Back in February Don and I had the DISTINCT honor of being asked to speak at the Wedding Celebration for my niece Abigail and her husband Jake. Pressure for sure to hit the right tone, say the right things, and be absolutely authentic in the process. After much thought, tons of back and forth between us as spouses and a whole lot of practice memorizing our carefully selected words, we shared those words with the gathered group.
Many have asked for a copy of the words – it was such a busy spring I never did get around to sharing them. I have bolded the phrases that seemed to have the most resonance with the beyond lovely group that was collected for the celebration…
Words of Advice for Abigail and Jake on the evening of their
Wedding Celebration – February 25th, 2023
Delivered with LOVE and RESPECT by Linda (ELA) and Don MacKinnon
Ela: Thank you Leland and thank you Abigail and Jake for the honor of being part of this celebration. My name is Linda MacKinnon and this is my husband of 27 years, Don MacKinnon. You may also call me Ela. Abigail and Jake asked us to speak to this amazing celebratory group today on the topic of the value of deliberately and thoughtfully collecting experiences as they navigate their lives together.
Let’s kick this off by recognizing the wonderful experience of this weekend that Abigail and Jake have given us all – the experience of being here with all of you celebrating two people that we all love and coming to this gorgeous location to honor the union of their two exceptional lives. Thank you Abigail and Jake for giving us this experience where we all get to be together to enthusiastically and lovingly celebrate the both of you.
Don: What do we mean by collecting experiences? Well, we think of them as the events that shape and define who we are as a person, a couple, a family and group. They can be as simple as purposefully enjoying a sunset, as taxing as training for and running a marathon together, as grand as celebrating your marriage in John’s Island or as monumental as having and raising a child together.
What do these collective experiences create? Love, laughter, accomplishment, amazement, memories and ultimately unbreakable bonds. They provide the opportunity to learn and grow together, to strengthen, to solidify and to evolve your relationship as a couple, family and friend group.
Ela: It’s easy to say – go forth and collect experiences, but the more important advice we can offer is to be open, mindful and deliberate of the experiences you choose. Be the architect of the experiences you collect as you journey together through life. Be deliberate about the experiences you choose. Be intentional about what you decide to embrace. Be present during every moment of those experiences. You are the architects of your lives together. Build an amazing one.
Don: We think our advice of living a life with an experiential mindset is happily illustrated within the story of how Linda and I first met Jake. To celebrate my 50th birthday, we rented a house in Turks and Caicos and invited a group of people we love to come join us. The group of course included Abigail and we said you should definitely bring this guy Jake we keep hearing so much about.
Ela: Jake said YES! for what could have been a rather intimidating gathering for exactly 23 hours. He actually spent more time in transit than he did with us, but he arrived with a giant smile on his face and an energy level that indicated he was IN for the experience and his ALL IN attitude made it abundantly and immediately clear to us that he was the perfect life partner for Abigail.
Don: Do we actually recall what we did during those 23 hours? Not a chance! But we do remember how easy it was to welcome and weave Jake into our gathering – thus cementing our respect and appreciation for this individual we are so happy to have be a part of our family.
Ela: In essence, our advice Abigail and Jake is to keep doing exactly what you are doing. Say yes to the things that energize you and that make you even better versions of the you’s you are now. Delve into new experiences at every opportunity. Be open to new people – new ways of seeing and doing things.
Don: Because life’s many responsibilities and challenges can veer you off course, sit down together at least once or twice a year and make lists of what you want to experience together as a couple, together as a family (please have us on that list from time to time) and as individuals. Tackle the life experiences you want to have like you would tackle getting a new job or a client assignment. Make your life happen for you as you go from one carefully selected amazing experience to the next because no one else can. Be flexible and willing to adjust, just as you had to do on the somewhat bumpy road to this celebration.
Ela: We are already thoroughly enjoying the experience of watching the Stoller Family thrive and grow and experience the very best of life together first as a couple now as a family with the wonderful and wondrous Willy and magnificent Moose. Cheers to you all. We love you all so much.