My sister is my best friend. I expected to be her maid of honor, and for my married sister to be the matron of honor. The wedding was only a few days ago, and I’m still not sure what the maid of honor’s responsibilities were…I certainly hope I didn’t disappoint.
I wasn’t sure what I could say about my sister. The stories are endless, but many not appropriate for a wedding ceremony, and many having nothing to do with her relationship. It’s clear that I love her and I’m proud of her, but that just didn’t seem to be enough. I wanted it to be special, for her to know how much she means to me. I took a non-stop flight from New York to San Francisco that left at 7:15am. I took 3 melatonin to help myself sleep, and decided to jot down some notes about my sister and ideas for the wedding toast. Inevitably, I kept passing out, so I decided to give in to the falty sleep. Who knew when I would get another chance, it was sure to be a busy weekend.
I find the whole tradition of the wedding ceremony kind of funny. As the days went on and the plans were made, me and the other bridesmaids kept looking at each other and saying “Is this what we do? Is that what happens? Then we just stand there?” and so on. No one knew what went on during a wedding. It’s something that we’ve watched in movies probably hundreds of times, and seen in a real life maybe a few, but still, the order of events, the reasons for the traditions, eluded us.
Most importantly, I wanted my sister to be happy, and she was. She was calm, cool and collected, and able to enjoy her family, friends and the ceremony because of it. There was not one “bridezilla” moment. All the hard work she put into planning paid off. It was beautiful.
But still I wondered when my toast was, and what I would say. In my melatonin-induced state of mind a few days earlier, I thought surely I would get back to the all-important speech. But there wasn’t ever any time. I kept telling my friend and older sister that I didn’t know what I would say. I had milled some ideas around in my head, but had never had the chance to organize my thoughts and clearly approach the situation. When the best man, the groom’s father, began his toast, I knew the moment was coming.
I was freezing and shaking from taking so many photos outside, so I decided to quickly drink a glass of wine before my toast, to calm my nerves and warm up. I forgot that I was at the head table and everyone could see me, later my aunt commented how I wasn’t waiting for the toast…I was drinking that wine! Oh well, I had to do what I had to do.
The moment was seconds away, and then, a surprise video compiled by the groom’s mother, preceded by a heartfelt, weeping speech, praising the newlyweds and their love. Then an amazing video with paralleled pictures of each of them throughout their lives, riding a bike, the same family trips to Sedona and Yosemite, in swings, etc. It was beautiful and really showed how they were two people meant to be with each other. My older sister turned to me and said, “This would have been better after our toasts.” I agreed, now the whole thing felt even more awkward.
Now everyone’s crying and in love from watching the video, and it’s my turn to speak. I cheered my sister “Heathie feathie! Heathie feathie!” and started laughing. I wasn’t really sure where I was going with that, and neither were they. But it seemed appropriate. Then I managed to express myself and tell the friends and family how Heather and I had our own language when we were younger, and often times I would interpret what she was saying to the people around us. I told her I was happy and thrilled for her to have found someone who speaks her language so well (for that I got an “awww” from the crowd). Then I said “Cheers to the lovely couple!” and raised my glass.
They appreciated my speech, and so did I. I realized there was a lot more I could have said, and I expressed that to Heather and later told her how much she meant to me. She said she knew, winked at me, and reiiterated that “we speaka the same language.” I knew that the day wasn’t about me at all, or my toast, it was about supporting her and having a party celebrating her and her relationship. I was so happy to be there for her special day, and cannot wait to see the pictures.