Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls ... and Derek's friends.
Before I start, I've been asked to pass on a quick message from the hotel management: for reasons of health and safety, at the end of this speech, could you refrain from getting up on the tables and chairs during my standing ovation? Thank you.
My name is Kenny and I'm the lucky guy who has been asked to act as Best Man for the day. On behalf of the bride, groom, the rest of the wedding party and the bar staff, I'd like to thank you all for coming, although part of me would prefer you hadn't – I wouldn't have to give this speech then. I must confess this is a bit nerve-racking – let's just say this is not the first time today I've stood up from a warm seat with a piece of paper in my hand.
I've been told my job today is to praise Derek, not to ridicule him. Mind you, the vote was bloody close. And it's much more difficult to praise than to ridicule, so cheers Bettsy for providing me with so much material.
I think all went well this morning in getting Derek ready for his big day. A solid hearty breakfast, arriving almost sober and – for once – on time. My one disappointment would be failing to arrange his last request as a single man – due to petty protests from those do-gooders at the Sheep Protection League.
The bridesmaid looks absolutely gorgeous today, and only rightly outshone by our bride, Angela. Today is a sad day for single men, as another girl leaves the available list. And indeed, an sad day for single girls .... nah. But overall, an emotional day – even the cake's in tiers.
I found myself talking with the minister before the ceremony. I asked his opinion on sex before marriage. He said it was fine but on this occasion he would have to give it a miss, as I wasn’t really his type.
Marriage is a serious business and shouldn't be entered into lightly – but then again, Derek was always a bit of a lightweight. I first met Derek with his brother, Kevin, in the exclusive Watering Hole pub here in Dunfermline, where they would hold court around the pool table for sometimes two or even three games in a row.
We began to spend regular Friday and Saturday nights in each others company, along with our best friends, Arthur Guinness and Jack Daniels.
Some time later, Derek and I shared a luxury batchelor pad in the heart of one of Dunfermline's more up-market districts. It was only for 9 months, but I'm sure he'd agree, it seemed like 9 years. I learnt a lot from Derek in that time:
Kitchen timers and smoke alarms are functionally identical
Free milk is easily available from next door's doorstep
A broken water tank makes a convenient excuse for skiving off work and going to London
Die hard Rangers fans get upset when you pin a "Celtic Win The League" poster on their bedroom door.
The cotenancy may not have lasted, but the nights out continued, and it was our regular battle cry at the start of the night that "We're going out tonight to meet our future wifes". I don't think any of us believed it would happen, but it did, and as a result we're here today.
The nights at the pub may now only happen once a month as opposed to three times a week, but it's a sacrifice, I'm sure we all agree, well made. Derek has been my best pal for most of my adult life, and assuming he forgives me for this speech, will continue to be. The party's would not be the same without his singing.
So it is with no small amount of pleasure, I ask you all to be upstanding as I toast – the bride and groom.
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