It took me a long time to write this maid-of-honor speech for my cousin, Breanne, and her now husband, Mike, because I absolutely love the girl and wanted my speech to be perfect for her on her wedding day - a day I worked hard to help make perfect for her. And I think we did OK (see my previous post on the wedding and reception).
But I love this speech, and meant every word as I was saying it. Even though I didn't give it word for word, this is what I said and/or had printed on my note cards, and I wanted to share it with you all:
MAID OF HONOR SPEECH:
Before I start, I would like to say that Breanne, you look absolutely stunning. I know it’s totally cliche, but it’s just that I have never seen you look so beautiful, and you guys look great together.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Erika, Breanne’s cousin, and I have known her since the day she was born.
When Breanne asked me to be her maid of honor – also known to us as the “best maid” – I was absolutely ecstatic at the idea of being a part of her wedding day. The fact that I’d probably be asked to give a speech didn’t bother me at all because it gives me this opportunity to tell you just how great she is and how happy I am that she has found that special someone to spend the rest of her life with.
As I said before, Breanne and I have known each other since we were kids. It’s so easy for me to think of a happy childhood memory that involves Breanne. I know she and a handful of other people in this room with remember Sharky, Golden Hair, making stone soup in the wheelbarrow with veggies we stole from Uncle Chris’s garden, The Funny Show and, of course, COUSINS!
And we’ve stayed close through high school and beyond. For those of you who don’t know, I got married just a few weeks ago and had a blast planning my wedding with Breanne as she planned hers. But as I got closer to my big day, I felt overwhelmed by the whole process of making everything come together – a feeling I know Breanne knows all too well by now. But it was totally worth it, Brea – the wedding and this place is amazing! But Breanne was at my side in minutes whenever I needed her – especially when I was panicking over the tiny details or struggling to get the programs and favors all put together just two days before my wedding. But that’s just the kind of person Breanne has always been – enviously sweet, caring, and incredibly generous.
So I was a little nervous when this Mike guy started coming around with Breanne to family gatherings a few years ago. He was the first guy I remember her bringing to meet the family, so I automatically felt a little protective over her because she’s a second sister to me and I just didn’t want her kindness and generosity to be taken advantage of.
Turns out, I didn’t have to worry about a thing, and I can actually pinpoint the moment that happened – it was on December 24, 2006. The Ray side of our family always gets together on Christmas Eve and for the past few years have been playing this popular gift-giving game. It’s the one where one by one, guests either choose to open a wrapped gift from a pile or steal a cool one from someone who’s already opened theirs. By the end of the game, everyone ends up with one present – be it lottery tickets, a gift card, or a giant ceramic rooster. Thanks Uncle Chris. This is why we steal your vegetables!
Early in the game, one of our uncles chose the gift that Breanne brought, opened it up, and saw that it was some kind of decorative wall art. Now let’s be honest – a typical guy probably won’t be thrilled about receiving wall art as a Christmas gift, and this was no exception. I remember him saying something along the lines of, “Just what I wanted, thanks” while Breanne was good-naturedly defending her choice of gift, saying she thought it was pretty.
Mike, however, didn’t say a word. When it came to be his turn, it was toward the end of the game, so he pretty much had his choice of stealing any of the opened gifts, which I think even included an old Atari game system, which most of the guys had stolen from each other several times. But again, without a word, Mike stood up, marched right past the Atari game and the unopened presents, and made a beeline over to our uncle to steal that wall art from him. He then calmly put it right next to him and in front of Breanne. Then he simply just sat down and the game went on.
Mike may not have said a word, but he made his point to me loud and clear. It was in that instant that I knew he would be willing to defend Breanne in any situation with actions – which can mean so much more than words – and would always be there to look out for her. And though I know Breanne is a strong woman who would be just fine going through life by herself, I’m so glad that she has found someone with similar, incredible qualities to share the rest of her life with.
So I’d like to end with the words of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They said it best: “All you need is love.” Though it seems so simple and straightforward, it’s something that will be there for the two of you for a lifetime. So here’s to my wonderful cousin, her new husband who I would like to warmly welcome into our family, and true love. Cheers!