May 25th, 2012.
Below is the toast I gave at Wes and I's wedding reception in Oakland, California. I wrote this sitting in the backroom right before the reception began, typing as quickly as the iPhone will allow. This is exactly how I felt in the middle of that perfect day.
Thank you all for coming here tonight, Wes and I love that we are able to share this day with the most important people in our lives. So many of you have traveled far and put countless hours into making this day memorable. This is a kindness that we will never forget.
For those of you who know me well, you know I'm a big journaler. If you have any questions about what happened Easter weekend 2009 in Vegas or the 8th grade dance, they are sure to be detailed in my journals. I tease my dad a lot for "starting" my journaling "career" - back in 1996 he cheated in a game of yatzee, thus spurring the first entry I ever wrote - "dad cheats at yatzee" scribbled in dark green crayon inside a mini diary with cats on it. So naturally when Wes and I started dating, I pulled out my boxes filled with journals and searched through them.
It was during this massive reread of my life's history that I came across a story I want to share with you all tonight.
When we were 15, we went camping with our families following our annual mother's day tradition. Except this time it was November and we played a massive game of soccer instead of hiking. One evening after sitting around the fire, a few of us girls (all of who are here tonight) decided to walk into the middle of the field adjacent to our campsite to look at the stars. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Wes following us, and since I was awkward, 15 and had a massive, seemingly unrequited crush, I decided to flirt the only way I knew how. I sat down I a bench, sighed and said "I wonder if my future husband is thinking about me right now" and Wes walks up behind me and quietly says "I'm thinking about you, Hannah". The rest of the night is a blur. Whatever happened next was probably to embarrassing to mention anyway, I am almost certain I ran away and didn't talk to him for weeks sending our 15 year old love into a downward spiral, but none of that matters anymore.
Point is, I love Wesley Panek. I did when I was 15, I do now at 23 and I will for eternity.