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By:    On: 2013-01-05

 This past weekend, I attended a wedding where a young woman I’ve known since she was in middle school married a young man I know not at all. As I sat watching the familiar rituals and listening to the familiar words, I wondered about the groom’s background and character, about what he does for a living, about how the two of them met, about what they have in common. Some of those questions were only answered at the reception when the bridesmaid and best man offered toasts to the happy couple; some, I suppose, are still bouncing around in my brain.

Courts of honor can be like weddings: lots of familiar rituals and lots of familiar words with little that tells the audience about what makes the honoree tick. As you plan your next court of honor, think about the one or two things that make your honoree or honorees unique. Maybe it’s the unsung act of heroism that illuminates the honoree’s character. Maybe it’s the journey he has made from a shy, awkward adolescent to student body president. Maybe it’s how a group of Scouts have been together since Tiger Cubs and are receiving their Eagle badges together.

Whatever it is, be sure the audience hears about it. After all, you can’t rely on informative champagne toasts at the reception!

Republished with permission of Mark Ray at

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