Ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, good evening.

First of all let me welcome all the guests and say thank you to all of you for being with us today and making the atmosphere of the wedding party so warm and cozy. We are happy to share this holiday with family members and relatives from both sides. Especially welcome are those who traveled a long way to come here.

To confess, throughout the day I have been looking at my daughter in the wedding gown, so beautiful, solemn and brimming with happiness – like a tender white lilac on a spring morning – and I still couldn’t believe my eyes. It seems to me that just an instant ago my future wife and I were standing at this altar and sealing our marriage with a kiss and now the finest outcome of our marriage, our daughter, that cute blue-eyed tot, has grown up and said two simple words “I do” to create her own family.

During today’s wedding ceremony I recalled a thousand little details about her. Some of you know Donna as a talented web-designer; for others she is a devoted tennis player; many of us know her as a faithful friend. For me, ladies and gentlemen, she was and is and will be a little girl with funny plaits and surprised blue eyes, as big as a plate. I remember the day when she was born: a bright April morning with red tulips blossoming at the flower-beds by the maternity hospital; it was one of the happiest days of my newly-baked father’s life. I remember her first school days, when she filled her exercise-books with fancy hieroglyphs instead of letters. Well, when her plaits and surprised glance are gone, at least one thing hasn’t changed: her handwriting, which I still can’t decode.

I recall her drowsing on my lap, while I read her the fairy-tales about charmed princesses. Today she looks like a fairy princess, and I believe she has at last found her prince and they will live happily ever after for true marriage means that you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody – and you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible (1).

I am very happy for Donna and Roderick, and I am sure they are a perfect match, for they fit each other as two pieces of a puzzle that God must have scattered on the Earth in the ancient times.

Dear Donna and dear Roderick, I won’t bore you with lengthy pieces of paternal advice regarding marriage and life together – this world is entirely yours, and it is only you two who will determine its rules. I am sure that you will build a reliable family hearth, a cozy nook where you will feel at your ease and which will give you strength to withstand the storms and challenges of life. On this way, let me only wish you tolerance and love. As one wise man once said, “a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person” (1).

Finally, I will share with you a quotation that guided me through my marriage – not a single day of these 31 years I regret. It is taken from the Bible and says that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (2).

Let me propose a toast to the bride and the groom, and let us stand up and clink glasses for love in the family of Donna and Roderick.