This past weekend, Michal and I went from one college campus to another – University of Virginia in Charlottesville to our undergrad alma mater, Michigan State University in East Lansing, for the wedding of my cousin April and our friend, Jake.
Michal and I have been a part of several ceremonies at the same church in the downtown area and attended receptions in the same hotel on campus, including our own wedding, in the last three years because a majority of our friends met their significant others around the same time. These weddings inevitably end up being like “the glory days” when we return to campus, celebrating and reminiscing in the place we called home for four years.
As the matron of honor, alongside my other cousin (April’s sister) Arra, we did the requisite toast that regales the audience of our past. I was nervous because I’m used to speaking in my classroom of no more than 30 high school students, not in front of almost 200 adults.
However, once I locked eyes with April and Jake, along with our mutual friends and family, I felt reassured with their engagement and smiles. Their loyalty and faith in me encouraged me to keep going, despite my anxiety. It was just another moment, among countless other ones from the weekend, that reminded me of what makes those undergrad days so “glorious.”
Below is our speech in its entirety. (Hopefully, a video will be up soon!)
MOH Speech for Toast at April and Jake’s Wedding
Agnes: For those of you who do not know me, I am Agnes, April’s older cousin and matron of honor…
Arra: And for those of you who have not met me, I am Arra, April’s younger sister and maid of honor.
Agnes: Since April and Arra moved to the U.S. about 20 years ago, the three of us have been inseparable…
Arra: Yet, oddly enough, each of us are very different.
Agnes: Our friendship is what many would say encapsulates the phrase “Opposites Attract.”
Arra: For example, I am more of the “shy girl type” (look at April for inside joke) but I have a passion for culinary school, while April has made “interesting” decisions in the kitchen like putting ranch dressing in Ramen soup …
Agnes: And, while I was the nerdy newspaper kid in high school, April was the athletic, outspoken cheerleader and cross country runner who would encourage Arra and me to work out on lazy Sundays and to count our calories.
Arra: However, to go along with the phrase “Opposites Attract,” another phrase that would best describe our unique friendship is how “You fill our weaknesses with your strengths.” (Look at April.)
Agnes: April always manages to have the most energy and enthusiasm – like when it would be 5:30 in the morning during one of our infamous slumber parties, and she would still want us to stay up, talking about boys, or continue our marathon of “Dawson’s Creek” episodes.
Arra: And April also has an innate friendly nature, with the ability to get anyone out of their shell. Agnes and I can truly say we have become more outgoing and daring because of her, and she has helped us become more proud of the unique individuals that we are because of her constant affirmation.
Agnes: And we see this same type of balance and support in the relationship she has with Jake.
Arra: And that’s how we know they work well together.
Agnes: For instance, Jake’s definitely a better cook than her. He will make them a hearty, meaty meal – like the pizza that could barely fit into the oven at my husband’s apartment in college because Jake had to put so many assorted meat toppings on it.
Arra: But April is always willing to do her part – with taking care of the dishes, of course.
Agnes: While, April is definitely more of the intense athlete in the relationship. For instance, she continued to run after high school in marathons, 5Ks and other races, with most recently completing the Warrior Run this summer.
Arra: Jake has tried running with her, but that effort quickly ended after he was done impressing her in the beginning of their relationship. He instead emotionally supports her athletic pursuits – like how he drove her to Flint for the Warrior Run, took photos of her trudging through mud and crawling under barbed wire, and cheered her on to the end.
Agnes: Jake and April are opposites in many ways, but alike in what’s most important.
Arra: They met because of their common faith. And anyone who knows them will say they are perpetually positive, friendly and loyal people.
Agnes: Although as individuals, they have distinct personalities, desires and interests, when they are together, they are even stronger than they are individually.
Arra: So, at this point, let’s raise a glass to toast the couple who has inspired us many ways… To Mr. and Mrs. Karl!