I suppose it all began in January of 1986, when the Chicago Bears won the Superbowl and Lindsay Welbers entered the world. Born 16 months apart, Lindsay and I are what’s known as Irish Twins. We grew up being mistaken for one another through most of our childhood, which, admittedly, worked to our benefit as teenagers when we could screen our own phone calls, claiming to be the other sibling. We’ve always run together in the same social circles; wherever one of us went, the other wasn’t far behind. Together we share some spectacular friendships. Lindsay has a huge personality; she is tenacious, loyal and is always up for a spirited debate. Making her my Maid Of Honor was always the plan since I was little. I am pretty lucky to have a sister and a friend as the same awesome human being.
I first knew Ellen Vogelgesang at the tender age of 11, when she and I were enrolled in the summer theater program at St. Bede Academy. Our friendship grew summer after summer, and only got better when I made it to high school. My freshman year, I remember turning down dates to the homecoming dance, to hang out with Ellen, watching terrible movies and listening to her brother’s CD collection. Ellen is selfless and patient which explains why she makes such a fabulous grade school music teacher. With her sarcastic sense of humor, I can always count on Ellen for witty commentary on just about anything. Our friendship is constantly evolving, even as the geography between us becomes greater. I had the honor of standing up for Ellen when she married her perfect match, Brian, and four years later, she graciously agreed to do the same for me.
One time Katie Avila and I went to see Horton Hears A Who at the second-run movie theater near our apartment in Chicago. Since that day, I like to reference this clip from the film to illustrate the unique nature of my dear friend. Katie and I met while attending Columbia College Chicago, and I always say that my friendship with her is more valuable than the degree I earned at that school (unfortunately, the US Dept. of Education doesn’t recognize friendship as legal tender when repaying student loans). Shortly after graduation, Katie and I became roommates, living together in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago for nearly four years. Katie, a Cleveland native, has joked with me since I moved to Ohio, that we’ve switched lives. We’ve gone on at least five vacations together (Scott endearingly refers to them as “va-Katie-tions”) and have so many stories to share about them. She’s watched mine and Scott’s relationship grow every step of the way, and I couldn’t ask for a better friend to stand up with me.
ANNA MARIE RAHUBA, Bridesmaid
Scott and I made a deal a while back, that should we end up crossing the marriage bridge, that we would each choose a friend stand up on the other’s side. Anna Marie was the clear and best choice to fill the role. She was one of Scott’s first friends after he moved to Cleveland, and has quickly become a great friend to me since I moved here. Her outgoing and optimistic personality makes her instantly charming and always a blast to be around. Anna Marie is a strong-minded, stylish lady, and will tackle the biggest challenges with a smile on her face. She is nothing short of an amazing friend, and Scott and myself consider ourselves to be very lucky.
ANTHONY CIATTI, Best Man
I can tell you the exact date I met Anthony: May 28, 2003. I had made the absurdly long drive from Rockford, Illinois, to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to see the Weakerthans and Motion City Soundtrack, leaving an away message on AOL Instant Messenger. Anthony, an Ann Arbor resident, was a frequent visitor to Punknews.org, a website I helped run for three-and-a-half years, and saw my away message. He then made it his mission to find me at the show and introduce himself. We’ve been friends ever since. I’ve always been able to count on him. If there’s a special concert halfway across the country, he’s the first person to suggest flying to it, because why not? His sense of humor is only rivaled by his selfless nature, and the genuine love he’s always shown to me and Aubrey made him the no-brainer decision for my best man.
JOSH FEKETE, Groomsman
There is no one else on this planet like Josh Fekete. Known as P-Fresh to his friends, enemies and just about everyone else, Josh was one of the first people I met when I first moved to Cleveland in 2004. He came up to me at a show at my favorite local club, the Grog Shop, and introduced himself to me. I think he was wearing a Voodoo Glow Skulls hoodie, and I also think I made fun of him for it. Despite that, he’s stuck by my side for the past eight years, supporting me through any hard times and always having just the right joke or smart remark ready to make my day brighter. Plus, the dude knows every single word to Sum 41’s “Fat Lip.” Every. Single. Word. How could I not make him a groomsman?
SCOTT AUTH, Groomsman
I’ve known Scott for more than a decade, but under a different name. His old internet handle was KirbyPuckett, and the name stuck, as I (and many other people) have called him Kirby ever since. We became closer friends when I moved to Cleveland in 2004, and he has always welcomed me with open arms to Pittsburgh any time. We’ve vacationed together, gone on crazy roadtrips together and sang along together at plenty of shows. I bought him a Russian hockey jersey once that was about 14 sizes too big, and he didn’t even complain. I consider myself lucky to know him.
ADAM ALEKSY, Groomsman
Adam is standing in our wedding at the request of Aubrey, who grew up with him in the Illinois Valley. The two of them were such good friends that he invited her to stand up in his wedding in Sonoma, California, in 2008. This was the first time I met Adam, and while he had a million things to take care of that weekend, he never let me feel like I was just tagging along—in fact, he went out of his way to make sure I felt welcomed. I’ve never forgotten that warmth and candor he displayed, and it is an honor for us that he is coming to Cleveland from Portland, Oregon, to be a part of our ceremony.