Last month I had the privilege of being a matron of honor for my sister and (now) brother-in-law. I’ve been a maid of honor a ton of times in the past. Like, a ton. More than anyone should ever commit to doing. I’m just that good of a friend I guess… or I’m crazy. Jury is still out on that one.
This time it was a bit different. Partially because it was my sister. Partially because I’m really not that same, fun-loving, carefree person that I spent the first 31 years of my life being.
I was extremely anxious about giving a toast. To the point that I honestly did not want to do it. Why would anyone in their right mind give a person like me a microphone right now?? I feared they would either slow clap me off or there would be crickets. (Because we were literally in a barn.) I tried to do something creative, like that time I rapped at a wedding, but it just didn’t feel right. So two days before the wedding, I sat down at an old, wooden, camp picnic table with a bottle of delicious white wine, and I did what I do best. I wrote.
I’m proud of this toast. It has a lot of my heart in it. And a lot of semi-jaded wisdom I would want to share with any newlywed couple. Or not-so-newlywed couple.
Several people stopped me when I was done, with tears in their eyes, and said they enjoyed my toast. Then I read it to my therapist a week after the wedding and made her cry. So I figured I would share it here as well… You won’t get the full effect without hearing my bites of snark or emphasis on certain words, but I hope you enjoy.
Hello everyone! For those of you who do not know me, I am Susan, Leslie’s sister. And before you ask, no, we are not twins.
Some of you know that I have been a maid of honor too many times to count. I’ve rapped at weddings, I’ve shared embarrassing stories at weddings and I’ve delivered epic toasts. Or so I’ve been told.
But that was Old Suz. And New Suz isn’t quite as fun as Old Suz was. So, not to disappoint you, but I will not be rapping tonight, nor will I be sharing old embarrassing stories like the time Leslie tried to drive the lawn mower up the steps at the cottage or when she was wearing a long dress in the kitchen, tried to kick one foot up in the air and the dress pulled her other leg up behind her, causing her to land on her back in the middle of the floor. (Don’t try that move tonight on the dance floor…)
Before I give my official toast and share some words of wisdom to the new bride and groom, I need to say just a couple tid-bits about myself and what my family has been through over the last two years. Early last year, not only did our daughter show up 7 weeks early, but she born with an extremely rare, complex, life threatening disease. And I’m not going to lie, since we got married, it’s been a tough few years. She has completely turned our lives upside down. Making us stronger and more exhausted than we could ever imagine. (Hence me not rapping my matron of honor toast tonight.)
When I tried putting my thoughts down for you – I’m not going to sugar coat this… (The wedding planner in me is cringing right now thinking someone take that mic from her…) – life and marriage are not easy. You will face bumps, curves, highs and lows together. You will face the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful together.
Take a second to look around this room. Look at all of the details. Look at the decorations, the center pieces, the twinkling lights, the chandeliers. Remember this atmosphere and it’s loving energy. Remind yourself of it when you feel like you’re in a dark place.
Look around again. Look at all of the people in this room. These are literally ALL of your favorite people. These are your friends and family. They are your tribe. They, we, will be your support, your cheerleaders, your drinking buddies. We are going to be the ones here for you when you can’t ask for help.
Now look at each other. (Smile and act like you like each other.) This is your person. This is the person who is facing life with you – no matter what speed bumps you hit. This is the person who you will have your best adventures with – whether they be vacations, concerts, camping, kids or grandkids.
But there will be days when you are tired. When you are crazy. When one of you smells bad. (Am I right Mike?) And on those days, remember this barn. Remember the joy. Remember your tribe. Remember the magic and the rustic.
Now grab your drinks and everyone raise your glasses:
To Leslie and Aaron, to life, love and to unexpected twists! Cheers!