Speech by Robert Leigh

This is a father of the bride speech at a gay (lesbian) wedding.

Speech Type: Father of the bride/groom
Speech Creator: Robert Leigh
Speech Date: 24/02/2015 08:14:54

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Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, for those of you who don't know me, my name is Robert, the very proud father of Emily.  

As father of the bride.… well of one of the brides… it is my privilege to make the first speech.  I think there are four speeches planned and if the other three are as long as this one you'd better make yourselves comfortable.  Forgive me if this speech is not as professional as you might otherwise expect; this is a new experience for me and I'm a little nervous as I'm not used to people listening when I speak. 

I would like to start by extending a warm welcome to the friends and relatives of both families to share this very special day.  Some of you made long journeys to be here today and thanks go to all for taking the time and effort to join in this celebration of Emily and Georgia's wedding.  You are all here because you have played some part in their lives over the years and I hope you are all having a wonderful time today.

I'd also like to thank those involved in making today possible; to the bevy of bridesmaids for looking after both brides and for helping with the arrangements and to everyone else who has made this day possible for the happy couple.  Having said that, it was Emily and Georgia that made most of the arrangements, so well done and thank you.  My thanks also to Google for help with this speech.  

Well.  A gay wedding, whatever next..… of course, a gay honeymoon and I hope you both have a great time in Gambia.   

It's not that long ago that being gay was taboo, let alone a gay wedding, and I know the older generations still struggle to come to terms with it.  But I wonder what all the fuss is about and I don't see what the problem is with same-sex marriage.  In fact, when I confided with my brother-in-law Tony about this, he agreed and said he'd been having the same sex for years! 

I don't recall when Emily first told me about her sexuality.  Actually, I don't think she so much as told me, it was probably more by way of an explanation.  I'd be lying if I said I was thrilled at the time, but I do remember taking a couple of positives out of the situation.  Firstly I wouldn't have to pay towards a wedding and secondly I wouldn't have to stand up and make a speech.  It just goes to show how wrong you can be!

When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never…… I never realised that lesbians actually existed, because I'd only ever seen them in low budget Hammer Horror Dracula movies, and as I was aware that Dracula wasn't for real, I presumed that lesbians too were also a myth (or Ms!).  Of course, I now accept that I was naïve and ignorant at the time and fully appreciate that there really are such things as vampires!  

Joking aside (accepting my lame attempt at humour) and to put this gay marriage thing to bed.  We don't live long enough to let anyone tell us who we can and cannot love.  Life isn't about what someone or society tells us to do, it's about having a mind of your own, being happy, comfortable and content.  So I say well done Emily and Georgia!   

There are however a few things you'll need to sort, such as:

Who gets up in the middle of the night to check on what that noise was? 

Which one of you forgets the anniversary? 

Who refuses to stop and ask for directions? 

And, (I think I know the answer to this), which one of you will take forever to get ready? 

As is traditional, just a little bit (actually quite a lot) about Emily:

Don't worry, it's not my intention to embarrass you just yet, that can wait until I start dancing later.  Anyway, I'm sure your friends here today know far more embarrassing things about you than I do.

As many of you here will appreciate, the love you realise when your children are born is very special and I remember that strong feeling of love and protection that came over me that sunny Wednesday morning in May 1990 when Emily arrived 5 weeks early.  It was such a life-changing experience that I decided to take the day off work.  I had the same feeling when Emily's sister, Hannah, was born 2½ years later, the only difference it being a Saturday morning so I went home and watched the rugby.  Anyway, despite the trials and tribulations that go with raising children, and yes, particularly daughters, those feelings of love and protection remain true.  

Emily has provided me with much joy over the years.  I like to think that there will always be a close bond between Emily and I (yes, even after this speech), which goes all the way back to when she was a sweet little girl and we used to play.  I'm not suggesting that you're not sweet now.  You remember the sort of things?  Bedtime stories, nursery rhymes such as ‘Row row the boat’, learning numbers and the alphabet, peddling the trike to the shops on a Saturday morning (very cute), and playing lots of games.  I have so many happy memories. 

For those who don't know, Emily always gives 100% in everything she does – except when she's talking, then it's 110%.  I should also point out that Emily plays to win, and as I'm a ‘competitive Dad’ the games we played weren't taken lightly, usual stuff; Connect 4, Rummikub, Battle Ships, the very aptly named Frustration and board games such as draughts..… Yes, draughts where the ‘take for uffing’ rule was enforced, which was the cause of much consternation at the time.  Thanks to Google I've recently learnt two things; firstly that uffing has since been abolished (fact) and secondly that ‘uffing begins with an ‘H’.  A bit like ‘alifax I suppose.  Actually, the last time Emily and Georgia visited I noticed that the Rummikub had been dusted-down and the two of them were embroiled in a game.  I'm sorry Georgia, but there was only ever going to be one winner and you've just married her.

Academically, Emily was more than capable and school reports made for good reading, perhaps more so in the earlier years before ‘attitude’ kicked in.  Karate also kicked in for a while, and Emily achieved a good level (was it brown belt?), and I used to enjoy taking you to Felixstowe in your karate uniform on a Sunday morning where you learnt to kick and hit people.  A punch bag also appeared in the garage.… And that certainly got more than its fair share of use! 

Sure, there were a few trying moments along the way, particularly in those lovely awkward teenage years, such as the time you had an eventful house party when your mother was away on holiday.  Emily, back then I couldn't wait to give you away!

Anyway, you did well at school, got the grades, seemingly without too much effort, and headed to University.  Which brings us to Sheffield.

It's nice to be back in Sheffield.… yes honestly.  I was here in the early eighties, nineteen eighties that is, as a student at Sheffield City Polytechnic as it was then known.  Red shoes and a tank top – I looked as good then as I do now.  At the time I could never have imagined that about 30 years later my daughter would be studying at the same place and living in a house literally just across the road from where I stayed.  I remember bringing Emily to Uni for the first time and leaving her behind in a strange place, in a big city, knowing no one.  A little sad and reflective – both of us, I guess.  Anyway, despite a few early ‘jitters’ Emily settled in to Uni and Sheffield, and I was very proud of you at the graduation ceremony in the City Hall in 2011 when you received your degree.  It was good that Georgia was there to share the moment too.  And it wasn't long after that you both celebrated your engagement, which was a fun and memorable evening in a number of ways.   Well ‘duck’, yuv nah been in ‘ere in Sheffield for 6 year, an’ counting….

As an aside, it's pleasing to note that Emily seems to have inherited most of her traits from her parents:  Bright, hard-working, great sense of humour, attractive, and modest… and I'm sure you take after your mother in many ways too!

Finally, one Sunday evening a few years back, and Tina remembers it well, I received a brief text message from Emily along the lines “‘thought you should know that I have appendicitis and will be having it removed shortly”.  End of message.  Well, thanks for letting me know.  Just a few words that spoke volumes – whatever happened to Daddy's little girl?   

Emily, over the years I've had the privilege of watching you blossom from a cute baby daughter into a lovely young lady.  What I would like to share is how proud I felt giving you away today.  I'm so lucky to have you in my life, you mean the world to me and I hope you are aware just exactly how much I love you. 

(.… Even the wedding cake's in tiers).

I'd also like to say a few words about Georgia and welcome you into the Leigh family, a truly great dynasty, so good luck!  The Georgia I know from the brief visits to Ipswich is a polite and well-mannered girl who generally stays out of the limelight.  Or perhaps you are just keeping out of the way?  However, I've been advised that this is not the real Georgia, who is actually quite loud and outspoken.  I find that hard to believe.  What I do know is that you too are hard working with a great sense of humour, strong values about what is right and wrong and who, like a true Yorkshire lass, tells it how it is.  If, in some way, you have managed to wean a more mellow Emily over the past 4 years then you are to be congratulated on your achievements.  I look forward to getting to know the real Georgia more in the coming years and hope you'll always feel at home whenever you come to stay in Suffolk.  At least I can relax in the knowledge that the toilet seat won't be left up!

Tradition also has it that I offer advice on how to make a marriage a success.  As we are said to learn from our mistakes, I should be pretty well educated by now.  Then again, perhaps not, and I don't feel well placed to give such guidance on the subject of marriage.  There are however many quotes and quips that get recited at weddings and I have a selection here.  You know, there's the light-hearted stuff:

Such as…

If you've fallen out, never go to bed angry.  Stay up all night and carry on fighting! (That'll please the neighbours)

And I actually think this one is spot on….

When you're wrong, admit it – but when you're right, keep quiet

And then there are the tender phrases that wouldn't be out of place on a fridge magnet, such as:   

Success in marriage is not about finding a person that you can live with… it's about finding the person that you can't live without.

Better still….

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. 

And perhaps the sweetest…

Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry

Ok, in reality, all this light hearted ‘advice’ is nice and befits the occasion, and undoubtedly there is much wisdom in there.  Applying such wisdom is the difficult bit, and as far as I know there's not an App for it yet!

For all that, the secret of a happy marriage… is still a secret.

Emily and Georgia; my advice is simple.  This marriage is entirely yours, and it is only you two who will determine its rules. 

My greatest wish for the two of you is that through the years your love for each other will grow and deepen, and you will always remain happy and healthy.  Hopefully years from now you can look back on this, your wedding day, as the beginning of your greatest adventure. 

So I wish you fun and excitement for today, hopes and dreams for tomorrow, and love and happiness for ever.  May you have a long and wonderful life together.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to propose a toast to the happy couple. Please be upstanding and raise your glasses to Emily and Georgia.