When Lucas and I walked into the ballroom where our reception was being held both of our hearts skipped a beat. The room had been transformed, with the help of Julie and Faena Hotel + Universe, into an absolute masterpiece before our eyes!
We immediately went to the dance floor for our first dance, which was to the song Besame Mucho. I was incredibly nervous, as we had not had the opportunity to practice even once. However, I should have known there was no reason to for my anxiety, because Lucas is Latin and we all know that Latins are born with the innate ability to shake their hips.
Once our dance was over, we returned to our seats for dinner and for some more kisses! Besame mucho, remember?
A while later, my Dad (with my brother as his Spanish translator) gave the father of the bride speech. It is quite long, but I have decided to share it regardless, as it is deeply touching — both endearing and funny at the same time — just take a look at the expressions captured on everyone’s faces as he delivered it:
My name is Rafael Francisco Josephe Perullo, the father of Andrea Maria. I would like to start by thanking all of the guests for sharing this day with Andrea and Lucas, especially those that have traveled great distances to attend.
One of my concerns before coming to Argentina was trying to remember names. I quickly realized that Italian and Argentinian women have a very common trait: they all have Maria in their name. Andi, my wife, my mother in law, my niece, my sister, Lucas’ mother, and I am confident that a number of other family members have it included in their name as well. So, if I forget a woman’s name, I will just use Maria and there is a good chance I will be right!
The more I thought about today, the more of Andi’s life came flashing into my head, and the reality that she has grown up and is now taking the biggest step of her life hits me. These two, Andi and Alex, are my daughter and son, but where in the world did the little children vanish to?
To say that Andi has led an interesting and amazing life at such an early age, and led it to the fullest, is an understatement. My wife, Margit, and I should have seen it coming when she was a child. Margit probably saw it, while I was a father and totally missed it.
I could spend hours telling “Andi stories”. Although, I will not, since Andi compares my talking to that of Fidel Castro, since I can just go on forever. However, I encourage each of you to ask her questions throughout the celebration. I can promise there are great stories behind each of them.
Here are some of my favorite moments:
- At twelve, Andi believed she was a very good swimmer. She went to a swim club that a neighbor and friend of Andi’s, Kristen, who is here today, belonged to in order to be evaluated. She was placed at the lowest possible entry level and stormed out of the swim club furious and in tears. She was determined to show them. A year later, at thirteen and not yet in high school, she won the State 50 meter freestyle championship defeating seventeen year olds. She did not lose a race the next two years.
- Andi walked miles from the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island into Nassau, the Bahamas when she was fourteen to get a tattoo of a daisy on her ankle. She hid it the entire vacation and told her mother and I while on the plane returning home.
- Andi called me from Bolivia to inform me that she had broken her ankle the day before in Peru.
- Andi called me from Mexico asking me to help her leave the country, as she had sneaked into Cuba, and her flight back to Mexico had been delayed, thus she missed her connecting flight back to the States. I told her that she had been in Cuba illegally, and that I was not a diplomat nor in the State Department, so there was nothing I could do. She figured out a way to get home. She always did. With all of her travels around the world, every time I see a movie about the CIA, I am convinced that my daughter is a member of the organization
- When she entered college, I told her to enjoy the experience and take her time. She double majored and finished in three years
- Andi called me from Spain to let me know that she had everything stolen and could not leave the country. Notice how she always called me and not her mother?
Andi knows how much her mother and I love and care about her and how very proud of her we are. I am lost for words in any attempt to describe my daughter’s beauty and how gorgeous she looks in her wedding gown. I want to thank everyone who made the wedding ceremony a success, especially Julie Watson Gomez. It would have been impossible without her help and patience.
I met Lucas five years earlier. I did not speak Spanish. At the time Lucas spoke very little English. We smiled and nodded a lot. Now he speaks English better than most Americans. Me, well, I still do not speak Spanish. My first impression of Lucas was that he was a handsome, respectful, and fine young man. I wished that he did not live so far away. What has happened over the last six years proves that love has no boundaries. Their commitment reminds me of a quote from a novel I read, “You know you are really in love when you cannot fall asleep because reality is better than your dreams.”
To Maria and Jose, my promise is that our home is Lucas’ home. Margit and I will love and respect him as if he was our own child. Today is a day of great joy of celebration and happiness. Today the Ledesma and Perullo families are joined together forever.
I believe there are two lasting bequests we can give our children, one is roots and the other is wings. Ladies and Gentlemen, raise your glasses, and join me in welcoming the bride and groom: Mrs. and Mr. Lucas Perullo de Ledesma!
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