You know what gets me every single time at weddings? The toasts. I mean, of course, the ceremony will turn me into a stage-three blubberer, but the toasts also bring out the waterworks. It’s so sweet to hear stories about the bride and groom, to hear words of love and approval from their closest friends and family, and of course to hear the juicy embarrassing stories. Love ’em.
After our Grand Entrance and first dance, we mingled with our guests for the first time all day. (Remember, after the ceremony we took photos with the wedding party and snuck off to eat some dinner ourselves—so we hadn’t interacted with the guests at all yet.) We stopped at each table, snapping photos, cracking jokes, showing off our fancy duds, and soaking up all of the love and excitement and energy in the air. Even though we spent positively ages working on the guest list, and then addressing the invitations and escort cards, and I knew from the RSVPs who all was coming, I couldn’t believe that all of these people had traveled here to celebrate our wedding. It’s an indescribable feeling, to be surrounded by every single person you and your partner love. It made every dollar and every hour of planning worth it 10 times over.
As dinner was winding down, and we had greeted every table, it was time to get back to the scheduled programming. And little Flower Girl C was all, “You guyyyys. What’s happening now?”
As if on cue, the DJ called my dad, the maids of honor, and the best man to the dance floor. My dad kicked off the toasts with a really sweet speech full of advice and dad jokes. He asked me to print it out that morning, and it was…four pages, single spaced. It was a long one. My dad isn’t used to speech writing and public speaking, and so he put everything he had to say in there. And I love him so much for that. It might have seemed a little long to some of the guests, especially those who don’t know my dad, but I was so proud of my dad, knowing it was just as emotional a day for him as it was for Mr. W and me. Here are some excerpts:
[Mama Wallaby] and I have been looking forward to this day for a long time…Not because we want to hand over responsibility for our daughter, but because it’s a proud day for us to see Liz so happy, and so in love—and looking so beautiful today. Liz—as your dad, what makes this a most emotional day is of course to see you so grown up, so ready to move on with your new life together—just as [Mama Wallaby] and I did almost 30 years ago. We were so very excited on that day—and we are now—knowing how many special moments you and Dara have in front of you to share…
…There are two things which we as parents try to give our children: one is roots and the other is wings. Liz—you have roots, your foundation, that is who you are. You also have now grown your wings. Beautiful, graceful wings. Liz—princess—the moment has come and you are indeed ready to fly…
…Let me now offer a few words to Dara. [Mama Wallaby] and I have been excited for Dara and Liz ever since they started going out together. We could pretty quickly relate to Dara—after all, he is a chemical engineer. What’s not to like about Dara? Liz thought he was a good catch since he already had a house when she met him. For many girls the house represents a good provider. In Liz’s case it also means after all these years of renting, she now has a house she can decorate. Dara—when we come back this time next year we are not sure we’re going to recognize your house, because all this creativity that’s gone into the wedding will be refocused on the house…
…I have found Dara to be reliable, sensible, considerate, and caring. Every father hopes his daughter will find a sensible and considerate partner and as you try not to interfere in their lives, you always hope your children will make the right choices in life. I think Liz chose well, and Dara—I welcome you into our family.
Dara, as you know, Liz is a beautiful person, inside and out. With this, as her husband, comes great responsibility—to protect her and cherish her. To do this, you will always have to be on your guard. Danger can come from many directions…
…So any other advice? Dara, I could offer some lofty words of advice on marriage, some eloquent speech or the sort, but instead I’ll just provide something simple to keep in mind…as a great philosopher once said, ‘Women are to be loved and not understood.’ Go figure!…
…It is now my pleasure to propose a toast to the happy couple. May they be blessed with happiness that grows…and love that lasts.
And we toasted to that—us with our champagne glasses, Best Man A with his bottle of Corona. Classy.
I gave my dad the 10,000th big hug of the day before he took a seat.
Next up was Best Man A. First he showed a movie he made during our engagement—I wish I could share it with y’all, but I can’t figure out how to upload it. I’ll work on my techno skills and try to bootleg something, I promise!
When the credits finished rolling (this movie was super profesh), A began his emotional speech.
When Dara was a baby, my brother and I—my brother Allah—really took to him really well. And the beauty with Dara was that he was such a fat, chubby little baby that he was—yeah, I called him turkey, but he was so big that we could throw him around. And he’d come back for more. But Allah, on the other hand, he really took to having a younger sibling, and he watched over Dara a great deal; he wouldn’t let anyone come near Dara when Dara was crying or anything. Unfortunately, he passed away, and this was a big deal for us as a family. But, throughout that ordeal, throughout that dark time, Dara provided a lot of that light to help us get through that ordeal, and I couldn’t really—the reason for that light was his spirit. I see it every day, and I think it’s part of the reason why—that spirit was how Liz came into Dara’s life, and into all of our lives, and it’s part of the reason why we’re all here today. And anybody that knows Dara—they grab him. People just magically come to him, they get a hold of him, it’s something I’ve never seen before. And it’s been something that I’ve been real proud to see, the goodness of his life this far…
…So, I wanted to say that—how really proud I am of him. For the boy he was and the man that he’s become, and I also have Liz to thank for that as well. She brought out a lot of really nice qualities in Dara that we didn’t even know were there—but she brought that out, and it takes a special person to do that, to bring those things out of him. And so, I wanted to say to Dara, thank you for this—and I wanted to toast the new couple. To my little brother and my new little sister. And hopefully, you have a long healthy, happy life and very prosperous marriage. To Liz and Dara!
After A’s toast, Maid of Honor A took the mic.
Thank you to Liz and Dara for inviting me to be a part of this day and to be a part of this beautiful celebration today. I’m so incredibly happy that you two have found each other, and I am so blessed to be here today.
…I’ll never forget when Liz told us that she had first met a cute new guy at work. They’d been assigned a project together to work on at BP, and Liz kept telling us that his name is Dara, he was brilliant and good-looking, and Liz was falling hard and that was so evident. Soon after, it was the Mardi Gras trip, and the first year of the MS150…well, the rest of it is history, that’s why we are here today.
…Liz and Dara’s love is so palpable that I don’t think that any of us can deny that these two have found their soul mates. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect man for Liz. Cheers!
Maid of Honor N, my other BFF from college (and Maid of Honor A’s roommate!) closed the toasts with another sweet speech.
Liz and I met in high school when her family moved to Washington. I hate to bring this up while you guys are eating, but…we bonded over our mutual phobia of throw up. As many of you know, Liz and I can both work ourselves into a frenzy if we even think that somebody might possibly throw up. After that, our high school and college days were filled with spontaneous adventures, usually random road trips set to the tune of ’90s rap music. Liz, you have a heart of gold—you are my most selfless, most thoughtful, most inspiring friend. You’ve always brought out the best, most confident side of me. You’re always pushing me out of my comfort zone and always encouraging me. I miss you living in Seattle and I miss all of our Saturday adventures, but I’m so happy that moving to Houston led you to meet someone as wonderful as Dara. I absolutely adore you, Dara—you’re just like Liz in the way that you instantly make people feel like they’ve known you for years. So, cheers to you two.
After the toasts, one of Mr. W’s close family friends, N, stood up. (She’s like an aunt to us, and she helped out all year with wedding planning and crafting. That she would participate some way in our ceremony or reception was a given.) She began:
A couple days ago when I called my mom and I told her Dara is getting married, she was so happy to hear that, and then she wrote a poem for Dara in Farsi. I’m going to read it in my own language, and then the beautiful [Bridesmaid H] is going to translate it into English…
I know there aren’t a lot of Farsi speakers in the hive, so I’ll just give you the rough English translation. This poem means so much to me—and I really need to up my game and work on learning Farsi so I can read more of the beautiful Persian poetry. Talk about romance.
Love gives you wings to fly.
To fly to the point where you will stay together forever.
As you lay beside one another in complete tranquility,
listening to your love songs
Two people, Liz and Dara, who have given their hearts to each other
with the greatest joy of life.
They have finally found their true love and will be showered with eternal happiness
To shield in loving and warm embrace
so they can experience love, sacrifice, and compromise
as they evolve from two souls to one.
My dearest couple, may the beginning of this beautiful new journey
Always keep a smile on your faces and maintain a lifetime of happiness.
And that, my friends, is a wrap. A long, drawn-out, yet deeply emotional speech from my dad; amazing, genuine toasts from our best man and maids of honor; and a special poem written by a close friend in Farsi. If the speeches hadn’t ended there, I probably would’ve lost it. So much emotion in one day.
So it was time to let loose and eat cake. Oh, and the ice cream truck had quietly arrived during the toasts and was furtively parked back behind Oak Tree Manor. Best.day.ever.
*All photos by the inimitable Mustard Seed Photography
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