Merry Christmas everyone!
My daughter got married a couple of days ago on Thursday 23rd.
What a wonderful day it was.
Here is what I said to the newlyweds and guests.
Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen; it’s lovely to see you all here on this fantastic day.
I’m, as many of you may have guessed or know, Giles, the father of Elissa, your lovely Bride today.
Isn’t she beautiful…!
And, as tradition dictates, I’m to say a few words now, without boring you to death or being too controversial;
and so Karen, my awesome wife, has told me to pleaasse keep this short.
Firstly, it’s been an interesting couple of years, and in that context, I have to applaud Elissa and Guy, in forging ahead with this wedding, when so many people have been putting their lives on hold in what have been difficult times.
And with that in mind, here I will thank you all for coming today; now normally this a bit moot, as who doesn’t like a good wedding (or even a bad one?).
However, this year, it really has been quite difficult for some of you to get here. So, a big shout out to everyone for making it! I know it’s been a massive effort for some of you. So kudos to you, for helping create a great occasion. It really means a lot, I think, to ALL of US.
And to those who haven’t been able to get here because of current circumstances, or other reasons, you are in our minds too.
And THE best Nana’s, Betty and Barbara who sadly are no longer with us, I’m sure, are here in spirit and,
… have no doubt, …
would have loved to be here with us physically, making trouble and causing embarrassment.
I think those two Ladies would have gotten on famously!
And the venues, St John’s Church and King Williams College, no less, what can I say about them, other than good things.
So, anyone who’s been involved in pulling some strings to put some lovely roofs over our heads today, thank you very much!
And all the people involved in making and baking stuff, for providing all the great food and the wonderful wine, for the wedding dress and the cake, and for anything else that I can’t think of right now; Thank you too!
I’m sure Elissa’s had a good deal out of you in her own inimitable style.
… And I bet you’ve loved it in a slightly masochistic way! 😁
So, now on to the Bride and Groom, and some stories.
Elissa, first and its easiest to start at the beginning.
Elissa was born with a head like an inverted ice cream cone.
Quite concerning to young parents, but apparently quite normal when her Mum had been trying to squeeze her out for some 40 hours or so; Elissa was eventually delivered by Caesarian section, and what a relief that was.
Her earlier years breezed by with the arrival of her three brothers, a Labrador, and a crazy little Pony who was cheap for a reason.
I called Elissa “little squeaky”, a sweet and quietly obstinate child.
A pretty normal upbringing ensued, I’d say, with dancing lessons, riding lessons, karaoke on the landing with friends, that sort of thing; and tempered by the rough and tumble that having only brothers for sibling brings.
At University Elissa found some wonderful friends, some of whom have been able to make it over today, and Elissa has always been as thick as thieves with her Cousin Emily.
But boyfriends; here her preference was for the crazy type; and without listing all of the details, except for perhaps one or two notable examples; here’s an idea
and perhaps some of you will remember this, her “Moulin Rouge – Firemen and Tarts” themed joint 18th and 16th birthday party shared with her eldest brother Louis.
Now, there are many myths and legends spoken about that night…
For example, Karen was mortified when in the early hours of the following morning, one of Elissa’s (and Guy’s) male friends started cavorting naked around the fireman’s pole installed in the garage for the evening.
He’s here today, so Ladies, please do try to get him drunk 😁.
And when the police turned up, Karen mistook them for revellers (because they were in uniform) and told them to go around the side of the house.
So, back to this particular boyfriend at this time; he was tasked, I think, with keeping an eye on Louis’ younger brother’s Jak and Will.
And a short time later, after disappearing, he was found in bed with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels and a substance that I was advised to burn. 😁.
And then there was the crazy Snow Boarding Instructor dude, from St Anton, that everyone loved, who also like burning things.
So, Guy had a lot to live up to!
And I’m very happy to say that (with the exception of burning things) – he’s hit that very high bar! Guy, like the rest of HIS family are super sweet crazy; and in OUR family we love super sweet crazy!
And, in “Meet the Fockers” terms, and hopefully you’ve all seen this film, I like to think of us as on the Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman range of the scales. 😁
Now, Guy is a couple of years younger than Elissa, and really appeared on the scene as one of Louis mates. And when you are young, it’s not cool to be pursued by one of your younger brothers friends. But Guy was tenacious!
I may be embellishing a little here, but maybe the prospect of Guy and Elissa getting together was seeded on a pretty memorable skiing holiday that the Morris family shared with the Wood family and friends. Certainly, as far as the families were concerned it was a great courtship. 😁
Anyway, Elissa and Guy hooked up; the relationship endured a long separation where Guy pursued a professional rugby career in New Zealand, before coming back to the Isle of Man; and time ticked on!
Now then; time ticking on leads me on to another true story.
Earlier this year I got a call from Guy; when your daughter’s boyfriend wants to take you out for a beer – just the two of you – then it’s a pretty surefire bet that he wants to go all traditional on you and ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.
So, of course I obliged; and the first thing I asked him was whether he thought he was doing the right thing. 😁
Now, the reason I asked is because, as many of you may already know, Elissa has quite a powerful personality. She’s also very determined. I remember a conversation with her and her mother and I when she had just got into running marathons (BTW, a big shout out to any Manx Island Games Gotland Team members who are here today – that was fun wasn’t it).
Sorry, I digress; this was one of Elissa’s very first (if not THE first) marathons; and she very confidently, informed her mother and I that she was “going to win it”. And, of course, being kind parents, we said something along the lines of “well, this is your first marathon and that would be great and all, but, at the end of the day, just do your best” thinking that she was being perhaps a touch too confident.
And of course she won it.
So, back to our chat in the pub; Guy assured me with no reservations in respect of powerful personalities, that he knew what he was doing and the deal over a beer was sealed.
The hand was freely and happily given. No warranties implied. 😁
But here I must back up a little bit because there is some more preamble to this. I am not just being a mean Dad having too much fun on his daughter’s wedding day.
So, within a couple of days of Guy’s first phone call, and before we’d sealed the deal, he’d called me again.
This time he was panicked and upset, and without him actually giving the game away (as if I hadn’t worked out what was going on already) he told me that they’d had a big row because yet another couple in their close circle of friends had got engaged and that Elissa was very angry at Guy’s lack of commitment to her (or something along those lines) and that she was heading over to her Mum and Dad’s to spend the night. And, also, please would I put in a good word for him – despite me not yet knowing what good word I was supposed to put in for him.😁
But there is also a steely resolve behind the laid back and “super sweet” Guy and a limit to how far this can be pushed; and it’s a pretty obvious attribute really in an individual who can endure as much physical damage as Guy has endured in pursuing his rugby career. You can’t question his metal. 😁
And Elissa has observed this too, I think.
So, a marriage made in heaven then.
Which leads me nicely on to fraternal words of wisdom to the newlyweds.
And strictly speaking I don’t think that these words will really be necessary as it’s very clear to me that Elissa and Guy adore each other.
But anyway ….
I’m going to have a couple of stabs at this, one is possibly rude and one is from the heart – you can decide which one is which. And please remember, I might be wrong on either or both counts!
Firstly, I have always told my kids, when selecting long term partners (or puppies for that matter) to get a good look at the parents at least before you go all in.
Because eventually, with age our genes shine through, and with the passage of time, we can come to resemble our parents. So, if you can see yourself getting along with your partner’s mum or dad then you will likely have a long and happy marriage.
….. and ….
Elissa has promised me that she will still love Guy even if he loses all his hair 😁
Secondly, there are many words of advice that I could have borrowed from the internet.
This is a good one.
A successful marriage is not about finding a person you can live with, but about finding a person that you can’t live without.
I like this one. It’s served me well, so far, for 33 years or so.
This one is not so good. (this is only my opinion remember)
Marriage is a wonderful thing between two special people and to keep it special, say to each other every day these three little words = I LOVE YOU.
Mmhhh.. not so good in my opinion. Every now and again (like flowers I suppose) works .. but, come on, every day! Really. As one eminent judge said once. Repetition doesn’t make your argument stronger.
This one is mine.
(And I have to be careful here because it includes a word I have to spell out rather than say).
It’s simple; I believe it’s a mountaineering expression;
Let each other feed their R.A.T.
Elissa and Guy already know what I mean but for those of you who don’t it means to let your partner follow their passion or dream (obviously within reason); because if you extinguish it, you will lose some part of them that drew you to them in the first place.
And Guy is already practising this because Africa, Elissa’s crazy jumping Pony, is now very much a big part of his life.
So, to wrap this up… please let us stand and toast the lovely Bride and Groom.
To Elissa and Guy;
The beautiful couple.
Tomorrow is full of possibilities!
End of message.