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Mark your calendar…wedding season is here

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Recently, I feel like I’ve entered a new life stage.  I’m lovingly referring to it as the stage where everyone I know is suddenly growing up and deciding to get married.  I admit that I’m not handling the aging process very well— I’m terrified of turning 27 and unhappy about entering my late 20’s.  Bring on the Botox! I’m kidding, I think.  But, I digress.

Life is changing again much like it did right after college graduation— we are buying homes and moving in with boys, getting engaged and planning our dream weddings.  And some of you, you know who you are, even have your calendars marked to start trying for babies!

It’s a lot to take in.

I’m kicking-off my first wedding season in a big way— at my cousin Becky’s Memorial Day weekend wedding in Lake Geneva.  I’m honored to be her maid of honor.  It’s the first time (and possibly only time) that I will hold such a distinct privilege and I don’t want to mess it up!  In fact, Becky has fondly begun referring to me as a, “maid-zilla.”  I’ve yelled at the staff at David’s Bridal twice (you’ll have to ask her why, but they seriously deserved it) and during her makeup trial last week, I kindly told the makeup artist that she needed to learn how to correctly apply false eyelashes before my cousin’s wedding.  A few weeks ago, my mom and aunt threw a picture-perfect shower with my help, of course, and the bachelorette party this Saturday is going to be a blast!  It turns out I’m pretty good at bossing people around and planning parties.

What I’m not so good at, is writing my MOH speech.  Up till now, I really haven’t attended many weddings nor heard many wedding toasts.  I’m stressed out about striking that balance between funny, sincere, memorable and appropriately long enough, but not too long that I put people to sleep.  I need help and I thought of all of you, lovely Oy!Chicago readers, maybe you can give me some speech feedback or just share your own advice and stories for surviving wedding season.

(Just in case you were worrying, I’m making the bride promise not to read this story before her big day.)  Here’s what I have so far:
Growing up, Becky and I were sorely outnumbered and usually out-screamed by all of the boys in the family.  As the oldest grandchild on our mother’s side, Becky always held a special place in everyone’s hearts and all of the grandchildren looked up to her, but no one more than me.  Whenever our families spent time together on vacations or at holiday celebrations or even just hanging out at Papa and Uncle’s house (and later apartment), I had to be by your side.  I wanted to be just like you—  smart, tall, gorgeous, outgoing, a great athlete and swimmer....

In fact, I thought Becky and her friends were SO cool, that I tried to “honor” her old friend Tasha by naming my first dog after her.  I was five at the time.

Now the girls in this family, they like boys, and over the years, there have been quite a few.  But then Kevin entered the picture.  He seemed nice, kind of quiet and laid back.  I liked him, but I wasn’t fully convinced...

Until one night in late September 2007, Jason, my boyfriend, and I were out to dinner with Becky, Kevin and a few of their friends.  I believe we were at El Mariachi, a great Mexican joint in Lakeview.  The Cubs were playing that night in the restaurant.  At that point in the season, the Cubs were very close to clinching the NL Central playoff spot.  (Jason and I even had plans to leave early the next morning to drive all the way to Cincinnati to watch them play.)  But then, surprise of surprises (especially for the Cubs) they came back from behind to win the game and win their playoff spot while we were sitting enjoying our meal!  Well let me tell you, Kevin was one of the first to bolt from the table to run down the street to Clark and Addison where we all joined thousands of other young Cubs fans and celebrated the news that we were once again going to the playoffs!  Unfortunately, we all know how that story ended, but that’s when I knew Kevin was a keeper.  And I’ve enjoyed watching and attending Cubs games with both of them since.

Becky and Kevin, I have no doubt that you have a beautiful life to look forward to.  You are very fortunate to have found each other and I just couldn’t be happier for you two.

I wish you a lifetime of long conversations, laughter and lots of love.

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