I wanted to share the speeches from the rehearsal dinner, because they were both so touching and meant so much. It was important to me that my sister was the one to deliver the speech at the wedding, so my maid of honor/best friend Brittany and my other best friend Katie spoke at the rehearsal dinner. They were both really different yet fitting, and we could not have been more blessed to have these two women stand up and say such wonderful things about us.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Katie Burcham and I’ve been best friends with Amber for the past eight years, since we met at Phi Mu Bid Day on Western’s campus. Along with meeting Amber, I met Brittany and lots of other friends, including Amber’s wonderful family, which has become like a second family to me.
To try and describe what Amber means to me…well, that’s hard even for a television reporter to do. (Can’t you tell by the hair?) But what I can tell you, is that ever since my graduation four years ago, we embarked on a long distance relationship that is my most successful relationship to date. We’ve driven hundreds of miles, planned weekend reunions, burned up thousands of text messages and phone minutes. But through it all, we’ve stayed inseparable, even talking four or five times a day.
Which is why, when Amber and Luke finally bumped into each other in a bar downtown after crossing paths for so many years, I still felt like I lived every minute of that meeting, even though I wasn’t there. In fact, I didn’t even get to meet Luke until they’d been together for about three months…and I’ll never forget when I turned to Amber and uttered the words I’d never said before – “He’s the one.”
So, when Luke called me and asked me to help him plan the engagement, I couldn’t have been more excited and honored. We talked about a bunch of different scenarios, but ultimately decided on something pretty simple. Luke was supposed to pop the question while they were alone and getting ready to go out to dinner. Then Luke would surprise Amber with an impromptu engagement party at her mother’s house where all of their friends and family waited to congratulate them and celebrate.
But, as well know, the best laid plans go to waste.
And sure enough, there they were….Luke picking Amber up at her apartment, supposedly going to meet Brittany and Michael for dinner at Chili’s. Just imagine Luke – trying to work up the nerve. The ring box is weighing down his pocket. He’s sweating, trying to remember the words he planned to say. And Amber, of course, is totally oblivious. Four times Luke bends down to “tie his shoe,” and then gets back up unsuccessfully. At this point, Amber is yelling at him…We’re going to be late for dinner darn it, why are you being so weird? Brittany and Michael aren’t gonna wait around all night for you to take your sweet old time! And finally she turns around…and Luke is on one knee…and says, “Damn it, Amber, won’t you just let me propose?”
So perhaps it wasn’t the most glamorous or smooth moment. There were no stadium billboards, no high-priced hotel rooms – just Luke and Amber. But there was still something VERY special about the proposal, and it’s the ring that Amber is wearing on her finger.
For those of you who don’t know the story, Amber’s engagement ring is nearly 100 years old. It started on the hand of Luke’s great Aunt Josephine, who then passed it down to Luke’s Aunt Kay.
Kay and Luke had a very special relationship. Single and with no children, Kay was a high school teacher who taught Luke many things – most of which you won’t find in any books. Things like respecting yourself and others, the importance of the company you keep, and most importantly, how to love.
Kay passed away when Luke was just 15. The night before she died, she and Luke spent time talking, and she gave Luke a “bucket list” of things to live by…and then gave her special ring to Luke’s mom, Lisa.
The ring was kept in a locked box for nearly a decade, just waiting to find the right finger to land on. So perhaps it’s no surprise that when Luke began talking about “that pretty girl with the big, beautiful brown eyes that kept drawing him in” (his words, not mine), Lisa knew just what to do. She brought out the box, dusted it off, and handed it to Luke with very specific instructions: he could only have it if he put it on Amber’s hand.
So what Amber is wearing is much more than just a band of white gold and diamonds. It is the past, it is the present and it is the future.
It now represents three generations of wonderful women who have touched Luke’s life.
It represents the end of one family, and the creation of another.
Most importantly, every time Amber looks down at her left hand, she will know that someone up there was looking down, nudged Luke and said, “She’s the one.”
Like true love, the band of that ring has no beginning, and no end.
It represents eternity…from those who have left us….to the undying love between those who sit before us.
So tonight, I want to toast to the love of a lifetime – and many more beyond that.
Cheers to Luke and Amber.
Most of you know me, but for those who do not I am Brittany. Looking back, my first initial memory of Amber was when some friends and I rolled her house, like most high school girls do. Being the sweet person she is, she kindly returned the favor by rolling my house. You can imagine we weren’t known to be the best of friends at that point.
Fast forward to our junior year at McGavock and somehow we had 3 classes together. Naturally seeing each other for half the school day made us bond, and we have been inseparable best friends ever since.
Amber, when you first asked me to be your maid of honor, I felt delighted and was so honored that you wanted me to stand next to you on your most important day. Thank you so much for including me in your wedding planning and celebration and I am so happy I get to be here with you as you and Luke embark on the next chapter in your life together.
Amber has been a great friend to me in so many ways. We have seen our share of heart break throughout the years and had to go through the horrible loss of friends. But though all of the ups in downs in life, Amber has always been there for me no matter what. We have come to know one another so well that we have an understanding that goes beyond words.
When I look back over the past 10 years, so many of my memories have included Amber. We graduated high school together, went to college at Western Kentucky together, joined the same sorority, and even became little sisters to the same fraternity. What’s funny is that out of all the years we have been friends, never once have we lived together. We always joke that if we would have ever lived together, we may not be friends today. With all the pictures we have to remember the fun and crazy times, we will always be sisters at heart and partners in crime.
Fast forward to 2008 when Amber called and told me to meet her at the Box Seat to meet some guy that she liked… of course I was excited for her and went there immediately. Amber had met Luke though a mutual friend, Jeb, when we were in high school and they had hung out a few time since then. What Luke didn’t know was that she had always had a crush on him.
When I met her at the Box Seat, I really didn’t know what to think. Luke and I never had the opportunity to get properly introduced because he was being a tad bit weird. I assumed he was just shy and quite. Well, because we all know Luke and how he really is, the more I got to know him I found out how wrong I was and that he was the perfect match for my best friend.
Amber and Luke, words cannot express how happy and excited I am for the two of you. I have never seen Amber any happier than she is with you Luke and I know you will have a happy and long life together. I know she has truly found her soul mate and I am lucky to call you my friends.
I hope you all enjoy!