Firstly I want to thank Ani & Foo for their gift, thank you.
Secondly, thank you to the beautiful flower girls. You've done a great job. And special thanks to the maid of honour: Mikoto. Well done Mikoto you've been brilliant! To the ushers and ring bearer. Good work chaps, well done
And lastly to all of you - thanks for coming today. Particularly those of you from far away. It's a long way to travel, so on behalf of Matt & Ani, thanks a lot, it means a great deal.
When Matt first asked me to be his best man - I was honoured, naturally. Then he told me I would be speaking to 200 Armenians in Los Angeles, and then I was terrified, naturally........ Being a best man is a little bit like being George Bush's speech-writer... It's a great honour... but nobody really wants to do it!
When Matt did ask me, my knee jerk reaction was to buy him several pints, which we quickly enjoyed together.
I then asked him if he was quite sure about this. He said she's a lovely girl and he's already bought the ring, so that's that! ..... I tried to make myself clearer, and it was at this point that he finally conceded that I was, indeed the best man. I'd been waiting all my life for this admission and accepted immediately!
Today, not only are we two great nations divided by a common language, but the cultural differences go further. For instance, for those of you who do not know: an Englishman's best man speech is expected to make gentle fun at the groom. However, I am not going to be so crass as to force an English custom, upon a largely non-English audience by making cheap remarks about my dear brother. (flip chart of 3 year old Foo in bidee)
Matthew Quinn O'Donnell.
Born on 24th July, 1971.
The same year
Ferrari Daytona went on sale,
Nontuplets, (that's 9), were born in Australia,
The decimal currency was introduced to the UK
& the first VCR launched by Phillips.
As you can see:
fast cars - a big family
lots of money and technology
have all been formative influences on Matthew.
His business skills were quickly developed at the tender age of 8, when he sol to his best friend, Roger, a pregnant hamster at a grossly inflated price.............
The idea was that lots of little hamsters would soon belong to Roger. These could then be sold to thier friends at a handsome profit.
This is a promising business model but the market reality was: an overweight, male hamster sold to what is now a highly effective part of National Semiconductor's sales team..... Infact Roger is sitting over there. If he offers you any small mammals, I suggest you politely refuse. Unless of course you are Armenian and have a tasty recipe in mind!
Today is not only a celebration of Matt & Ani's union; it is also a meeting of cultures, ancient & modern, east and west...... This room has an impressive gene pool.......... The bride and groom alone mean that Armenia, Egypt & America bind with
England, Ireland, Italy, France & Malta.
... And there are about 200 other people here today with similar backgrounds! ........... Perhaps now you can see why I was a mildly alarmed by the task in hand.......... Perhaps instead of me, Matt should have given Kofi Annan a call to see how he was fixed for the day? Mind you, as no-one listens to Kofi anymore do they?
A passion that binds Matt & Ani closely is the joy of food. Infact it is a major reason as to why we are all here today...... Please allow me to explain by setting a scene... It's a cosy winter's night in London, Oxford Street sparkles with fairy lights, Christmas approaches and all is well with the world......... In a small romantic restaurant tucked away down some winding lane, two young lovers gaze into each other's eyes after sharing a delicious meal together..... He looks at her, and dares to think for the first time....maybe, just maybe, this is the girl for me?......... She is also thinking... and leans across the table.... gazes into his eyes and says gently:
Matti... would you mind if I ate the fish's head?....... I think it was at this point when Matt thought:.....Yup, this is the girl for me.
Matt is passionate about food. Infact, Matt used to sit naked in the flowerbeds at our family home making mud pies... and then trying to eat them. Naturally Mum & Dad were a little worried as to what Mr.Freud would have to say about all of this. So they consulted one of Dad's psychiatrist friends. He said although this was unusual behaviour for a board-member of a blue chip software company, as long as the Financial Times did not get hold of it, there's not too much to worry about.
When he lived in Birmingham, he was perceived as a serious player by the local Punjabi restaurateurs, and actually got his curries on credit!
Presented with any menu, Matt will always go for the dish that he:
does not understand
has never experienced before
is difficult to pronounce
and is slightly exotic.
Can I make it any clearer as to why he chose Ani?
He is a man of many talents. He has a wonderful, lateral thinking mind. This is why he keeps juggling balls & a concise oxford English dictionary in the same drawer. His growth from a cheeky little boy with a passion for bananas and mud pies, into a grown man, is as interesting, and varied, as he is himself.
After running away to join the circus, I'm serious, he actually did that! He returned from Toulouse as an expert trapeze artist ready to begin a proper career.
His brisk rise, and growth into the successful man he is today, is of no surprise to my family or I. More than that, he is a great source of pride to us all.
It is rare to have such a public opportunity to tell your brother how much you love him, and that is what I say to you right now Foo. There's lots of reasons, but basically, you are a strong man who is full of love for others....... It is a privilege to share the same world as you. But to be your brother, makes me one of the luckiest men alive.
His choice of bride is perhaps his smartest move to date. Ani found her way to Matt through Armenia & Egypt via America. After growing up in the States she flew the LA nest and winged her way to a cold, grey little Island called England.... The weather was bad, the food was worse, the people were distant and friends and family were far away.......
Poor Ani, after enduring all of this, she really did deserve a good man. I'm just glad Matt married her before she found one!
As mentioned, it wasn't so much as love at first sight, but love at first bite. And she really is a cracker!
Highly intelligent & resourceful (infact, I think General Tommy Franks has a few things to learn from the way this wedding has been organised) Beautiful, caring and thoughtful. The short time I have known her, she has opened my eyes, made me laugh, think and sigh - all at the same time. There is only one Ani Tertzakian, and now she's my sister, life feels better.
Ladies and gentlemen, please charge your glasses:
... A chap near Birmingham once said:
Look down you gods,
And on this couple drop, a blessed crown...
To Matt & Ani