This was my wedding toast, as matron of honor recently. Enjoy:
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Chel, Amber’s older sister. We weren’t raised in the same house, which is a good thing since we butted heads quite a bit as kids. Funny how, as adults, you realize you didn’t get along because you were so similar. Today, Amber and I have a relationship based on honesty, understanding and respect. Being so alike, we both dated our husbands in states far from home, so I don’t know Andrew as well as I’d like to. But we have plenty of time for that. What I do know is that Amber and Andrew both have a commitment to music, faith and each other; three very important things in the Bell family.
One thing about growing up with Amber is that she was always down for an adventure. The younger of us recall her spirit for the outdoors and how of all the Disney princesses her favorite was Pocahontas. I, however, remember the adventures regarding boys. See, we grew up surrounded by sisters and the only boys were cousins, so it stands to reason that we would turn out to be hopeless romantics, forever curious about the opposite sex. Amber’s love of romantic comedies and my wanderlust always gave us something to conjure up in our minds. We thought that love would take shape as a movie starring us and that all we needed was to find our leading men. It wasn’t going to be easy to do in Punta Gorda. It sort of became a mission. We spied on the new neighbor boy who came from a big city. We scouted The Magic Kingdom for prospective Prince Charmings. In our boy crazy frenzy, while other beach-goers sculpted busts of mermaids, we sculpted sand men with six-pack abs.
Fortunately, we both grew wings and ventured off independently. In knowing ourselves first and being our own knights in shining armor, we ended up finding love when we weren’t looking. We found out that there are a number of things they don’t tell you in the movies. The biggest revelation for me being that love is a choice. It’s a learned behavior. Amber and Andrew, you’ll get a lot of advice, like the classic unreal sentiment, “Never go to bed angry.” But all you really need to do is stick a post-it note where you will read it daily that reminds you, “Love is a choice.” Because as Ewan MacGregor says in the best romantic movie of them all (Moulin Rouge), “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”
Raise your glasses to the new Mr. and Mrs. Blaylock!