My sister is my tall, beautiful hero. She's an awesome mom, a very motivated medical professional, hilarious and on top of all this, is my favorite photo model. Being her older sister, thankfully I got to be her maid of honor, and holding her bouquet and seeing the tears in her now husband's eyes before she even came down the aisle was for once much nicer than taking photos of the moments. At the same time, I did want to give my own little gift to her of taking pictures every moment I could, so while all the bridesmaids and I were getting ready in a cloud of hairspray and bobby pins, I took a few photos of her. After the ceremony, we had a tiny portrait session on the playground behind the church where they got married - after, I will point out, letting their official photographer, Alison East, take all the group shots! It was admittedly surreal not being THE photographer, but being able to really experience the day as a sister was wonderful, and I appreciate Alison making that possible, too.
My lovely niece, Kayley :) This was a special moment. Pastor John Woods, in this photo saying a prayer for Megan before the ceremony, has known Megan and RJ for years now, notably as RJ's basketball coach when RJ and Megan were home schooled. He met them when my sister was pregnant with their daughter, Kayley, and gave a wonderfully personal service for their wedding.
After taking this picture, I dashed upstairs and got in line with the other bridesmaids and groomsmen to actually be a part of the wedding. Following the ceremony and group photos, I snagged Megan and RJ for a couple more shots on the playground.
During the reception, I just danced like a fool and gave a speech, as part of my responsibilities as maid of honor. I'm including it below, because everyone should see just how freaking wonderful my sister is.
"Megan, Mina, Meg, Megs:
The earliest possible place to start is your birth, which was kind of a fitting way to describe my view of you early in life: unnecessarily dramatic and lots of screaming. Yes, like most sisters, at first there was conflict born of your aspiration to be me and your desire to be around me at all times, which I failed to see as flattering and considered more in terms of, "How far can I kick you off the bed without causing major injuries?" Barney, The Lion King, Homeward Bound viewed so many times that Travis eventually buried it in the bottom of his football toy chest, but the movies and shows of your childhood are the soundtrack to mine, too - I still know every word to "I Just Can't Wait to be King" thanks to your insistence on the sing along tape. I could have done without hearing "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family," for the millionth time, but it's a fine sentiment for today.
It has actually always been music that has been a common denominator for us in spite of any differences we had over time. When we moved to Winston, the Spice Girls told us all about girl power, which you fully embraced even in kindergarten: you used your "girl power" to get your first kiss at naptime, I'm pretty sure even before I managed to go on my first date. As we got older, where you were sassy, I was nerdy. Where you were popular, I was wearing braces and glasses, and avoiding direct sunlight. Where you were a model, I was eventually a photographer and lucky enough to sometimes photograph you.
By the time I moved away to college, I had accepted that we were different people, and of course I loved you in spite of your perfection, but I was so delighted that on each trip home, I could see signs of your inner nerd breaking through. I always knew you were smart and funny, but I was proud to see you really embracing your intelligence and wit. It was around this time that you started dating this really tall guy with an incredibly deep voice who, while conducting himself like a bit of a gangsta, clearly also had a big heart and his own geek streak. Everyone here knows how much you guys have been through together, and how far you've come, and I cannot tell you guys often enough how much I admire you both. When Kayley was born, you both immediately became the dedicated and loving adults that we see here all dressed up today. You grew up, much faster than most people, but you are two of the most motivated and accomplished people I have ever met, and Kayley is the coolest daughter ever, so clearly the genetic situation also worked out really well.
RJ, I love you, you are insanely lucky but also very deserving of marrying my sister. Megan, I know age-wise you're supposed to look up to me, but I look up to you. Literally because I'm shorter, and figuratively. You are so beautiful, intelligent, focused, hilarious, talented, responsible and kind, and I hope one day to be as wonderful of a mom and as gorgeous of a bride as you are. You are both wonderful, I'm proud to now be officially related to RJ, and you are my favorite sister. I love you, and congratulations!"
My dad took this photo of Megan and RJ, my brother Travis and his girlfriend Renee, and my fiancee Elger and I outside the reception site, the Lexington Civic Center. It was a day that Megan and RJ deserved to have their relationship and love honored by friends and family, and I was so happy to get to be there as her sister.