The Speech I Would Have Made (If I wasn’t so shy…)

I didn’t make a speech at our wedding (in my notes that sentence read I didn’t make a speech at hour wedding’ which I’m going to blame on wine, or emotions, or lack of sleep or something!) mostly because the thought of public speaking makes me want to vomit, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t think about what I would say and in the end write it down. I found the draft when I was looking for my notes for another blog, nearly two months after the fact I had all but forgotten about it, but when I found it I thought I might as well share it, all of the sentiments still stand and Sarah didn’t even know I’d written it so here it is.

Anyone who has been following the blog or listening to me banging on about the wedding is bound to remember that I had some rules. One of them was that there would be no speeches; yet here I am. I promise I’ll make it quick.

For anyone who doesn’t know that story of Sarah & I, I’ll give you a potted history. We met at a bus stop, I have a very vague memory of this but Sarah happily admits that from then she ‘knew that she would have me she just didn’t know how’ and so it began. At the time I don’t think either of us would have imagined that eleven years later we would be together never mind married, I know I didn’t, at the time very much convinced I was straight and simply blessed with surrounding myself with fabulous gay friends some of which just happened to think I was attractive.

Sarah first told me that she ‘liked me like that’ (oh shut up we were 17!) during a school production of Fiddler on the Roof (I don’t think the music department realise exactly how much they have to answer for!). I remember very vividly that Sarah backed me into a toilette in the changing rooms (very classy my wife) whispered very hurriedly and then left me behind totally confused. I had absolutely no idea why she was telling me this, she had a boyfriend at the time and I was very much not gay (if you ignore the picture of Kathryn Janeway and Seven of Nine kissing in the back of my notebook which was mostly full of fic about women who liked to kiss other woman). The only explanation I got later was that Sarah thought it would cheer me up because I hadn’t been very happy for a while.

Sarah can take sole credit for getting us to where we are now. If it hadn’t been for her persistence and bloody-mindedness I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have made it longer than a month and for that, I thank her. God knows, back then I didn’t deserve for her to stick around, I didn’t deserve for her to keep trying and now, it’s one of the reasons why I love her.

Saying that, I don’t actually remember the first ‘I love you’. I remember the first time Sarah almost said it and I knew exactly what she was saying even though she changed her mind to ‘I love this’ at the very last minute. Sarah claims that it was me who said it first, she’s adamant about it in fact, but I don’t believe it for a second. I’ve never been great at expressing my emotions never mind vocalising them and I was even worse at it then and I don’t believe for one second I would be the first one of us to put myself out there like that. This is probably going to be a point we disagree on for the rest of our lives together.

As of our wedding day, 19th October, we have been together for ten years, so I guess today it’s ten years plus one week. It hasn’t always been perfect but I know, if I’m honest, there are very few things that I would change, even the worst parts of our history brought us to this point so I find it difficult to regret much. Between us we often joke about what we would do if we ever broke up and it’s a fact that I would remain forever alone. I’ve never had to actually ‘date’ someone, we were friends first so by the time we got together we knew each other pretty well, and I wouldn’t have a clue how to even begin chatting someone up. But most importantly, there’s no way I would find another person with the patience to put up with me or learn to understand me the way Sarah has.

So my first thank you of the night is to Sarah, my fucking wife, for being so pig headed all of those years ago, for putting up with all of my shit and for loving me. There’s so much that I wouldn’t have got through if it wasn’t for you and I give you my permission here and now to kick me into touch if I ever stop letting you know exactly how much you mean to me. My life would be a lot more boring without you in it and that is mostly because you are no bother…

So having broken another one of my rules and making at least myself cry (I’ve even gotten a bit teary typing this up) I’m going to move swiftly on to some quick thank you’s, there’s no way I can thank everyone who has played a part in keeping us together long enough to get married and then helped us through the madness but know that we thank you all. Firstly I want to thank my parents, thank you for always loving me, for always supporting me even when I was a pain in the backside (most of my teenage years really but at least you never had to ground me because I was so good at grounding myself) Thank you for accepting Sarah as a part of the family even before I came clean about exactly who she was to me and thank you for helping to make sure that this wedding was possible.

Pat and Eddie, thank you for Sarah, for accepting me into your family and thank you for your input into the wedding, Pat especially for the time and effort you put into making sure our guys looked good.

John, my best dude, thank you for ALWAYS being my best dude, even when I am bothering you to give me lifts places or to come round and put shelves up. I’m glad we grew up and decided we liked each other because I really couldn’t ask for a better brother or a better best friend. (and having your car around this week has proved to be extremely useful, not gonna lie).

Like I said, I could go on for hours thanking everyone for their part in this whole event, big or small, but the last thing I want to do is bore people, so just know that we are thankful to every single one of you, we love you, we couldn’t have had such a perfect time without you, so yeah, thank you.

Finally I want to just take a few minutes to talk about a few people who are missing tonight. When you write a guest list a year before your wedding you know that everyone on it wont be there and that some people who aren’t on the list will be there. This year has taught me a lot about who I could trust, who had my back and who my friends are. There are people who I was 100% sure would be here who aren’t but equally there are people here who didn’t even make the list the first time round who I couldn’t imagine celebrating this day without now. Then there are the people who didn’t choose not to be here, the people who just couldn’t be here.

Sarah and I are the only people in the room who knew Ady but I can guarantee that by  the end of the night he would have tried to buy most of you a drink and he’d have gotten to know a huge number of you. He would have thought this whole thing was hilarious. For those who don’t know, Ady was a weird mix between a dad, a big brother and a trouble making friend while we lived in York. The night we found out he had died, myself and Lolly were on the phone to each other, both in the midst of planning weddings and we both realised at about the same time that Ady was on both of our lists, that he wouldn’t be there. I console myself with the knowledge that wherever he is, him and Gibby are having a party.

My grandma should be here too but she’s not. There have been points this year where I felt like planning a wedding, knowing she wouldn’t be here to see it, felt impossible and so much like something I didn’t want to do but I knew she would hate that. While she was never very vocal about my relationship with Sarah or the fact we were getting married I knew she didn’t mind because, as much as the rest of my family did, she accepted Sarah into the family, into her home and into our traditions. There are things that are going to happen tonight that probably would have confused the life out of her, but I know that she would have loved the fact that so many people had come out to help us celebrate. As she said every holiday, every party, most Sundays. Aren’t we lucky.

Now that I’ve well and truly made myself cry (yep, I’m bawling and the man is due to fix the boiler any minute) I’m going to stop. So a toast I think, that’s what you do isn’t it, to my wife, to family, to the friends you make your family.

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