Ladies and gentlemen,
Today my emotions are mixed. I feel happy that my daughter has found someone to love her for life. I am sad to be, as it were, handing over my little girl to another man. The fact that this other man is John makes it bearable. After all he is undoubtedly going to be a perfect husband and an ideal son-in-law. As I know too that I have still a special place in Mary's heart I think her happiness outweighs my sadness. In fact I think this is a day for a celebration.
So I am delighted to welcome you to the wedding of Mary and John. Some of you have travelled a great distance to be with us and I know Mary and John really appreciate the effort you have made to share this special occasion. A wedding day, you see, is special. It's a day filled with optimism and hope. It's a day when we all wish the bride and groom all they would wish for themselves. It's a day for memories.
Today as I look at Mary I can hardly believe she was once my little baby girl. Like most dads I was besotted with my daughter and I have to confess things haven't changed much since. Today I am remembering story time and the games we played together. Today I am remembering how she used to run to meet me when I came in for work. I will draw a blank veil over some of her teenage activities, not to mention her sense of style. Like fathers everywhere I queried her make up, the length of her clothes and at what hour she would be coming home. As she grew older, though, we became closer and closer sharing our thoughts and our ideas. I got to know what a truly amazing women she is. So I am not being biased when I say Mary is special. Ask John. He agrees with me.
John is obviously the product of his home environment. That is he is kind and courteous and caring and I love his sense of humour. When I met his folks I knew at once that these were people I could welcome into our family. So today I say that I am delighted to welcome them into the clan and that I shall be equally delighted to share many happy family occasions with them. Even more importantly I welcome John as my son-in-law which means, of course, that I can call on him to play golf with me or go for an odd drink.
A wedding is a family occasion and obviously important occasions come under the heading of "Women's work." As a mere dad I knew it was my duty to agree with everything the ladies in the family decided. So I said "Yes" to flowers, to dresses, to guest lists and to everything else I was asked. I knew very well that whatever I thought didn't really matter because women always know best! So it proved. I know you will all agree that they did a wonderful job in organising this wedding and that we are having a day to remember. I have to admit to a lump in my throat when I saw my wife and my daughter today. Mary is very like her mother in some ways and today I know my wife shares my pride in our lovely girl. Mary has always been a loving daughter and she thoroughly deserves to have found someone who loves her as we do. We know she has found that someone in John.
So today I am wishing my daughter and her new husband every blessing on their marriage. If I had advice to give I would say to them to respect each other and each other's views. I would say to them to laugh together as much as possible because laughter helps overcome the dark days of life. I would say to them to open their door to family and friends because we all need the support of family love and of friendship. Above all I would say to them to cherish one another. Remember it is a wonderful privilege to know that there is one person in the world who loves you exclusively. It is my dearest wish for you that you will always love one another as you do today.
Ladies and gentlemen please join me in a toast to the happy couple. May they walk the road of life together hand in hand. Mary and John!