Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Toast, the Whole Toast, and Nothing But the Toast

The Mommy of the Brother of the Bride (that's me too!) ended the previous post "in medias res" - as the Romans would say - on purpose. Honest, it wasn't to drive readers bonkers- though I've already received a couple of FB comments along those lines.  No, no, no. The rest of the BoftheB's "impromptu toast" - a honed speech he made seem extemporaneous - begs to be related in the Brother-of-the-Bride"s own words.  

(Rewind  to the start of Conor's toast)

First of all -- a word of fair warning.  The line between toast and speech is about to be blurred.  And if you don't like it, well, too bad -- because my sister is getting married today, and yours is not.

(He spins to his backpack and returns to the mike)

To be completely honest, I did not prepare anything for this toast.  I was too deeply engrossed in the stirring, emotional new release "Staying Alive: A Love Story -- written by, I don’t know, someone.  Paperback available for $10.07 on Barnes & Noble eBook for $4.99. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -- especially the chapter about me. But ANYWHO, shameless family self-promotions aside, I would like to say a few words to you all, and of course, the newly appointed bride and groom.

Which brings me to my main point.  I am the brother of the bride. Or, BOB as the fine folks at Modern Formals have come to know me, which created some Tux-related confusion. But anyway, in most situations, the distinction of brother-of-the-bride bears a very special honor -- and this is no exception.  Yet Emily's wedding bears an even greater significance for me.
As everyone in this room is fully aware, circumstance has left me as the de-facto man of the house in my immediate family -- a title I have tried to maintain with humility, dignity, and pride over the past thirteen years. But despite that unfortunate reality of our lives, we are all here to celebrate the joy that life still brings. As my mom’s incredible book so eloquently describes, our family is not one of victims, but of survivors.  We stand before you stronger than ever before -- a strength forged by our trials, our hardships, and above all else, by our love. 

And now today, my beautiful sister has found the man she wants to share her life with, and we are here today to share in the blissful celebration of their unconditional love.  The fact that you could all be here means everything to her, and therefore means everything to me. So thank you. 

There is no greater compliment that anyone can pay to me than to say that I am my father's son, and to that end, there is no higher praise I can give either of you today other than that Dad would be proud. Emily -- Dad would be so proud of the woman that you have become, and I couldn't be more proud to call you my sister.  Your grace, elegance, and boundless kindness are the glue that holds this family together.  And Ryan -- although you never knew my father, he couldn't possibly have hoped for a better man for his beloved daughter to spend her life with. And I couldn’t hand pick a better person to be the closest thing to a brother I’ve ever had. So...you’ve got that going for you.

But this is, after all, a toast. However, it is a Hayden toast.

(Conor returns to the nearby chair and breaks out a cold case of Milwaukee’s Best,. He invites both wedding families to join him in the rear center of the barn floor, take a beer, raise their cans) 

photo by Amy Brogna Baione

Here’s to to a lifetime of health and happiness for Emily and Ryan, to everyone we are lucky enough to share this day with, and above all else, here's to those who could not be with us today.  We miss you, we love you. Cheers.

(That's my son. I'll explain the Milwaukee Best soon enough.)

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