When asked to say a few words at your best friend’s wedding,
You have to watch what you say for it’s on thin ice you could be treading.
But one thing we did know is that it had to rhyme,
For Gillian has written us so many verses in her time.

So let’s start at the beginning – April 1988,
Along came Gillian Irvine just 13 days late.
Winner of the bonny baby contest for the cutest kid in town
A Saintfield girl with little blonde curls – she was the Star of the County Down.

When Gillian & I were little we were never far apart,
At primary school & Girls’ Brigade or talking about boys in the park.
Then there was Sunday School, Duke of Ed & working in the pub,
Or just sitting in Shirley’s drinking tea & eating all her grub.

The last few years we’ve had to travel further for the same,
Often involving buses, taxis, trains & even planes.
Thankfully now we’ve seen the light & both moved back to Belfast,
So Prosecco Fridays can be a regular thing at last.

It didn’t seem to matter that I was late to join the scene
Starting my first job in the bar Gillian took me under her wing
Working with her here was a laugh but it’s not where our friendship grew
That only really happened when she joined the Down High crew.

Being in different years was a pain & so was being apart daily until noon
So we spent our days thinking of ways to sneak her into my common room.
& although I met Gillian late on in my teens I feel like I’ve known her forever
She’s my ‘go to’ for advice, she’ll say what she thinks & damn it she’s actually quite clever!

She tried out being a waitress but, to be honest, she wasn’t great,
Oh yes, she had the charisma, but she could only ever carry one plate.
Those little hands were made for more delicate work it would seem,
Which is why London City bankers are walking around with teeth agleam.

Aside from teeth, Gillian would be prone to a spot of cleaning,
In fact, Barry’s probably learned that there’s no point in intervening.
For when Gillian gets her marigolds on & decides to do a clear out,
You’re better off heading to the garden, & en route, getting a beer out.

These days, our nights out are relatively tame
But back in our teens it was a rather different game
Primed with White Zinfandel we’d head to the Odyssey
Where we’d tear up the dance floor to Snoop D-O-double G

One thing that hasn’t changed is that before we go to bed
We kick off our dancing shoes & curl up with Father Ted
A mug of tea & a slice of toast go well with egg in a cup
& what do you know, we’re away to bed & we’re half way sobered up.

Sunday school excursions used to be an annual event,
Mars bar sandwiches on the way to Portrush, then off to Barry’s we went.
You see, she always did have a thing for Barrys, but back then we never knew,
That she would fall for a big ginger Armagh boy & end up saying ‘I do’.

Which brings us on to Mr McGee, who we both quite literally look up to,
He’s handsome, charming, intelligent & even quite funny, if you’ve had a few.
Joking aside, it’s a thumbs up from us, we think you’re one in a million,
And, most importantly, you’re perfect for our wee Gillian.

So thank you both for giving us this honour at your wedding,
Hopefully we haven’t brought up anything you were dreading.
Instead we’ve tried to illustrate just how many good times we’ve had,
& look forward to all those ahead, when you’ll hopefully be ‘Mum & Dad!’

So to finish off we ask you all to stand & raise a toast...
To Gillian & Barry, the couple we love the most!