Friday, April 6, 2012

You're My Everything: Toasted and Roasted

After being enveloped in the crowd's love during our grand entrance, it was time for the toasts.  First, my dad gave a really adorable welcome speech that was exactly what I'd expect from him - thoughtful, personal, and warm.

At the ceremony, Fr. Mark talked about how ecstatic Jill and Bill were that so many people were here.  I can assure you that Rick and Diana Snow Cone, Tom and Lucy Snow Cone-in-law are ecstatic that you all are here.  What a special night for us.  My family knows that I’m a fan of a writer/philosopher by the name of H. Jackson Brown.  As most of you know, we have a large family with five children.  At the top of the third floor stairs, there’s a list of the 25 most important things to do in life, and number one is “Marry the right person.  That will be responsible for 90% of the happiness in your life.”  And it’s really true.  So, I’d like you to grab a glass, raise it up, and I have the honor of the first toast to Jill and Bill.  It is said that when children find true love, parents find true joy.  Here’s to your joy and ours in the future.  Cheers!
Next, my MOH H stepped up to the microphone, regaling the crowd with the tale of when she knew I would marry Mr. Snow Cone... about 36 hours after meeting her... because I declared our marriage as imminent.

For all of you who don’t know me, my name is Hannah, and Jill and I met when we were juniors at Notre Dame.  But I really like to think that we were destined to be friends from the beginning.  Way back when there was no such thing as Internet, and Notre Dame could still successfully clinch a national championship, Jill’s dad and my mom were both biology majors and acquaintances at Notre Dame.  And then if you would fast forward thirty years to after their graduation in 1977, sorry to age you guys, their daughters, Jill and me, met on a plane to Toledo, Spain, where we spent a semester studying abroad and we both successfully mastered and sometimes butchered the Spanish language and happily took in the cultural and culinary delights of new places.  And it was wonderful.  But upon our arrival in Toledo, I can distinctly remember Jill’s first few comments to me about her then-boyfriend, Billy.  In our first few days in Toledo, Jill mentioned that her and Billy’s anniversary was coming up.  And so I politely and curiously asked how long they’d been dating.  She responded, very easily, in Jill’s very confident fashion, “Oh, you know, just six years...  We’re going to get married one day.”  And I remember thinking, “Is this girl serious?  Not two days ago, I was trying to fit my teddy bear, Morgan, into my suitcase, so I could bring her abroad with me, and Jill has been dating her future husband for six years!” 
I’ve learned a few lessons from a number of people who I’m blessed to have in my life, and you two are two of them.  And one of the major lessons that I’ve gleaned from the two of you is this: one of the greatest happinesses in life is to love and to be loved, and when I look at you I see that you have found this happiness in each other, and it makes me so happy.  I see it in the way you look at each other, and in the way that you hold hands, and in the way you caught each other’s eye when you walked down the aisle today.  So, I, and your family and friends here today have been lucky enough to share in bits of this happiness with you at your wedding day today, and over the past nine years of your dating, which has officially ended today, and over the course of many years to come, I wish you two so much happiness and joy in your marriage.  Cheers.

Our third speech came from the Best Man, M.  He seemed a little nervous when he first started speaking, but once the crowd laughed at his first joke, he was good to go.

What can I say about a man that came from modest beginnings, is rising quickly through his career, solely on intelligence and good looks, a man who has set himself apart from his peers, and is liked by all?  Well, that’s enough about me and I figured I should talk about Bill a little bit at his wedding. 
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Bill since middle school, so I guess you could say we’ve been through quite a lot.  And I could tell you a lot of stories about him, like when we went down to Bourbon Street, and walked around and saw the sights.  Or, about whenever we would play Halo in the basement, and Bill would say words that would make even a sailor blush.  I could also tell you about when we went to Atlantic City... wait, wait, we swore we’d never speak of that again.  So, I guess I could try to keep the speech pretty PG, which means I can really only tell you one story about Bill.  It reflects his ability, no matter what, to always be a good guy, and that’s quite a good indicator of a great man. 
So, let me set the scene for you.  It’s the Saturday before the Super Bowl, and we’re camping in the woods, which is a great idea, because it’s pretty cold.  Bill, wanting to show off the Bear Grylls that he is, brought a tent.  Now, this tent would have been better-suited for mid-June, so we spent the whole night out there freezing, and we became pretty close, but it wasn’t like Brokeback Mountain. 
Now, at this point in the speech, M seemed to lose his spot on his paper, so he filled it with a very nice sentiment about Mr. Snow Cone.
In typical Bill fashion, he made the best out of it and made it one of the best experiences of my life. 
Unfortunately for him, that comment came directly after his intentional Brokeback Mountain joke, and while he tried to find his spot on his paper, the more mature people in the crowd tried to muffle their giggles.  Their efforts weren't terribly impressive, and in no time, the majority of the people in the room were chuckling quite loudly over this little innuendo.  See?

M didn't seem phased by it, and minus a little blushing and laughing, he carried right along as if nothing had happened.
You’re the kind of guy who can always be counted on, and you’ve always been there for me and a lot of the guys.  You’re a great friend, you’re someone that’s hilarious, you’re dedicated, you’re motivated, and you’re very loyal, which is why you deserve someone as perfect for you as Jill.  I have never seen you as happy as you are today and as excited as you are.  We all knew this day was coming, and I’m truly honored to be a part of it.  I wish you both all the best luck in the world.  Finally, I want to leave you with one rule that’s been passed down in my family – just do whatever Jill says.  Thank you.

Last, but not least, was my sister.  Of all of the speeches, I was probably most excited to hear hers, since she's penned a memorable speech or two in her day.  I knew her speech to us at our reception would be no exception.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Betsy, and I am Jill’s older sister.  I’m the oldest of all of us, so the marriage of my one and only sister seemed to warrant some sort of commentary.  When I thought about what I wanted to say about Jill and Billy, I kept coming back to the same phrase – “This isn’t supposed to happen.”  I mean, it’s been joked about before, but you’re not supposed to find your soulmate at 14.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized just what makes this so rare is actually an increasingly improbable series of events.  You’re not supposed to go through high school, from start to finish, in the same relationship.  You’re not supposed to support each other’s decisions to go to colleges that are hours apart.  You aren’t supposed to thrive in a long-distance relationship.  And, most remarkably, you’re not supposed to somehow grow as individuals while somehow strengthening your relationship with each other.  So, really, when you look at all of it, when all of those things do happen, it makes perfect sense that we would end up right here. 

Bill, it’s been an absolute honor to get to know you as a good kid, as a good man, and, now, as my brother.  I knew you two were in it for the long haul when you really sank your teeth into the Notre Dame-Pitt games.  It’ll be a fun rest of your lives. 
Jill and I, we had somewhat different childhoods growing up.  What I mean by that is probably best summarized by our big, extravagant Disney World souvenirs when we were children.  Jill got a Minnie Mouse outfit, and I got an Indiana Jones fedora.  Mine fits, still.  But, despite that, we’ve always had more in common than either of us could probably have ever really, truly predicted.  We find humor in things like the etymology of the word “moped,” we argue the same, we both ended up with the same master’s degrees, and despite our best efforts, we get competitive over things like Scattergories and Mario Kart, and it’s not pretty.  It’s actually funny because, for years, we’ve not been allowed to be on the same Cranium team because it’s just not fair to everybody else. 
All of these similarities give me hope, because, even though you’re my younger sister, you are the person I most want to be like when I grow up.  I’m blessed to have you as my sister, and I’m proud to call you a friend.  I’m proud of you, and I love you.  And what I want you guys to do is, Jill, could you put your hand on the table?  And, Billy, could you put your hand on top?  Hold hands. 
Photo by my brother P
And I want you guys to look very closely, ‘cause, Billy, this is the last time you’re ever having the upper hand.  So, won’t you all join me in raising a glass to Jill and Billy, here’s to making the improbable inevitable.  Thank you, I love you guys both so much. 

Unbeknownst to me, our DJ audio-recorded all of the speeches.  It was such a nice surprise, about a month after the wedding, to find a CD with these touching words.  Perhaps of equal importance, the recordings capture the crowd's reaction to each message.  I love hearing a collective "aww" or a burst of laughter.  Whenever I listen to these speeches, I'm immediately transported back to that chapter of our wedding day.  Each of these four speeches provided a different angle of commentary, giving each individual's perspective on the significance of the wedding day.  Despite this individuality, all of them together created a really cohesive look at our relationship, past, present, and future. 

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber unless otherwise noted

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is nice blog and amazing photography , I like it...