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A Wedding Toast

by Matthew Arnold Stern

Wedding toasts are a challenge even under the best of conditions. The wedding where I offered the following toast was clouded by several difficult circumstances. Three months before the wedding, the mother of the bride died after a struggle with Lou Gehrig's disease. Then, a few weeks before the ceremony, the groom's grandmother suffered a serious heart attack. Also, tensions from the bitter divorce of the groom's parents and from some other family conflicts resurfaced.

When the groom asked me to give the toast, I knew that these problems couldn't be ignored. So, I offered the following toast to address these issues in a positive way, and return the focus to the bride and groom and the joy of this special occasion. Mine was the last of four toasts, and it was done before the cake cutting.    

I will keep my comments brief because I know that you never want to get between people and cake.

To the bride and groom, tonight you've heard many expressions of love and good wishes, and all parts of our family have gathered together to celebrate this moment with you. I want to add my voice to this chorus. I wish you a long, happy, and prosperous life together and fulfillment of all of your hearts' desires.

Today is your special day, and I'm grateful to be part of it. I know that your hearts are filled with the thoughts of some others, and if I may, I'd like to take a moment to toast them as well.

For our family members who are ill, know that we hold them in our thoughts and prayers. We wish them a swift and complete recovery and look forward to celebrating many other happy moments with us.

For our family members who are no longer here, take comfort in knowing that even though they are not here physically, they are certainly with us in spirit. You will see them again. You will see them in the faces of your children. You will hear their voices echoed in their laughter.

For the rest of us, I wish us peace and that every moment be a joyful as this moment right now.

In this spirit, let us all join together and wish our bride and groom a hearty mazel tov. L'chaim!

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