Legally Wed, Part the First (I suspect)
For many years I have inwardly mocked my friends who tell me that their wedding day was the happiest of their lives. No longer! It appears that one cliché is indeed true. Yesterday was completely magical, and to prolong my wedding high I wanted to share with you the words I said in mine, the first of our speeches. Whilst not delivered as elegantly as I’d like (constricted by my spanx and having had an intimate sicky moment with one of Voewood’s 101 toilets seconds before), they are words which formed in my head pretty much as soon as I got out of hospital last October, and so I’ve been saving them up to share for quite a while. Plus some photos which I have nicked from facebook (thanks Chris!), and of what may be my favourite wedding present, all the way from Sweet Salone. So whilst there may be sad, bad, foxy and folorn times ahead, for the moment wherever you are reading this raise a glass to the Boyle-Grosses, Gross-Boyles, Groyles, or indeed the Boss family. And especially to Oscar who spared Billy and I the humiliating shuffle that would have been our first dance by spectacularly vomiting all over us and the dance-floor through sheer excitement and exhaustion. Hurrah!
There isn’t much which is orthodox about our wedding today, so I know you won’t be surprised to see me standing up to make the first speech to welcome you. So, welcome. We are so pleased to be here today with you all. There are of course lots of things about today that aren’t as I imagined. But when we thought about my wedding day, the one thing that both Billy and I would always have wanted is all of you here to wish us well and to support us in our married life. So thank you for coming all this way, from Ireland, Canada, France, Egypt, Lebanon and London, and thank you to so many grandparents for looking after your kids tonight. And especially big thanks to you wonderful people who have made today happen at short notice and when I couldn’t do much myself. To Jenny for being in charge of everything from music to pudmin and for being my rock. To Kirsten for doing the beautiful flowers. To Annabel and Sarah for being my stylists. To Jo and Jussi for designing the order of service. To Claire for our stunning wedding cake, and to Nadia and Elen for taking our photos and video. We are blessed to have so many talented friends able to do so much to make our special day so perfect.
I wanted to speak tonight not just to prove the point of equality in the Gross-Boyle marriage but also because there are three things I wanted to get on the record in front of you all. These three things have been going round my head since I woke up after my operation in October – and gestating for a long, long time before then.
First, I wanted to say something about my wonderful friends. Over the past 20 years I have managed to gather around me some remarkable, clever, kind and beautiful women, and of course Dave. So especially to my Keble coven, I want raise a glass. Girls, you are the very best thing I that came out of Oxford since Cambridge.
Second, I wanted to talk about my mum and dad. They have somehow managed to pull off the trick of being my dear friends as well as my parents, and the best bonma and bonma Oscar and Isaac could want. You gave Jo and I a sense of wonder at the world, a desire to explore it. And you gave us empathy for people with lives which were very different, and so often so much harder than our own. I will never forget the things you showed me: a mongoose eating a snake by the creek in Dubai, the Living Goddess in Kathmandu, the swimming pool carved out of rock at Les Marecottes. If I can pass this gift of wonder at the world on to Oscar and Isaac it will be the very best thing I do.
Finally I wanted to talk about my darling Billy. I have a lot to say but time is tight so I will save the long version for my blog. The short version is this. I first met Billy when Ian invited him to the house Tammy, Jenny and I shared to play poker one night. We met in the hallway as I exited the loo. I looked at him and thought, first, he was the most handsome man I had ever seen, and second, that somehow I recognised him as someone I had always known. That moment was the closest I have come to being in the movies. It was nine and a half years ago, and I have loved him more and more with every day we’ve spent together since then. As well as being beautiful to look at Billy is the person I most respect in the world. His intellectual curiosity and his quest for self-improvement are a constant source of inspiration and challenge to me. He is kind, thoughtful and steady like the very best kind of Jane Austen hero. He is a wonderful and patient dad who will teach the Oscar and Isaac everything they need to know about both maths and manliness. But most of all, he is my Billy. And everything I am and all I have done is because of him. I love you Billy – Cheers!