Friends and family, English and French, old and young... and I've gotten gravy on my speech.
No pressure then.
It's traditional, when giving a best man's speech, to embarrass the groom.
Conventionally one might go on about the groom's past, his less-than-stellar girlfriends, cast aspersions about his character and give the bride reason to regret her decision to marry the poor sod.
I've never been much for tradition.
There's really nothing I could say or do to embarrass Steve in front of this august company any more than he has already done himself in the past and will doubtless do again, either today or in the future.
Steve had me organise his stag do, which was a bit like asking a trout to cross the Gobi desert in a shopping cart a nest, but fortunately that wasn't traditional either.
I could embarrass Steve by saying that all we did was stay up and play board games, while drinking, but then you all know Steve and that'd be no surprise.
Nobody ended up naked or handcuffed to anything.
More's the pity.
I could embarrass him by mentioning that we met through a live-action roleplay group, where we all used to meet up, dress up as vampires, wizards, werewolves and other sundry things and scheme against each other.
You all know that already though and if you don't, I'm sure there'll be words exchanged later.
Perhaps I could embarrass him with stories of how he used to cheat at Diablo II, or how he met his wife through a computer game.
That's not as embarrassing as it used to be though and many would consider it quite normal these days.
Can't say as I've had any trouble with my internet bride... she'd hit me if I did.
The other problem that we have with a best man's speech is that we have both friends and family here and the kind of stories I have about Steve, the kind of things I can say about him will simply not make sense to some of you.
If I joke about how he must have 'rolled a critical on his Charm skill' to get Maddie to marry him, some will laugh, others won't know what the hell I'm talking about.
I know many Steves. So many Steves, in fact, that we had to start giving them extra names to distinguish which Steve we were talking about.
There was Big Steve, Little Steve, Medium Steve, London Steve, Baby Steve, even Quantum Steve for a while, so called because he only ever showed up in the interference pattern between two others Steves.
This particular Steve though, amongst a bunch of reprobates that includes gamers, programmers, LARPers, console junkies, MMO players and other assorted nerdery, managed to gain the honorific of 'Geeky Steve'.
That shows a degree of effort and dedication which, I believe,is to be commended but also shows how difficult it is to say anything about Steve and, to a lesser degree Maddie, that anyone will understand.
No, I don't think the traditional route of embarrassing the groom with stories of epic failure and silliness is going to cut it here. So instead I'll have to embarrass the groom, and the bride, by saying nice things and making them bashful.
So then, I'll say this.
Steve and Maddie have been great friends to us. They have always made effort to maintain our friendship, to stay in touch, to see how we
were and to take care of us – and vice versa.
If they put half as much love and effort into each other as they have put into their friends, then they're going to do well and have a wonderful future together.
Friend or family, across the generations, no matter where you're from, I do believe there is one thing that all of us here present can agree on and understand and that is this...
That in marrying Maddie, Steve is punching way, way, way above his weight.
And good on him.