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You may well be wondering what the Bride is doing making a speech. Well, those of you who know me well, know that I always have talked too much and usually find a way to get my two cents worth in so it probably is no surprise! I also wanted to say thank you to those deserving in my own words.
When I met Ray, I was totally off men and relationships, so it is a more than a little surprising to find myself standing here just under two years later! I have my sister to thank for this remarkable conversion, as she was the Cilla Black wannabe who got us together – with all the subtlety of Blind Date I might add. Her favorite trick was to invite Ray to come for drinks with her and I and then suddenly “remember” she’d left the iron on or hadn’t fed the cat or any other such nonsense.
Of course this was highly embarrassing and cringe-making but I am so very grateful to Donna for knowing us both better than we knew ourselves, knowing that we should be together and putting us in each others’ lives.
She has been a great Bridesmaid and she has helped a lot over the last few months; not least in the organisation of a top hen party - the details of which follow the time honoured code of “What goes on tour, stays on tour”! Donna not only is the best sister a girl could ever have but she is also my very bestest friend and has been my idol since I arrived in this world. Thank you so much for everything, not least for loving me. This is just a small gift as a token of our love and appreciation.
While I am on thanking there are a few more that I would like to do and I promise to be brief!
Firstly thanks to all of you for coming and thank you for the wonderful gifts – we’ll look forward to opening them when we get back from honeymoon. I know that most of you took time off work and travelled a long way to be here and I want to say how much it means to us to share our day with the family and friends that love us. Sadly not everyone could be with us and I would especially like to mention Ray’s Grandfather, George who sadly passed away last year and my favourite Aunt, Auntie Kissie who has been very ill and wasn’t well enough to make the journey.
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Secondly I want to thank Ivor – the best best man – he has done a fantastic job, although depending on the contents of his speech, I may retract this!!!! Seriously he has been an amazing support to Ray and has done us both proud in his role. Thanks Ivor for making our day that little bit more special and for not shaving Ray’s hair off on the stag night.
Thanks also to Belinda, my wicked step-mother! – the reading was beautiful and thank you for agreeing to do it. Thanks also for getting my Father here on the right day, at the right time and in the right clothes. Here’s a little something for you to thank you for everything.
I’d like to say a few words about my Mom and Dad. They have been the best parents a girl could wish for and they are also my friends. My Mom is the most amazing person and she taught me to be independent from a very young age. I’m sure Ray would NOT thank her for this as I am incredibly stubborn as a result - but it always made me aware that when I did get married, if I got married, it would be to the right man at the right time and that is certainly true. She is also an incredibly talented singer, which I’m sure those of you who heard her sing earlier will agree. It was beautiful and meaningful and I’ll remember it forever – thank you so much Mom.
My Dad on the other hand, taught me something that is invaluable; SPORT IS VERY IMPORTANT. This is something that I know will stand me in good stead in my marriage to Ray! It is said that you marry a man like your Dad and if that’s true – then kind, generous, loving, caring, supportive, always there when you need him and great to hug is what I’m getting. Thanks so much for everything Dad, not least for giving me away – although you were probably glad to get rid of me!
I’d just like to say a few words about three of the most excellent girls one could ever hope to meet. Angie Schofield, Tracie Buckley and Catherine Meakings. I’ve been very lucky to find good friends like them. Angie and her husband came over this morning to blow up balloons and bring the table decorations and cake over. Tracie is kindly going out of her way to Merseyside to take my bouquet to my Aunt who couldn’t make it and Catherine has been to John Lewis for me so often in the last few months that they have given her her own entrance. I just wanted to thank you all, not just for the practical things you have done but for the support you have given me. These small gifts are a huge token of my love and appreciation. Thanks a lot you guys.
So now I turn to my new Husband! Last but certainly not least. I want to thank you Ray for a wonderful day – thank you for all your hard work in realising our dreams – today has been so perfect.
I have never been able to find the right words to express just how I feel about this man who has become my husband today – so I’m going to recite this poem in the hope that it might go someway to let him know just what he means to me.
I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I’m with you
I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you have made of me
I love you for the part of me that you bring out.
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped up heart
And passing over all the foolish weak things that are held dimly there
And for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings
That no-one else had looked quite far enough to find.
I love you because you have helped me to make my life a beautiful life worth living
I love you because you have done more than anything could have done to make me good
And more than any fate could have done to make me happy.
You have done this by being yourself and loving me.
You know, my Nan always told me to marry a rich man – I couldn’t have married a richer man than Ray. He is rich in inner strength, understanding and kindness, in forgiveness and patience. He is my everything and I am very proud to be Mrs Lewis. I‘d like to propose a toast to us – the best is yet to come.