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Ladies and Gentlemen: I would like to start by saying on behalf of the bride’s mother my wife Susan, myself, and the groom’s parents Mark and Richard in giving a warm welcome to all the relatives and friends who have joined us today to celebrate Ava and Richards wedding.
Today we are the proudest parents in the whole world, seeing your daughter looking so happy and radiant is a truly amazing experience, but I have to admit it fazed me just a bit in the ceremony when I had to give her away.
And now I would like to share some of my more treasured memories of Ava with you if I may:
Whilst preparing this speech I got a little sentimental and decided to look through some old photos of Ava, and I have to admit tears welled up in my eyes as one picture stood out from all the others it was the striking pose of our precious daughter arms outstretched trying to stand up on those little wobbly legs…. Sadly it’s the only photo we have of her the first time she came home drunk so it is quite special.
Another of my precious memories is when Ava was younger and it was probably because she could get me to do anything she wanted – she would say to me “DADDY LETS PLAY HORSES”, so as any dutiful father would do I spent many hours on my hands and knees circling the front room, she would also say to me “Daddy make a noise like a horse” I thought is that from the front end or the back end of the horse as it turned out it was the noise of the horses hooves she wanted to hear !!
As a small girl Ava always wanted to help out with everything and she carried this trait into adulthood when she saw me struggling to write this speech she offered to help me “it’s hard to find the right words to express the depths of my feelings but she was a perfect daughter”
Ava you’ve spelt perfect wrong !!
On the 7th June 1989 I held Ava in my arms for the very first time and I was speechless at how beautiful she looked the same thing happened again today, Ava you have been a perfect daughter and I will cherish forever the memories of watching you grow from a baby to a woman that is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside.
Now like most fathers I was extremely protective of my girls and prepared to fend off any potential suitors, I took the view that no man would be good enough for my daughters and would gladly take an instant dislike to anyone that tried to take them away from me, and so it was within this welcoming atmosphere of open mindedness that we were first introduced to Richard.
The first time he knocked at the door I answered and summoning up my fiercest frown (that I usually save for charity collectors and scaring kids on Halloween) looked at him and asked him what he wanted. He said he had called for Ava – I said that might be a problem, he said why, am I too early? I said yes – about 3 years too early and shut the door!!
But seriously from the first day we met him he has been an absolute credit to you Mark and Richard you must be very proud.
I know that tradition dictates that it is at this point that I am supposed to welcome him into our family but the truth is that from day one he has been like another son to us
By that I mean when he comes round he eats us out of house and home !!
Seeing as they have done everything together it would be remiss of me not to spend a few minutes talking about an occasion that included them both- it was on the night that Richard proposed to Ava, a few weeks before Richard had paid me the curticy of doing it the old fashion way and asked me for Ava’s hand in marriage albeit I was half asleep on the sofa and wasn’t really sure what he had asked me but said yes anyway
But back to the night in question Richard selected a suitable restaurant in Torquay after apparently narrowly avoiding having to propose in a Harvester and no doubt rehearsed his lines so the night would go without a hitch – what he hadn’t accounted for is how emotional Ava can be I have it on good authority that the night went something like this:
The Starters are served with a glass of Dutch courage (for Richard) and whilst waiting for the main course Richard summoned up the nerve to pop the question after getting over the shock Ava said yes and then proceeded to run out of the restaurant crying tears of joy leaving poor Richard sitting there on his own.
After phoning us to tell us the good news we asked where she was to which she answered I’m outside the restaurant!!
We said that it was wonderful news and we are over the moon for you but don’t you think you should go back in and be with Richard ? a few minutes later I received a text message from Ava saying how happy she was I sent a message back saying the only reason I said yes to Richard was that I know that he would love her as much as I do – two minutes later another message saying that’s just made me cry again!!
All I could think of was poor Richard sitting in a restaurant with his new fiancé who had already run out of the restaurant once and now she was in tears again needless to say the rest of the evening was very special
Today we are filled with a curious mixture of joy and wonder, joy at the happiness we see in our daughter’s eyes and wonder at the miracle of seeing our baby grow from a little girl to the beautiful bride I had the honour of walking up the aisle today.
And now she begins a new life and there will be another man to whom she will turn to for love and protection, but I want her to know that her Dad will always be there for her.
Ava there is so much more I’d like to say about you but I believe that my time is up. You look incredible today. And in Richard you have married a man that I know will love you as much as we do and that we will be proud to call our son in law and I know you will make a perfect wife.
Ladies and Gentlemen I can’t stress enough how good it is to have you all here today, I hope you have a fabulous time this evening.
And now it is my honour to propose a toast to the happy couple and I know that everyone here will want to join me in raising your glasses in a toast to a long, happy, healthy future together, filled with the sound of laughter, so could I please ask you to stand and raise your glasses to The Bride and Groom!