and I prepare for today and for our future together. I would therefore like to propose a toast to our children and grandchildren, who have been the most amazing bridesmaids, ushers, escorts, speech-makers, cake-makers and helpers and they don’t know this yet but later on they’re going to be doing the washing up. Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in raising your glasses to the children.