When Maria asked me to photograph her wedding, I wanted to say “no” so bad. I didn’t want to watch her celebrate one of the most important days of her life from behind a lens. I didn’t want to miss out on the festivities, the dancing, the drunken Greek debauchery. Then she told me that she could never find a photographer that she’d rather have capture her big day. That was followed by waterworks. I relented, but under one condition: She had to let me give a toast. She agreed, and I manned my camera like I do every weekend, but this time I did it with tears of happiness. My mom has been bugging me to send her my speech. I figured I might as well post it here. Judging by the reactions from the photographs, I did pretty well. Thank you Maria and Nick for letting me document your wedding, and thank you Alex Meseguer and Joe Russo for covering me when I had to put down my camera for a few minutes. You guys rock.

I’ll never forget when my mother first told me that she was pregnant with her third spawn. We were in the basement of our house on South Valley Road. She was lying on the couch and I was playing with my GI Joes on the floor. Out of nowhere she told me that she was going to have another baby and I was going to be a big brother…again.

My thoughts promptly turned to the joys of having a little brother. I would have someone to play with, someone who could look up to me, someone I could torture. Then the big day came. I was sitting with my grandmother, when the phone rang. You have a little sister, my mom cried out from the phone.

That was the day my heart sunk. Noooooo, I cried. It can’t be. Not another one. I can’t handle Rita and she can barely crawl.

I spent the next few months miserable, until I finally got to know Maria. Then I spend the next decade putting up with her.

Something changed when I hit my 20s and Maria became a teen. We both started bonding over the strangest things. Art, culture, design, bad television. I realized that Maria was not only my sister, but also my friend.

Maria is one of the true gems in this world. Her heart is filled with more kindness than anyone I’ve ever met. She never gets mad at me, and she is always the first to help out when I need something.

When I was planning to ask Allison to marry me, Maria was the first and only person that I turned to for advice. When we bought our house, she was the first one to visit. When I’m down, she is the one of the first people I go to. She is amazing in every way. She is always smiling, always happy, always jubilant. She is an amazing person and I am so blessed to call her my sister.

I want to take back two things right now. First, I am glad that you weren’t a boy. I don’t really share too well anyway. Second, I always told mom that she should have quit after the first child. I mean, why try when you are already ahead, but I don’t mean it. I couldn’t imagine not having you in our lives.

Nick. I’ve only known you for a few years, but it those months you have proven to be a real stand up guy (that wasn’t a height joke) and I’m positive that you will take great care of my sister. About two years ago, my grandfather told that the only people that matter in this world are those that have character. It’s kind of made me change the way I see everyone. When I look at you, I see a guy who’s willing to do everything to make my sister happy, to keep her safe, and knee deep in purses. I see a person with great character and someone I’m thrilled to call my brother.

To both of you, the best in life, luck and marriage. And hurry up and make some Greek babies. I’m sick of everyone looking at me.

Ade Yamas.

Alexander Meseguer

Photo by Alexander Meseguer