I have several posts planned for the near future, but until then, I'll leave you with a few photos and the speech I wrote for Lauren and Chris' rehearsal dinner:
As we’ve approached this special day, I’ve been thinking a lot about life’s twists and turns. Twenty-one years ago, my family left England and closed one chapter of our life halfway around the world to open a new one in Booneville, Mississippi. At the time, saying goodbye to our home, our school, our pets and our dearest friends, Lauren and I didn’t see this twist as a positive one. We didn’t want to leave everything we knew and loved for the unknown. I mean, Booneville, really? But that was the path we were meant to take and it led us right where we needed to be.
After all, life is like that – sometimes you have to leave what is comfortable. Sometimes you have to believe that love and faith will lead you to what matters most in life. Looking around the room, I know that has happened. I see anyone who matters most to Lauren and Chris and their families, and those who are not here are present in spirit and in their hearts.
If you ask Lauren, you’ll know we had to have a lot of faith during our years in Booneville. It is never easy to grow up in a small town, especially in the days before cable TV and the Internet and even more so when you have a thick British accent.
By clinging to each other and to our imaginations, we persevered and came out smiling. With three years on my little sister (back then it was a good thing), I briefly considered USC before choosing Ole Miss. I’m not entirely sure why I had this change of heart, but it was the best decision I have ever made…for me and for Lauren.
From day one, Oxford felt like the home we’d been missing for so long, and it brought me so much happiness. Of course it didn’t hurt that I fell in love with my neighbor during my first semester – but that’s another story.
I remember telling Lauren Oxford and Ole Miss could bring her the same happiness. But she had her heart set on fashion school in Southern California, and she did not want me to rain on her parade. After many heated discussions, she chose Ole Miss, and although she wouldn’t have admitted it during her freshmen year -- big sister was right. A year later, she introduced me to Chris at an Ole Miss baseball game. Just like that, life’s little twists and turns led us both right to where we needed to be, and the rest is history.
I’m so proud of the woman my beautiful, caring little sister has become, and I’m so glad she found Chris, a good man with a loving heart and smile. Chris, I knew you were a member of this family more than five years ago when you kept Jonathan from seeing me the morning of our wedding. I’ll never forget the look on your face. It was priceless. I knew at that moment that you were my brother for life.
I love you and Lauren so much, and I am so, so happy that life brought you together. You’ve had a wonderful seven years, and you have an amazing life ahead of you. I look forward to seeing the path you take as the Mr. and Mrs. Durham. I know you’ll be smiling and laughing together, and you’ll be surrounded by all of your family and friends – just like you are today. We love you so much. Congratulations.