Almost a year ago one of my very best friend’s got engaged. Soon after, she asked me to be her Matron of Honor or, as I like to say, her MofH. I can’t even begin to express the honor I felt in being asked, the excitement I had for the week of fun to arrive, the absolute joy I felt for her and her hubby-to-be and, of course, the utter fear I had of screwing anything up.
Going into this I knew the approach I wanted to take: be there to catch any little thing that could go into her lap and attempt to handle it and to be the brain that I know women lose on that day to remember to do the important things, like drink a glass of water or eat or wipe away deodorant balls.
I think I did a pretty good job in all these departments and so I felt pretty good when we finally got to the part where she put her dress on and pictures began. Then the fears starting rolling in of the different ways I could screw this up.
First there was the walk down the aisle. We all had to come down a set of steps and then walk up a grass aisle that had been covered in flower petals. Not wanting the guests to be focused on a fallen MofH right as the bride is circling the corner, I prayed with each step I took. One of my friends said that I was beaming as I came down but really I was so relieved that I hadn’t fallen. But I was also so excited for everyone to see my friend looking absolutely stunning.
Next was the reading I was doing. I was asked by the couple mid-week to read a poem they had chosen during the ceremony. I was pretty nervous because I didn’t have much time to work on it. I flubbed on a few words, but I was told by the videographer that he could hear me really well, so that’s at least good.
Finally, after the ceremony had reached it’s completion, I had the fears of the speech. Oh the MofH speech. I’ve seen some good, some mediocre and some awful. The couple had chosen an amazing meal and I barely remember it. They also chose to have wines from the Okanagan to pair with each course. I kept that to a minimum too, not wanting the oh so memorable drunk speech. When it was finally my turn I walked up to the podium with shaking hands.
Most people are nervous at giving speeches because they don’t ever speak in public, but this was not the case for me. I was really nervous to give this speech because of the person I was giving it to.
I love this friend and have never had a friendship quite like hers. She means the world to me and the bond we’ve formed over the last 11 years is one of the most cherished I have. I didn’t want to let her down and I didn’t want to create an awkward moment for her, her groom or their families.
I noticed that she was tearing up at moments, which I figured was good. There was laughter at the expense of the groom and at memories of our time together in Chicago. All in all it seemed to be going well. At the end I choose to read a poem as a return favor of the poem she read me on my wedding day. The poem I choose was Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I know what you’re thinking. Read it again.
I actually choose it because it was the only poetry I remember reading. So rather than trying to be uber classy, something I tend to lack, I choose to go with what I knew. I wasn’t sure how it was going to hit and was nervous it would be a bad choice.
After the first verse I looked up and was taken aback by the tears streaming down my friends face. Her cheeks were completely wet. Having been with her all day, I knew she had not allowed those kinds of tears to fall, keeping them at bay through the many moments they threatened to break through. It took my breath away and I got choked up through the next verse. I finally finished and ran around the long table for a huge hug, her whispering in my ear that she loved me.
Afterward I finished all the half empty glasses that I had begun as well as the glass of champagne and then immediately got another when we went downstairs for the dancing. They had a photo booth that they used for their guest book and this is a by product of finally being through with all the potential screwups:
Later I received many compliments from people who had no reason to compliment me and praise from the bride and groom’s families. It felt really good but I was more happy at the reaction from my friend.
After all the emotions surrounding this day, I’m surprised at how good that felt. I never expected my speech to have that kind of effect and am so thrilled that I got to tell her how special she is to me in such a public forum.