On behalf of Mark and Jo, and Pauline, and Mary, and myself, Welcome to you all!
It is my traditional duty and sincere pleasure to WELCOME ! May I make a special point of welcoming respectfully the most senior members of our newly-joined families? We really appreciate you making the effort of traveling. Thank YOU ALL so much for coming today, to help us celebrate the wedding of my lovely daughter, to this lovely man.
Some may know me and my reputation for attempting deliberate comedy, or committing thoughtless flippancy. BUT because today IS the occasion of a solemn vow, (Though made amidst joyful and jolly celebration) , today, I will leave all the foolishness to the Best Man. (..more or less.)
Women and Marriage Status.
WELL! Just a few hours ago I submitted to my Traditional Duty, to “Give Away” my daughter. But, I assert this tradition is not only antiquated, but obsolete, perhaps dating back to when women were considered a “possession” to be transferred as if a woman was a man’s “Property” or worse, as if a woman was a burden. To be accompanied with a dowry — as compensation! Our more enlightened society is much improved today,.. Don’t we consider a good wife to be a “Prize”? Don’t we consider that a wife is to be sought and found, to be wooed and won, and to be cherished and kept?
Whether or not you agree that the liturgical ceremony of the wedding service (with its Act of “Giving Away”)
lags behind our current thinking,
I am delighted to report to you that “my son-in-law” DOES seem to have fully grasped the concept of the contemporary model,
And fully embraces its practice.
I’m going to leave the disclosure of personal stories to Mark & Jo
(& best man Tim!) but Mary and I have discovered Mark to be clear in purpose, and undaunted by hurdles, in his patient and planned pursuit of our daughter as if she were the only woman in the world, thus setting a fine example for all husbands.
By The Way,..
Mark also has an appreciation of other important things in life. He and I have an affinity! He recognizes as well as I do myself, the beauty, the elegance, the great work of art, that is .. A well organized spreadsheet!
NOW.. Have you written some marriage tips? We’ll make a book later! Here’s the Marriage Tips from Mary and myself,..
Be encouraging and affirming to your partner
Be responsive and loving even when you don’t feel like it
Don’t forget to have fun – together
Listen. Small word, huge subject.
Welcome and Encourage change in your partner
Never resent, but celebrate the differences that first attracted you.
My only remaining traditional duties are to propose a toast – after I quickly introduce you to this couple. I like the Shakespearean word “Coz” Which means “any close, or distantly related person” So if you meet anyone for the second time, and realize that you’ve forgotten their name, just say, “Hiya Coz!”
I address myself now to My new Wheeler COUSINS, and friends: “Who is Joanna (Wheeler?)”
I remember Jo arriving into our lives,
From the very beginning, Jo brought even more of the same sunshine and joy that her mother brings. Plenty of laughter, plenty of fun, But ready to discern what matters, and take responsibility, And,
she also seems to have the necessary talent and determination to get the job done … in studying
(She’s got letters after her name), and in the office too
(Quickly becoming a successful trainer at SPEAR).
But I had already seen her endure not one but two major operations on her spine;
And later watched her performing in a dance group,
And later watched her slowly rebuild her voice
Back up to performing level,..
So I’m in no doubt of her ability and determination, To take on whatever comes her way.
A key memory for me of Jo as a SMALL girl is when I arrived home one night. She ran down the hall to meet me, and called out, “Daddy, my hero!” Now, what a tired man needs at the end of hard working day! A small thing, but something I’m sure Mark will look forward to!
But seriously, I think Jo’s greatest gift is something that will be a foundation of their marriage,.. Friendship. The vital ingredients being love, openness, and loyalty. Jo is someone who makes friends easily BUT doesn’t lose them quickly. So why is that? .. If we asked anyone who has formed a friendship with Jo , My guess is they’d tell you that she offers loyalty, honesty, comfort and encouragement. It took me too long to fully grasp that marriage is among other things, A friendship. So, we hope that you two will continue as , as well as partners, lovers, and whatever else the journey brings.
Now, Weeks COUSINS, & friends: Who is this Mark Wheeler? Well, The best man is going to cover that subject in detail, but MY point of view will be WELL-understood by any father of a daughter. It’s impossible for us to imagine the existence of a young man with whom we would happily entrust our daughters’ hearts and well-being. I am often advising others that there is no “Mr.Right” or “Miss Right” because a good theory proposes that we will all change anyway. And that it’s more important to find someone who is prepared, determined, to rediscover their love for you every day, whoever you become. Nevertheless, I admit to you all, that I had been looking for an Ideal Man.
one with talent and ambition, carried with courtesy & humility,
one with good humor & lightness, despite being serious and sensitive.
who respects and values my daughter, and makes her happy,
by a convenient accident of nature ..but also by a sense of Traditional Duty,
executed with creativity and diligence.
(You know who I’m thinking about!)
(Come to think of it, my own wife deserves someone like that!)
I’m pleased to tell you that in my humble opinion,
And To my great delight, Such a man sits among us,
And I believe, has today married my daughter, Joanna.
Mark, You’re a good man! Welcome to our family! I’ll hand over now to You, BUT FINALLY, “Ladies and gentlemen, friends …& COUSINS!
It is now OUR Traditional Duty to raise our glasses and join together in wishing them every happiness. I give you the toast, “God bless the Bride & Groom.”