A Hartlepool teacher was in for a shock when he was asked to be his brother’s best man – and make his speech in a language he had never spoken a word of before.
Chris Seymour, the assistant headteacher at St Hild’s Church of England School, on King Oswy Drive, felt honoured when sibling Adam asked him to take on the duties at his wedding in Mexico during the summer.
However, nerves soon set in when he was asked to make his speech in Spanish, the language the majority of the 130 guests spoke.
Chris, 36, had a crash course in Spanish from the modern foreign languages department at St Hild’s before leaving for Mexico.
He said: “I was delighted and honoured to be asked by Adam to be his best man, but it was a bit of a shock to find out that it had to be in Spanish.
“I was initially quite daunted by the task, but after finding out that over half of the 130 invited guests spoke only very limited English I thought making my speech in Spanish was the right thing to do.
“It was a wonderful day all round – and fortunately my speech went very well.
“I was quite nervous beforehand, and I even politely avoided the complimentary champagne to keep a clear head. My speech lasted two to three minutes – although it seemed a lot longer – and I received quite a few compliments about my accent, which was particularly pleasing.”
Groom Adam is a history teacher working in Abu Dhabi, while bride Ale Acosta works in hospitality there. They were married at a ceremony in Puebla state, which is a two-hour drive south of Mexico City, where they met when Adam worked there.
Chris, meanwhile, was helped in getting to grips with the new language by Cheryl Walton, the school’s subject leader in French, and Naomi Ellis, the school’s new specialist Spanish teacher.
He also attended a Spanish taster lesson at the school, which is extending its modern foreign languages curriculum to include Spanish in several Key Stage Three classes.
Chris added: “I would like to thank Cheryl and Naomi both for their invaluable help and support, and the whole experience has inspired me to try and further develop my Spanish skills.”