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As wedding reception tradition would have it, the bride isn't particularly expected to give a speech.  However, those closest to me already know that I will not remain silent during the happiest day of my life!   I must begin my speech by first thanking everyone who has chosen to witness this special day between me and my wonderful husband, Benjamin. We are truly graced by your presence here today!  I am especially touched and humbled by the presence of my great aunt who traveled all of the way from Oregon to New York to see me get married.  I love you so much Aunt Jessica!

To my Mom, you have always been there for me since the day I was born - and especially since Dad lost his life in that tragic car accident when I was only ten years old. Mom, I know that Dad is smiling down from Heaven and that he is proud of both of us.  I also feel that Dad would have absolutely loved Benjamin. Thanks again Mom for all you have done to helping me prepare for this wedding ceremony and reception.  I love you so much, Mom!

To Benjamin's parents, I thank the both of you so much of having raised such a fine son. I also thank you for accepting me as your own daughter.  I felt welcomed into your home from the very first time Benjamin introduced me to you.  I am grateful for the assistance that you two gave to me and Benjamin during the months leading up to the wedding . Me and my husband will always cherish the marital advice offered to us.  I especially love this piece of advice - "Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire." I will just keep the matches away from Benjamin!  In all seriousness,  my new father-in-law has done so much in order to fill the void created by my dad's untimely death.  I definitely have a second dad now!  

To my four bridesmaids, thanks so much for keeping me levelheaded and sane throughout the entire wedding planning process.  I know that I can be highly demanding and stubborn at times.  I am appreciative of your unyielding patience!  Sheryl, Stacey, Julia, and Harriet - you are the most beautiful bridesmaids!

To Patricia, my best friend of ten years and maid of honor, where would I be without you?  Over the past decade, we have shared great and not-so-great moments together. You have always been a shoulder to lean on during times of crisis.  I thank you Patricia for crossing every T and dotting every i with the attention to detail. You stayed on top of the various vendors from the caterers, reception hall, florist, invitation makers, dress makers, limo, and even the minister!  The wedding ceremony and reception (so far) as been flawless!   To Matthew, the best man, thanks for being a great friend to Benjamin. You played a huge role in keeping my husband steady and focused, especially in the weeks leading up to the wedding.  I am also happy to be able to call you a friend as well.

Finally, my biggest thanks goes to the love of my life, my rock, my husband Benjamin. Baby, you have given me the confidence and faith that anything worth having is possible.  You are truly special.  I wake up with a smile on my face and also go to bed the same way.  I thank my lucky stars every second of every day for having met you simply by chance at the public library in midtown Manhattan.  I never realized that I could meet such a fine Gem at the library!  Benjamin, I promise to always love you and to stand by your side through thick and thin.  Here's to forever, darling!

May I propose a toast to everyone in attendance.  Please stand and raise your glasses. Enjoy the rest of the reception.  Eat, drink, and dance the night away!