Mandy and Paul's wedding was gorgeous, and I got totally blitzed. I came home to find pictures in my inbox from our friend Julie, but I'm just going to share one right now.
I have entirely too much to say about this wedding, and I'm exhausted. So I'll leave you with the text of my HOH toast, which I delivered successfully (albeit a little shakily):
Hi, everyone! I’m Leslie, Mandy’s hausfrau of honor. I know most of you, but for those I don’t know, here’s a short introduction. I’m married to her brother Roy, which technically makes me Mandy’s sister-in-law, but Mandy and I have gotten to be so close that I consider her my long-lost-but-now-found sister.
I remember the exact date I met Mandy. It was March 16, 2005. Roy brought me over to the duplex that he and Mandy shared, and I remember him introducing me to her. He said, “What do your friends call you?” And she said, “Mandy.” Looking back on it, it seems like that little piece of conversation foreshadowed the bond that was to eventually form.
Like me, Mandy is a big ball of complications and contradictions. She’s messy and disorganized, but she’s very centered and calm. She’s assertive and maybe even bossy, but she’s tender and dependable. She’s funny, smart, and a whole lot of fun. She is always the first to engage with me when I am being extremely silly and the first to laugh at my jokes and antics. When someone enables me in that way, they're pretty much stuck with me forever. Which means that I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. (Sorry, Paul.)
From the beginning, I have admired Mandy's fierce independence and her stoic commitment to doing things her way and not settling for less. She sticks to her convictions and doesn't let anyone tell her what to do. Mandy is definitely not a doormat. She’s a perfect example of a strong woman. In the first year that I knew her, she didn't seem to need or even want a boyfriend.
And then along came Paul. I heard about him several months before actually meeting him. Mandy first described her feelings about him as a “little crush,” and I was immediately intrigued. I had a feeling that she was downplaying her feelings for him, because Mandy just doesn’t do little crushes. They did that little dance around each other for awhile. You know, the one where they both know what’s going on but neither one is ready to admit it yet? I noticed Mandy was getting a little anxious about Paul not calling her, so I gave her a few helpful instructions from that now famous book, He’s Just Not That Into You.
Obviously, it turns out Paul was very into Mandy! My first impressions of Paul were that he was just this all-around great guy: funny, friendly, and just really in tune with the needs and feelings of others. My first impression of their relationship was that it was going to last. Mandy and Paul seemed very comfortable with each other from the start. I mean, their relationship has always been so natural that they probably started playing their fake tree game on their first date and continued on with it just to drive everyone else crazy. If you have never been in a car when Mandy and Paul are playing the fake tree game, count yourself lucky.
Not only are they totally comfortable together, but it's completely obvious to me and the whole rest of the world that Mandy and Paul are crazy about each other. I've seen Mandy change and soften as a result of Paul's presence in her life. I've seen Paul drop everything and put Mandy's needs first. I've witnessed them just having a great time no matter what they're doing. They know how to have fun, and that's such an important component of a relationship. They also know how to really love each other and how to give themselves over to that love and respect. They have faith in their relationship. Judging by the turnout today, I'd say that everyone else does too.
And so I'd like us to raise our glasses today in honor of Mandy and Paul, because, as cliché as it sounds, when they found each other, they found a missing piece of themselves. I love you, guys.
Many congrats and lots and lots of love to Mandy and Paul!