Bringing an end to my summer activities for this year came the wedding everyone I know were looking forward to all year and what a wedding it was!
As you all know I’ve been wracking my brain for months about this speech I had to write, I was worried about this speech, whether I could do a good job, whether it could live up to the hype and whether anyone would even respond to it.
All of those fears were put to rest after I completed said speech in front of 50+ people. It made people laugh and it made people cry, even myself.
Aside from the actual wedding it self I have been told that people will remember the speech more than anything, it blew all the other speeches out of the water… apparently.
Don’t get me wrong that’s not me having a big head, this is what numerous people told me after I said it.
Before I show you the speech I want to share a little back-story of why the speech meant so much to me, my brother Tom and anyone else involved.
Now I know I have always referred to Tom as my brother throughout this blog but the truth is, we’re not actually related, we’re not even in the same family tree, the reason I refer to him as my brother is because best friend just doesn’t quite do it. It started 10 years ago exactly.
I had left school, had my summer holidays and went to Chesterfield College where I met three people, Will Shaw, Ray Marriott and Tom Siddall. Sure there were other people in our class but us four instantly formed a clique, a band of brothers, I named it Pete’s World Order (a wrestling reference). Sounds geeky I know but ten years ago it didn’t seem so. Us four always had each others backs throughout the years, we spent so many hours at the pub when we should have been learning. We didn’t care though because we had fun, but out of the four of us everyone would say that me and Tom were the closest.
We spent countless nights at each others houses playing non-stop Playstation 2, Time Splitters 2 actually. He had my back in countless fights, fights I didn’t start but fights I didn’t back down from.
Over the years everyone from college kind of grew apart as is expected once college is over apart from us four, we still remained a team. We helped each other through each others personal problems, Will’s countless women troubles, Ray’s alcohol addiction, Tom’s continuing battle with epilepsy and whatever trouble I found myself in.
Tom found himself a girlfriend, her name was Rachel, over the years those two grew to be an almost married couple themselves, the three of us we like a family. Everyone always expected these two to get married that was until Rachel cheated on Tom with some psychopathic stalker. The two effectively ended their relationship for awhile, I took Tom’s side obviously, I told him not to take her back ever, in my opinion once a cheat, always a cheat.
But his heart ruled over his head and the two got back together, Tom begged me to forgive her and eventually they got engaged to be married. I was asked to be the best man, I took this honour and very much looked forward to it. At the engagement party I did a speech as best man thanking everyone and gave my thoughts on the couple, both sets of their parents told me I was going to be a great best man.
Just a few months later however Rachel left Tom, breaking his heart yet again. Just wasn’t working out they said, I was absolutely gutted. It was almost like everything I knew had been torn apart.
I remained friends with both of them though and it wasn’t long until Tom found someone else, a fiery character named Amy Allen. Someone who reminded me of myself, but female. Tom and I began to drift apart soon after they got together, keeping me out of the loop of what was going on, at the time I didn’t know why but now I believe it was because of my close bond with Rachel.
I tried my hardest to keep in the loop although mine and Amy’s hot headedness got the better of us and we eventually ended up falling out, only for a couple of months or so though. But that didn’t last long as mere months later Amy started posting uncalled for comments about Rachel all over photos on Facebook. Demanding I remove Rachel and Tom’s engagement photo’s. I didn’t take kindly to this and not one for backing down the whole thing escalated a bit too far, that ended up being the last time I spoke to the pair of them for two years.
Two whole years without my best friend, I convinced myself that I didn’t need him and that I didn’t want him in my life though deep down I knew I was lying to myself. Will took my side, Ray stayed neutral. I heard bits and pieces of their life through the grapevine, heard that they got engaged, at the time I didn’t really care.
Then in November 2010, almost two years after the falling out I went to France to do a ski season, while I was there I got back in touch with Ray with whom I hadn’t heard from for awhile, I also kept in touch with Will, I told Will that I hated it in France, not the place but the job I despised with a passion. Ray had told me that he got engaged and that he was having his engagement party in January. He also told me that he was talking to Tom over Christmas, he was saying that he missed me and regretted how things went down, I said I felt the same, he gave me Tom’s number and I randomly sent him a text a couple of days after Christmas.
A day later Tom replied and we both apologized for everything that was said and done, we kept in contact after that and told each other what we had been up to, not long after that I fractured my coccyx by falling on the ice and I made the decision to come home, not just because I couldn’t work but I wanted to go to Ray’s engagement party and I wanted to see my best friend again. Ray set up a reunion with the four of us a week or so later and it was as if everything was a dream, the two of us didn’t miss a beat. We turned a new leaf in 2011.
I got to know the real Amy Allen, I think the reason she acted the way she had was because it was so soon before the relationship with Rachel ended and the new one with Amy began and maybe she felt a little self conscious, she was hooked on the way Rachel treated Tom without realising the fact that I was there, I told him not to get back together with her. This time was so much easier because she had matured and let go of the past and so did I. Don’t get me wrong I never placed the blame solely on Amy because I said some pretty harsh things myself, but all was soon forgotten about and this year was spent rebuilding our friendship and rebuilding our brotherhood. Needlessly to say Rachel wasn’t that impressed I don’t think that me and Tom were friends again because as soon as we did me and her started to drift apart but you know what?
I didn’t care.
For the first time in two years I had my brother back and the past 9 months have been spent bonding with the two of them, getting to know them as a couple and re-creating a brotherhood. Eventually Tom and Amy asked me to be apart of their wedding as an Usher, not the black singer, the guy that shows everyone to their seats and hands out the days plans and the person that makes sure the best man is doing his job. I was honoured at this honour, the only reason his official best man Paul (his sisters fiancée) got the gig was purely out of lack of choice.
Over the months I proved myself to be a better candidate to be best man than Paul, but you can’t just strip someone the title of best man, so I was happy being the unofficial best man, because everyone involved knew it really and in the end it was me standing next to Tom not Paul.
To be fair though Paul did do a good speech at the wedding, everyone was pretty interested with how it was going to go because he’s not the sharpest tool in the box, he was only at Tom’s stag do for 15 minutes before leaving (The best man is supposed to set up the stag do, not show up 6 hours late and only stay for 15 minutes!) and in that 15 minutes pretty much told me that he didn’t really want to do a speech, nor did he want to be a dad (Should have thought of that before knocking up Tom’s sister). Amy was furious as was I, Tom didn’t show much emotion really but I know he wasn’t impressed.
The last few months have been great, not professionally, with the amount of jobs I’ve had and the debt I’ve ran up, but great personally because our double dates (My girlfriend Fiona included) have meant a lot to me and give me something to constantly look forward to. I never thought that when those two first got together we’d be where we are now.
And all of that brings us to…
FRIDAY – Eve Of The Wedding
The day before the wedding came, me and Tom went up to Buxton early, dropped off his cats to be looked after for the weekend on the way, met with Amy later on then met Amy’s family soon after that, it seems like her entire family is a family of smokers, something that is a plus in my book, they were so easy to get along with and they were told before hand that I’m a bit crude so they knew to take what I say with a grain of salt and not be offended. Needless to say Friday night was pretty bang on, I’ve never gotten along with so many people so quickly in my life. That night was special to everyone involved because a lot of Amy’s family live all over the place, Cyprus, New Zealand and other places I was told but couldn’t remember.
Saturday morning, I woke up hung over. Far too many to drink the night before, me and Tom shared a room, I felt like shit because all I heard was his snoring in my ear all night, don’t worry though, we didn’t have sex, we’re not gays! More of Amy’s family arrived, Ray and his fiancée arrived, my girlfriend Fiona and Will also arrived, Tom’s family then turned up, Paul, Tom’s official best man arrived, most of us were stopping at the hotel the wedding was taking place in, the oldest hotel in England in fact.
I remember smoking a considerable amount this weekend, probably due to the nerves I reckon, Paul, Tom and myself got our suits on, we looked pretty suave if I do say so myself. It wasn’t long before the wedding started, it was go time, Amy was locked away in her room all day getting ready, me and Tom reminisced with Will and Ray, it was the first time the four of us had been together at the same time since the beginning of the year.
I had to go and do my Ushering duties, telling everyone where to sit, handing out the programmes I then took a seat next to Paul, behind Tom as we awaited the bride.
The bride came out, she looked absolutely gorgeous, her and Tom then kicked off the wedding doing all the usual weddingy lines and whatnot, it was at this point I felt a bit choked up even then! I managed to restrain myself though.
The wedding went off without a hitch, Paul did his one task of giving them the rings, the two were married, I then signed as witness along with Amy’s sister for the marriage certificate.
Photo’s were then done at the park across the road, took a little ride on some kids train for a laugh, then it was inside to get our party on.
Everyone that was there for the wedding took a seat for dinner downstairs in the hotel, in what I called the dungeon, once dinner was out of the way it was then time for the speeches.
Amy’s father Keith (Or K-Dogg as I affectionately renamed him) gave his speech, at the beginning he said he was going to make us laugh, lose us in the middle then get bored towards the end and he didn’t lie because that’s exactly what he did telling us some insane story that I can’t even remember now, then it was the time for the best man’s speech made by Paul, who by this point had gotten himself pretty drunk. His speech lasted about a minute but to his credit, even with him being a sandwich short of a picnic actually did a decent job at the speech.
Then it was my turn, this was the speech most people were looking forward to, they knew that it was going to be special, they just didn’t know how. I started it out like I was going to insult everyone, it sure made Amy cringe and made everyone go “WHOOOOOOOOOAAAA”. They knew the history.
Soon after the twist though I started losing my composure and started getting emotional, which shocked most people, the tough guy, the man that shows no conscious, the man that keeps it all together breaking down. I managed to complete the speech, I got a massive ovation from the crowd, the family shed tears, Ray and Will shed tears, Tom started balling with tears, Amy couldn’t stop crying for the rest of the night. Tom’s mum Linda, someone who I hadn’t seen in about 5 or 6 years gave me a hug, his dad Andy shook my hand. It finally felt like I was apart of the family again.
From that moment on everyone told me that the speech was the highlight of the night and that I was the real best man. Will, Fiona and the other friends that were kept telling me that people were still talking about the speech hours after I said it. I so wish I had the video because even though I cried I was proud of everything I said and how I said it. Words don’t do it justice.
Emotion got the best of me because after our ups and downs this is the point we finally arrived at and it was probably the first thing in my life that has gone right so far.
So now you know the history between me and Tom, this is the speech I wrote for my brother…
If there’s one thing I do know it’s that I’m not one for public speaking.
*…WAIT A FEW MOMENTS…*
Oh alright I’ll say a bit more. I know in most speeches it’s our job to put down the groom, a few light-hearted insults here and there, then get a massive ovation. But I want to take this opportunity to share my real thoughts on Tom, thoughts I’ve had bottled up for a long time…
This man right here, Tom Siddall….. is one of the most… kind hearted, caring, loyal individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Not only is this his wedding day but the 10 year anniversary of when we first met and I honestly couldn’t imagine where I’d be or who I’d be if not for him.
He was always the one man that had my back no matter what situation we were in, the one man that kept me out of trouble, the man that kept me grounded.
There was a period not so long ago where we didn’t speak and that was probably the worst time of my life. I was left with a void in my heart that only a brother could fill. Beginning of this year was a new start for both of us, he was kind enough to forgive past transgressions. That gave me the chance to get to know the real Amy as well, a somewhat female version of myself, a little hot headed at times but all around a good person. But she’s also someone who is as loving and as caring as her husband.
It now feels that I have also been gifted with a sister and while I’m not blood related to either, they are the family I never had but always wanted and now I have them.
Thank you both so much for letting me be apart of today and for those of Amy’s family that haven’t met Tom before or don’t really know him that well. I guarantee you all that he will have her back, keep her out of trouble and care for her always just as he has done for me. Just as he has done for everyone he’s ever met.
I love you both more than you’ll ever know, I’m so proud of you both, it’s been an absolute honour standing next to you today and I wish you both so much luck for the future.
To Tom and Amy! Queue massive ovation!