Ah Hello. I'm not much of a one for formal speeches, so I hope you can bear with me on this one.
First off. Thank you all for being here today, it means a hell of a lot to me and Katie. I know some of you have come a long way, through horrible holiday traffic at pretty short notice. And for a few of you, we really appreciate you not being arrested on the way over for beating the living hell out of the flaming idiots who can't use a merging lane correctly. Especially you, Jack. Oi, I've seen how you drive...
Anyway, before we get on with the drinking, dancing and desert an all, there's a few things we want to say, some people to acknowledge and some important thank yous we want to make.
Harriet, thank you for the lovely service. And your suggestions about the variations on the traditional vows were particularly appreciated. Especially by me. No idea what on earth I'd do with the obey bit - so best not include it, eh?
An extra special thanks to Victoria and Matty for the catering. Those delicious pakora, am I right? I must have had about twenty of them, easily. And the spit roast. I mean. Wow. Can't beat local lamb, can ya?
Cain, I've got to say, the car is absolutely brilliant. Proper vintage, yeah? I only hope it makes it as far as the hotel down in Hotten before it breaks down completely.
Aunty Tracy, I can't tell you how grateful I am for all the things you've done for us, helping my beautiful wife keep her sanity over the last few days. I know she'll thank you herself in a bit, but I just wanted to say you've been solid as a rock, never anything too much trouble, and that sort of generous support means a lot.
Ryan, the sound system is outstanding mate, and I were dead wrong, fairy lights are indeed a classic look for a dance floor. If you hang enough of the things anyroad. (Where did you get them all? Nicked em I bet. Oh yeah. Go on, deny it. Well, thanks for them however you got em.) And I've got to say, the light made you and Alex look right beautiful together even when you were just setting up the PA this afternoon. So if you need any help with the catering for your upcoming anniversary, just give me a yell. Right? Good.
Noah, huge thanks for hosting us here at Home Farm. I know it's not traditional, but what with the flood at the Woolly last week, we were really scrambling to find a venue, and you've done us proud, and made us feel nothing but welcome. Debbie, thanks for your help with the hiring of the tables, chairs, marquee and all. I know it's kind of your day job, but we literally couldn't have got all this sorted at such short notice without you.
I think Katie has some further thank yous she wants to do herself, so don't freak out if I've missed something, ok? She'll get there in due course.
Marlon. Thanks for the catering. Yeah, surprise! I know you thought I didn't know about you and your sneaking around helping out. You should'a known better. I always know what's going on around this village when it comes to food. And that all started with me hanging around the kitchen at the Woolly. Looking back, and thinking of how I like to work in a kitchen these days, I know I must have been a right pain in the backside with my endless 'experiments' and questions and what not. Oh Marlon, what's that? Oh Marlon, what does that taste like? Marlon, why is that smoking? Hey, Marlon, why are you doing that to the chicken? Marlon, Marlon, Marlon. And, other than some loud shouting about sharp knives and things being on fire, you were brilliant about all of it. Even the time I decided to make a Special Double Mother's Day Breakfast, and clogged the drains so badly you had to do the washing up in a tub outside for a week.
What I'm trying to say, is... Well, sometimes people think working with food is a second-rate job, cause it's doing with your hands not a computer. But I think they couldn't be more wrong. You taught me that working with your passion is a gift, and now I get to work with my passion every day. An I can tell you, I hope to do you proud. (Show them fancy bastards at The Swan a few things about proper pub food, any rate.)
Right. Well, that's the easy ones.
Pete. I can't really express how much it means to me to have you in my life. After Dad died, well, I don't really remember him as him, you know. But I remember him because I remember him in you. And I know he was a good, strong man with a whole lot of love, cause that's you. You gave me him as best you could, and I know he'd be mad proud of all you've done for me. I can honestly say, whenever I needed you, you were there, and I wouldn't be half the man I am today without you. I might have Dingle for a surname, but there'll always be a Barton right alongside it in my mind.
Can you please raise your glasses to Pete, and Ross.
Um, phew. This thing is harder than it looks.
Me and Katie have waited what feels like bloody ages for this day. I know some of you think this were all a bit quick and we're too young an all, but when you know it's right, it never seems too fast or too early. I love you babe. I really, really just love you something completely stupid. Yeah well. Maybe I am a bit. Couldn't be happier though, so.
And, um, Charity, yeah, and, Ness; my two mums. This is entirely your fault. Yeah, yeah, chill out yeah, and get that look off your face, Mum. I see you Vanessa, you don't need to put your hand on her thigh (oh steady on people, it's not like that - well not just now anyway, though give them a minute or two once the lights go down, eh?). Anyroad. Mum knows what I'm going to say, or she should anyway. Cause I know what me and Katie have is worth it, worth this big fuss you're all here for, worth spending a lifetime for even, because of you two. I know I tell the story sometimes as a joke, about how she knocks my socks off, but when Katie looked down at me, arse over in a pile of cow muck, one welly buried so deep we never even bothered to look for it, I knew that look she were giving me, cause I've seen it a thousand times or more on you two.
It's the look that means you've been there done that, and the other thing, got through it and worked it out, more times than you can remember and you still want her by your side, sharing your life, whatever may come.
And you've been through a fair bit over the years, yeah? Ness fighting off the guy who tried to burn down the Woolly. The gas leak at the surgery. Kim Tate. David trying to get mum in trouble for his scam to dodge customs duties on Spanish wine. Kim Tate again. I don't know how many misunderstandings and fights (remember that one where Vanessa stormed off and ended up stuck in the rain outside Rhona's in now't but her dressing gown? And then the Demdyke Morris dancers turned up, drunk, and tried to break into 'her' house for her?). Mum getting sick. Mum getting better. And let's not forget the time Vanessa's mum decided to move into the village and I thought Charity were going to dynamite half of Yorkshire just to let off steam.
People like to bang on about how a relationship needs hard work, and talking about your feelings, and apologies and all that. Those things are important, yeah. I know you've got to put in the hard work. But I also know sometimes you're lucky enough to find someone who just ... gets you. Sees you're a right self-indulgent, short-tempered idiot, and god knows what else, but somehow doesn't lose track of the other things. The good things. I mean there's the obvious ones like being ridiculously good-looking, of course, (oh shut up Sarah). But there are other ones too. Things you can't even see in yourself. And when you find someone who sees those things, you'd flimming well better hang on as tight as you can. Cause they don't come along often, those people, or ever.
So, a special toast for you two: Charity and Vanessa, for giving me a glimpse of what a love worth fighting for looks like.
And, of course, if it weren't for my mums, I wouldn't have my best man.
Johnny. Jonnybobs. Johnathan, mate. Brother. I couldn't hope for a better best man. And not just because you've dug me out of more scrapes than I can count - and I can count scary high (no matter what Mr Scrivener said about my scholastic abilities back in Year 3). I'd probably best not try to list all the trouble we've gotten into and out of over the years yeah, or call out any highlights, cause you know, the mums might want to Have Words or try to ground me on my honeymoon or sammat - but I want you to know I'll never forget and I'll always be there if you ever need me, for anything, anything at all, got that?
There've been times when I've hated your guts. Mostly, to be fair, when you were good at something totally unfair like guitar or long-distance running. Or when all the cute girls were mooning over you in Year 8, and I were spotty and scruffy and had the worst haircut this side of Bradford. (Joke's on them, eh?) But if I admit it, half the time it were just because I hated looking up to my little brother. Cause I do, you know. That little bit of extra patience and smarts you use to see into the heart of something, and your courage to do the right thing. The thing that makes a difference. I don't know what you'll do when you finish that unpronounceable degree you're doing, but I know it'll be amazing. And I know I'll always be a better man for knowing you. See you even cry better than me, though at least I had the good sense to carry a spare hanky so I don't have to use a table napkin!
Yeah, so a toast to my very best man, my brother: Johnny Woodfield.
(And Phil, seriously mate. You better do right by this lad, or I swear I'll turn you inside out and leave your body up in a dark corner of the dales where they won't even find a memory of you. I'm not kidding, yeah. You know I'll do it.)
Lastly, Katie. I love you babe. Every last bit of you. Ain't nothing or no one who will ever change that. You're something truly special, and I can't imagine what I ever did or didn't do to deserve you in my life. And whatever crap the world sees fit to send our way, and there'll be some, know I'll always be aiming to live up to what I'm promising you today, to try to be the best version of myself I can manage. I hope you can believe that, even in the darkest days. And I hope you keep seeing in me more than I can see in myself, cause I know I see a world in you.
Everyone, the final toast from me tonight: I give you my gorgeous wife, love of my life, this flimmin amazing, wonderful, bonkers woman who I absolutely adore and can hardly believe has agreed to spend the rest of her life with me. Katherine Elena Owens.