Saturday, July 05, 2014

My wedding speech

(This is the 12th post in my wedding series.)

Composing my speech was probably one of the most painful wedding tasks of the whole planning process. I kept putting it off and putting it off, until finally it was the Wednesday before the big day. I plunked myself down at my computer and didn't budge until the whole thing was written. 

The funny thing is, I'm not even someone who's terribly uncomfortable speaking in public. I suck at unscripted jokes (that's Brad's domain), so I went the sentimental route with just a little humour sprinkled in. Our guests were very respectful and gave us their undivided attention. There's nothing worse than being at a wedding and trying to listen to someone give a speech when the next table over is yakking away!


My speech

When I was 15 years old, we went on a family vacation to France. It was the kind of trip I didn’t fully appreciate until I was older. In typical teenage fashion, I was trying to avoid being seen too much with my parents and making up a secret code with my sister to point out cute guys. However, there was one moment that stood out for me. We had just reached the top of the Eiffel Tower and we were gazing out at the breathtaking views over the city. My dad came over and put his arm around me. He said it was important to him to bring me there, because he thinks every woman should be taken to the Eiffel tower by a man who loves her. He went on to tell me that he hoped that I would go again one day, with a man who loves me in a different sort of way. 

This is the kind of man my dad is - generous, thoughtful and open with his feelings. He’s someone who worked long hours in a demanding job but still managed to be very present in our lives, a family man above all. I admire my dad’s intellectual curiosity, his modesty about his achievements, and his belief in how far women can go in this world.

My dad found his perfect match in my mom, B. 50 words on a page will never do her justice. She’s selfless, compassionate, vivacious, a great listener and my favourite shopping partner. She’s the kind of person who will drop everything she’s doing to lend a hand, before you can even have a chance to ask. That’s a big part of the reason this place looks as beautiful as it does tonight. Mom, thank you for being such a strong anchor in my life. 
I’d also like to acknowledge my grandparents, V and G, who will have been married for 65 years this October. I am so lucky to have them here tonight. 

{Last-minute revisions}

L, you and G accepted me as I am and welcomed me into your family with open arms and open hearts. You demonstrated the true meaning of in sickness and in health, and your devotion to G set an example for our marriage. I hope you can take some comfort in the fact that the two of you raised an exceptional son. Instead of a bouquet toss, Brad and I have decided to place my bouquet at G’s gravesite. However, single ladies, don’t think you’re completely off the hook. Len here will be playing some Beyonce later and we want to see everyone, including you, on the dance floor!
That brings to my bridal party. You girls are the whole package. You never stop inspiring me, and in so many different ways. And you throw a darn good bachelorette party!
R and O, I had the privilege of watching you grow up and despite being 8 and 12 years older than you, I still find myself looking up to you. You’re two of the most sweet and thoughtful people I know. And you’re both so good with kids that I’ll probably come to you for parenting advice one day.
K, thank you reaching out the hand of friendship and affection. I was nervous to talk to you by phone for the first time without our husbands there as a buffer. I’m proud of the strong friendship we’ve nutured without ever living in the same city. 
S, you and your infectious laugh came along in high school like a ray of light. The growth of our friendship seemed so natural that I don’t even remember when or where it began. I just remember how nice it was to have a second dose of estrogen in the lycée gang!
L and M, this year marks the 28th anniversary of our friendship and that says a lot. You’ve been there for pretty much every life experience and every unsanctioned house party I’ve ever had. I love you girls to the moon and back.

{Brad goes first}

J, it’s not easy being the middle child, yet close in age to your bossy older sister. Whether it was toys, sports or friends, you had to fight for every inch. I love that we managed to go forward and carve out our own identities and still be the best of friends. I speak from the heart when I say I’m lucky to have such a caring, affectionate, spirited and funny little sister.
To the groomsmen and B, thank you for letting Brad survive his bachelor party and for getting him here on time. You guys are an absolute riot to hang out with and I must say, you have impeccable taste in wives. 
To G and A - our ushers - and E, who couldn’t be here tonight (I think he's off saving lives or something?). If you looked better in dresses, you’d be sitting up here as well. Notre amitié m’est tres chère et je vous remercie du fond de mon coeur d’être venus ce soir. 
Today would not have gone nearly so well without the generous help of so many people, and I have a couple more I’d like to single out for their help in crafting, reading, decorating or driving: B, S, T, M, B, J, S, M, G, S and J. 
And finally, to my new husband Brad. People have asked me, when did you know that he was the one? We all know that the key to his heart was through homemade sushi. For me, the moment is harder to pinpoint. All I know is that right from the beginning, I knew there was something special about Brad. I found a facebook message to M that I sent on March 5, 2008, not long after I met him. All I said was, ‘I think I'm falling for him’.

One of the first things I noticed about Brad was his electric smile, warm eyes and friendly personality. Later I came to know and love his sterling character, his loyalty and commitment, and his sense of playfulness - which he put on full display earlier tonight. I had to add an anecdote that wasn’t in my first draft of the speech, because it speaks to the kind of person Brad is. 

{I get the last word - ha!}
Wednesday was Brad’s last day of work this week. He texted me at 5:30 to say he’d be late. When he got home he told me a coworker was feeling tremendously overworked and overwhelmed and he sensed that she was on the verge of tears. He stayed with her to talk a bit and eventually she broke down in tears. He gave her some moral support and then walked her through how to do the work she’d been assigned. I’m proud to have married a man like that.
He tells me I’m beautiful and that he loves me every day, and inspires me to become a better person. Son amour nourrit mon esprit et j’ai hâte d’embarquer sur cette grande et belle aventure avec lui. Je t’aime chéri!
I wish I had time to thank each and every one of you for enriching our lives, but if this was the Oscars, they’d probably be starting up the music about now.
So I’ll end by telling you where I found myself on October 27, 2013: standing at the top of the Eiffel tower, gazing out over Paris, with Brad standing by my side.


  1. What a sweet and thoughtful speech! You brought a little tear to my eye even though I don't know anyone you've mentionned :)

  2. awww- I love it! i am tearing up as well!! so sweet


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