Full speech text - Martin Griffiths, Best Man

Well, Mark's given me a tough act to follow there. I'm afraid I'm going a bit more lo-tech!

When I was first asked to be Paul's best man, several years ago actually, it just seemed an incredibly long time away. Obviously, I put off writing the speech. Then, it gave me a bit of a shock two weeks ago, when Edith sent me this article in the post: "Speak easy: make them laugh, make them cry" (I hope I won't do the latter), in which I was delighted to read:

"Leaving it to the last minute is simply asking for trouble. The best speeches come from months of gathering material, weeks of writing, hours and hours of practising and rehearsing. Our best man's speech was so extraordinarily good people still ask me for a copy of it. He worked steadily and determinedly on it for nine months." Ah well, never mind!

I also read this helpful advice from Bob Gross, the secretary of the Guild for Professional Toastmasters. His advice on speeches: "nothing blue, nothing suggestive, nothing racist, nothing about previous girlfriends and no bad language". So, back to the drawing board there!

By the time I finally got round to putting pen to paper, I had, er, the coach journey from Leeds down to London on Thursday. But, well, that did feel like nine months.

Quite a few of you here probably don't really know who I am and how I met Paul. It might not surprise you to learn that we met on the Internet. I was also a fan of Mark Radcliffe, the DJ, on Radio 1 at the time, and we met on an online forum for discussion of his works. We struck up an e-mail correspondence - about music and not having girlfriends, mainly, I seem to remember.

I hadn't really realised until I first met him in person, how much he'd managed to appropriate Mark Radcliffe's sense of humour and comedy catchphrases, right down to the celebrated hand-farty noise. [Paul demonstrates]

I think when you first meet Paul there are a couple of things you notice about him fairly quickly. One of them is his unique sense of style. You saw some of that on display in those fantastic photos [in Mark's speech] - those orange trousers, Paul! In those days, he only had his wardrobe to experiment with - now he's got a whole house! Things have only gone from bad to worse, as I'm sure anyone who's stayed in that lime green guest room can testify - phew!

Another thing that's very distinctive about Paul is his diet. I remember asking him once if he liked any fruit - any kind of fruit or vegetable and he said 'Well, grapes are ok.' I remember a particularly memorable time when he came to visit me at Cambridge and was in heaven, because there was a buffet in the interval at a concert there. They were serving chicken nuggets on a big tray; a waiter came round. How many was it you ate, Paul? Only twenty-two!

Y'know, Edith has been a good influence on him. The other day, Paul was telling me that lately he's been cooking with 'proper ingredients'. When I probed a bit further, it turns out that the proper ingredients are... chicken and bread, which he makes into... chicken nuggets.

So, I think traditionally a best man is able to call on a whole host of drunken anecdotes about the groom, times he's done things he regretted, but Paul's rather sewn me up on that one by being teetotal. In fact, the first time we met was my nineteenth birthday party, at which I was the one who got incredibly drunk and embarrassed myself, but that's another story!

Anyway, we became firm friends and through Paul, and through the Internet, I met a lot of these lovely people, mainly on Tables 4 and 6, I guess. I always think Paul really held that group together - I like to think of him as the father figure... or maybe the slightly creepy uncle.

In those early days of knowing Paul, it was clear that there were a couple things that were missing from his life, that weren't going quite right for him. One of them was his degree: he was doing Maths, and he really wasn't enjoying it. I thought it was really brave of him to admit that, and, after two years, to decide to do something different. He went to Bournemouth to do his media course which he did fantastically well at, it suited him down to the ground, so that was great.

And, as for the other thing that was missing, well, that all changed when he met Edith. You've heard a lot about that fateful night already, but I dug up this e-mail - this is the e-mail Paul sent after he first chatted to Edith, this 'potato' that he'd spoken to.

He obviously wowed her with his sense of humour: "She lives even further north than Aberdeen, which I believe is pretty damned far north. She refuted my allegation that her next-door neighbour was called John O'Groats, though." Brilliant - with jokes like that, how could you go wrong?

But she obviously left a big impression: he said, "It's the first time I've had a long conversation with a person I've never spoken to before like that for absolutely ages", and then he concluded, saying "Then again, I really don't think anything could happen with that distance, so it seems ridiculous to start thinking it could. But then, when did that ever stop me?"

Fortunately, it didn't stop him, and that's why we're here today. After all these wonderful things I had heard about Edith I was obviously really looking forward to meeting her for the first time. I definitely wasn't disappointed. Y'know, she's perfect for Paul - charming, funny, pretty... and most importantly of all, able to put up with Paul! As we all know, Paul does go through some slightly strange obsessive phases. I think it's been great to see how Edith can encourage him with most of those, and be at least resignedly tolerant of some of the other ones.

So, here we are, and I think they've done amazingly to organise this, along with the help from everyone else that Paul's mentioned. It's been a fantastic day, and Edith, you look fantastic. Paul, you scrub up quite well! We've all had a great time - the attention to detail - magnificent! Really, all I've got left to do is to ask you all to stand and join me in a toast to the bride and groom.

To the bride and groom!

Thanks very much to Edith for painstakingly transcribing this speech from the video of it!

zoolyweds - Paul and Edith's wedding