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Thursday 17 December 2020

Our Two Year Wedding Anniversary

 Two Year Wedding Anniversary

We celebrated two years of marriage today - it's 2 years since our legal ceremony, we usually celebrate on 21st December - when it was our BGW - Big Gay Wedding! In the midst of the pandemic we made a home-style afternoon tea, drank some champagne and watched the wedding videos for the first time, and cried a lot.

We wanted to share some videos from the day, it meant so much to us to have so many people with us, we wanted to share that love again!

Thanks so everyone who was a part of the day - I'm sharing the text of some of the speeches below -but here are some of the videos below, and here's a peek at our wedding gallery from the incredible S6 Photography:


Carlton Towers 21/12/18 - Paul Black & Reece Smith Get Married

Highlights video, with officiation from our amazing friend Hilary

Speeches video

My Dad's Speech - Tony Black

This was a highlight for me, so we cut it out of the main video and its here in it's glory, love you dad!

Good Afternoon All, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you all here today for Paul and Reece’s Wedding Celebrations

What an emotional Ceremony, I may struggle with a few lines in here, please bear with me.

Paul is our first born child and has always been a very bright and caring person, with a great sense of humour.  

As a youngster he had a great passion for art of all types, he is a skilled artist, taking part in life painting classes only last year.

The skills he gained from these classes were on show very recently at the Pirate themed Stag Party.

The Stag Do was great fun, and was going along at a fairly sensible pace up until the ‘drinking games’ commenced, these games involved the need to react to various Pirate related expressions in the correct way, otherwise, there was a drinking fine imposed. 

As a result of several people getting there…. “Shiver me Timbers”, mixed up with there,…. “Oooh Arghh’s’… All kinds of drunken activity took place,…. I vaguely recall a Hairy Electrician from Sheffield and a once long haired Scaffolding Contractor from Hull struggling with the power of speech and mobility courtesy of these festivities….  

There was a danger that Brexit would have made sense if we had of got another round in.

Paul has always been into books, and he loves films and TV.  When he was around 10-12 years of age he took to making short films, these would often have a sci-fi theme. Paul would have his brother and sister in these films along with other close friends such as the Ackerman’s or the Von Ridley Kray Twins.  Carole and I would often return from a night out to find that all of the kids were dressed as aliens or in Paul’s case, he would be in a self-made Star Trek type like villain outfit.  Paul’s attention to detail in these films was thorough; the scripts, make up, and props., etc., were excellent and imaginative.  

Some of the outfits worn, and film content were often funny or strange, and I am sure that some of the child actors in these films were afflicted for life?  

Robert Ackerman….. in particular,    whilst we were on a family holiday in Ibiza during this period of film making, Paul and Robert found it highly amusing to hide in a cupboard at the top of a communal staircase and shout out random stuff whilst people were making their way to the hotel rooms,….. “Wolf in Sheeps clothing”, or “Mince” ….. would randomly be shouted out, very strange I know, and I appreciate that it is not normal to find this sort of activity funny? However, these two found it hilarious, as did their parents and siblings!  I guess there is a message in there somewhere?

Paul has always been an entertainer, and again on family holidays, especially whilst in Florida, he would often bring a character on holiday with us.  Paul’s impersonations of Mr Stephen Lowe, one of his school teachers from Wolfreton are legendary. Paul would often keep us all entertained whilst on our journeys in the mini-bus by speaking in the style of Mr Lowe on any random subject, or whilst he was giving us all a tour guide.  I recall that he first introduced me to the term “Goosed” whilst using Mr Lowe’s accent.

I had a stark reminder of the meaning of this term, when Paul announced that he was to get married. 

Just after Paul and Reece made the engagement announcement, I asked them,… who pays for the Wedding in these circumstances,…

They both just looked at me, 

I thought to myself…… “I’ve JUST BEEN GOOSED”!!! 

This wasn’t the first time that I had been Goosed courtesy of a Wedding Party member here today, several years ago we arranged a big family holiday to Asia, Carole and I, and all three of our children arranged to go to Hong Kong and Thailand.

A few months after the trip was fully organised, Paul announced that one of his close friends was getting married in the UK, right smack in the middle of the time we were due to be on holiday.  Given that this friend, affectionately now known as Reverend Hilary was very important to him, and Paul is very important to us, I suggested that he should travel with us to Hong Kong, and Bangkok, then we would pay for him to fly back to the UK for the Wedding, and then back to join us in Thailand.  We made these arrangements and paid for them so everything was set up in advance of the holiday.

Shortly before we were due to go on the holiday, Reverend Hilary decided to cancel the wedding, stating that she wanted to wait for the right man, this resulted in not only losing the money for the non-used wedding flights for Paul, I also think we had to pay a fee to amend the flights back to the original arrangements.     

As it turned out, the Right Reverend Hilary went on to find the right man, in the form of a Hairy Electrician from Sheffield, and it appears that I was well and truly Goosed by the clergy.


As a young child Paul was never really into sport, and he would resist any of my attempts to get him a little fitter, an example of this is when I took him and Laura to the Squash club and tried to get them to run around as well as play squash.  I took Paul on Court first to play whilst Laura ran up and down, just outside the Glassback.  When I switched to take Laura on Court and encouraged Paul to do a few shuttle runs outside, he was not happy,…. in fact I don’t think he recovered from that trauma for weeks. It was for around a month or so afterwards that he didn’t speak to me? 

I am pleased to say that since becoming an adult, Paul has become more fitness conscious, and Carole and I were extremely proud when we were in Newcastle to watch him complete the Great North Run!  A massive achievement, and a far cry from sending me to Coventry after the shuttle run situation.        

Paul always excelled at School, and was very keen to go to University.  I was unaware of just how keen he was, until I realised that he had been sat in the vehicle we were packing his University gear in for 3 hours before we were due to leave.      Seriously though, I think the whole university experience was the making of him, the life’s experience, the education and the great friends that he met have proved to be invaluable.  

Friends have always been in abundance for Paul, and I know you are all very important to him.  It is great to see people here today from his schooldays, the NUTS from the University, as well as the friends from the Newcastle Union Theatre Society…. and all the other friends he has made throughout his life. Carole and I are very proud of Paul’s attitude towards friendship and loyalty.

Paul was the first member of mine or Carole’s families to go to University, and his influence, help and encouragement to Laura and Michael in their education and life has been immense, Carole and I thank him so much for that.        

It is important to say at this point, that it is even more remarkable how Paul was able to become this helpful and rounded a person despite growing up with a Dad who was ignorant to the subject of homosexuality back then, and lacked understanding at times.  I am extremely Proud to say that I too have been educated by the exceptional example of a human being that is my eldest Son, Paul.   

Paul’s career continues to grow in strength and interest, and it is noticeable how much he enjoys his work, the people he meets, the challenges he confronts, it is really good to see his progress and Carole and I are very proud of Paul’s work ethic?.


As Parents, Carole and I could not have wished for anything more from Paul, he is a special person who continues to be an example to us both.


On to Reece:  

Carole and I, Laura and Michael all met with Paul and Reece as a couple for the first time at Laura’s then home in Nottinghamshire,….. there were a few nerves on show initially, however, they were soon blown away when we started to discuss the various dining options.

Firstly, Paul and Reece announced that they had recently been to the ‘Meatlicker’ for dinner…, and when Laura confirmed that she had booked the ‘Cock in the Hoop’ for our dining venue that day,….  we all cracked up,…. the tension left the room at that point.

We all know how caring Reece is, you only have to look at the intense care he provides to young children in his working capacity to know what a special person he is.  Reece has also many other talents, his baking skills are legendary.  He once spent six hours at our place making a Gingerbread House one Boxing Day, the result was amazing, the attention to detail was outstanding, the skillsets on show are also evident on his interior design projects which are also exceptional…..  He is a Man of many talents.

Reece is also keen on a good time, and enjoys a drink or two, in fact, on the Christmas Day bashes, when we ‘run the book’ on who is likely to be drunk first, Reece is the Hot Favourite.  He often needs to crash out early. Borrowing Rob Ridley’s jogging bottoms on one occasion due to the increased waistline as a result of the Xmas over indulgence, so that he could retire comfortably on any bed he found unoccupied.  He is capable of crashing out anywhere.

Reece and Paul are both keen on cooking, and are both talented in the kitchen, however, it is not always a smooth operation if they are in the kitchen together, I find it hilarious when they get a tad tetchy with one and other over which is the correct approach to whatever cooking process is on the menu.  Reece’s attitude to tidiness is also legendary, and slightly differs from Paul’s more relaxed approach.

All in All, Reece is a thoughtful, caring and talented person, and Carole and I are very proud to welcome him into our family.

It has been said that you should try and find a partner that is like one of your own parents, judging by Paul’s choice in Reece, it seems that he has found someone who can be a piss artist, an obsessively clean and tidy person around the house, and someone who can be argumentative from time to time,   Looks like you have found someone exactly like your Mother Paul!!!!!

Paul and Reece are great together, they have a great time together, they have built a home together, and most importantly they love each other. Carole and I wish them every happiness for the future.

So, If we all have a charged glass, I would like to propose a Toast.

To Paul and Reece.

Thank You!     

Paul's Speech, (one of) the groom(s)!

Hello everyone, I’m going to be as brief as I can be - to give Catherine as much time as possible to rip me to shreds, we all know there’s A LOT of ammo!

Thank you to you all for being with me and my husband.... we’re so privileged to have such a bunch of incredible friends and family here supporting us and I hope kicking off your Christmases in style

I know a lot of you probably thought ‘ah, we’ll get the highlights on Reece’s Instagram stories tomorrow anyway ‘ but there’s nothing like being here in the moment, is there???

It’s particularly heart warming to see you’re all familiar with the farrow and ball colour chart.

Here’s to a couple of people who have traveled the furthest; Molly, thanks for coming all the way from Penang, Malaysia, via East Dulwich

And Batte, all the way from Indonesia - I know life in Bali is so stressful, non stop work and gruelling toil, but it really means the world that you put down whoever you were doing - SORRY - whatever you were doing to be with us.

This is the hardest bit really, there are people who can’t be here today - friends and family who couldn’t travel, and we’ll be raising a glass to them, but also those who are no longer with us. I want to have a toast now for them, there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about the members of my family who aren’t with us, and I know Reece is the same - especially for us both in the run up to today, and wherever they are I hope we’ve made them proud.

To absent friends and family.

Now onto easier bits - more thank you’s I’m afraid!

I want to thank David, for his help on the invites and the ‘look’ for all the print.

I want to thank my HUSBANDS family - Sarah, Haydn, Megan and Erica, for raising the man I love and for welcoming me into your family with open arms.

Now, on to the STAGS! We had a brilliant day celebrating Reece’s 10th birthday pirate party 20 years on... well, for what I remember of it! Thanks to Mikey, and especially Rob for cooking up a fantastic day, and guaranteeing Reece an early night! One thing that I do remember is the vision of my dad shuffling around trying to pick his ID up, and failing, repeatedly - suffice to say I was delighted that my lawyer brother used his best negotiating skills to get me in, but sadly even a Cambridge degree and magic circle trained solicitor couldn’t get dad in!

And then there’s the HAGS! If you don’t follow me on social media, you may have missed the fact that we went to Ibiza in September, and if you do follow me you’re probably already over it!!!

But, indulge me - I literally had the best weekend I could have asked for - from STAY THROUGH CREW, to the boat trips with chicken lips and sexy banana, David Guetta and a glitter beard- To all of you - you did me proud! Captain twat certainly had the time of his life!

I’ve been lucky to know a lot of amazing women through my life – I’ve never been afraid of a fag hag, you girls are the best!

And then on to my Grooms Maids - Felicity, Catherine, Hilary and Laura; You all look fantastic - we got there in the end with the dresses - if any of you lot thought the dress code was specific, imagine being these guys!

I hope I don’t need to tell you how much I love each and every one of you; thank you for being rocks through this whole process, and for being the best bunch of women I could ask to be my friends.

I’ve got to say a special thank you to Hilary, our celebrant today; a couple of years ago when you asked me to marry you and Russell it was one of the most amazing things I’d ever been asked to do - and when Reece and I were planning this we couldn’t imagine standing up there in front of everyone without you up there with us. You are the very definition of an incredible friend - always there when you need them and ready to help, for that, and everything else we’ve done and will do in the future I thank you.

And this is the way I segway into talking about my family, I should have been a TV presenter!

The last of my groomsmaids, my beautiful sister Laura - not only is it truly amazing that I have such a caring, fun-loving sister, I also count in you one of my best friends. I love you so much. Thank you for being our witness on Monday, and for being there always - even when you pushed it a little bit by living with us for a whole year!

I’ve already mentioned my little brother Mikey, and if you didn’t already know HE WENT TO CAMBRIDGE - I hope you know just how proud I am of you, and how amazing it is to see everything you do now as a grown up- not the little kid I still imagine you as. And thank you for MC’ing the day today!

And then on to my mum and dad, who for reasons obvious, and less so, we wouldn’t be here without...

You used to say when we were younger ‘you don’t know how lucky you are’ - we’ll, trust me, we do!

Mum, as always, you look amazing today, but once you’re out of your gym kit/slash work uniform you usually do! I count myself extremely lucky to have such a caring mum, who taught me everything I needed to know about drinking, and everything else I didn’t about steaming floors. I love you mum, thank you for being the life and soul of the party, and for everything you do.

And then on to my Dad, I can quite honestly say you are the back-bone to our entire family, without your love, support and friendship I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today, and I can say the same for my siblings. I hope even though I could NEVER do a shuttle run, I’ve made up for it in other ways.

Together you taught us to do our best, but have a good time doing it, to strive for what we wanted and to be happy - Dad had a full head of hair before I came home from university and uttered the feared words ‘I’ve joined the theatre society... and I might want to do something like that as a job’. At least I went for a much more sensible option in Childrens publishing!

Thank you for all of your unwavering support, and for all the help you’ve given me, and now me and Reece. We both love you.

Before I talk about my gorgeous husband, there’s something both Reece and I wanted to say; We are so incredibly lucky to have the love and support of everyone here, and to be able to stand up and declare our love and be accepted and loved in return by our families and our friends.

But, there are millions of people all over the world, people in our own country even, that aren’t as fortunate - their lifestyle and their love is against the law, or goes against the support of their family and aren’t able to stand up and be proud - we feel like we should honour them, and honour the men and women who came before us, who fought and died over the years to pave the way for us to be able to live our true lives. For all they’ve done I’d like us all to raise our glasses and say thank you.


Now, onto my husband Reece!

Look at him – head-to-toe in Alexander McQueen, and looking amazing! But then again, unless he’s coming off 3 or 4 night shifts, he usually does!

I’ve said this before, so forgive me for repeating myself, but I’ve always considered myself happy, and I went through my life for 28 years for better or worse and pretty happy - but then I met you Reece and realised that there was something missing; I’ve always been happy, but you completed me.

You’re my best friend, and I can’t imagine my life without you - and now I never have to! You’re kind, funny (when you mean to be, and when you don’t), caring and have made a home for us that goes WAY beyond my dreams of a colour-coordinated cup for each room!

You never give yourself enough credit - When I think about what you do, when you go out to work you ACTUALLY help people – when I come home stressed about someone not tweeting enough, or demanding a car, or any stress like that it pales into comparison with what you do at GOSH – you and all the other nurses here are actual heroes.

 I love you Reece, and want to thank you for being you and to agreeing to marry me 2 years ago I asked you with a Harry Potter book and the Unbreakable Vow; even though we all know you’re a Hufflepuff, you say you’re a Gryffindor, but marrying a Slytherin is a pretty brave thing to do!

So my final toast is to Reece, May our life be full of happiness and laughter, and may we face everything that comes at us together!

To Reece!

Reece's Speech - (the other) groom!

What a fantastic day so far and lots more celebrating to come. We are truly honoured and touched that all the special people in our lives can share this spectacular day with us. Thank you for attending our much anticipated big gay wedding, (yes no pride flags as that doesn’t fit in with the much discussed colour theme). 

Well I am now married…Mr and Mr Black, we now sound like a Hollywood celebrity couple, and just maybe they will make a movie about us. We has already guest stared in Heston’s recipe for romance, Australian goggle box, eggheads, Manchester children’s hospital documentary, Russell brands YouTube video, and finally Geordie shore the reunion one and two.

Well what I say, I have now married my best friend and the love of my life.  He has always been so supportive, kind and caring.  Paul you are my world. When we first met, his husky voice, stocky build and Viking looks, wooed me. However I suggested he grew a beard, Just to complete the look. 
Paul is my greatest companion in life; His simile lights up any room and his laugh is infectious. I love him dearly, even if he did pretend to be disabled one time just to attend a Justin Timberlake concert, I first heard this at sibion and Michaels wedding to great disbelief. 
Paul loves me to acknowledge how good he is as a events organiser, he has logistically executed this day perfectly with all his exceptional organisational skills. I myself did very little of the organising however the design elements were partly due to myself and when you tuck into the cheese and cake latter……that was my organisational element. 

Well I want to say a few thanks, thank you to my beautiful grooms maids, Rachael, Hannah, my sisters Megan and Erica. not bridesmaids, sad to say I decided against wearing the big white dress, I know some of you hoped I would. 

I want to say big thank you to my gorgeous mother, who bought myself and my sibling up pretty much single handily. She instilled such great qualities in me which I still live by now. She pushed me to be ambitious and follow my dreams; I thank you her for that.
Mum you look amazing, and very glamorous. I love mom and thank you for being apart of our  lives and this special day. 

I want to say a huge thank you to Tony and Carole my new in laws. This day could not have been possible without them. I want to say thank you so much for accepting me so warmly into your family.  You have done so much for myself and Paul already and I thankyou so greatly for this.