The Nicest Thing Anyone Has Ever Done for Me at a Wedding

That’s Taylor in the wedding dress! Her husband John is to her right, and Marguerite and Eddie are holding the cocktail glasses. Photo courtesy Taylor Germain.

Quite possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever done for my family happened at a wedding at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Bethesda. My mother, sister, and I were there to celebrate the marriage of Taylor Ryan, daughter of longtime family friends Eddie and Marguerite. Eddie met my father at Georgetown University in the ’70s, and they quickly bonded over basketball and other guy stuff.  My dad was best man when Eddie and Marguerite wed, and I was at least eight before I realized their children weren’t my flesh-and-blood cousins. We lost my father suddenly, unexpectedly, in October 2013, and, just as they had been throughout the years, the Ryans were there. They visited many times at the hospital; Eddie later spoke at the funeral.

It was after I’d settled into the pew at St. Bartholomew that I noticed it: Turning over the program as I waited for the ceremony to begin, I scanned the “In Loving Memory” list on the back. There, beneath the names of departed grandparents and other beloved relatives, I saw something startlingly familiar: William Zlotnick. We knew no other guests at this gathering, yet the Ryans had printed our missing family member’s name for everyone to see. As I turned to show my mom, tears welled in my eyes—and I’ll be the first to admit that one or two fell a few minutes later when a ceremony reader perfectly pronounced our sometimes intimidating last name. (Ever attendant to the smallest detail, Marguerite must have coached her.)

As much as your wedding is a time for loved ones to celebrate you, it’s also a time to show family and friends how much you care about them. Thanks to this thoughtful gesture, one of the most special days in Taylor’s life is also one of the most special days in mine.

Do you cherish a moment of kindness from your wedding or someone else’s? We’re looking for touching stories from Washington-area weddings to publish in our next issue. Email to share yours!

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Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.