I Have Happy Tears.

This post was inspired by my dear friend, Lisa, and everyone else who witnessed my matron-of-honor speech at my sister’s wedding. I have decided to publish my speech here. As I said to my sister and her now-husband, and their 150 wedding guests, I wrote this speech out to read aloud as a piece of writing, because my writing “voice” is very different from my speaking “voice” and I wanted to do my sister the honor of seeing what my writing voice would come up with. I will share it here now.


In the words of the great Scarlet Bowman, “I have happy tears.”

One little or widely known fact about Lindsay and I is that we have so many things NOT in common but we have the same heart. We cry at the same things. We laugh at the same things. We remember the same meaningful memories from our childhood together. We have been to hell and back together. Her face was one of the first faces I saw on this planet, and I haven’t wanted to look away since.

Even though we have the such similar hearts, we have always protected ours differently. Her heart can grow bigger and bigger and is often worn on her sleeve. I often chose to hide mine away. Together, somehow, we meet in the middle. That’s why it was surprising to me at first that I found great love before she did, and that I got married before my big sister did.

And now I know, a heart that big was waiting for a man with a matching heart. I’m a photographer, as you probably all know. It’s not just a career, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a process. It’s a heart process. It can get in the way of my emotions and my ability to have fun, because it can be used as a shield. It can also be used as a magnet, and a tool to get to know people better. Even people I already know pretty well. Lindsay and Mike asked me to do their engagement photographs and I was so nervous! I get nervous in new situations, and I also get nervous when I want so badly to do a good job, and to do them justice.

Well, I couldn’t have done a bad job, because their love was radiant and wide and shown to the world. I barely had to pose them. I barely could speak. I just watched their love unfold and I fiddled with camera settings, and I watched some more, and I changed some backgrounds and I played with light.

And I just watched.

And I’ll continue to watch. And embrace. My new brother. A new family. Happy tears.

In the next days or weeks, more and more photos will come out from the professional photographers. And some from me as well. In the meantime, the phone photos from guests are popping up left and right. I’ll share a few. I took these three:



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Thank you, Dad, Annie, Lisa, Margie and Kathy for the rest of the photos here.





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  1. Aww, looked absolutely perfect from start to finish. I can’t wait to see more pics as the ones I have seen so far are gorgeous. And what can I say, but best matron of honor speech ever! πŸ˜‰

    1. I appreciate that so much! Other than my bat mitzvah when I was 13 in which I had to sing Hebrew to hundreds of people, this was my first public speaking occasion.. And while that was really hard, I was just a kid and I didn’t have the anxiety I have now.
      I just kept thinking about how much I love my sister and how much she does for me, and that’s what powered me through. There was no way around it. It was going to be done.

      1. Aww, I actually fainted the first time I spoke in public in college. Don’t ask me how I became a teacher and did this for a living everyday all year long, but still I did. Seriously though, you wrote a beautiful speech and love the sisterly love here. Hope my girls are still this close when they are older, too πŸ™‚ <3

        1. Oh my God, really?? Was it before, during or after your speech? And were you able to speak?
          You always hear that stuff like that happens, and I always worry it will be me!

          1. I was just at the beginning. I was actually sick and ended up with a stomach flu after it. My teacher felt terrible for me and looked at my notes and actually gave me a better grade then many who did the actual speech!

                1. Aww!! You deserved your grade. It was about a week or two before Christmas, a few years ago, and I just about blacked out in a shopping mall in New Jersey.

                  I was pregnant. You just never know how your body is going to react to things.

                    1. Well I never did faint, but I started to feel it happening. What I did was dive for a bench and put my head down. Then a drink of cold water!

                    1. That was my favorite show as a kid. I mean, if they were to do a reunion show or to have a come back, I’d be sitting down that first second with popcorn.

  2. What a fabulous Matron of Honor speech! Your sister must have cried for sure. The wedding looked like it went beautifully and was such a happy day. Congratulations to the newlyweds!

    1. You know, she did cry. A few people dead, maybe more, but if you people told me that I ruined their eye make up!
      It was on my bucket list to one day bring people to tears with the power of public speech, so I guess I fulfilled that!

    1. Thank you so much. I was going to actually just speak from the heart without a plan, but then a week or two before the wedding, that speech came out of me all in five minutes. I was having a conversation with Cassidy, then I stopped, and five minutes later I told him I had just written my speech.

    1. You are too sweet! I find him to be very handsome too, and it still means the world to me when other people say it. He’s still got it!
      I have to admit, that a cold Monday morning with school and day care drop off was a bit rough after that weekend.

    1. I know! He really only wore it for an hour and then refused it. He sat very nicely for the ceremony but didn’t walk down the aisle like planned. He fell asleep during the cocktail hour And woke up the next morning. Missed the whole party! He cracks me up.

  3. Seeing some of the photos on FB has made my heart smile. There is so much joy and love. You’re starting to make me nervous because my older sister is getting married in December and yikes! I totally forgot I had to make a speech. I hope that I can come up with words to describe our relationship as perfect as you have. So happy for Lindsay and your whole family.

    1. You know what, you just will. When it was my wedding, my sister gave a beautiful speech and slideshow. She has always been my biggest supporter and I am hers. It was so important to me to do this, that there was no way around it. There was no way to fail or do it even halfway. You will find the same thing.
      Wish we could both meet you!

    1. I think she liked that I quoted her in my speech. I made a point to look at her and smile, and she smiled back. That was actually very grounding for me to go with the rest of the speech.

    1. Thank you so much. The newlyweds are on their way to their honeymoon right now. I wish them the best, and I confess that I wish for a honeymoon baby too.

  4. I’m smiling from ear to ear!!!…and maybe a few happy tears from your speech – WOW! You look gorgeous and Des and Scarlet – OMG I just can’t!!! Looking forward to more pictures all week… πŸ™‚

    1. I was so glad for those bowtie photos, because he ripped it off not long after. and he missed the entire party after falling asleep at the cocktail hour and not waking up until the next morning! Party guy.

  5. Congrats to the newlyweds and may they have many happy years together. Your speech was wonderful and it would definitely make me cry happy tears. Scarlet looked so excited in the pictures!

    1. I admit that I cried a little during my own speech. Scarlet used to say that going to Disney World was the best day of her life. After Saturday, she amended her answer.

  6. I bet there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that one!!! So beautiful, Tamara. So happy for your sister, and for the fact that you have each other:)

    1. You know I really only looked at my sister and my daughter, because I quoted her, but people came. up to me after to say that they had cried! Some were even annoyed with me because I ruined their eye make up! I’ll take it.
      I am not a public speaker, although it’s a bit of a dream of mine to be able to do it. I don’t know if my anxiety will ever allow it freely.

  7. What a beautiful speech. It’s time like this I wish I had my own sister. I’m happy that you were able to speak at your sister’s wedding but your voice shone through bright and clear I’m sure. Happy tears are the best tears. btw you got some beautiful photos and I can’t wait to see the rest of them.

    1. It was so meaningful to me that when I could check into Facebook every now and then, so many of my blog friends were so supportive to my updates. That meant the world! It was a very big weekend and it helped to have you all as friends.

    1. I really appreciate that! And I can’t wait to share more and more photos as they come in. And for my part, it may take me a while to upload them but I did share one on my fan page that I think you saw!

    1. We all thank you! She was the most radiant happy bride ever. I was so uptight at my own wedding, that I can’t help but be a little envious.

  8. What a beautiful speech!! I love how you said she was waiting for a man with as big a heart as your sister’s. Great family photos and the kids being so adorable in their formal attire.

  9. How I love this, dear Tamara – the speech and the photos. It’s hard to imagine you not wearing your heart on your sleeve. Your written voice MUST be different. πŸ™‚

    1. I think it would’ve been more stuttering and a lot of “ummm”. I don’t actually know! I had wanted to wing it, the way my parents both did. They gave smooth speeches without looking at any piece of paper!

  10. Great speech!!! Everyone looks beautiful. I love seeing wedding photos. I like it that you guys wore boots with your dresses after the ceremony. Very cute!

  11. What a beautiful speech! I noticed in your response comment to Janine’s that this was your first time with public speaking. I can say from experience that giving a Maid/Matron of Honor speech was way harder than any other public speaking I have done, including getting the attention of about 100 of my peers in a loud bar and, doing presentations in grad school, or even teaching workshops. I feel like there is so much more pressure with giving a speech, especially of this kind–you want it to be meaningful and from the heart, but not too cheesy. You captured all of those, and I am sure you did a wonderful job giving it!

    1. You are so right! It has the added element of it being their only wedding day. And there’s only one chance to get it right. And I care so much. I feel like I would get a lot less afraid to speak about something else to 1000 people

    1. Thank you! It was my favorite dress and they didn’t have my size, so I had to have it altered. I’m glad I did it.
      I was told I sounded okay. I was definitely shaking, but my voice wasn’t!

  12. BEAUTIFUL!!!
    I love your boots with your dress:)
    I’m sure that this weekend was one of those times that your heart was so full it was hard to contain and to even express. I hope you were able to enjoy and savor all of the moments!

    1. Thank you! We were so cold after the ceremony and photos, that I put on the socks and boots, but it wasn’t planned. It was a lot easier on the dance floor and it looks kind of cool.
      As for savoring moments and being present, I did that so much! I did not do that at my own wedding, and it was so amazing to be with a lot of the same people, even my in-laws, and to be having such an amazing time.

    1. Thank you so much! I have two sisters and two brothers. As much as I love the dynamic of my family now, I secretly would love another daughter so that Scarlet would have a sister.

  13. Many happy congratulations to your sister and your family. That speech is so sweet, though as a reader, it’s hard for me to imagine you speaking in any way other than your writing voice. Scarlet looked like the perfect little princess in her white gown. I can only imagine how pleased she was. And your sister just looked gorgeous.

    1. I think I probably do speak and write similarly, because it all comes from the same brain, but it would’ve had more hesitation and stuttering. At least with this, it was smoother!

  14. You rocked it! Way to make your sister cry lol that’s a beautiful speech gf! I love what you said about her big heart waiting to meet someone with N equally big heart. Aww what a beautiful couple, and your dress is gorgeous! You don’t look like some hippy! You look divine- your whole family is amazing! Movie star style! Yeah I just said that

    1. I like that you said! They really are a gorgeous couple, so it definitely made the photography awesome. I wasn’t the photographer, but I did get to do some on the next day.

  15. Such a beautiful speech! I love that you used your writing voice. πŸ™‚ You looked radiant and lovely at the wedding. I love your spiral curls and your “no makeup face,” Not hippy at all…just Tamara. πŸ™‚

    1. Well I did have makeup on, but it was just my own drugstore stuff!
      The spiral curls were incredible. She told me they would last until the next day, and they did! It would be cool to always look like that!

    1. I hope so! I have the original speech crumpled in my jacket pocket. It even has some editing corrections right on it. The original! Maybe I will frame it for her.

    1. I pray so too! Both of my sisters and my brother have found amazing spouses. My older brother has a big heart too. It would be nice for him to get married and be happy and for us to have yet another big wedding!

  16. These are the things that make me sad I don’t have a sister and neither does Frances. I’ve adopted my best friend as my sister since everyone thinks were’ siblings anyway. You gave a great speech, Tamara and the love shines through your words!

    1. So much love. And thank you.
      I think brothers are pretty special too, only we just don’t know! Henry and Ben have each other. I would love a third baby and a sister for Scarlet would be nice. I think a brother would be awesome too. I don’t know!

  17. What a beautiful and torching testament to your sister – who was a stunning bride! The wedding looks like it was a blast!

    1. Because you are family too.
      More and more photos will be coming! You’ve probably seen all the phone ones being passed around Facebook. There are some professional ones coming.

  18. Oh the photos are beautiful and the kids are adorable! Such a nice reading too. Looks like the celebration was fun and look forward to more photos. Blessings to your sister and new brother!

    1. Thank you so much! The baby slept through the whole reception. What a party animal. And Scarlet and my nephew had the best time ever together.

  19. I love your speech. I love the photos. And Des looks like such a big boy!!! Time to have another baby? πŸ˜‰
    Huge congratulations to your gorgeous sister and to your entire family, Sweets.

    1. Thank you so much! I didn’t even write it until the week before the wedding, and it only took five minutes. Otherwise I was going to wing it and probably stumble through it.

    1. That makes me happy, because that is exactly what I was trying to do. I wanted to make the speech more about her, but also about their love and his awesome personality.

  20. yay! gorgeous wedding and photos! I love the fall leaves behind you and your kids look beautiful. Your speech is equally eloquent, so glad you had a wonderful event.

  21. Awwww…. beautiful and perfect and beautiful… and I could cry.

    I always wanted a sister. I moved away from home when I was 16 1/2 and my parents had my brother less than 2 years later. He’s awesome but I missed out on the whole sibling thing… especially a sister.

    I’m glad I have two girls. I hope they have a close bond with one another.

    Your children are gorgeous. Your family is gorgeous!

  22. I LOVE your speech – And yes, your speech and writing voices are different but that’s what makes it awesome. LOL. I’m literally hearing your speaking voice in my head as I read it and it’s epic. Scarlet looks SOOOO freakin’ cute omg she’s like a little lady! Can you imagine her 20 years down the road possibly doing the same thing (hopefully more but who knows – another Cassidy could scoop her up early!)???? Yikes – let’s stick to the present, her as the most adorable flower girl. Yo little man is SPIFFY – look at his bow tie – excuse me! I love how you threw on boots after the ceremony lmao love everything about this and I have your wed post up – so heading there πŸ˜› <3 -Iva

    1. That’s so cool that you do know my voice! I think if I had winged the speech, I would’ve been stuttering and stumbling over words.
      Desmond sure looks awesome but he slept through the whole reception! About when I was putting on socks and boots, he was falling asleep for the night. You gotta love how it all played out.

      1. Better a sleepy kid than a crying one! πŸ™‚ I think most of us would stutter and stumble over words if we had to “wing” it – It’s always best to be prepared beforehand. Even on daily interactions I anticipate what I’ll say to folks at any given moment – unless I’m super comfortable with you. πŸ˜›

  23. Sorry I’m late to the party again – playing catch up. Scarlet Bowman has a wise old soul. Just like her mom. Your sister is very lucky to have you.

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