My Best Friend Got Married… So, I Gave A Speech

My oldest friend of 20 years got married last weekend. As his Best Man, I had to give a speech and toast. I am no stranger to speaking publically and I am extremely comfortable with addressing a room full of strangers, but I was nervous giving a speech on this occasion as I didn’t want to botch this responsibility. In the end, I thought it went well. Here’s what I had to say:

5 min readApr 19, 2021
(The groomsmen and groom, roughly 3 hours away from getting married. We fetched our bride successfully, gaining a new relative in the process)

“Many thanks to Phike and Taneal in assisting me to gather enough people to share a presentation on this once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity. From as little as R200, our company, ‘Cash Money Bucks’ can guarantee returns of up to R5000 next week! I’m kidding, I’m kidding…

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, my name is Ayakha, the best man and friend of the groom, Phike. Tonight, we’re in a room full of extraordinary people. From teachers, military veterans and businesspeople — yet, I’m the ‘Best’ — those are his words, not mine!

On behalf of the newlyweds, I would like to thank everyone for attending this amazing celebration. Your beautiful faces and outfits to match, only add to the perfection of this day. I’d like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to the couple’s parents, guardians and family members for raising such incredible people, whom I’m fortunate enough to call my best friends.

Phike is not only my closest, oldest friend and confidant but he’s truly my family, my Brother and one of the most standup gentleman I know. He’s done so many wonderful things, that it would be difficult to name them all…Hey, Phike, hold on… I can’t read your handwriting here! But seriously, it’s all truth — and I’m very proud to stand by his side today. Taneal, I was hoping to be the best-dressed person in the room, but I’ve obviously failed dismally. You look absolutely stunning. I am so proud and happy for you both.

I’m thinking about a conversation Phike and I had a few weeks back, where we made the realisation that this is the 20th year of our friendship — oh, how time flies. I met this man in 2001 as a fresh-faced nine-year-old and I am blessed to stand here before you all, as a 29-year-old, as a result of this Brotherhood. The funniest thing is that we’re on the eve of our 30s, yet I look at my peers in attendance and still see us as mischievous teenagers clad in our school uniforms… with facial hair and deep voices. It’s a disturbing image, I know. I am working hard to erase the image from my thoughts.

The individuals that are privy and had a front-row seat to their relationship, from primary school to high school, will know that their relationship is not a recent occurrence. While their earlier dating years were great, I believe that it was in the of their “off” years that allowed the chance to go on their own journeys, growing individually and experiencing the sequence of events that shaped them positively, to find their way back to each other. Today, we witness the union of two fascinating life partners, whose journey has come full-circle and we’re fortunate enough to experience a new chapter in their ongoing story.

Taneal, the impact you’ve made on Phike cannot be understated. I credit you for playing a significant role in his growth as a level-headed, responsible, respectable and ambitious man. And because of this very effect, as his friends, we not only get the honour of experiencing such a well-rounded gentleman but a beacon that serves as an inspiration too. I appreciate and thank you dearly, for your presence and role in his life. I've also had the good fortune of your growth throughout our teenage years — Hell, I even remember your first day in primary school and my boy’s EXACT reaction when he first saw you. However, I’ll share the reaction with you after the toasts. I am not only proud of your achievements as a professional, but also of the brilliant woman you’ve grown into. You’re a “Light” and I implore you to never dim it for anyone — not even him.

I could easily travel down memory lane, recalling all the moments I’ve seen in their decades-long chemistry. This chemistry, which was prominently seen on our numerous school trips. On the other end, I can also recall the aftermath and frostiness of their intermittent breakups and that was felt predominantly during school breaks. Ultimately, I am happy that their ups and downs have culminated into this perfect day to celebrate them.

(Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash — I obviously won’t share any photos yet, until the couple has released them publically)

Traditional Best Man speeches would require me to give you advice. However, I am not exactly equipped to do so— as I am not yet married myself, but aspire to be. Instead, I will say this:

  • Love, respect and protect your relationship, but never lose yourselves in each other, or to the world;
  • Fight for each other always. As you know from your dating years (until a few hours back), most things are temporary;
  • Continue to be an inspiration and example of what true love is because I am definitely taking notes

Taneal and Phike… I wish nothing less than health and wealth in abundance, so that you may both continue to enjoy many, many years of blissful marriage. I wish strength upon you both, to fight and overcome any challenges you may face in this journey called “Life”. I will continue to pray for your union’s peace, preservation and everlasting happiness.

Congratulations on this day. I thank you both for inviting us to share it with you. I love you both dearly.”

I was quite happy to have successfully delivered the speech, much to the approval of the newlyweds and the audience, because I was beginning to tear up towards the end (anyone that knows me, knows that I am a crier and who can really hold back tears on such a beautiful occasion?). Being the first from our childhood circle of friends to get married, is a big feat and a bar has been set — but no pressure. The entire event not only added to what I define Love to be but the role in which friendship, brotherhood and family plays in the greater scheme of things.

On behalf of the newlyweds, I want to thank everyone that attended the service, everyone that helped in the event, the people that played their appointed roles to the tee and everyone that continues to extend their well-wishes to the couple. We will keep the couple in our thoughts and prayers, sending nothing short of positive energies to ensure their marriage lasts a lifetime, filled with joy and love.

All posts are personal insights, thoughts and observations made, based on my experience as a (almost) 30-year-old, African man trying to raise a steadfast and fearless girl in an increasingly changing world. I also share some observations on the fintech ecosystem of the developing world at PaySpective. Let’s connect on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram




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