Jean and Michael's Speech
Marriage Ceremony Michael's introduction 

Dear Ji Nee and Mark, our beloved son and daughter, Mr and Mrs Gurney - Junior, What a team you make.

Jean and I are thrilled. We have grown quickly to love you Ji Nee. Bobby and Lily - We are immensely pleased to have joined your family, and for you all to have joined ours.

We, of course, have become Dr and Mrs Gurney – Senior.

  • A shift upstairs
  • An expectation of letting go
  • Of grey hair, olde world manners, 
  • Ignorance of the internet.
As such an elder parent perhaps I should give you – Ji Nee and Mark – some advice on marriage.
But I’m not really an expert - I’ve only been married once.
I’m sure that other people here have multiple experiences of marriage:
  • both over time, and
  • for some of you, concurrently, at the same time
  • still more may have the – often traumatic – experience of contemplating matrimony:
  • perhaps a number of times
  • So, with my lack of experience I have only one thing to say:
    Variety may be the spice of life;  but Marriage is a spouse for life.

    I have had a spouse for life – for almost 33 years – one third of a century so far. And our marriage remains enormously spicy. Jean, you are my pimento, my allspice, my red hot pepper, my spouse for life. We have a well-seasoned marriage. Jean, with her poetic sensibilities, sense of rhythm, and metre and insights will now read something she has written for Ji Nee and Mark.

    Reception Penang
    Football Match
    Wedding Warmup
    Koh Phi Phi
    Reception Jamaica



    A Mother and a friend wishes to prose a toast

    You sent to us a message,
    A message hurrying out of doors
    Into the four corners of our lands,
    And on the waves of sound
    That float across the seven seas –
    To bring us to a gathering,
    A gathering in this fold,
    Reminding us – to bring with us -
    The separate memories that we hold of you, 
    To help you fill out
    Those separate memories that you hold of us.

    For just being here, we must connect for you
    The then and now, see how we bring from both
    The fabric of a life,
    Where strength lies in the texture and the weave,
    In the certainty of its beauty and in itself.
    In how you make of it a cloak
    In how you fold and make it fit,
    And how you bring your thoughts to bear
    On the essence of that thing.

    And so, we gathered here,
    Would send a message back to you –
    That, framed in this space by time and place,
    The centre of this picture holds
    A lasting image of yourselves, with symmetry
    In linking lines and merging shapes,
    Of friend-as-family, of family-as-friend.
    Our presence here, a sharing of a grace, a love
    That you have brought to it
    And we see fit to bring to you
    As lasting friends.
    There are no strings to tie
    What each would give.
    There are no strings to tie
    What each would take:
    There is no measure for such things.

    I borrow heavy words so rich for everyday,
    Like ‘memories’ and ‘fabric-of-a-life’;
    Leaving space for minds to play
    With memory in the line,
    In clichéd sureness of it’s truth,
    In metaphor and rhyme.
    But now I feel for images and shapes, colours that feel right,
    And other ways to make these heavy words more light.

     Dear Mark, our only son and only child –
    You never were an only child.
    You filled your spaces and our spaces, with the sounds
    Of cousins, other people’s sisters, daughters,
    Made friends of other people’s brothers, sons.
    You came with us across a world
    And saw us test the dreams and sorrows
    To make some harmony of our own.

    Dear Ji Nee - now his closest friend – 
    You send a message of yourself, 
    As equal and as generous in your love.
    In the exchange of ritual vows today
    And of precious things like ritual rings,
    And in the lighting of the ritual oil -
    Do we not see a promise of an old, old notion
    Of some non-negotiable things?
    ‘One football team?  Or was it two, or more?’

    ‘Just ten more minutes on that treadmill in the gym’
    Beats cleaning cobwebs threading
    Dreams between the beams,
    And those grey-brown football socks soaking in the sink.
    Do we not also see tonight,
    In the warm faces in this place,
    A promise of the shrinking of a world
    Of memory and friendship - through cyberspace?

    Now Dear Son, and now Dear Daughter,
    Here bound, each to each, by strength of law
    And even more by strength of love,
    Send back to us a message from the frame
    (As architects of space;  masters of balance and of line)
    That the limits of your land
    Which you begin to map today,
    Is the kind of boundary
    Which you have no need to break.

    The message that walls cemented as a refuge
    From the world without,
    May link your thoughts together –
    Yet leave forever doors of friendship,
    Doors to let the sound of voices in;
    Leave space for windows for your varied sight
    To play with colours of refracted light.
    Send back to us a message saying that you know -
    Two hands can shape a roof
    But four hands, or more, can shape a life.

     That you will take those things, so
    Neatly ranged on open shelves for all to see,
    And others valued for their worth,
    But safely stored in boxes behind doors:
    Those little things like humour, hope and love,
    Those little things like tolerance and faith, 
    And air them, polish them, from time to time,
    Weigh them, one against the other, in each hand,
    To see which one has gained some ounces
    Which one lost some pounds.

    For it is you who now will weave 
    The fabric of your life together,
    And fold edges into harmony
    With memories that you hold;
    It is you who now will care
    To measure the dreams and sorrows, myths of others
     Against the rituals that you share;
    As you can now create your own,
    And mould that certainty of yourselves
    From your own sense of being loved.

    Go back to the Wedding Reception