A Speech I Never Gave

I’ve just come back from my first ever wedding of my peers, which I’ve been looking forward to for months. Everyone told me to wait for a few years – suddenly, everyone will be getting married and all I’ll think is “Shit, another fucking wedding”. I’ll be jaded and sick of cake, big skirts and cutesy decor (doubtful, those are three of my favourite things).

Maybe it’s true, maybe weddings will be old hat, but this could have been the first or the hundredth wedding of my life and it wouldn’t have been any less important. Both the bride and groom are two of my closest friends, I love them both and I introduced them.

So, of course, I take full credit for everything except the dessert table which was a power unto itself and superseded all things.

Speeches are a traditional part of every wedding but since I was not in the Wedding Party I had neither planned nor prepared for one. Still, I do wonder about what I would say if I had a microphone in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Out of deep affection for the bride and groom, I restrained myself from making it all about me – in the moment, I just sat and listened and enjoyed.

Still, here it is, a speech I might have made if I had been making a speech. Cheesy jokes are par for the course so I apologize in advance.

“So, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Caoimhe and I’m a friend of both the bride and groom. I actually introduced them. So, if you’re having a good time, you’re welcome.

Niamh is one of my oldest friends – we’ve known each other since school and I met Alex in college where we connected over American comedy shows and eating as much food for as little money as possible. 

They had met before – she definitely thought he was gay for a while – but they got to know each other while helping me plan my 21st birthday. It was “American Prom” themed and so I forced us all to watch the Disney  Channel Original Movie “Prom” for research. I can tell you now, you don’t make it to the end of that film without being bonded for life – this wedding is just making things official.

After Niamh and Alex’s first date, I asked Alex how it went.

“Great, yeah, I think I looked pretty good.” 

I asked Niamh how it went.

“It was great, I looked really good.”

I’m pretty sure neither of them could tell me now what the other was wearing but it was apparent that there was some connection there already, even if it was through vanity.

Niamh and Alex asked me to do a reading at their wedding, some of you might remember me from that, it was a few hours ago, the bit in the chapel?

I decided that my wedding gift to them (apart from the regular wedding gift they are definitely getting) would be to just read it. That meant no introductory quips, no silly little Caoimhe comments, no sarcastic input. I was going to be earnest, no mean feat for someone who is uncomfortable with being hugged and has responded to “I love you” with an eye roll more than once. 

Niamh had chosen a love poem for me to read (Love Poem #137 by Sarah Kay if you’re wondering) and it was so completely them that I barely had to try. It was easy to be genuine when the material was perfect. They were in front of me while I read but I didn’t want to look at them in case I cried so I kept my eyes on the page, holding back my Annual Flash of Genuine Emotion. 

The last line of the poem reads “you don’t want to miss a thing.” and in the context of the poem it was beautiful and touching, but without the poem in front of you, it’s Aerosmith. That was my challenge, to read that last line and have people think about Niamh and Alex and their incredible adventure ahead of them. Not Aerosmith. I believe I achieved that and will accept all accolades for this small miracle.”

I may have gone on a bit, but you get the idea.

I think it’s probably difficult to read anything I’ve written without it sounding sarcastic, self-deprecating and self-indulgent, but I’m trying for that last drop of sincerity that I owe Niamh and Alex before it disappears under a blanket of irony and references to “The Office“.

I love you separately and I love you together, I’m so happy I had the privilege of being part of your day and of your lives. I wish you every happiness and success and have no doubt that your future together will be a happy one.

That’s all I’ve got.

Thanks for the cake.



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