I'd said that a friend (Tony) and I were in Brooklyn, NY for the wedding of Pete and Kate. Pete's a Uni friend, and I shared a flat in North London with him in the late nineties.
Tony and I spent the days before catching up with Pete and friends of Pete, and seeing a few sights. I needed to buy some shoes, so Tony took me to a department store and showed me what to do (I'm rubbish at shopping). We went for a coffee afterwards and two gay Aussie guys told us it was Pride weekend this weekend. Apparently two men buying shoes together is enough to give the impression we were gay.
The wedding was on the Saturday (21 June). It was a great do. It seemed like anything could go wrong (they didn't have a permit to marry in the park they'd chosen in Brooklyn) but as seems to happen at these things things just worked (and the small things that didn't soon sorted themselves out). I'd not been to an outdoor ceremony before, and it seemed exotic and different. I was best man, which involved handing over the rings at the ceremony (a task I performed nervously, trying hard not to drop them) and then giving a speech in the evening.
Between the ceremony and reception the guests had an open-top bus tour of Brooklyn and Manhattan while the newly weds went for some photos. The bus had "Just Married" on the front of it, and people were cheering and waving at us as we went past. SInce it was Pride Weekend, and the couple were not on the bus, I tried to get Tony to stand at the front with me and wave, pretending we'd just got wed. He wasn't willing to though, the wuss. In NY we'd probably got even bigger cheers (though I wouldn't fancy doing that away from the coast).
I'd been roughly preparing my speech for a few weeks, and had spent a while putting a Powerpoint presentation together of some photos of Pete and other stuff. There were five or six short speeches through the evening before mine, spread out well. They were good speeches, and were hard to follow. Fortunately for me whilst most of them were funny speeches, they were also heartfelt and emotional. It took a little pressure of me knowing I wasn't trying to live up to that but was mainly going for cheap laughs with a little sentiment thrown in for good measure.
I was pleased to have the slideshow to take eyes off me, as it helps to have eyes looking elsewhere when you're talking to a room of people (who've been drinking for three hours). My main preparation had been learning to say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (Pete's from Anglesey), which got a round of applause, even though my pronnounciation wasn't accurate (I had the bits learned, but my Welsh pronunciation is poor). It's another party trick under my belt though, so I'll try to keep the skill. Frankly, how many people are going to correct me? (Well, everyone form Anglesey, and I now find quite a few others).
It was a shame Anne couldn't come, as she too has known Pete since Uni. I'm glad at least one of us could go though, as it was great to see P&K's big day.
I didn't take my camera to the wedding, and my friend Tony has a better camera than me, so I'll just link to his album. Is that cheeky? Probably, yes. Photos here of our time in Coney Island where I hurt my back, and of the wedding day.
Click the speech bubble on the bottom left to make it go green, and you'll see Tony's narration (where available).
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