A Father’s Wedding Toast

We can never tell where or when we will meet that special someone. For my daughter, Victoria, it was her Freshman’s Honors Program Orientation at Widener University in 2016. Up until then, she had never really gone out with anyone. So, when she told us that she had a date, we knew that he had to be someone special. Even his name, Finbar, is something pretty unique. As their relationship continued and we got our chance to meet him, my wife, Donna, and I were pleased to see what a smart, trustworthy, and polite young man he was. We could see that our Victoria had made a good choice.

During their college courtship, I could always tell when Finbar was coming over. Victoria smiled a lot, she sang more, and she cleaned all of the bathrooms in the house…Yes, I’m really, really going to miss that. At college they were always there supporting each other’s projects, going to their recitals, and helping in whatever activities they were involved with. Everyone could see that they brought out the best in each other and anyone could see that they were in love. Victoria graduated Widener nursing in 2020 and landed a job in the O.R at Lankenau Hospital. Finbar graduated with a Masters in Engineering a year later and was picked up immediately by his present employer, Paradigm.

Shortly after that, Donna told me that Finbar wanted to come over to speak with us. Even though his proposal was a foregone conclusion we appreciated his asking for our blessing…which we gave. During the course of the conversation that followed, I asked Finbar what he was looking for in a wife and this is what he told us:

I want a girl with a mind like a diamond.

I want a girl who knows what’s best.

Who’s fast and thorough and sharp as a tack,

Who can tour the facilities and pick up slack.

I want a girl with a short skirt and a long…

“Stop! I got it!”

We promised to keep the proposal a secret until he popped the question. Later that evening, out of curiosity, I asked Victoria what she was looking for in a husband and without any hesitation she said:

I need a hero.

I’m holding out for a hero ‘till the end of the night.

He’s got to be strong.

He’s got to be fast, and he’s got to be fresh from the fight.

I need a hero.

I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the morning light

He’s gotta be sure and it’s gotta be soon

And he’s gotta be larger than life…

“OK, well, I see my knows what she wants”

A few days later Finbar proposed. Victoria accepted. And today, my dear family and friends, we are here to celebrate our newest son who got his girl with a mind like a diamond and our daughter who found her hero!

But I have to say, as I was escorting my daughter to the alter, there was something that I noticed as looked out on the sea of faces in the pews that frankly surprised me. The men had a certain kind of sly smile. The one that says, “Enjoy it now, Buddy. You’ll get yours soon enough.” Now, the women, on the other hand, they were crying, and I understood the message in those tears, “Oh, that poor beautiful sweet girl, she has no clue what’s she’s in for.” And in a sense, there’s some truth to both.

Right now, your love is passionate, idealistic, and hopeful. Romantic love is a beautiful thing and I hope that you two will never lose its exhilaration. But there will be times when even a girl with a mind like a diamond won’t know what’s best and being somebody’s hero… that sets a high bar in anybody’s book. In short, sooner or later you will find out that your spouse is not what you expected and you both will inevitably disappoint each other. However, the good news is that you both were joined by God in the church, you show you both believe that marriage is sacred and with this sacrament you have invited the Almighty to play His part in your lives. And we all know His message to you, “Love is patient, love is kind, love hopes all things, love endures and forgives all things.” These are the outwardly focused attributes of love. The Lord wants to give you the grace to develop them in your lives. These will become the vulnerable gifts that you’ll give to each other in order for you two to truly become one and with that… you will achieve a love that will never fail.

So, as you embark on your lives together, Finbar, may Victoria always be your diamond girl and Victoria, may Finbar always be your hero. But, when the hard times come, when you fall short of each other’s expectations, remember:

You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want

But if you let God try

You’ll find

You get what you need!

Now my dear family and friends raise a glass with me:

When children find true love, parents find true joy. Here’s to your love, our joy, and a happily ever after from this day forward. To Finbar and Victoria!


6 thoughts on “A Father’s Wedding Toast

  1. Theresa Hedlund

    What an exciting day for your family! So beautiful! What is Victoria’s married name? Amy is the director of pharmacy at Lankenau. I’m thinking they might know each other.


    1. His last name is Byrne but she is keeping her maiden name. I don’t know how that works. Victoria has a new job at Bryn Mawr
      Hospital. They are honeymooning in Greece now. Hope you are enjoying you’re retirement/ God Bless.


  2. Michelle

    Andy Coco! I miss you and your beautiful words and advice when I would see you in. Brookhaven. Congratulations to you all❤️
    I love love love your toast. So glad I saw this on FB. My best to Donna.


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