The Gettysburg Address Rewritten As A Wedding Toast?

Last month I joined my family to celebrate my brother and sister-in-law’s marriage. They got married a year ago in the middle of Covid-lockdown and postponed the party until this year when everyone could gather more safely. As a member of their wedding party, I had the opportunity to give a toast, and it was one of the things I worked on outlining and preparing in the days before travel.

In those pre-journey days, I was wrapping up some ECW projects and giving Chris Mackowski the blog updates for the time that I’d be away. In the midst of our communications, I jokingly remarked, “I wonder if I could write a wedding toast based on the format of the Gettysburg Address? I have been told to Keep. It. Short. No more than two minutes.” I later backpedaled and said I wasn’t sure that would be a good format my few appropriate remarks and I wanted to share something more personal. But Chris launched an informal dare at me, and of course, I had to accept the writing challenge.

After the wedding celebration, I took a little time to craft what I could’ve said, and here is the result of that challenge. It is written with all proper respect for Lincoln’s original words; this is not a mockery, but rather an attempt to use his speech format to produce something original and using the sentiments of dedication for a much more joyous occasion.

Four dozen months ago these two people started on this continent, a new love story, rooted in affection and dedicated to the proposition that all adventures are better together.

Now they are engaging in a great and mutual contract, testing whether this love story so begun and so pursued can long endure. We are met to witness the vows of that mutual contract. We have come to see them dedicate the remaining portion of their lives as an ultimate proof two are stronger than one in the lives we live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should celebrate this wedding.

But, in a larger sense, they dedicate, they bless, they respect –each other with these vows. The brave couples, living and dead, who made such previous commitments serve as examples from which we can neither add nor detract. The world may little note, nor long remember what is said here, but live together in such a way that they can never forget the results of what you promise here. It is for you, the living and the loving, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work of creating a memorable life-long love story. It is for you to be here dedicated to the great task standing before you —that from this honored day you take increased devotion to that cause of building your lives together and give it your full measure of devotion — that you here highly resolved that your faithful vows will not be spoken in vain — that this marriage union, under God, shall continue a memorable love story and that true love of this couple, by this couple, for this couple, shall not perish from the earth.


(While my family is probably glad their history-geek sister didn’t use this at the reception, I’m glad I took the writing dare. Maybe I’ll still get to use it one of these days…)

Photos from the wedding celebration and used with my sister-in-law’s gracious permission.

11 Responses to The Gettysburg Address Rewritten As A Wedding Toast?

  1. Print it out. Frame it. Give to them and have them read it on every anniversary! Well said!

  2. I actually liked this toast. Sometime we ought to take our vows more seriously even in the case of using another very formal document as inspiration. It would probably be most appreciated by history buffs, but it is a serious commitment and not just about the fun stuff. I would save it. You never know when it will be just the right thing to toast to.

  3. “The past is never dead. It’s not even dead” (Faulkner). As I forward this to my oldest granddaughter and my son-in-law, who were married on Jan 11,2020, I hope they will also re-read Lincolns poetry.
    I admire your writing, Sarah Kay.

  4. Excellent post. I photographed 120 weddings during a past business venture and never heard such a thoughtful toast … some funny toasts, usually made by the best man, but definitely not so thoughtful a toast.

  5. Great toast for the wedding of any two Civil War buffs! Maybe you should “copywrite(?)” it!

Please leave a comment and join the discussion!

%d bloggers like this: