As I’m sure many of you know Robyn and I were married on Saturday at Coombe Lodge, in Blagdon, North Somerset. For anyone who for one reason or another couldn’t make it, here’s my speech (annotations in bold).

I’ve included the message Swedish groundhop organiser Kim Hedwall sent that formed part of Simeon’s best man speech, and the first photo from the photographer, the wonderful Lee Hatherall. We hope you enjoy it, 

Laurence & Robyn January 2020 

Kim’s message 

“On behalf of my wonderful wife and I sincerely thank you to all of you for being here to share our special day.

I honestly thought a day like this would never happen to me, so welcome to the greatest day of my life.

All things considered I reckon this now makes me an adopted Bristolian, what do you think? CAN!

Our thanks to Dad for all his help and advice in putting this all together, and for providing the inspiration for the bow ties, but more on that later. Thanks Dad also for raising the average age of our guest list by at least 10 years!

Robyn likes to joke that all my friends are called either Matt or Chris, but my thanks go her Chris, her Mum and as I see it, my new Mum. From the moment we got engaged Chris has been central to our planning, her love for Robyn has been obvious from the moment Robyn and I met 4 years ago. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Robyn told her just how old I am! My thanks also to Clive, Chris’s partner for his continued kindness.

My thanks to Scott, not just for giving Robyn away but also for being the one member of the Marshall clan not to think my taste in music is for old fogies. Scott, Sim and I could have been the British ZZ Top if only Chris had let us grow our beards a little longer!


TOAST: To Dad, Chris, Clive and Scott

That leads me to two people who sadly are no longer with us. Ian, Robyn’s dad I hope would have loved this day, seeing his youngest daughter happy, and my thanks again to Scott for standing in for his Dad. I’m sure he would have been so proud of you.

I see so much of my Mum Gill in Robyn, the kindness, the ability to get on with anyone and yes, the blue eyes! The bow ties most of us are wearing are a tribute to her. Many years ago we were on a family holiday in Corfu and what Mum decided what Dad wanted was a pair of shorts, but Dad decided what he didn’t need was a pair of shorts! So he was despatched to the shops but returned with the opinion that he’d found only one pair he liked.

“They’re lovely” he explained, “They’re pink with little green leaves”

Mum fell for it completely, “

“If you buy those, I’m not walking out with you!” she said and so Dad got his way, and ever after every time Dad was trusted to buy clothes he always claimed to be getting pink with little green leaves. “

Robyn thought I wouldn’t be able to get these things made, sorry…….

I have an idea that Gill and Ian are sat on a sofa watching this somewhere and looking down on us and smiling. I wonder if Mum likes the ties?

TOAST: To Ian and Gill


Next must be Robyn’s bridesmaids Kelly, Taylor and Jorja. Kelly other than being the most inappropriately named big sister ever, she’s tiny, is the busiest person I’ve ever met. I’ll never forget the first Christmas Robyn and I were together; on Christmas Day I drove down to Bristol and when the door opened there was the most wonderful cacophony of noise, wrapping paper and chaos! Kelly told me later that she thought she’d put me off but in fact her and family had reminded me what Christmas and family is about. Kelly, I hope you don’t think Hamilton was my way of saying thanks!

Taylor let’s get in straight here, anyone named after the drummer from the Foo Fighters can’t be all bad! Taylor thank you and yes as soon as it’s all over you can go back to wearing t-shirts and leggings!

Jorja, the girliest girl I know the only person in the world who has ever got me playing pat-a -cake!

To our ushers Jack and Kai, gents thank you. The bar is that way and the smoking area over there.

To Che thanks for your speech, I promise the next time you’ll speak in public it’ll be easier, either that or you’ll learn to run the other way when someone asks!

TOAST The bridesmaids and ushers.


One of the most wonderful facets of being with Robyn has been how people have bought in to our relationship..

I soon learned that if most of my friends are called Chris or Matt then all of Robyn’s are called Amy. I was mighty handy when I met them all. But everywhere we went people have always wanted to help us along the way.

Whether it be Naylorator renewing his passport so he could join the stag party in Albania, or Amy travelling up to Oxford to spend the day with us we’ve been touched with people’s kindness. Thanks also to the infamous Masons Arms pub quiz team for your friendship, laughter and beating me every Saturday evening at darts!

It would be remiss for me to fail to thank Dave and Helen for the amazing centre pieces, place names and posters, and to Jan for doing the bridal party’s hair. I think she took one look at me and decided I was beyond help!

Thanks to Lamorna for the cake, Andy and Diana for the bow ties, Matt Butler for his help with the sweet trolley and the pub quiz team for Robyn’s liking for pink Gin.

TOAST : to friends.

 Sim and I go back a long time, small boys in a dusty Scout hut in the late 80’s. We lost contact during my wilderness years in the noughties but 10 years ago I was sat in the pub in walked the Bean brothers and where better to catch up.

It will be a matter of record that it was a lot easier to convince Robyn to be my wife than it was to get Sim to be my best man. I’m not sure why, just organise a stag do in the UK, another in Tirana, do a witty speech…. And keep me out of trouble!

Ah maybe that’s it, I did infamously put my bag through the scanner at Gibraltar airport once only for it to test positive for Semtex! How was I to know that African cheese has the same consistency! Sim made himself scarce until he quickly realised I was his lift home. Sim and I have spent the last 10 years or so turning up in the likes of Norway, Sweden, Romania, and Greece with no end of silly stories to tell, no make that bore people with afterwards. Well other than Romania, the alcoholic chocolates we brought were off-scale strong so I’m not surprised the quiz team didn’t do very well that week!

Sim was the first person to believe that I could pull off the weekend abroad that Robyn first saw on social media and thought “That looks a bit exciting!”

So Sim thanks for everything, you are part of the reason I met Robyn and 4 years’ later, I could not have asked for a better best man.

TOAST – To Sim

But today should be about Robyn. Beautiful, Brave, Sweet Robyn. Infamously we met on Twitter and gents, I can tell you that when you’re punching way above your weight it is handy to have your photo the size of a thumb nail! We talked for weeks and eventually I drove down to Bristol for a date constantly saying to myself “Don’t screw this up Reade!”

We met in a coffee shop in Bedminster, and I saw her as soon as I walked through the door, It was as if someone turned off the lights and all was left was a spotlight on Robyn. Nothing and no one else mattered, and that’s still the case 4 years later. I remember Chris saying early on in our relationship that Robyn is beautiful on both the inside and outside and she was and is completely correct. To know Robyn is to love her, and I’m still staggered as to how she was single and what on earth she sees in me. Perhaps the right thing to do is not to worry and cheer my good fortune.

Robyn is the bravest person I’ve ever met. Consider all that she’s done over the last four years. She moved to a new job and life in Oxford, having never lived anywhere other than Knowle West- which she once described as being not as bad as Hartcliffe-! She’s been frozen in Athens, been nearly arrested in Marrakech and been featured in the local newspaper in Trelleborg! Little wonder we named the tables after places we’ve visited together! But as with everything she does, she attacks it with love kindness and gusto, and usually a “where’s that to?”

Ours is a busy relationship, we travel and we love to see people and places, and Robyn manages to both cope with things as diverse as the dining at the most exclusive restaurant in Marrakech, meeting all my family, all at the same time, to surviving Grab A Granny night in Abertillery. That by the way is how we ended up booking this evening’s entertainment!

Everywhere she goes every single person she meets falls in love with her. That’s some going for someone with the worst sense of direction I’ve ever known!

In the end Robyn has changed my life completely, life used to be in black and white, and now its in full HD colour and in 3D.

But this is just the beginning for us, there’s so much that we can and will explore in our life together, and I’m so lucky to have someone who makes life complete for me. I love you Robyn, thank you for everything that you are and everything you do for me.

TOAST. To beautiful Robyn Reade.