Here’s a wedding speech to my niece and her hubby, which I thought was safe to release after three years:
SHEILA AND VELAN, WEDDING SPEECH, May 21, 2011.
I am here on behalf of the bride’s family, my niece Priscilla Sheila Tangaraja. I’ve been to many weddings but I have never seen a more beautiful and radiant bride then tonight. Isn’t she lovely people?
(Pause for applause)
Sheila, that dress, looks amazing on you. Of course, I am biased, and you know why.
(My wife, Anita, wore the same dress 18 years ago at our wedding.)
What a great year to get married. Just remember you married in 2011, the same year there was a grand royal wedding, the No 1 terrorist in the world is dead and Manchester United are league champions!
Velan you’re a really lucky guy. You married Sheila, who is beautiful, smart, warm, loving and caring. She deserves a good husband, so thank god you married her before she found one.
For those of you who don’t know, I am Sheila’s uncle, the youngest brother of bride’s mother. My name is Julian.
By the way, I will be addressing the bride as Sheila – I know some of you know her as Priscilla – I’ve always known her by her middle name Sheila.
On behalf of the bride and groom’s parents, I would like to thank you all for your presence on this auspicious occasion. Some of you here have been to the previous Hindu wedding ceremony and reception. Thank you for your attendance to this 2nd wedding reception and, I understand, there is a 3rd reception tomorrow, also at this venue. I was given a choice to attend all three receptions, but because I am part Ceylonese and part Chinese, I was in a dilemma. One half wanted to go for all three receptions but the other half could only afford one angpow.
Sheila and Velan, I am glad and feel so honoured to have been the witness along with my wife Anita for your church wedding today. My wife and I have been witnesses for a number of weddings over the years. In fact, we are thinking of making it a 2nd career. Sheila and Velan you will be glad to know, all those marriages for which we were witnesses are still intact. Not a single one of those couple are divorced or separated so that bodes well for your marriage.
As in any wedding speech I feel it is incumbent upon me to impart some marital advice to the couple. I know there are many people here who are far more qualified than me in this room because we’ve married only 18 years, barely enough time to get to know each other.
I have a few lessons to impart to the groom and I hope those you who are married can support me with some loud applause.
Firstly, Velan very early in your marriage it is important to set the ground rules and establish who is boss ~ then do everything Sheila says!
Remember when you are unhappy, she’s unhappy, and when she’s unhappy — you’re probably the cause.
When I got married someone told me the best maxim for all good marriages was “Never go to bed angry.” My wife and I never go to bed angry. Instead we stay up all night and argue, until someone gives in.
But jokes aside, that’s the crux of it. Someone “giving in.” Velan, in 18 years of marriage, and I’m sure every husband in this room will agree with me on this – you can never, ever win an argument against a woman. Better to give in and give in early.
There will be days when the wife gets upset about the most trivial of things — like putting the lid down after using the toilet, or squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom up, or leaving laundry on the floor or not taking the garbage out. On days like these, you may go the whole day without talking to each other, and when you retire to that king size bed — sleeping as far away from each other as you possibly can — there will a palpable tension in the bedroom.
It is at this time, you must remember Lesson No 1: Make love, not war.
Velan, I’ll let you in on the secret to successful marriage. But, shhh, don’t tell anyone. You must know the three words that melts every woman’s heart, and has been used my husbands the world over for time immemorial.
You need to turn to Sheila, in that darkness, and say these magical three words: “You’re right dear”.
Then follow-up with another set of three words “I am wrong”, “I am sorry”, “I love you”, and the most important set of three words of all to any woman’s ear. “Let’s go shopping.” Nothing cures a woman’s pain more than the promise of some retail therapy.
Of course try saying those set of three words with more sincerity. Otherwise you’ll sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger. As you know, Arnie used his three words too often: “I’ll be back, I’ll be back, I’ll be back.” Until his wife found out whose room he was coming back from.
By the way, Velan stay away from domestic help of any kind. Especially at 5-star hotels in New York. (One day you may be the IMF chief and a French presidential candidate, next day you are sitting in jail wondering what the hell you were thinking.)
Lesson 2: Dates are very, very important to your wife. Today, for instance, is a very important date. May 21. Write it down. You cannot miss birthdays and anniversaries.
The most effective way to remember your wife’s birthday is to forget it once. Thank god for Facebook that will never happen to me. A sidenote on Facebook, Velan, you need to update your relationship status on Facebook from “it’s complicated” to happily married. Preferably by tonight!
Lesson 3: Be useful around the house. Women love husbands who can fix things. If, like me, you are useless at fixing leaky taps and changing light bulbs, then act like you know what you are doing, and when she leaves the house call a good handyman, electrician or plumber. I hear Raj, Sheila’s dad is really good at fixing things. Velan, once you’re married the level of domesticity must improve. You must find where the kitchen is and what all those mysterious objects in it do. FYI, that wet place where all the dishes end up is called the sink. The more you use it, the more Sheila will love you.
(Cut: The more things you fix around the house, the more likely you’ll get your fix that night.)
Those three lessons should be enough to sustain you for now Velan. For your information, I myself cannot remember a single piece of advice given to me at my wedding.
Okay, now Sheila’s turn. Sheila I believe you know there is someone very dear to all of us who should have been here tonight. Unfortunately, god chose to take him early. I am sure wherever he is now, he is looking down on us all tonight and wishing you the very best. Your grandfather, my father, Melvin Matthews Kanagasabai, passed on last November. You know that he had a very special place in his heart for you Sheila. I know he would be so happy for you today as much as your grandmother, your mum, your dad and all your family are too tonight.
Dad, I know you are looking down and wondering why the hell I haven’t told them your “marriage is a three-ring circus” joke. Everyone here knows it, Dad, so we’ll give it a skip this time shall we?
So here are my three lessons for the bride.
Lesson 1: Have a nice meal together, at least once a week. This may sound very easy to do now, but as time goes by, as work and family and friends and maybe even children take up your time, you will find it increasingly difficult to just find the time to sit down, by yourselves, and have a meal together. It doesn’t matter whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner or supper – just find a quiet place – and just enjoy each other’s company away from all your friends, family and workmates. It is only at these times when you can talk, really talk, and be intimate with each other.
Lesson 2: Go for at least one adventurous holiday every year or so. I suggest tonight, after Velan has fallen asleep, and you have counted all your angpow, use his credit card, get on AirAsia.com and buy some tickets girl.
By the way, don’t go on those crappy, organized tours. Create your own holiday. Go to Nepal and climb Everest, or go Africa on your own safari or take six weeks off like Anita and I did to circumnavigate North and South Island of New Zealand.
There is nothing like being in a foreign country only to get lost and find each other. I repeat, there is nothing like being in a foreign country only to get lost and find each other.
Lesson 3: Create special moments that only you and Velan can call your own. I know about those moments. I live for those moments. I remember when my son Jordan was about to be born, the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, and it was touch and go for a few moments, and when the doctor finally got him out and uncurled that cord, it was mixture and relief and pure joy when we saw him change from a purplish blue hue to a healthy pink. That was a moment.
But you don’t need to have children yet to have those moments. I’ll give you another moment.
Anita and I, in the early part of our marriage took up scuba diving. For those of you who have never scuba-dived, there is something magical and comforting and incredibly peaceful being underwater among colorful coral and fish and scary moray eels. Down there, the only sounds you hear are that of your own breathing. (breathing sounds close to mike)
Once, Anita and I went for a holiday off Railay Beach in Krabi, Thailand. We wanted to dive so badly, but all the dive trips were fully booked except for a night dive. We had never done this before and it sounded scary, but we thought we’ll give it a try.
When you dive at night, they give you two torches tied around each of your wrists. So it’s quite clumsy, esp. if you have never used it before but in the darkness you are twice as focused as you can see things only by the beam of your torch.
It was a moonlit night, and we reached our divespot by longtail boat and then we dived into the inky darkness. It was really scary at first for Anita and me but we slowly adjusted.
Our divemaster took us down about 20-25 feet and after diving a bit, he turns to us and does this – (hand gesture slicing neck)
That was the sign to cut our torches. We didn’t know what to think, but he was the divemaster, we just followed as instructed.
It was pitch black at first, but then our eyes adjusted and we noticed the silhouette of our divemaster doing something strange. He was swinging his arms and legs furiously. The agitation caused bio-luminiscent plankton to light up around us. It was as if we were surrounded by stars. He then grabbed our arms and partnered us off to do underwater waltzes. It was magical, an unforgettable and very special moment for Anita and me.
Sheila and Velan, find those moments. Or at least throw yourself into situations where such moments are likely to happen. Your marriage will have ups and downs but it’s the ups you will live for, treasure and sustain you. There will be a time, when you have to switch off your torches, leave it to faith and find that you are surrounded by stars.
Lastly, I hope you will forgive for all the teasing and ribbing tonight. I wish Sheila and Velan a long and very fruitful marriage.
So please raise your glasses and say with me “To love, to laughter and to happy ever after.”