In which you can read the actual text of my Best Girl speech as opposed to the speech I gave.

Do I need to write an obligatory wedding post? You can read what Brandi said to know how Thursday and Friday morning went. You can get Jeff’s perspective here. And Scott’s here. Andrea even talked about it a little bit here. There are pictures all over Facebook (and a few on Flickr). Do I need to contribute to the madness?

Of course I do. Sorry that mine is so long. I was in the middle of a lot of different things. And I still left tons out.

Right before we lined up to go upstairs, I told Alisa that I think that Holly is wrong. I remember my wedding. In fact, it was what I was referring to in this post – the pastor thanked me for being “very present” during the ceremony. (I have no idea why I referred to it as “a conversation” in that post. I am sure there was a reason.) And I did feel very present. This weekend, Brandi and I talked about how it all faded away during our own ceremonies, that we couldn’t remember anything but ourselves, our respective men, and the pastor. I know there were some people on the stage with me, but I don’t remember them at all. I remember what I said, how I was trying so hard to listen because I knew that it was a holy sacred thing I was doing and I wanted to take in every single word of it. I remember how happy and excited my dad was that day. I remember the way that I refused to look at Mike as we moved to the unity candle so that I wouldn’t laugh. I remember how we took communion and then we were able to finally say hi to each other for the first time that day. I remember the music, how awesome our friend Tim sounded. I remember the Coke that Mike brought me during the reception. It went by fast, but I made every effort to take it in, and I knew Alisa could do the same.

The whole weekend went by really fast, actually. On Thursday afternoon, I picked up cupcakes from Spring Garden Bakery for the bachelorette evening and then it was all insanity from there. After we had our nails done on Friday morning, Brandi went and picked up Scott from the airport. When I saw Scott, that was the thing that made it all real, that it was all really happening. Scott was here! For the wedding! We’d been talking about it for months, and he was finally here! He was very nice when I attacked him with a hug. Also, he told the story about the pilot who said, “Watch this happen.” I hope I will be using this phrase for the rest of my life.

So I will tell you the things that I remember about the wedding weekend, the things I want to keep on remembering. It’s going to be a long list. I hope you’re ready.

1. At the bachelorette evening, Alisa requested that we choose a fictional character to represent ourselves so that we could all get to know each other a little bit. I chose Elizabeth Bennet. Because I would love to be her. She is so smart and sassy. But I have decided that if I had to choose a TV character, I totally want to be Veronica Mars. Also, Brandi told a story about braiding that always makes me laugh.

2. When we were getting our nails done, we tried to explain to Alisa’s friend Sarah that it is totally normal that Alisa, Brandi, Carla Jean, and I know each other from the internet. A few minutes later, the lady who was doing my nails leaned in and said, “So, you know a lot of people from the internet?” I think we freaked her out.

3. Scott helped us find safety pins at Target. I promised him that if we used them, I would give him a shout-out in my Best Girl speech (this is important later).

4. I helped Carla Jean buy a flask. Oh, yes I did. Later, we filled it with scotch.

5. When we went home to change for the rehearsal, the first thing Alisa did was ask me for some safety pins. I cannot figure out how this happened. Two things: I am an excellent Best Girl, because I had them. And Scott was the hero of the day.

6. I got all teary when Alisa practiced walking down the aisle, which surprised me. Again – it’s here! Alisa is getting married! We have been thinking about it for so long!

7. At the bachelorette evening, I told the following story. Our vows contained the line, “All that I have and all that I am I give to you for Christ’s sake.” Mike went first and said the vows. Then I said my vows. He constantly tells me that first he gave me everything but then I gave it back so everything we own is his. And then he laughs. During the rehearsal, there was some discussion about who would say their vows first. I lobbied really hard for Alisa to go first so that she would be the one who owns everything. I was overruled. But at least I tried.

8. In the morning, I made Alisa eat grapes and drink ginger ale before her hair appointment. This was very difficult. But I managed it. One day I might actually be able to be a parent. I was very firm with her.

9. Sarah, Carla Jean, Brandi, and Susan (and eventually Alisa, her mom, and Emily) came over to do hair and makeup before the wedding. Mike put on inspirational hairstyling music and made pesto. And that is why I love him.

10. I lugged my Giant Box of Best Girl Things the Bride Could Possibly Need to the church with us. We got settled in. We changed into our dresses. It was so cold. So, so cold. When we were taking pictures, Carla’s legs turned blue.

11. I continued to try to make Alisa eat things. We fed her grapes and cheese and peanut butter crackers. We used more safety pins.

12. When we were lined up on the stairs, Jason’s band played Alisa’s favorite song of theirs. I am glad I was there for that moment. She was very excited.

13. I remember smiling a lot when the ceremony started and I walked down the aisle. I laughed at the flower girl and ring bearer. And then Alisa came in. And then I got teary again! And Alisa was crying! And I was crying! And her parents were crying! Also, Alisa started crying again during the charge. I had a tissue in the POCKET OF MY DRESS (so awesome) that I gave her. Then she gave it back. I might need a ruling on this – is the Best Girl really responsible for the bride’s snotty tissue?

14. During communion, the bridesmaids didn’t know what to do with our communion cups. I almost put mine in the pocket of my dress. (See above.) But then I realized that we were all passing them to the bridesmaid on the end. I wish she had put them on the piano. Which would have been awesome.

15. At the end of the wedding, when Jason’s brother and I were supposed to walk out, he waited for me to step down first. Because he’s twice as tall as I am. And a super nice guy.

16. The guys all gave us their coats when we went outside. Did I mention that it was horribly cold?

17. After the pictures, it was finally time to go to the reception and for me to give my speech. I started thinking about my speech the day I was named Best Girl. Do you want to read it? Good, because I am posting it. Before I gave this speech, I gave Scott the shout-out he deserved. I am a woman of my word.

Alisa has been living at our house since January, a little experiment I sometimes called, “There are three adults living in our house, so why am I still the only one who sweeps the kitchen floor?” We had some adventures, including the best snow day in years, pumpkin whiskey cake, bug killing, and sneaking her into our neighborhood pool. Over the past ten months, I have learned a thing or two about living with Alisa. As Jason embarks on this grand adventure with his new wife, I have a little bit of advice to offer him. Alisa and I both love lists. So here’s a list of five things I have learned from living with Alisa.

1. Alisa leaves the lights on. Sometimes I came into the house and she’d be sitting in the kitchen with her bedroom light on, the hall light on, and her bathroom light on. There are two ways to handle this. The first is to handle it like Mike did, which is to speak with her directly about it. The second is to handle it like I did, which was to follow her around and turn the lights off. Both of them have their own advantages and disadvantages. I recommend the one that doesn’t have you sneaking down the hall to turn off the lights.

2. Alisa does not feel that it is necessary to lift the flag on the mailbox. This is fine if you don’t actually want your mail to, you know, be mailed. There are two ways to handle this situation. The first is to do what I did and to speak with her directly about it. The second is to be like Mike and to follow her around and lift the flag to make sure her mail goes out. A sidenote here: As Alisa was living with us, I learned that Mike and I are inconsistent about being confrontational. My advice for you is to remember that you guys have enough bad luck with the post office as it is, and it might be good to just go along with their rules.

3. When Alisa has a bad day, she wants to talk to you about it. It does not matter if you had something else planned. It does not matter if you just came to the kitchen to get a drink of water before getting back to your homework or your book or your movie. You will sit and listen while she gets it out of her system. The good news is that when you have a bad day, she will also listen to you. She will let you vent and complain until you feel better. And you will feel better. So my advice is to stop what you are doing and let her talk, because you guys will be on the same team, and she will always support you.

4. Alisa loves to give gifts. I know you know this, but I just wanted to point out that since she has moved in, we have been given things like Diet Coke pencils, a book on Michelle Obama, Great Pumpkin stickers, copious amounts of coffee, and a cheese grater. I am not so good with the gifts, but I have made an effort, too. And just making an effort has made me a more thoughtful and considerate person. I encourage you to make the effort to think of her and to show it in small meaningful ways. Also, please get her flowers from time to time. I hear she deserves them.

5. The fifth and final thing that I learned from living with Alisa came clear to me on that evening in June when Jason’s house was broken into. For those who don’t know, Jason stayed at his house that night to make sure that his things would be okay in case anyone came back for more of his stuff. That night I saw Alisa sick with worry about him. What I learned about her that night is that, Jason, she really really loves you. She was desperate to know that you were okay. I have known her for a while, but I had never seen her upset in quite that way. My advice to you is to remember that you are no longer just making decisions for yourself, but for the two of you. You are no longer individuals, but a team, working together. It’s not an easy adjustment, but, in my experience, what you give up is nothing compared to what you gain by sharing your life with another person in this way.

Let’s raise our glasses to the happy couple – Jason and Alisa, may you never stop learning about each other.

18. Here’s the problem with my speech. I totally screwed up point number two. I said that Mike spoke with her directly about it. So then I had to just go with it and say that I snuck behind her and lifted the flag on the mailbox. This makes me seem somewhat passive-aggressive. The truth is funnier. And less damaging to my reputation. Oh, well. I screwed it up partly because I was cold and partly because I was nervous and partly because I had made sure Alisa had had eaten, but I was kind of hungry myself. C’est la vie.

19. I stalked old friends, took part in recreating famous pictures, and helped get the bride out the door. I also ate one cookie. Then I loaded my car and went home for the after party. When I got there, Mike made everyone put their shoes back on and unload my car. It took an hour to load it (up and down the stairs in my leopard print shoes) and 30 seconds to unload it. And someone handed me a margarita. Are these the best friends in the world or what?

20. We after partied until about 11. We ate pizza, drank margaritas, had a Target/Sprint run, told old stories that still make us laugh, watched Facebook on the ceiling, and generally enjoyed each other. Maybe it is crazy to meet people on the internet like my nail lady thought, but these people have blessed and enriched my life and I am so thankful to have them. I am thankful Alisa has them, too, and thankful for the many ways I saw them love and care about her this weekend, even if they didn’t actually get to see her. We are all able to get together so rarely. I wanted the night to last forever.

21. Which is probably why the after after party lasted until FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING.

22. And then we had breakfast at 9:00 am. That is not much time for sleeping. At least we had biscuits the size of our faces. That was our condolence prize. Trey and Brian told more stories. We made it last as long as we possibly could. And then it was over. And I came home. And realized my new fate as an empty nester. Now I will have to take up hobbies and find interests.

Thank you for reading this. And thanks to all the wonderful friends I got to see this weekend for making me laugh and for caring about Alisa and Jason (and me, a little bit, too). Like everyone else, I wish them the best. Marriage is hard. Putting someone else first is hard. But it’s totally and completely worth it. And that’s what we celebrated this weekend.

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