Rehearsal Dinner Remarks

Tomorrow's the big day: my son and his bride to be at rehearsal dinner

Tomorrow’s the big day: my son and his bride-to-be at rehearsal dinner

Good evening, everyone. I’d just like to say a few words while you’re all enjoying your antipasti course.

Thank you for being here tonight, in honour of Caitlin and Gary. I’m Carolyn, Gary’s mom, and my husband Clive and I are so happy to be part of this wonderful celebration.

I’d especially like to thank Tracy and Tony, for all their support and everything they’ve done to bring us all together, looking forward to a beautiful wedding day tomorrow.

A few years ago, Gary came up to northern New Jersey from Washington DC, when Clive and I were here on a family visit. One morning, the three of us had breakfast at our hotel.

Gary had moved to DC immediately after graduation from Notre Dame. We knew he loved his consulting work at Booz Allen Hamilton and his extra-curricular activities, many of which involved being President of Young Professionals in Foreign Policy – leadership meetings, networking events and speaking engagements.

Like most twenty-somethings, Gary didn’t tell his mother — nor did I want or expect him to – every time he met new people in the city.

That is, until that morning over breakfast in our New Jersey hotel – when he said, ‘I met a girl at a NATO conference.’

Something about his voice, or maybe the timing over breakfast – or maybe just because I’m his mom – made my heart beat a little faster. Gary told us her name – Caitlin — and we learned she was originally from New Jersey and had lived in Texas for some years; she was a graduate of Boston College and had also won an award when receiving her Masters degree from George Washington University. Gary also said, ‘She’s a very positive person.’

We chatted a little more, then returned to our respective rooms, where I closed the door and said to Clive – ‘I think this is serious.’

Several months later, in the lobby of a London hotel, Clive and I met Caitlin for the first time. She and Gary had arrived on an overnight flight. They said they were both jet-lagged and exhausted, but you never would have known it, as Gary introduced us to this stunning young woman — with her shining brown hair and deep green eyes and the most beautiful smile we’d ever seen.

As Gary has said, we loved her instantly – but who wouldn’t?

Since that time in London, we’ve been blessed to spend many other days with Caitlin and Gary.

We were so happy to meet Tracy and Tony and Michael — at Tracy’s sensational Thanksgiving dinner at their home — and right from the start, we connected as families and realised how many shared interests and values we have in common.

My only wish is that Gary’s father, Gary Frank, who passed away in 2003, could also have met Caitlin and vice-versa. He was a loving and devoted father, husband and family man, and we know he would have loved Caitlin as much as we all do.

I’m thrilled that tomorrow Caitlin will become our daughter-in-law, or – to use the French expression which I love: our belle-fille, translated literally as ‘beautiful daughter’. I can’t think of a more perfect person to embody that lovely expression.

In addition to being beautiful, Caitlin has many other outstanding qualities.

I remember when one of my dear college friends, Laurie, who lived in DC – first met Caitlin. Laurie called me the day after she and her partner had dinner with Caitlin and Gary. She said how happy she was for Gary and how much she enjoyed talking with Caitlin.

Sadly, our friend is no longer with us, but she was one of the brightest people I’ve ever known, a lawyer with a brilliant mind who always valued intelligence and intellectual depth in others.

I’ll always remember Laurie ending our conversation, saying, ‘and Caitlin is VERY smart.’

Yet even more than Caitlin’s intelligence and external beauty, she possesses a rare internal beauty in her heart and soul.

If I may share but one example — Gary visited us in England, at a time when we would be together for the ten-year mark of his father’s death. Not only did Caitlin write Gary a letter to take with him to read on that day, she also gave him a letter for me, expressing – especially for someone so young – her amazing depth of sensitivity and compassion.

What a belle-fille, beautiful daughter — she is, indeed.

It’s been a joy to follow Gary and Caitlin’s blossoming romance. They’ve travelled to many places – London, Paris, Montreal, Las Vegas, to name just a few.

And then, on another of Gary’s visits to England, we had a quiet moment together and he said, ‘I’d like to propose to Caitlin in Australia.’

I will always be touched beyond measure that their engagement took place in Sydney, the incomparable city that means so much to our family.

Gary spent the majority of his school years Down Under, where he rose to School Captain of his primary school and Debating Captain of his high school.

He pitched countless baseball games for Sydney’s North Shore and the New South Wales State Cup league;

he enjoyed – and actually understands! – the game of cricket;

and he perfected his body-surfing skills on stunning local beaches – his favourite one becoming the location he chose for one of the most important events of his life — his marriage proposal.

Gary, or GR – to use the childhood nickname many in this room still call you: It’s been a big year for you – another promotion at work, completion of your three-year term as President of YPFP, your 30th birthday, and most of all your upcoming wedding to Caitlin.

I’m so proud of everything you’ve done – of your many accomplishments and the way you’ve lived your life. You’ve experienced great loss but always made the most of your gifts and opportunities. Your great strength of character shines through everything you do.

I’m proud of the way you’ve spent your time and of the choices you’ve made — large and small – every step of the way. We’re so happy you met Caitlin, the love of your life – and thankful for the joy you’ve found together.

We couldn’t be more proud of you, today and every day, and I know your father feels the same and is with us always, especially during these momentous wedding events.

Thank you for being the best son a parent could ever hope for. And thank you, Caitlin, for being your beautiful, positive self – for the smiles and laughter you share with Gary and all the love and happiness you’ve brought to him and all of us.

I know I speak for everyone here in saying, Gary and Caitlin, we love you dearly. We’re so happy you came into each other’s lives and are all looking forward to a fantastic wedding day tomorrow.

Could I now ask everyone to please raise your glasses and join me in a toast to the wonderful bride and groom.

Cheers, with all our love — to Caitlin and Gary.

The groom and his nephew/ring-bearer

The groom and his nephew/ring-bearer

Clive and one of his grandsons

Clive and one of his grandsons

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5 Responses

  1. Oh Carolyn. So beautiful. These are lucky kids to have parents who care SO much about them and are so perceptive and loving. I’m sure there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!!

  2. Let us raise our glasses . 🍷🍷.to Gary and Catlin. ..A wonderful story of Love. So happy for you all. Happy wedding day. 💕🎩👒

  3. Thank you, Kim and Anne! A beautiful & momentous time for the couple and their families — appreciate your kind words and support xx

  4. Hi Carolyn and Clive,
    Congratulations to your son, his beautiful wife and your families. This is pure joy and pride. Moments like these are shining and pure. Wishing the newly weds all the happiness in this world !

    xox

  5. Thank you xpat92! You are so right about these moments — really appreciate your wonderful words. xx

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