To my sister: Marriage is like finding your favorite pair of jeans


As Matron of Honor, I was recently asked to say a few words before dinner at my younger sister’s wedding. After much thought, I crafted a message to fit her situation but wanted to share, as it might also be something you can relate to as well. As it turns out, finding a spouse is a lot like finding your favorite pair of jeans.

Hello and thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate Ryan and Brandi’s marriage. For those of you I have not yet had the chance to meet, my name is Alie and I am Brandi’s proud older sister. And, as the older sister, it’s only natural for me to offer a few words of advice.

While I’ve only been married three years myself, I’ve learned finding your perfect partner is like finding your favorite pair of jeans:

1. First you browse many stores and after trying on a few pair, you must make the important decision to commit.

2. Your new favorite pair of jeans have a way of always making you feel more attractive and more comfortable—no matter what the occasion. The same should be true in your marriage.

3. Some days you will be surprised to find the jeans no longer fitting as you remember. Give them a break and look in the mirror. You might be the one who has changed. Hold onto them anyway.

4. You might wonder how you became so lucky to find such a good quality pair of denim. Remember these moments, too.

5. Over the years and through various fads, it’s likely your favorite jeans will become altered – faded, shorter, less spunk and more holes. And, in the case of today – rained on. That’s OK. None of these things really matter, as they can be fixed, patched and sewn. As long as they still fit, that’s all that matters.

After asking multiple people to describe their favorite pair of jeans using one word– some of which came from a few of you in this room –the answers weren’t far from adjectives used often to describe a spouse. Among them, the answers included words like: small, transformative, flattering, comfortable, worn, tight, destroyed, sexy, excited, cherished, versatile, soft.

And, my favorite descriptions were those from the bride and groom – tight and destroyed.

I’m not sure I want to know the stories behind those descriptors and I might be in trouble if using a few of them when describing my own husband as the perfect spouse. But, the point is – finding and experiencing a good pair of jeans takes time, patience and compromise – just like marriage.

Brandi, it is so great to see you have found your match. It’s been fun watching you grow while shopping these past few years. I am so proud of the person you have become and wish you nothing but long-lasting denim, a snag-free zipper and buttons in-tact.

This next step in your life – foot first in the jeans of marriage – is an experience better than any other.

So, find a belt, learn to sew and resist the periodic urge to donate your jeans. Because, no one will fit those jeans quite like you.

Congratulations Ryan and Brandi and all good wishes to you



Commencement speech from a twenty-something


It’s unlikely I will be speaking to a stadium full of eager students preparing to graduate anytime soon. But, as ceremonies near and party planning ensues, I can’t help but think about what advice I might share with the next generation if given the chance. What would I talk about?

What experiences could I possibly have had this early in life that would lend a hand to those about to enter the next step in their lives?

To the class of 2012:

In 2009, the late Steve Jobs told students at Stanford the only way to be truly satisfied in life is to do great work. President John F. Kennedy shared the importance of attitude during his speech during a graduation ceremony at American University in 1962 and in 2007; Oprah Winfrey used her own story to encourage students at Howard University to dream big.

I certainly don’t have the experiences of these prominent figures. Nor, do I have their influence. But, what I do have are my own lessons, and if choosing the most important learned since high school, it would be the ability to value change.

Most of you have probably experienced change in your lifetime in one way or another. You may have moved schools; you can now drive; you changed jobs – I did too. But, what I didn’t do was appreciate the change. After leaving the comfort zone you call high school, there will be times you feel awkward or uncomfortable. That’s OK. Embrace it.

If attending college, you will likely change your major, your living space, your wardrobe and hopefully your bed sheets. Change a diaper while you’re at it; you will thank me later for having that experience.

And, if you decide to move out of your parent’s house, your taste buds will change, too. Peanut butter and jelly on hamburger buns will become a staple food in your life in effort to save a few extra pennies.

Throughout the years, you will be surprised at the number of times you change your mind; becoming in touch with the person you never knew you were. Old friends may become distant memories and simple schedule may seem like an oxymoron.

But, while you’re riding the rollercoaster of life, remember who you are at the core and never let that change.

Because with change comes growth and as you learn more about yourself, it will become clearer how you can change the world.