Following our spotlight dances, Stallion and I got comfortable at our sweetheart table. It was time for our bridal party to take the stage.
Wedding toasts generally fall into one of three categories: sweet, funny, and awkward. Fortunately, our toasts only fell into the first two categories.
All photos courtesy of Aleksey Photography, as usual.
First up, my dad.
Behind him, the sun was setting over Cape May. It was so beautiful, I’m not sure how anyone managed to pay attention to what he was actually saying.
He started off his toast by telling his favorite embarrassing story about Stallion and I. The summer we started dating, going into our senior year of high school, he would meet me at school after soccer practice and we’d go drive around town and do stupid teenage things. I would stop at my parents’ house, change into something cute, and jet out the door. One day, my dad stopped me and gave me what he thought was valuable relationship advice: if I REALLY wanted to impress this new guy I was seeing, shouldn’t I take the time to shower after playing soccer for several hours in the hot summer sun? I reacted in a typical teenage girl fashion, meaning I said something along the lines of, “JESUS CHRIST DAD LEAVE ME ALONE UGH BYE,” and promptly disregarded his advice. Fortunately for me, Stallion accepted me as I was, post-soccer B.O. and all.
The other anecdote I remember from his toast was a more recent one. I was working on the seating chart for the reception, and I asked both sets of parents who they wanted to sit with. Stallion’s parents asked if they could sit with my parents. I relayed this back to my parents, who thought it was a great idea. My dad spun the story (giving a shoutout to Stallion’s mom for coming up with it in the first place!) into how weddings aren’t just about a couple uniting as one family, they’re about families coming together as one, and how happy he was to count Stallion’s family as part of his own.
Next up, Stallion’s best man, M, had a few things to say. Mostly, he talked about his friendship with Stallion and my love (not) of fantasy football.
Okay, confession time: like a lot of my wedding day, most of M’s toast is a big fat blur in my brain. Frankly, if I hadn’t heard the anecdotes my dad talked about in his toast a million times and if I didn’t have the hard copy of my sisters’ toast right in front of me, I wouldn’t remember theirs either. I feel terrible – I remember enjoying the toast, I remember laughing my ass off, I just don’t remember what he said. I’m so sorry, M. Your toast was great and so are you. I’m terrible.
It may look like we’re enjoying the toasts, but apparently it’s all going in one ear and out the other. Worst bride and groom ever.
My sisters/co-maids of honor were last. Fortunately (ha!) for you all, I actually have their toast in its entirety, because of our four toasters, they were the only ones who wrote their toast in advance – that’s right, my dad and M totally winged it. Bold move, boys. Anyway, here’s what my sisters had to say:
Filly and Stallion. For the past eight years, it’s been Filly and Stallion. Since August 27, 2005, it’s been Filly and Stallion. For 3,143 days, it’s been Filly and Stallion. Some of you may only know Filly as the louder, less filtered half of “Filly and Stallion.” Some of you know her as a Villanovan, yelling too loud at basketball games and dressing up like a Jersey Shore Barbie doll. Some of you know her as a fellow Mother Seton classmate who was the captain of the soccer team and would read Cosmopolitan in the back of AP US History class.
But we know Filly as our big sister. She’s the girl we spent our lives looking up to – literally my entire life. A few months after I was born, I had surgery on my head. I didn’t open my eyes for a while after the surgery, but when I heard “La-La” calling my name, I opened my eyes.
We know Filly as the reason why we both learned piano, ballet, the clarinet, and soccer. Whatever Filly did, we wanted to follow. In third grade when we got to choose an instrument for band, I chose the clarinet – not really one of the coolest instruments. But I thought it was cool because Filly chose the clarinet.
I know Filly as the big sister who teamed up with my little sister over here to shove me in a hamper. There were always days like that – days that we didn’t get along. We’d call each other “idiot morons” because that was the worst we could come up with.
This may be my all time favorite picture of my sisters.
But Filly was always the big sister who let me tag along whenever I wanted to. She let me hang out with her friends, join her dance classes, and even play on her soccer team. She never made me feel like the annoying kid sister.
She let us both follow her to Mother Seton for high school and to Villanova for college. She not only let me join her sorority, but she (and the rest of my soon-to-be sisters) welcomed me with open arms.
As the oldest, Filly had already experienced most things we had trouble with growing up- so crisis after crisis, she was there to lend an ear and guide us through. When I was getting my learner’s permit in high school, Filly – in a very literal sense – took the wheel when I hit a parked car and decided I never wanted to drive again. Because when Filly was learning to drive, she made the same dramatic declaration after getting pulled over. And so she knew exactly how to get me back on the road.
She helped me pick my college, my prom dress, my makeup routine, my life goals. We’ve both gotten through life with a lot fewer bumps and bruises because she was there to show us the way.
We know Filly as the best big sister we could ever ask for – from opening my eyes to shoving me into a hamper and everything in between. So when Stallion walked into her life in the summer of 2005, I wasn’t too excited about the idea of someone taking my big sister away. My big sister deserves the best, after all. I didn’t want just any guy walking in and whisking her away.
During their freshman orientation at Villanova, Filly was hospitalized – for those that know the story, you already know; for those that don’t, I’ll spare you. (For the curious readers, all I will say is that unlike most college freshmen’s hospitalizations, it had nothing to do with alcohol and I was legitimately ill. But that’s not a fun story.) But she was in the hospital for several days and missed her entire freshman orientation. Stallion missed orientation that year, too. Every day, he walked nearly two miles each way from Villanova to Bryn Mawr Hospital to visit Filly to be by her side and make sure she was okay. With each day, I learned – and I think my whole family did, as well – that Stallion was most definitely worth it.
You all may know Stallion as the more reserved half of “Filly and Stallion,” or you may know him as an amazingly smart and talented engineer. You may know him from Villanova intramurals or from high school baseball. But I know Stallion as the guy who whisked my big sister away – and deserved it. And now I know him as my brother-in-law.
Filly and Stallion, the two of you have been through a lot since August 27th, 2005. Going off to college, studying abroad, different surgeries, and moving up to Massachusetts together. You’ve had quite the journey, and but we all know it’s only just begun. I know that I don’t need to wish you guys luck because – to be honest, Stallion, to be able to stick it out with my family for 8 years, 7 months, and 9 days, it takes a lot more than luck. But I do want to wish you both all the happiness in the world – because you both deserve it.
I’ve never given a wedding toast before, but it’s on the horizon for me. I thought my sisters did an amazing job with their toast, so I asked them for some advice. And because I love you all, I’ll share what they said. Without further ado, a few helpful hints from B:
- Avoid inside jokes. No one else in the room will understand them, so save them for a card or a letter to the bride/groom.
- Make it personal, but don’t be embarrassing. Your speech should definitely be personalized to your relationship with the bride/groom, but don’t stories that might put one of them in a negative light – it’s not the time or place.
- I can’t really give a rule on length – only you know what’s important enough for you to say and how long that will take. Try to make it long enough that there’s some substance to what you’re saying, but not too long that the guests will stop paying attention.
While this post was super long, the toasts themselves weren’t – maaaaybe fifteen minutes, but I really think it was less than that. Next up, the most important part: dinner!
Who said a toast at your wedding? Got any more tips for a successful toast? Anyone else craving toast after reading that word so many times? Mmm, toast.
Missed one? Catch up on the fun!
- I humblebrag about how awesome our wedding day was.
- We rehearse and dine.
- A minor marriage license snafu means there might not be a wedding after all.
- The girls get glam.
- The guys escape to the beach.
- We have our first look.
- We take a trolley tour of Cape May.
- The processional begins.
- I walk down the aisle with my parents by my side.
- We make it official.
- Our receiving line was a great idea.
- We skip cocktail hour, but our guests sure enjoyed it.
- We make a grand(ish) entrance.
- Our first dance is pretty Boss.