My wedding toast to Jen and Darrell

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Wade Kwon, Darrell, Jen - wedding toast

My wedding toast to Jen and Darrell, married June 21, 2009:

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines wedding as “the fusing of two metals.”

Which is fitting, since Darrell is a pipe fitter and Jen … loves dictionaries.

Jokes aside, I’ve known Jen for nearly 24 years. Since high school.

She recently hosted our 20th reunion, and it’s at those moments you realize how your life changes so dramatically after you meet certain people.

A group of us were sitting in the hall at school between classes, and up comes the new kid. She plops down and joins us without hesitation. We did not know as teenagers and strangers that we would become best friends forever. We did not see at that life-changing moment just how our lives would indeed change.

And while weddings are about happiness and the future, we must remember nothing is guaranteed. Life is short. Loved ones can leave us behind without warning.

The Kwons have their own traditions. We usually marry standing in our own graves. Makes the funerals very romantic, but the weddings are a bleak affair.

Jen’s life, like most, has seen its share of dramatic changes leading up to today. She did not know, I’m guessing, that when she met a tall handsome stranger that he would be The One. That he would win her big, big heart through kindness and love and tenderness.

But she figured it out. I hope that each of us figures it out. That we recognize, as Darrell and Jen have, the stranger who one day becomes our best friend, our lover, our soulmate. And that the stranger likewise recognizes us.

Boom! Toasted!

To Jen and Darrell, the happy couple. May you be fused together in fiery passion and tempered in strength and love.

Photo: Kari Bragg Stubblefield

Video: Katherine Elmore


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