3 May, 2009, Taxi restaurant, Federation Square, Melbourne
Not shy of making speeches, but in fact this is not one I ever thought I would make.
I can’t believe that I am here. The 33 year journey to get me here has been exceptionally fun and this is my chance to publicly thank you all for the part you have played.
So grab a chair cos I am going to start with the A’s.
Thank you all for being here and supporting Andy and I. We have genuinely enjoyed seeing your joy / surprise and in some cases total shock – that Cupid hit us with his arrow.
There are people that have made a massive effort to be here to actually see this miracle occur with their own peepers. Thanks to everyone who has traveled interstate, especially all my Sydney mates.
To Andy’s family- thank you for being so excited for us. You are great women and Hawthorn supporters, and while I won’t be toting the Maher family name I am pleased to be one of your clan.
To my wonderful friends, together we have made TV and radio, vegemite toast in share house kitchens, trips overseas, bad fashion choices, cups of Nescafe, noise in Camberwell classrooms, fools of ourselves on dance floors and memories that give me a reason to smile daily. Thank you for always backing me.
To my lady birds who walked down the aisle today. You guys have held my hair and held my hand through weekdays and milestones and I thank you for every moment we have shared. You are my security, my laughter and my heart. You report for service everyday to stand shoulder to shoulder with me and I know you always will – despite the distance of Africa, Italy, Sydney, Canberra and ..Middle Park. All of you believed this day would come for me and you kept me believing too.
Mum and Dad, I can’t ever thank you for the world you have given me. You are amazing people and my dearest friends. Papa, thank you for your beautiful speech and to you both for getting me down the aisle. No matter how many days I spend with you, it will never be enough. I know you always believed I would meet a wonderful man, but to be honest I was a little hurt that you gave me away, after only four months of courting to the first guy who asked for my hand, it was kind AND sincere to see that tonight you are 100% happy and not even 1% relieved. Thank you for loving both Andy and I with your whole hearts and thank you for the two greatest gifts in my life – Lucy and Felicity.
My birdsmaids, my sisters – there are no words, not even interpretive dance or a banner made by the Hawthorn cheer squad that can convey my love and thanks to you both, for naming me Emma not Stephanie, for always letting me tag along – even now, for abstaining on my wedding day from trying to convince me that I’m adopted. Believe me when I say that my husband wont be at all offended, so I hope no one else is either when I quote Louisa May Alcott and say, “I could never love anyone the way I love my sisters” Big bird you slayed it with your speech but Flip and I are sorry to tell you - you’re adopted.
When I first met Andy, he lied to me about his age, age he told me he was 43 not 44. It really made me laugh – I thought what difference would one year make? And well to be honest –I now realize a lot. This time last year I was a single and cynical about love, and was about to pack my bags and head OS for my Carrie Bradshaw adventure. A year ago if I had walked past Andy in the street I would have thought – oh..there’s that guy Huddo. A year ago my Plan A was to win tattslotto and my Plan B was to marry a really old millionaire.. so well I guess I got it half right.
The thing about Andy, is that he wouldn’t lie about his age, because he just tells it like it is. He is forthright and earnest and sometimes too honest. Our first date kicked off with Andy talking me through the benefits of Metamucil. It was an interesting approach, but it clearly won me over because, you had me at Hoo Roo.
But it was also a sign of honesty to come. The first weekend we went away together, we were watching the sunset over the water as we walked along the beach. I was feeling hopelessly romantic as Andy turned and looked at me, in a way I had never been looked at before and he said , You know, in this light, you have a really cute little black beard.
Where this had been something I hoped to hide from Andy for at least the first – ah year..he called me on it and made me accept that it was part of me and therefore in his eyes – just perfect. You love me in a way I never imaged I could be loved but you also make me love myself. You make me laugh, and you take beautiful care of me. You are passionate and at times lazy and I love it all. While we haven’t yet shared a winter, or even a birthday we have shared our love of football, BBQ’s and potatoes and our passionate distaste for the movie Sideways.
Since we met I wake up every morning with the anticipation of a kid of Christmas day because it’s another day I get to spend with you. You have ordained me with a halo of little bluebirds that I wear everyday as a reminder of how crazy in love I am with you.
Today in the church our friend Father Philip took us through our vows and pledges which meant the word to me. But had we written our own vows mine would have been something like this:
Andy – you are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I will work hard every day to be the best thing that has ever happened to you. I will stand by you through Grand Final wins and World Series losses. Since I met you there doesn’t feel like there are enough days left in the universe for us. You are my perfect mate, and I am honored that you are now my husband.
I imagine your vows would have been something like;
"I Knackers take you Shags to be your lawfully wedded guru."
To which I would of course have been honored to agree.
Andy, I love you and I am bursting with happiness that I am your wife, thank you for having me.