The Groom’s speech

While the body of Mike’s speech had been ready for months, it only began to hang together properly in the two days leading up to the wedding. Here’s what was written on the tablet PC he was holding as a prompt …

Welcome

Thank you so much Ray for your kind words.

On behalf of my wife and I … can I say how happy, excited and deeply grateful we are that you have shared today with us.

Looking around the room, I am quite impressed how many awesome people we have under one roof.

We have people from Portugal, France and America!

We have IT professionals, lawyers and British Army Officers

Not sure what is scarier out of that – probably Lawyers to be honest.

Thanks so much for joining us, and for all your gifts, cards and best wishes. We both feel very loved.

The Harris family

So many thank yous to get through in the next ten minutes, it’s like I’m receiving an Oscar! As such, it is only fitting that I thank God first and foremost – for family, friendships, an amazing day and the wonderful opportunity he has given Alex and myself.

Turning to my newly extended family, thanks so much Ray and Mary Harris. Thank for sharing Alex with me, for your warmth, your generosity – especially today – and the instant acceptance I received upon meeting you.

To borrow David Cameron’s election phrase, I have ‘a piece of paper in my hand’, although this one says I have your ‘unconditional support’ to ask for Alex’s hand in marriage.

It is priceless and I will always be grateful for it.

Caz Harris and Matt

Thanks Caroline for your role as Chief Bridesmaid. You have been invaluable in keeping Alex calm these past few days, and have lent a great no-nonsense ear to some of my more hair brained schemes. We share a love for spy dramas with strong leading women who have giant wig collections. For that reason above all, I really look forward to having another sister.

[Kermit] As promised, this is my Kermit the Frog impression. Happy now ? [/end]

It has also been great getting to know Matt Kirk, who likes Marvel and thus is amazing. #justsaying ! Happy birthday by the way – hope you like your present !

Bridesmaids and Guard of Honour

Aren’t the bridesmaids looking lovely ?

Thanks so much Beth for sorting the hen do, Lizzy for the most amazing cross stitch, Keddie for the banter and Carolyn for the brilliant and unrewarding job she does of being my sister.

Thank you to all of you for taking an active part in the wedding and also attending a hen do I know Alex enjoyed very much.

Many thanks to our dashing Guard of Honour. Charlie, Chris, Rich, Matt and James. It was deeply touching for a non military muggle like myself, and the perfect way to lower the curtain on Alex’s Army career.

Groomsmen and other thanks

Thank you to my groomsmen Sam and Ciaran, for being genuine legends ever since we met. Both have great stories about me, but I am confident they have not shared with Seb.

Thanks also to Alice our pianist, Liz for saying grace, Jo and Lauren for prayers, Geoff our photographer, Karen the cabbie, members of our St Michaels home group and Sarah Watson for being a brilliant MC. Thanks to Jon and Nikki, our witnesses, and reverend Sandy Christie for marrying us. There are many more individual thank yous due, and my sincere apologies if you are not mentioned. We have left thank you gifts on your tables.

My family 

Thanks so much to my family. To my parents Steve and Maryse for bringing me up. The unique mix of their combined genes and the odd era that was the 80s resulted in me, a btt odd looking but wonderful.

Thank you for help with the photographer and the cake. If you have yet to see the piece montee (profiterole tower), we’ll be cutting it soon, so you’ll get to.

Many thanks in this context to my sister Carolyn and her husband Ali, for getting married nearly a year ago and providing a lot of inspiration.

The best man

Turning to the best man, my wonderful brother Seb.

Picking a best man was not easy – the field were packed full of names from the worlds of music, comedy and genetic research. Thankfully in the end I settled on … Fugees front man Wyclef Jean. Unfortunately he was unable to make it at the last minute, so Seb dutifully agreed to step in.

And what a great job he’s done!

He organised a fantastic stag do in Toulouse, which fulfilled not only my wishes but also Alex’s brief to avoid drinking before the wedding. This he did by making sure I drank twice my body weight at least two months ahead of time!

I am sure he’ll give an amazing best man’s speech. Do remember that he is quite the fantasist. If it sounds made up, it probably is. Or I’ve led quite the oddball life. You decide.

My wife

And now for my wife … best friend and soul mate, Alexandra Har … Potts. I’ll need to get used to that!

I am so very grateful such an amazing woman chose to marry me. A woman who has served in the British Army, who has jumped out of an airplane 8 times, who has scaled Mount Kenya as well as having to endure camping in the middle of a field for weeks on end.

You can see how compatible we are on that measurement really. I am quite proud to have recently built a VW camper out of lego. Seriously, we could be clones.

To be honest, I see our dynamic more like Doctor Who. Alex is the feisty attractive heroine who’s handy with a gun. I’m odd looking chap in the ill fitting suit who’s better with a screwdriver!

We met a year and a half ago outside Leicester Square. With at least four exits, it was not the greatest of locations to suggest but we found each other eventually.

Alex and I ended up in a Moroccan restaurant and talked so much that before I knew it, we had to part ways. I realised right there that she was someone I was going to hate saying good bye to.

In the intervening year an a half I have really grown to love Alex a great deal. I admire her honesty, her faith and her unwavering desire to do the right thing. She has taught me so much about myself, as well as encouraging me to spend more time doing the things I love.

I have already mentioned lego – hence our cake topper – but I should say that I also now have an enviable vinyl collection thanks to her. My favourite of these is Carole King’s Tapestry, which she bought me for valentine’s day.

I am very much looking forward to a life together filled with love, laughter and much learning. Where else, for example, could I have learnt the 101 different definitions the British Army have for the word mess? Or what phys was (it’ s physical training) or bulling (shining shoes) !

For my part, I inform her of strange new IT terms, and she has already become au fait with sprints, scrums, relays and deployments – none of which mean anyone gets up from their desk at all.

I am very proud that we got married in St Michael’s church, as the place means so very much to us. Indeed it was on our first visit, just under a year ago, that I decided I was going to propose to Alex.

Just under a month later, under a warm Portugese sky, I popped the question. In between times, I talked to a vicar, spoke to my parents and wrote to Alex’s, bought a dummy ring, ran it by her sister and consulted good friends to us both. This meant I could definitely feel ready .

The evening itself started in a moroccan themed bar called Al Cafe. Your save the date cards have the picture taken in it. We then moved on to the first floor of Louisiana Bar & Grill and, after a slideshow on a laptop – well it is me ! I popped the question. She’s here, so she said yes!

Alex has, on several occasions, asked me what it is I love about her, and I have said the following more often than not. I never had a choice. She came in to my life and I was hooked. She is the most sincere, charming and big hearted person I have ever met. Marriage to her is one of the best gifts I will ever receive.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I therefore encourage you to raise your glasses to my wife – the wonderful – Alexandra Potts.