If I could do it all over…
What would I do?
Make sure I wrote the entire speech down on paper, or cards and ensure I had my glasses with me. (At least I had my poem.)
If a speech could have gone more wrong, I’d like to see it!
The wedding was for one of my best mates, and I thought I had it nailed.
The venue for the reception was the SS Great Britain in Bristol, UK. For those who don’t know, it was the first iron steam ship to cross the Atlantic in 1845, designed by Brunel and it was pretty cool to be on-board this piece of history for Richard and Judith’s big day.
Everything was good, the wedding went very well, the photos were taken and we were all aboard the ship having drinks before going downstairs to the function room for the meals and speeches.
But it was dark down there.
Not completely, but enough for me to need my glasses which were 40 miles away!
After trying the brides’ father’s glasses out, which were no good for me, I decided I could probably read the poem if I was careful, and concentrated. Here’s hoping.
Anyway, he got up first and made his speech… and he was very good (he was the vicar and used to public speaking).
Richard’s dad got up and made his speech… he was also brilliant.
Both hard acts to follow, but I can get through this.
So I get up and thank various people. No problem. Then I was going to reel off a few stories of old which I thought were funny, and then my mind went completely blank. Completely! If you’ve never heard about this phenomenon before, there is nothing there and I’d never experienced this in my life… ever.
I couldn’t think of anything as I looked around the crowd. Nothing would come to mind, not even the groom’s name!
Days passed (that’s what it felt like) before I remembered his name, and the speech went a bit like this:
“Richie Richie Richie.” long pause, nothing.
Oof! But then things started coming back to me, which is also when I noticed someone filming the entire show! Aargh, that made it worse. Long story short, I fluffed through a load of rubbish that nobody laughed at and I was absolutely dying out there; all I wanted to do was jump overboard!
I finished by saying, “I’d like to read a poem I wrote to end my speech.”
Of course, everyone was thinking this can’t possibly get any worse. Can it? I wasn’t sure myself at this point, but it was my saving grace.
I reeled off the first verse carefully (I was struggling to read it without my glasses), but they began to laugh. Laughing hard enough to give me enough time to go over the next verse in my head, which I read aloud when the laughter subsided.
More laughter, confidence growing and I was laughing now too. Pause, go through the next verse in my head before reeling it off.
They’re roaring! My own eyes were watering with laughter (and joy) – this is AWESOME!
I managed the entire poem, perfectly timed with their laughter, and came out looking pretty good in the end.
Richie loved it, his parents wanted a copy and everyone came up to me afterwards to say how good it was. Back of the net!