The following speech was given by a groomsman at our wedding. It was delivered in Dutch, and many of my non-Dutch-speaking family and friends were curious as to what it all meant. Han van Eck has kindly provided an English translation of his speech.
Beloved bride and groom, honorable parents, beloved family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances,
My name is Han van Eck. It’s a pleasure for me to be present today, and it’s a great honor that I was asked to prepare a short speech in Dutch tonight. I met the groom in 1993, when we started our university in [redacted]. During the introduction week, [Hubs] was looking for a place to sleep in town. I wonder if he’d have accepted my offer if he had realized upfront how small my room was, and how terribly thin and uncomfortable the mattress was on the hard floor that he was forced to use. The first night that week we ended up drinking a good glass of beer in a local bar [redacted]. That apparently softened the hardship, since, in the years to follow, we would visit that bar many, many times, joined by our friends [redacted] who are also present here tonight.
Before I tell you how [Hubs] and Tiffany met, I’d like to remind you of a brief piece of history. In Europe, the Dark Ages were a period of courtly knights and beautiful maidens. At the end of the Fifteenth century, the economy and science got up to speed again and the period called the Renaissance bloomed with great artistic virtue. In 1492 Columbus discovered the New World, later called America. Those who went off to live there started calling Europe the ‘Old World’.
Both continents would never be the same: America got to know gunpowder and horses, while in Europe, tobacco was introduced and the daily menu soon started to include potatoes. We, his friends, got to know [Hubs] as a real knight. Brave in battle – as he proved in the Battle at Steenwijk, where he picked up the fists & kicks for his friends -, helpful (and not only when it involved moving furniture), loyal to his ideals and courteous to the ladies. Such a knight deserves a beautiful maiden. But those are – as you might well know – hard to find. During a long period, a little dark at times, [Hubs] searched across the Old World, but was unable to locate her. Until he extended his quest into the New World, and – appropriately – ended up at a Renaissance Fair in Maryland; a present-day event where the old world is brought back to life.
There he found his maiden, or rather: his princess. Tiffany Raye Jarman. Her love for singing and dancing clearly indicated her noble ancestry. Knight and princess fell for each other like stone bricks.
[Hubs] and Tiffany proved that love can connect two worlds. The distance between them was easily bridged by the wonders of the current new world: airplanes, e-mail and Skype. The first text message we received said it all: “This will become my wife!” They got to know each other’s lives. [Hubs] learned to love dogs and Tiffany knows all the players in the PSV soccer team almost
by heart by now. The distance between them only seems to be an excuse to get married, since we’ve seldom seen two people long for each other this much.
Both lives will surely never be the same again: her diet will include local crisps, chops, beans and cooked potatoes, while his will include TV-diners. Her life will be invaded by computer games, while he’ll start to enjoy musicals. But whatever the level of artistic bloom will be brought into the life of [Hubs], surely the change will be biggest for Tiffany, who will move into the Old World. Tiffany, welcome to Holland, our home is your home.
We wish the bride and groom all the good luck and happiness of the world. A toast to the happy couple:
LEVE DE KONINGIN! [Long Live The Queen!]
Hoera! (3x) [Hurray!] (3x)
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