Was This The Longest Speech In The World?

The Gettysburg Address lasted 2 minutes, twenty two seconds. Ronald Reagan’s 1986 State of the Union Address was 31 minutes. The average valedictorian speech is between 5-20 minutes, on average. My best man’s speech, 20 minutes.

The wedding ceremony was low key

The wedding ceremony was low key, an all you can eat bull roast in a Knights of Columbus Hall. It was attended by about 150 people, all firemen. My husband and I had been in the Fire Department for about 12 years, so it was only fitting to invite our extended “family” of firefighters. We planned on a quick ceremony right at the hall, followed by all you can eat and drink after the best man and maid of honor spoke; easy, short and fun.



Or so we thought.

When the best man stood to give the address, we were alerted to the possibility of a firefighter riot as he pulled a notepad out of his pocket. We all laughed uneasily as he shuffled pages around before speaking. I do not recall everything he said; my eyes glazed over somewhere between “I have known the groom for 10 years” and “When he first became potty trained…”

If you want to see a fireman in distress, keep his beer and sandwich out of his reach. I suspect there was unauthorized nibbling going on, and was pretty sure I heard swallowing. Perhaps that was the only way they could stay awake through the speech. I noted a few of them brandishing their butter knives in a very threatening manner; others were face down snoring in the soup bowls. The DJ was debating playing God Save The Queen or some other pithy song to revive the masses.

I believe I still have an entire wedding photo album full of nothing but pictures of the best man’s speech. Several photographers ran out to their cars for additional film.



For myself

For myself, I planned our first child, where she would go to college, my retirement, and even started thinking of funeral arrangements; the best man’s, not mine. I do not think any one has applauded the ending of a speech more since, “This is one small step for man.”

It became a long standing joke among us all; the best man’s speech was truly longer than our ceremony.



When the maid of honor stood and took the microphone

When the maid of honor stood and took the microphone, in a shaky voice she said, “I love you guys so much. Good luck.” She became the most popular woman at the ceremony; people still rave about her speech all these years later. I was never prouder of my own fair sex than at that moment.



I have been to many weddings, done many Electric Slides, and heard many best men speak. I do no believe I have ever heard one quite as long as the presentation at my wedding. His heart was in the right place, I suppose; the right place for a salad fork flung from the audience.

It was a wonderful day, and while I joke about it, I was touched by his words. The therapist says I am really making strides now.

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