Sunday, September 16, 2012

To the Bride and Groom

Me and the beautiful bride. Sadly the only pic I got of us together.
(Screw you iPhone flash.)
This weekend, I was able to watch two of my very best friends get married after 8 years and seven months of dating. It was an absolutely beautiful day, that was made even better with all of the joy shared among their family and friends.

Not long after we had moved back to Wisconsin, Maria had asked me to serve as a co-Maid of Honor with her sister: a co-MOH, you might say. I was incredibly touched, because both she and Eric have done so much for me - more than I could ever give them back. I consider them family - the best kind of family, those that you adopt as your own. And the three of us have been through some major life changes together. I cannot think of any other friends who have shaped who I am as much as the two of them. Which made it very hard to think about how I could properly toast the two when the time came.

Even though I felt stupid doing so, I decided to look up some advice, read some "Best Wedding Toasts" (some of which could hardly be described as the best - it's amazing what you find when you Google), and thought about the weddings I had gone to and what had worked/what hadn't. I settled on a few key ground rules:

  1. Keep it short. There were four of us speaking after all. And this wasn't about me, it's about them.
  2. Speak about both of them. This was easy, because although Maria and I have had some awesome adventures without Eric, he was there for most of them too. 
  3. Avoid too many inside jokes. Those just feel awkward for everyone else.
  4. Mix the funny and the sentimental. Oh, plus a dash of my usual Kirstin awkward.
  5. Don't cry. Because crying and talking at the same time has just never worked out well for me. It gets ugly. This was probably the hardest. Because I cried as I wrote my speech, and I teared up as I practiced. Thankfully, my practice audience was a cat. He didn't judge.
I am a much more comfortable writer than I am a speaker. So I decided to start with writing, followed by lots of practice. There is no winging it for this girl. I knew that I couldn't stand up and share some of those more important moments, so I focused on the story of how I met them, how they met each other, and how they found love.

Without further ado, this is what I wrote, and a close proximity to what I shared with their family in friends yesterday:

Good evening everyone!
 My name is Kirstin, and I have also been friends with Eric and Maria since college. It was actually about this week, 10 years ago, that both Maria and I were looking for an on-campus job at UW-Madison. A mutual acquaintance told us about an opening at the Campus Information and Visitor’s Center. Thankfully there were two positions, and so we both got jobs and quickly bonded over hours of data entry.
 Eric was serving as the tour guide coordinator at the time. We didn’t really know him– he was that quiet guy that you’d pass in the hallway. Secretly we found kinda scary. Which made it interesting when he was given the desk next to us in our second year. Eventually we started teaming up and playing pranks on Eric, and began to realize that he wasn’t quite so scary. In fact, I think he was probably more scared of us. This was also when I began to notice that Maria and Eric shared a mutual attraction, as I sat between them every day.
Always one to have a big mouth, I made sure they knew that they were “in like” with each other on my 21st birthday when they took me out to celebrate. That is a day that they have celebrated together for eight years as their anniversary, until today when February 15th is replaced by September 15th. Maria and Eric – You may have a wonderful new anniversary to celebrate, but I will still share February 15th with the two of you any day. (You can have as many anniversaries as you want).
 I think all of us can share something that Maria and Eric have taught us about relationships in their long journey to this day. For me, it has been three key things:
·      Family always comes first.
·      There is always room for friends to tag along. (I know I’m not the only one who has been the third wheel)
·      And, finally, whether distance, illness, or any other obstacle, you can get through as a team together. 
To Maria and Eric, thank you for letting all of us tag along on your journey together. I may take credit for giving you a nudge in the right direction, but I also know that you would have found each other without me (just maybe a little slower, knowing Eric's pace) – Truly though, the love you have built together is all yours. A toast to the bride and groom -  May each new adventure together be better than the last.  Cheers! 
I am beyond incredibly happy for the two of them, and know that it will only get better for them from here. Best wishes to the two best people I know.

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