July 27, 2018.
The day my best friend Darah, married Dave.
They say, “Love at first sight” and to that I say, “I agree.” Your wedding day was absolutely beautiful and when I saw you two together, I fell in love with you both all over again on the spot. I couldn’t take my eyes off you! Head over heels, living proof of the magic and existence of love. I can’t believe it has already been two months, it feels like I was there celebrating with you yesterday!
I love you both so much! When we are grey and old I want you to remember how much love there was on this day. I meant every word I said to you in my speech, and even though I shed some tears, I want you to have it.
My Lesson: Recognizing you two lead by example. If you’re going to love someone, do it whole-heartedly and unconditionally.
As mentioned, I am Adrea and tonight I am privileged to stand beside this beautiful bride, my best friend Darah, on her wedding day. When I was asked to write this speech, I was excited to have the chance to publicly share with you, how much she means to me. When I started writing, I found I kept on writing, and writing which led me to a major problem: How am I going to fit more than 20 years of friendship and memories into five minutes of speaking?!
Somewhere while I was rewriting, editing, and tearing my speech up, I recognized it was not a moment or event that defined our friendship. Instead I realized what I wanted to share was the same reason we are all here tonight: to celebrate love.
It all began back at Martin’s School of Dance. We were little girls in our first ballet and tap class, learning steps so we could do our group recital. When it was time to start choreography, the first task was lining the girls in our class up by height, short to tall. As the two tallest, we were destined to stand center, and together. And from then on that’s were we stayed, center and together. We attended birthday parties, took on boys who weren’t ready for us, tasted accidentally strong sips of vodka, navigated high school drama, and successfully managed to grow into ladies who might actually be adults now. From curlers and Tanja’s perfect cloth rollers, to ballet exams, and university degrees, somewhere along the way we realized we would always have each other. A Best Friend. A partner in crime. A person to go through life with.
And I’ll be honest it wasn’t easy. Technically we have never lived in the same city. Secondly, even though Darah will always answer your call- I am known for having forgotten to check my phone for a week, which means I will never be someone’s emergency contact. Other times our busy lives have kept us apart for months on end, but we are always manage to pick up where we left off. Despite our distance, she became and remained my person. My best friend. Keeper of secrets, Giver of advice. Holder of truths. My person. And I couldn’t have asked for anyone better.
And then Darah and Dave fell in love.
While I was finishing my undergrad in Regina, Darah had moved off to Waterloo and was becoming the Optometrist (Not a dentist) she told me she was going to be back when we were 15. During one of our Facetime calls, she was telling me about the new city, school, friends, and this guy named Dave. And then we face timed again, and there was still, this guy, Dave. Then she came home at Christmas, with this guy Dave.
Then I finally met this guy Dave.
It was at a coffee shop in Regina, I strolled in and saw the two of them sitting there before me. Darah always early. Me always five minutes late. As I mentioned, we balance each other. But this time when I arrived, there was something different. She was glowing. She couldn’t stop laughing, I stopped in my tracks and I couldn’t stop smiling! As if on queue, they both stood up, Dave offered me a handshake but I pulled him into a big hug. I knew. He was going to be around for a while.
The next time I saw Dave and Darah, (again in a coffee shop,) we started chatting and began admiring the succulents growing in mugs on the window ledge. And Darah made a comment to Dave, along the lines of: “when we have our own place we’ll have these…” I didn’t say anything, but at that moment, I knew Dave was here for keeps.
We continued to drink our coffee’s and I heard “Optom” talk for the first time. I knew they were speaking English, but I had no idea what it meant. I tuned out their words, and opened my eyes instead and saw they held each other’s gaze just a little too long, finished too many of each other’s sentences, and were both sitting on the edges of their seat, just a little too close to one another. Even though I didn’t understand what they were saying, I knew I was looking at the guy Darah was going to spend her life with.
Then the years kept passing and Dave kept having a bigger and bigger role in both of our lives. I’m sure we have all seen the movie, Bridesmaids, where I might seem like Kristen Wigg as the “old-childhood friend.” Don’t worry Dave, I promise I won’t throw the cake on the ground! But the difference is when I realized Darah met her person, and had made new friends I didn’t feel jealousy, instead I felt relief. She had someone to be beside her. And it wasn’t just anybody. She had found a kind, intelligent, patient and amazing guy. I heard first-hand all the things he did for her, and saw how gentle he was with her. And not only that, every time after I saw them together, they taught me through example what unconditional love looks like.
I’ve watched them overcome the realization the patio furniture was assembled backwards, administer hard advice on break-ups, the stresses of professional school, or living at the beach next to cottages where the high-school kids came to party over the summer. They thrived in tough times and demonstrated how strong their love really is.
I am certain I have gone over my allocated five minutes, but I would like everyone to take a moment and look around this beautiful room brought together from numerous faucets of love. I hope you realize a beautiful night like tonight is happening- all because Darah and Dave fell in love.
Darah, I’ve always loved you, and I couldn’t be happier for you. I think it is safe to say meeting Dave was the best thing for both of us. Thank-you for everything and please know there is absolutely nowhere else I would rather be tonight.
Dave, thanks for being the man of Darah’s dreams. I was able to know how amazing Darah was at a young age, and I will admit she’s a tough one to share. But please know I am genuinely happy, there isn’t any other person I could hope to see her with. So Dave, please take care of her the way I know you can. She’s always been my person and that has been 20+ years in the making. Tonight especially, I think we can all see how radiant she turned out, and I can’t wait to see what the next 20 have in store.
So everyone, please join me in raising your glass as we toast to the beautiful:
Mr. and Mrs. Darah and Dave Kwolek!
** All Photo Credit: Victoria Delkus Photography