Mark Norman Francis

Internet Boffin

My Big Fat Geek Wedding

Published on September 21, 2008.

Signing the certificate

On Friday, I got married to a girl I’ve been with for around about a decade. And like all good geeks, we put a few references to popular culture into the event.

The first, and most obvious, was a little bit of Pirate. After all, the wedding was on September 19, which is also International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Beforehand, a few people had asked me how much piratical influence there would be on the day. Only Jeremy Keith correctly nailed it that my speech would contain pirate speak. Most people were focused upon the ceremony.

My speech

Index cards are often used by people to remind them what they need to say in their speeches. I put my notes on my iPhone. This is the early draft—what I said on the day was the same in structure, but with a bit more ad-libbing and a little bit of forgetting to say a couple of things.

So, for anyone that doesn’t know me, I’m a geek and therefore, you know, slightly Asperger’s, slightly Austistic. So first thing I do to prepare for today is jump online to Wikipedia for “wedding speeches”. Rubbish. No such page. Sure, I can find out all sorts of random crap. Such as Wagner’s Bridal Chorus (which you’ll know as Here comes the bride) is not often used at Jewish weddings because he was said to have been an anti-Semite. I can also find out that a Malay wedding is spread over two days, as in Russia that’s a bare minimum, and sometimes it’s as long as week. That it was Queen Victoria who is commonly credited with popularising white wedding dresses in Western societies. Also, the white symbolises purity not virginity (which is marked by the veil over the face).

But the most important fact is that the groom is a mere detail. Modern Bride, first published in 1949, began the inagural column with I really did have the wedding of my dreams, the wedding that had been floating around my head for years before I met my husband.

So I left that depressing resource and just hit up Google for groom speech. A few pages later, I have an essential list of things to do. My job is to thank people, say nice things about my parents, my wife (stressing wife as things are presumed to have gone well for me if I’m making a speech), her parents, tell an anecdote about us, hand out some gifts, and then propose a toast to the bridesmaids. Essentially, provide you with some information, entertainment, make people feel good, but also try to shut up as quickly as possible.

First, I’d like to thank Ann for her lovely speech and for raising such a lovely daughter. I’m absolutely head over heels in love with SJ, and that is in no small part thanks to you, for raising her to be the beautiful woman she is today. And for everything she’s done to make today and the start of our marriage special.

I’d also like to thank my mum for not making a speech. She’s not supposed to, but nonetheless (once she started, she’d never stop). The fact that SJ finds me worthy enough to spend her life with is a testament to the man I am, which is the child you raised, only just a bit older.

Obviously we’d both like our fathers to be here today, but they were both taken before their times. So to those absent, thank you.

Anecdote!

We met doing an improvisation class. Not much to tell, except what first caught my eye was her top, and the way I could see her bra through it. Anyway, we became good friends, started living together, she fell in love with me and then I asked her out.

Instead, I’d like to tell you a little story about preparing the wedding. It was in March, and I was asking my friend Jeremy if he’d like to come to my wedding. He asked me when it was, then laughed when I told him. You know which day that is, right? he said, when I looked a little confused. Talk Like A Pirate Day!

I rang SJ later that day (I was in Texas at the time) and told her. Several seconds of silence. Then just No. Whaaaat? I know you. No. Now, fair enough. I don’t look good with a parrot on my shoulder. And, as Wikipedia has already established, today is her day.

Arrrrrr!! Norm

But this? Avast! Me hearties, this here be my speech, yarr!

So thank’ee to me best man, who be a black hearted scurvy dog, but a good Jack to have next you ye in a fight! Matey, I be tellin' ye afore ye give ya speech, so mark me words—dead men tell no tales. Yarr.

And thank’ee to the maid o’honour. Shiver me timbers, she be a buxom beauty, and no mistake! And thank’ee to the helpers! By the powers! Without ye, me hearties, this day be scuttled and we be marooned. There be booty 'ere for ye!

Now, lubbers! Splice the mainbrace! Ye be raisin‘ yer grog to salute Bee, an’ Jay, an' Hannah, an' Swazi. YARR!

Musical references

Despite a lack of piratical influence upon the ceremony, there was still a couple of extras in there for anyone paying attention. To start with, we made up a special playlist of some modern classical music to pass the time while everyone waited for the bride to turn up, with the last song reserved to play only as she walked down the aisle.

A list of songs played before the ceremony
Title Album Artist
Adventure CallingThe IncrediblesMichael Giacchino
Temple GateGrim FandangoPeter McConnell
River Understands SimonFireflyGreg Edmonson
The MawHaloMartin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori
Empty HousesBioshockGarry Schyman
River Tricks EarlyFireflyGreg Edmonson
WonderTomb RaiderNathan McCree
PassacagliaBattlestar Galactica: Season 1Bear McCreary
Battlestar SonaticaBattlestar Galactica: Season 3Bear McCreary
Prep for FlightSerenityDavid Newman
Inside the Tam HouseFireflyGreg Edmonson
Gentle ExecutionBattlestar Galactica: Season 3Bear McCreary
Main ThemeTomb RaiderNathan McCree
Manny & MecheGrim FandangoPeter McConnell

Popular culture

And lastly, during the ceremony itself, after being declared as legally married by law, SJ leaned in to me and whispered You’re my wife now!.