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Hey. How ya'll doing?1

Mark Twain once remarked that it took him nearly three weeks to prepare an impromptu speech. Well, I'm not half the man that Mark Twain was, so I won't make any further pretence that I memorized this speech.2

I'd like to thank the bride and grooms parents for their help in arranging the festivities of the last several days. We are gathered here today under the boon of their compassion and to celebrate the love and devotion of Jeff and Stacey. I'd also like to thank the bride and groom, for despite the many foolish things I have done in the past, they still believe me to be worthy of the honor they have bestowed upon me. For it truly is an honor to have been included as a witness during the magical union of two of my closest friends, both of whom I hold in the highest regard.

For those of you who don't know me, my name is XX and Jeff is my oldest friend. Jeff and I met in the eighth grade in a little town in Missouri with a funny sounding name and I'm getting old enough that I don't like to think about how much time has passed since then. We met in a manner that was typical of boys our age and I believe the company today too polite for me to describe that moment with greater detail. Suffice it to say that the remainder our relationship has been antithesis to that first meeting.

I can't say enough nice things about Jeff. He is the most caring3 and selfless person I know. He is the very model of the perfect companion.

Stacey I have known since our first year in college. She has been nothing but a kind and generous friend to me, often going out of her way to offer me a gentle word when I desired none.

I am delighted beyond words that two so close to my heart have found happiness in each other. Jeff and Stacey, my friends, today you embark on the voyage of4 marriage, that blessed arrangement, that dream within a dream. For your love, true love, will follow you forever.

The great mystery writer Agatha Christie once said that an archaeologist is the best kind of husband a woman can have - the older she gets the more interest he takes in her.5 Who are we to argue with a best selling author?

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And,6 until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.7

  1. I used this witty remark to test the microphone.
  2. At this point I reached in my jacket pocket and whipped out my prepared speech notes.
  3. At this point I began to lose some emotional control.
  4. The following lines were stolen directly from the wedding scene in The Princess Bride. It had the intended effect of scattered packets of laughter and helped me regain some composure.
  5. This joke is funny because Jeff is an Archaeologist.
  6. At this point I lost practically all control. My voice became choked and hard to hear, even over the microphone.
  7. We toasted. Jeff hugged me. I surrendered the microphone to the matron of honor. I reclaimed my seat and wept openly in an embarrassing public display of emotion. I don't think I've cried since Farmer Hoggett said, "that'll do pig."

I spent the rest of the evening accepting the well wishes of family members and friends, who all believed I did a great job, many of whom probably wouldn't have understood my desire to simply forget the whole episode. Later I threatened revenge on the Groom. That helped a little bit.

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