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Notes on a Toast

Lauren Lumsden gave the crowd-pleasing speech below at her best friend’s wedding. In the footnotes, Lumsden reflects on her strategy and how a Val Kilmer reference came in handy.

Illustrations by Roderick Mills  

If you know me at all, you know that this is a speech I’ve been excited to make for about 16 years. It was about 16 years ago that Isabel and I drew up plans for our dream weddings during freshman year. I don’t remember anything about mine, but I remember Isabel’s pretty clearly. The front-row guests included her beloved pugs Cody and Toby. In fact, I think they might’ve gotten the whole front row to themselves. (1) Her mom, dad, and Genny were in the second row, along with the honorary pug Bonnie, who was in fact a spaniel, and a few cats. I think Jonathan Taylor Thomas was in one of the back rows. And the groom was, of course, Val Kilmer. (2)

After we’d finished our elaborate plans, I told Isabel I was going to talk about this at her wedding, and I think she’s been worried about that ever since.

While it would be very, very cool if Isabel was marrying Val Kilmer tomorrow, I, for one, am grateful she’s marrying Lucas.

When Isabel first met Lucas, under the guise of a discussion “about architecture and business,” she fell for him immediately. I don’t know if that was her dad’s intention when he set up the meeting, but I have to assume it was at least his hope. (3) As many of you know, the relationship started with a series of emails, since Lucas was living in a cabin in Botetourt County, Virginia, at the time. Although I wasn’t privy to those emails—which, to me, was a sign that Isabel was serious about this—I know how meaningful they were. When she got the first email from him, she said, she started sweating so profusely that she had to turn on the A.C. (Don’t kill me, Isabel.) (4) “It wasn’t that the email was flirtatious,” she said, “it’s just that it was so thoughtful.” (5) After that, the chain kept going, and what struck me as especially hilarious is that, even after a month, Isabel would message me and say: “Got a ten-page email from Lucas today. He asked me tons of questions about my life. Still not sure if he likes me?” Girl, he liked you. And how could he not? You are the best and, simply put, a perfect friend. (6)

Illustrations by Roderick Mills   

I am so, so, so happy Isabel is marrying Lucas. Upon meeting him, it’s immediately apparent that he’s genuinely kind, thoughtful with his words, easily amused—he’s even a feminist (which I love)—and a total catch. When I first met him, in high school, he was sitting by himself reading The Picture of Dorian Gray, in a corner of the Mill Mountain coffee shop, something I tease him about, but really: Don’t we all want to end up with the guy who reads Oscar Wilde in high school—for pleasure. He is exactly the kind of person you want your best friend to end up with. He gets Isabel completely, and that makes me really happy, because she deserves to be with someone who recognizes how awesome, hilarious, and crazy smart she is. I’m just so glad these two are getting married! (7)

When I was looking for the plans from our weddings, I found another teenage artifact from Isabel: For my 17th birthday, she gave me a “love potion” that I think was in an old Visine bottle, placed in a Crabtree & Evelyn box. On the sides of the box it said Warning: Smelly and Enhances Body’s Natural Odors. I’m pretty sure it was just water with some food coloring in it, but I never used it so I’m not certain. I’m pretty sure Isabel DID use it, but what she failed to mention is that it takes 12 to 13 years to kick in. (8) So cheers to the happy couple! (9)