Reception – Best Man Speech

After all the effort that went into our wedding, we wanted to share some of the main bits for those who weren’t able to come, or want a reminder of the celebrations, or are looking for ideas…

This is the full text of Robin’s Best Man speech, recorded for posterity.

Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening. My name is Robin Deacon, and I am your best man. I am here primarily for your entertainment and comfort, but also for your safety. During this speech we may experience a certain amount of turbulence due to the nature of some of the more shocking revelations garnered from my twenty or so years as Matt’s close, personal…acquaintance (sorry, I meant to change that…). But seriously, in my capacity as a best friend and best man, I have access to privileged information – and according to cliché, the role of the best man’s speech is to humiliate and embarrass the groom with revolting tales of unremitting debauchery, and memories of the wild, crazed, alcohol fuelled antics  from his distant (or near) past. So Matt, I would like you to take a moment to locate your nearest two exits, keeping in mind that the closest exits may be behind you. As for the rest of you, please note that if you feel unwell at any point during the speech due to a change in atmosphere, or increased groom pressure, then masks containing a general anaesthetic will automatically drop from the compartments above.

I think I’m going to leave the clunky airline travel analogies for now. And as to the conventional wisdom of what a best mans speech should consist of –  I really wanted to try and subvert the conventional approach. But its hard to be original in this context, because generally, when it comes to best mans speeches we always come back to one thing: the past that you cannot run from finally catching up with you.

So, I would like to give you a litany of unsavoury anecdotes and morally questionable escapades that Matthew would hope to have forgotten. That is – I would like to. But unfortunately, I can’t. Not because I wish to save Matthew’s reputation and social standing, but rather because no such stories exist. In Matt’s case, Caligula certainly wouldn’t have blushed. But this is not to give the impression that Matt is in any way a dull, boring, dreary, lacklustre individual for whom a wild night out would consist of an early night in, topped off with some relaxing Horlicks. On the contrary…Matthew has always tried his best to be interesting. And just to clarify (for our American guests), when I say the word ‘Hor-licks’ I am referring to a malt based milk drink popular in the United Kingdom.

And speaking of drinks – now, a word from our sponsors. As many of you may have realised from the goody bags left in your hotel rooms, todays wedding is brought to you in association with Taylor’s Tonics. Our officiant and friend of the happy couple Taylor Peck has worked tirelessly in the Taylors Tonics Laboratories to encapsulate the complex flavours of the bride and groom in the form of the Matt Mojito and Cassie Colada…

(Sip from Cassie) Sweet (Sip) Fruity (Sip) delightfully…refreshing.

(Sip from Matt) Slightly bitter

Three days ago, I was in a taxi on the Las Vegas Strip following an epic, twenty hour journey from London. As we drove through this alien landscape of casinos, gargantuan hotels and strange replicas of familiar buildings from my side of the pond, I think the driver picked up on my jet-lagged incomprehension, and of course….started to make small talk. And when he first heard my English accent, he asked me, ‘so, are you looking forward to the wedding?’ And I immediately replied, ‘well, yes, I’m very excited about the wedding…but how did you know about it?’ The rest of the journey was spent trying to steer the conversation off William and Kate, and onto Matt and Cassie (the people that really matter to me). And as Matt had warned me, explaining to the driver that I was a staunch Republican somewhat confused things.

I can’t quite remember how Matt and I met. But it was certainly in our home town of Bedford, a small commuter town about fifty miles North of London. Now, for our American guests who may not know this, Bedford is often referred to as the Barcelona of the English Home Counties. Mainly by people who’ve never been to Barcelona. Or Bedford. Of have never left their own house. Nothing ever really happens in Bedford, so in our experience, we had to make things happen. Hanging round in leather bars was getting us nowhere. We had to create our own fun, and dare I say it – our own reality. When we both spent a summer working at the Aqua Scutum clothing warehouse on the outskirts of town, Matt would relentlessly chase me around the corridors of the storage area pretending to be the T-1000 cyborg from Terminator 2. Now if you can’t quite picture this, Matt has told me that he is willing to demonstrate this in the form of a durational performance art piece between the hours of 2 and 3am this morning on the 33rd floor of the Cosmopolitan. We look forward to seeing you all there.

I miss my friend, in the sense that I can’t see Matt face to face as in the old days. Over the years, Matt and I would often discuss, sometimes quite heatedly, the pro’s and con’s of online communication. Being something of a sceptic, my feeling was that the internet somehow detached people from reality. But then again, I had never had to deal with being apart from somebody I loved in the way that Matt and Cassie had to in the early stages. Cassie, I remember seeing a photograph of you two that Matt posted on his blog after his first visit– it was of the two of you looking crestfallen and ashen faced at LAX as Matt was about to board the plane back home to England.  I asked myself the same question that Matt did – how will they do this? How will they be together?

Clearly there is no substitute for closeness, for proximity. To be able to wake up in the same timezone as the person, or people you love. And thats why we’re all here to celebrate this moment.

Its not just about Cassie, who I think is a wonderful person – but the whole Destino clan, and the fact that those of us in the UK who miss our friend and brother need not worry, because Matt is in such good hands in terms of this family who has embraced him and taken care of him.

And speaking of the the wonders of the internet, here’s a message from some other people who love and care for you both: “Darling newlyweds, we wish you all the love in the world – may all your days together be as happy as this one. All our love, Mira, Matt,Emma-Jane, Jerry, Rachel and Ben”

So Matt, may I now take this opportunity to apologise for all the cynical things I ever said about blogging, Skyping, Twittering and all those ludicrously extraneous aps you have on your phone?

You might remember that one of the more solemn vows from earlier was the taking of musical taste into consideration on road trips. So, its August 2009. I’m being driven through the centre of Los Angeles by Matt and Cassie, and sitting in the back seat, I’m watching a discussion unfolding regarding Cassie’s love of jazz music versus Matthew’s tendency towards what can only be described as somewhat cold, brutal, dehumanised electronic soundscapes. Frank Zappa once said – ‘Jazz is not dead, it just smells funny’, but if we were to stretch the metaphor further, the sort of music that Matt listens to…wouldn’t have a smell at all. But in this case, the music does not reflect the person who listens to it. Not because Matthew smells, but because Matthew is a warm, caring, kind, giving person who stuck by me as a friend, even when I haven’t always been the friend to you that I should have been. Which brings me nicely onto the story of Matt’s recent stag do. Two nights ago, myself, Matt’s brother and brother in law decided to really give him a good send off, and so we set off on a epic journey up and down Las Vegas boulevard. Absolute mayhem it was!

[To Matt] You had a good time didn’t you?

I mean, if I’m honest, it did get a bit out of hand…ending up in the middle of the desert, covered in sick, and handcuffed to a stripper.

[To Matt] How could you let that happen to me?

Toast: and so, please raise your glasses and join me in congratulating the bride and groom. To William and Kate…

It was at this point that I went to strangle Robin but ended up hugging him. He’s a good one. He just moved to Chicago!