toasting the bride and groom
the morning after the night before
The bouquet of orchids and zinnias is all that’s left of the party now — that and my pretty coral-pink manicure, which is already chipped on the index finger. Trying to articulate what was so special about last night’s wedding of my spectacular daughter to a spectacular man — well, words fail me. But it’s not because words can’t express it. In fact, it was words themselves that made the wedding so wonderful. I couldn’t quite do it, but the bride and groom’s siblings and closest friends were perfectly able to articulate the special qualities that make my daughter and her new husband such rare creatures indeed.
The tone for the wedding was set in the morning, spent doing something Nutmeg organized: a softball game played by all the wedding guests (with some of the older ones, like the mothers, just cheerleading), the outcome of which would decide where the couple would take their honeymoon. Or maybe the tone was set the night before, at a rehearsal dinner that featured toasts with an MC who was the groom’s college roommate and a stand-up comedian in his off hours. Or maybe the tone was just a reflection of the couple themselves: joyous, loving, and wholly original.
The party itself was pretty great, of course, in a big rustic building in Brooklyn with raw wood floors and raw brick walls, dinner of BBQ, free-floating bourbon and rum, a great dance playlist and some exhuberant karaoke. But that’s not what made the night so special. What made it so special were the toasts. Which is why it’s odd that I’m having such trouble recounting it, since you’d think since the toasts were constructed of words, it should be a relatively easy thing to convey their sentiment using, um, words.
But it’s not only words that carried the night, but the way those words were delivered. That’s why I’m sorry we didn’t have a videographer (all we had was a terrific still photographer; she was everywhere, with a lovely smile, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with). Because it’s the act of delivering these toasts that made all the difference.
Mine was first, and it was adequate (in retrospect, I’m kind of embarrassed about it; I’m a writer, yet I wasn’t really able to capture my true feelings about either Nutmeg or Southpaw in anything but the most trite ways). iDaddy’s was next, and it was as excellent as his toasts always are, since he managed to find a good metaphor, going out for a run with the two of them and being left behind, how that felt and what it meant. Then came the officiant, a friend of the couple who spoke about what he knew about each of them, including something lovely: a discussion about ethics he’d had with Southpaw, who defined ethics as doing the right thing even when no one is watching. That’s the kind of man one wants for a son-in-law.
And he said something that others during the night would also say: that Southpaw was happier than anyone had ever seen him. And he’s not that young a man — he’s almost 40 — so that’s a long time of not being as happy as he deserves, which is exactly as happy as is right now.
The two of them spoke some beautiful vows to each other (it didn’t escape my notice that Nutmeg mentioned their plan to become parents some day), we had some more eating and drinking, and later in the evening more people spoke: Southpaw’s brother and sister, Meta giving the funniest toast of the night, one best friend for each of them, and then, most unusually of all, a toast from the bride to all of us, and then a toast to us from the groom. Now they’re on their way to a new life — superficially not that different from their old life, but in so many ways, wholly different — and I’m eager to come along for the wild ride.