The morning of the wedding I was feeling quite ropey and suffice to say so was James! The only cure for this was to head for Wheelies cafe for a full english and a strong coffee, and it was there that we discussed my duties for the day................
Other than the usual best man requirements I was also in charge of looking after the music for the first dance and collecting sponsorship money from the guests (which I will explain more about later). The previous night we had gone over the content of James' speech and there were a few things that we needed to revise...................I say revise but it was more about getting it down on paper as he pretty much made it up on the spot!! I had already written my best man speech, which as you know needs to be both poignant and funny as you are effectively the 'headline act'. I was happy with my speech but for some of my jokes to work I needed to make sure that James did not mention certain things in his speech.....................basically I had to make sure that he did not steal my 'thunder'!!
After breakfast it was then onto his parents house to write up his speech on the computer and change for the big day. I had been back to the UK at Easter and it was during that trip that I had been measured up for my suit. I was hoping that I had not put on any weight since then as I would not have time to amend anything.....................but luckily for me I hadn't!! In fact I think must have lost a few pounds because the waistcoat was a bit on the baggy side! Still, it didn't seem to matter as I thought we both look pretty smart once we arrived at the church................
We arrived at the church at around 2pm so there was a bit of waiting around before things got under way. I used this time to go through a few things with the vicar, like where I had to stand that sort of thing because James' had forgotten!! He also took me through what I had to do with rings, which were to be brought in on a pillow by James' son Hadyn. It was my job during the service to untie the rings from the pillow and then place them on the vicar's bible once he gave me the nod. It sounds pretty straight forward but at my brother's wedding I nearly dropped them on the floor, so during the service that was all I could think about!! Thankfully the wedding service went off without a hitch and I managed to perform my duties to the letter...............despite having extremely sweaty palms!! All the girls looked amazing too, especially the blushing bride!!
The reception was held at Barnsgate Manor in Uckfield, which was about a 40 minute drive away. As you can imagine I was pretty anxious about the speech but after a couple of glasses of Bucks Fizz and a pint I felt quite relaxed. Before the speeches we of course had the meal which was really nice. We had parma ham with melon to start followed by chicken in white wine sauce then a choice of fruit salad or eton mess for desert................I went for the fruit salad thus to get my five a day!!
By the time we got around to the speeches it was almost time for the evening party to begin. First up was Jemma's dad Jim who gave a very touching speech as you would expect from the father of the bride. Then came James whose speech was both very funny and very emotional, as he touched on his son Hadyn's battle with Leukaemia a few years back. I could see he was getting choked up as he spoke and he did very well to hold it together. By that point a few of the guests were crying, which added further pressure on me as would have follow on from what was obviously a very sensitive subject. Luckily enough my opening joke was timed to perfection and thankfully people were laughing again! The speech went great and I even got some big laughs where I didn't expect any......................although there was the odd occasion where I was expecting a laugh and got nothing!!
I didn't bring my camera but luckily my mate Simon did and he managed to get a few shots of the day. Simon and his girlfriend Daphne were responsible for making the cake, which I think you'll agree looked awesome.......!!
After my speech I had the honour of going around to all the guests to ask for sponsorship as James' will be running the London Marathon next April to raise money for cancer research. We thought that as most of his friends and family would be there it would be a good opportunity to get the ball rolling. I did my best to hassle as many people as possible and we ended getting a total of £400!
After the speeches it was downstairs for the evening do. My brothers Adam and Chris were there, plus my sister in law Jay and my other close friends Mark and Olivier. We had a really good time, of which most of mine was spent throwing shapes on the dance floor!! It was a shame it all had to end as I was having so much fun, but like all good things they can't go on forever! We left around midnight and fortunately for me Mark was driving so I was able to get a lift. I hadn't actually planned how I was getting home so that was a bonus! I was told actually that there was a guest who had brought a tent with him and was going to sleep in the grounds of Barnsgate Manor!! I might have had to top'n'tail with him if I didn't manage to get a lift!!
I woke up on the Saturday morning feeling a little hungover as could be expected. I had arranged to take my mum out for lunch at the Harvester so I necked a few cups of coffee first thing to perk myself up. By the time we went out for lunch I still felt a bit ropey but after a mixed grill I felt much better! Unlike my last trip back home I hadn't made any other plans for the weekend, which was great as all I wanted to for the rest of my time there was relax at home with my family..........................and that is exactly what I did!!