Blimey O'Riley, I'm in another country! Not something that happens very often!!
I'm going to attempt to keep this short as it is costing four quid* for 60 minutes on a very slow connection, so I am writing this, updating facebook and trying to squeeze as much in as possible before the next emergency trip to the gents!
After a few hiccoughs at the airport and leaving an hour late, we were eventually airbound and on our way to Sri Lanka. After staying up all night I figured I would probably sleep on the plane which would make it a whole lot of a shorter journey ... no such luck. Whenever I woke, only half-an-hour had passed, so it really felt like an inordinately long journey :-(
Anyway, I think I shall keep the wedding as the focus of this entry, since that is what we are out here for.
The wedding was on Saturday, 7 July 2007 at 3:00 in the afternoon down on the beach about 100 yards from the hotel. Thankfully, it was one of the warmer days, and the sun was high in the sky. I think this was one of the larger weddings that the hotel has had here, with over 30 friends and family attending, so four rows of seats were provided for everyone.
As the best man, my moment came when I had to take the rings up to the couple, which had been tied to a heart shaped cushion (the rings, that is, not the bride and groom). I forgot to remove the flowers before Damien attempted to untie the rings, so things got a little tied for a second there!
Plenty of photos were taken by both the official photographer and most of the friends and family, so there will be plenty to put on DVD when I get back home. Then they brought an elephant out for the happy couple to have their picture taken with - the opted not to ride him/her.
Then came the meal. And what comes with the meal? Yup, the speeches!
Unfortunately, I hadn't spent a lot of time researching the speech before coming away, so I ended up writing the majority of it on the wedding morning ... oops!!
What follows is the speech that I wrote for this part of the day. Unfortunately, the actual speech given was about half as long and a lot more garbled!!!
* * * * *
Good evening, everyone!
Well, now is that part of the day where three of us attempt to entertain you with witty stories of the happy couple.
Failing that, bottoms up!
First up, please give a warm welcome to the long-suffering father of the bride, Les!
...(Father of the bride speech) ...
Thank you, Les, for a truly heart-felt speech.
(In Top Gear style)
Next up, it is rumoured that there are African tribes where he would be considered tall, we know him as, The Groom!
... (Groom's speech) ...
Thank you, Damien.
First off, on behalf of the bridesmaids and myself, I would like to thank Damien and Sharon for asking us to be involved in their special day.
I know they have both put a tremendous amount of effort into planning and organising both the wedding and the holiday, and I can only hope that everything will have exceeded their expectations.
Until this speech!
I have to agree with Damien that the bridesmaids have done a great job and scrub up nicely/look fantastic.
Sharon, you look stunning and I hope your day is turning out exactly as you imagined.
Damien ... where did you shop? Primark?!
Despite only writing this speech this morning, I have actually been thinking about it for a while ... mostly thinking "I'll do it tomorrow"!
When I did finally get around to researching how to write a best man's speech, one tip kept cropping up over again ... DON'T RAMBLE.
So I thought the best measure of time to go by was to keep the speech to no longer than it takes Damien to make love ... so thank you all for coming and I'll see you at the bar!
Anyone that knows Damien, knows that he is the kind of guy that gets what he wants, and today is very much proof of that.
After Sharon originally turned him down for being too short, he started to wear her down with his pestering, not even the occassional slap would deter him ... in face, I think it had the opposite effect!
Eventually, Sharon realised she was onto a good thing. Lets face it, how many women get the chance to marry a guy that can cook, clean, bake, do the DIY and generally take charge ... though my understanding of that last point is that, as of today, Sharon wears the trousers!
All I say to you, Sharon, is one thing ... the TV remote is Damien's!
Since Damien asked me to be best man, I've been scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find embarrassing stories to relate to you ... but there was practically nothing ... until yesterday.
Those of us who were able to get to the Sunshine Water Sport Centre were treated to the sight of Damien preparing for a little wake-surfing, only to see him fall off before the ride had even started.
Damien will also tell you that he doesn't dance, but I've seen otherwise! It's not that he doesn't dance, its that he shouldn't!
We've all seen the David Brent dance from The Office ... imagine that in the middle of O'Neills bar!
So Sharon, when it comes to the first dance, mind your feet.
The first time I met Sharon, she managed to freak me out with her feet. I had never seen toe socks before, and thought that her multi-coloured toes were the result of too much Jack Daniels on my part.
As I got to know Sharon, it became evident that she would fit perfectly into the family; sociable, easy-going and friendly, though I also learned that perhaps she wasn't quite always on the ball: she's the only person I know who has managed to flatten two car batteries in two days!
When Damien and Sharon told me they were getting married, it really came as no surprise. Anyone can see they were made for each other, and their marriage is the inevitable next step in their relationship.
So this leaves me with the final task of making two toasts.
Firstly, to all those friends and family who were unable to be here today to share this day.
And finally, to the happy couple, Sharon and Damien, may all your ups and downs remain between the sheets!
* What with this being a foreign country and all, there is no pound sign on the keyboard!