Alan VanToai’s Wedding Speech
Anna VanToai & Carl Pfadt’s Wedding
September 15, 2018 – Detroit, Michigan
If you don’t know me, I’m Alan – I’m Anna’s mature, responsible younger brother.
And I had a poem about the 10 things I love about Carl prepared.
But Jordan and Thienly kinda took that from me so…
I’m just gonna improvise a bit as I go along.
Anna I’ll try not to embarrass you too much…
Just the right amount.
I first met Anna around the time I was born.
The details were hazy for the first 6 years or so,
But around 7, things start to come into focus.
And overwhelmingly I have really fond memories of growing up with Anna together
As you know, we grew up in Ohio. Mostly in New Albany.
And I remember listening to “Casey Casum Counting’m Down” on WNCI.
And our first CDs were Ace of Base and Hootie and the Blowfish.
Watching Anna in the drumline in New Albany High School.
Going to Cedar Point with the band.
We both enjoyed great childhoods that were in large part in thanks to the unrelenting love, support, and sacrifice that our parents made raising us.
And so Mom and Dad, first to you, you did an amazing job.
You raised an amazing daughter, and you tried your best with me, so thank you so much.
One amazing thing about this union today of Anna and Carl is that it’s not just a union of two people but also of two cultures.
Wouldn’t you guys agree?
So from the Pfadt side – wasn’t it amazing seeing the traditional tea ceremony, and the Vietnamese ceremony…
And then from the VanToai side – wasn’t it great seeing the traditional Episcopal ceremony in the Christ church this afternoon?
So, for the benefit of the Pfadts, I’d to give you some insights into asian culture that it looks like about half the audience might already know.
Growing up asian, one thing is, you have to give your asian parents something to brag about.
And that’s something Anna’s been doing an amazing job of for 34 years and counting.
So most of you already know the big things.
Anna graduated magna cum laude from high school (right?)
And went to a decent school U Chicago for undergrad. That’s my big sis.
She went to med school, passed her boards, she’s about to finish residency…
And so, no big deal, Anna’s given our parents a lot to brag about over the years.
But there are some things about Anna that you might not know about that I had the privilege of observing growing up.
All things to brag about…
Anna played piano growing up, and not only did she play piano, but she excelled.
Anna, in scale olympics, which is where you put your chops to the test.
She always got blue ribbons which is the first place ribbon.
She also did Tae Kwon Do from really young age and… Anna what rank were you?
Norman VanToai (our dad): BLACK BELT!
And it doesn’t stop there, it gets better…
Anna, as some of you know, she played oboe for many years in band, and… Anna what chair were you?
Crowd: first chair!
Only the first chair for Anna. Sharp shooter.
So, for the entire duration of her career as the child of asian parents
Anna has excelled in her duty and obligation to arm our mom with bragging ammunition.
And it’s been really motivating
So Anna – thanks for always setting a good example
For excelling in your chosen crafts
And for being a great older sister, and for shouldering half the burden of giving Mom good stuff to brag about.
And now for the ultimate bragging ammunition, Anna’s getting married to a great man, Mr. Carl Pfadt.
I met Carl my first time when I visited Detroit.
And like someone else said earlier
I think Ellen your sister.
He was introduced very casually as, “my friend.”
It wasn’t until later the next summer.
I got some concert tickets for my sister. Some festival tickets.
And she took her “friend” Carl
A nd Carl called me personally after to thank me sincerely and personally for the tickets.
And thats when I realized that there was something special.
That this was more than just a friendship.
Friends don’t call the younger brother and say,
“Hey man, I really appreciate it.”
So thank you Carl.
It was then that I knew.
Carl – in the years since, and on subsequent visits to Detroit, I’ve really appreciated getting to know you.
Your quirks, your sense of humor… they match my sisters in many ways.
So it’s easy to see why she loves you, and why you two work well together, and I love it.
So thank you for making Anna so happy.
I’ll close with one last insight into asian family culture, for the benefit of the Pfadts.
As a young Asian American adult, your entire family – your aunts, uncles, parents, and cousins – are always obsessed with “who’s next.”
So Anna, for so long now, you’ve been a convenient scapegoat.
Shouldering the burden of next up, providing me a handy release valve for the mounting marital pressure that I feel.
But now with you out of the way, well, the pressures on.
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked about “when is it your turn??” this weekend…
I’d have like a dollar.
But it’s not my turn.
Anna and Carl it’s your turn
And for that, I couldn’t be happier.
Here’s to you two.
May you live a long, happy marriage
For the rest of your lives.