April 21, 2024

Basking in the afterglow of my daughter’s wedding, a quote came to mind…one that seems to come up all the time in my mind…so why not immediately after one of the most amazing experiences of my life?

“Marketing isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”

I am not trying to diminish the experience when I refer to this phrase in the context of the wedding.

Rather, I simply want to share two highlights (lessons?) from the wedding that encompass two eternal truths of marketing.

Along with sharing unconditional love for my daughter. ❤️

Surprise and delight your customers

My daughter Madeline is a lifelong student of dance (which has led her to a career as a college dance professor) …more about that in the P.S.

And for the father-daughter dance, it obviously required her distinct flavor of choreography.

What I didn’t realize was that this unique way my daughter wanted to express herself (and me) to the crowd was her version of “customer service” (which, as we all know, is a marketing function).

That is, don’t do “same old, same old” …we wowed our audience…for deep connection (and some entertainment) …and kept them engaged for the duration of the dance.

And dare I say, throughout the remainder of the wedding…with the goal of engagement throughout their entire marriage.

Now that would be uber lifetime value. 🙂

I have taken some poetic license by saying “we” wowed the 270 wedding attendees…Madeline did that on her own…but her dumbed down choreography (on my behalf) had me “involved” at least.

We began dancing to Tiny Dancer (Elton John) …

…and then “transitioned” into Bye Bye Bye (*NSYNC):

Well…Maddie transitioned…I simply followed (stumbled into?) her lead.

Regardless, it was a “wow moment” that my daughter (the real marketer in my family) expertly planned…while I just wanted to get through it without falling on my face.

Mission accomplished.

It was also a spectacular onboarding moment (to the wedding) …and reminded me of another marketing tenet which I have written about in the past:

“Onboarding is not housekeeping.”

Maddie knew that too. 🙂

Pattern interrupts/”tangents waiting to happen”

Now to my father-of-the-bride speech/toast…which was also part of the onboarding process…and it came almost immediately after the “dance” (again, a dance for Maddie and some “uneasy manipulation” for me).

I was told to keep the speech under 5 minutes…yeah right.

I’ve never done anything in less than 5 minutes.

One of the privileges of paying for every part of my daughter’s wedding is that no one was going to drag me off the stage before I had my say.

And if I was going to drone on, the droning needed to be engaging.

I was reminded of my droning (i.e. “long blog posts”) by a subscriber just yesterday who sent me an email in response to a recent post:

WAT TOO MANY WORDS FUDE… i’m outta there

That’s exactly how the guy wrote it.

And since he is no longer a subscriber (he’s “outta there”), THIS “FUDE” (me, the DUDE!) won’t take his opinion as fact…since he had so few words in his response with ‘WAT” too many typos and inconsistent punctuation.

I’ll look for anything to dismiss him.

But alas, “wat too many words” is my specialty.

As it was apparent in my father-of-the-bride speech…no surprise to you, my online family, correct?

I’ve been told that it takes many of you TWO cups of coffee to get through these missives on a Sunday morning.

But the fact that you have told me that, means that many of you are still willing to read until the end (albeit with a caffeine boost).

I hope you will do that today. 🙂

When rehearsing, the speech timed out to 8 and a half minutes…to the chagrin of my wife, daughter, and the wedding planner (“we are on a tight schedule, Brian!”).

But I thrive on pressure…and was determined not to bore them with my lengthy blog post disguised as a toast…and the actual delivery took 12 minutes (yikes!) …and I will only say that it was met with a standing ovation.

Well, everyone was standing around the dance floor already so there’s that…

I received many compliments which I mostly chalked up to:

“He’s paying so we should tell him we loved his speech.”

But they seemed sincere.

And since I structured the speech as a Blog Post, you can decide for yourself whether it would have captured your interest since you are used to dealing with me.

I have copied and pasted it in the P.S.

Please note all the tangents with a purpose (well, MY purpose), the pattern interrupts, the format, the structure.

And feel free to borrow (‘steal smart”) from this father-of-the-bride speech and use anything from it…OR you can just use ChatGPT when you have occasion to write your own toast at a wedding…and not bother reading it. 🙁

There was a method to my madness…but I recognize it is my method and my madness.

I’m proud of it even if you think it’s long and boring.

And…as always…

“If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter (speech).” 🙂



P.S. Submitted for your approval…or rejection…my father-of-the-bride speech from my daughter’s wedding:

Those of you who don’t know me, I am famous for being Maddie’s dad.

I am much less famous for being a marketer and a writer…but because of that, everything I do has a headline or a subject line.

Today’s subject line for my Sunday Blog Post (with a father-of-the bride speech embedded in it) is titled:

Tiny Dancer…to Beautiful Bride…to the Royal Family of Tampa

Part One: Tiny Dancer

When Maddie was born, 3 and a half years after my son Alex, I only knew about boys.

Baseball, football, hanging out at construction sites climbing on the trencher/backhoes and bulldozers (I know…super dangerous…but it’s too late to shame me) …and Alex also became a businessman at 4 years old, when I would take him to the office dressed in a suit and sporting a briefcase with his “important papers.”

Creating activities with Alex was easy.

When “Tiny Baby Maddie” came along, I knew I was in for a world of hurt if I didn’t come up with activities we could share.

It all began with a visit to the “Bisney Store” (as she called it) to purchase her first “Belle Dwess” (from Beauty and the Beast).

That purchase was my entry drug into her world…and what a world it has been for the past 32 years.

Shortly after buying that dress, she became obsessed with dance…every kind…from ballet (you know, YOU MUST have ballet as your “base”) …to jazz, lyrical, African, tap…and even a little hip-hop.

Immersing myself in Maddie’s world of dance exposed me to multiple seasons of, So You Think You Can Dance (Maddie and I always picked the winner), and I became an armchair expert in moves, lines, and more dance jargon than I ever could have imagined.

Included in that immersion was attending 13 years of “Nutcrackers” (or as I affectionately called them, “Ballbreakers”)

That was followed by watching her major in dance in college, producing and choreographing so many Avant Garde shows, with her unique style of humor and depth…and I was always an insider…and always in awe of her talent.

Still am.

She can even do dumbed down choreography for a father-daughter dance at her wedding.

She’s very versatile.

Back to those “Ballbreaker” holiday shows:

Can anyone tell me how The Nutcracker ends?

And not just because I’m Jewish.

Maddie’s parts were always at the beginning of the show—literally 90 seconds of fame—resulting in a two-hour nap after I got to see my Tiny Dancer perform exquisitely.

If anyone has some inside information on what happens to the Sugar Plum Fairy, I’m all ears.

I’ve always loved watching Maddie strut her stuff…whether on the dance floor or teaching a yoga class (where I once “hid” in a child pose for 45 minutes and hoped she didn’t see that I couldn’t do anything she was teaching).

I consider myself a flexible guy (and dad) …but not in a yoga class.

Her strutting also includes interacting with everyone around her on a profound level…always interested as well as being interesting (she is NOT shy) …and those of you who have known Maddie her entire life…and those of you who have only recently met her…and everyone in-between…all know how special she is.

So does Stuart…it’s takes special to know special…and I’ll get to him in a minute.

One more thing about Maddie’s obsession with dance.

This was clearly not a phase or a hobby…she is currently an Adjunct Professor of Dance at the University of Tampa, always a student (who are the best teachers except when they are teaching me yoga) …and always following her passions.

And…always embracing life to the fullest.

I am so proud of you, Madalena, for so many things.


To quote my mom (your Bubbe), who passed away two years ago (and she did get to meet Stuart and predicted this day would come):

“I love you more than words can say.”

Bubbe is also smiling down on you today with another one of her favorite refrains, usually reserved for after a meal when nothing is left on our plates…her version of fat shaming…but it works here too:

“You did well.”

Thanks, Maddie, for taking us along for the ride.

It’s always a thrill and an adventure.

And it’s far from over.

Part Two: The Beautiful Bride

Enter Stuart Marcadis…a mensch of the highest order…who interrupted Maddie’s embrace of life… by embracing her…and we are all better for it.

This Part Two could have been titled “The Beautiful Groom” …but I’ve been instructed to keep the spotlight on Maddie (which came from Stuart).

Did I mention that he is a mensch?

He’s also a strategic peacekeeper.

And he’s very wise.

He is also Maddie’s Uncle Drosselmeyer, the main dude [FUDE?] from The Nutcracker (I know about Uncle D because he appears in the first act while I am still awake) …and he is the guy who presents the protagonist Clara with her Nutcracker doll…and he is the architect of her magical adventure.

Stuart calls his travel adventures “Zips” …now part of the Kurtz lexicon…and knowing that Stuart will never have to “Zip alone” ever again makes us all very happy.

And I assume it makes Maddie and Stuart happy as evidenced by their recent “Zips” to Italy, Patagonia, Chile, Germany and yes, even St. Petersburg (that’s Florida, not Russia).

With upcoming “Zips” to London, Argentina, New Zealand…and possibly Naples (that’s Florida, not Italy).

But Stuart and Maddie’s magical adventures will be much more than just travel.

Stuart is also part of the Royal Family of Tampa (more on that in a minute).

But you need to know that Stuart is the Prince of the family…which my elementary and high school friends—The Cavalcade (sitting over there)—will appreciate because they know when I label someone “Princely,” it’s the highest compliment I ever give to anyone.

I’d like to think that Maddie found her dad in Stuart…but sadly, that would be giving me too much credit.

Because Stuart puts me to shame with his immense caring for everyone in his life…his immediate family, his seemingly unending number of cousins and friends, who all adore him.

Count me and Robin in, and everyone in my family, among his adoring fans too.

The number of people in this ballroom speaks volumes about how many people Stuart has touched in only 35 years (with some help from Margot and Ralph…more on them in a minute too).

Just look around.

Robin and I have a small but mighty contingent of family and friends…Stuart has a BIG and mighty one.

Something I recently heard, from my buddy Kevin Rogers, and it fits here:

The joy of true friendship is “earned magic”.

I’ll still live in a dreamworld that Maddie DID find something of her dad in Stuart…but alas, I’m afraid it’s the biting sarcasm Stuart and I share above all else.

But be prepared, Stuart, because Maddie will not wilt when confronted with that sarcasm which I know you are aware of.

She will always hold her own.


Having you as my second son makes me want to play baseball and football with you, go to a construction site and play on the equipment (safely, of course), and take you to my office (but in shorts and flip flops, not in a suit, just like when you petition the courts on Zoom).

Or do you not even wear shorts at all when doing your lawyer thing on Zoom?

And you’ve also got a distinct advantage over Alex in that you will never have to be a Jets fan.

That curse is reserved for the Kurtz family.

Go Buccaneers!

Part Three: The Royal Family of Tampa

Now to the family Maddie is marrying into—and there are so many of you!

Robin and I enjoyed “Three days of Maddie and Stuart” because we needed that time to meet so many of you.

You are warm, welcoming, and loving.

Thank you for being you!

To Margot, Ralph, Rebecca, Alana, Philip, Sammy (and Sammy’s brother who is on the way) …they say you can’t choose your family…but when your side has a kid like Stuart, and ours has one like Maddie…somehow the families have no choice but to be special.

We can simply follow their lead.

Robin, Alex, and I are blessed to have you as family for the rest of our lives.

And it wasn’t dumb luck.

It was all skill (with a ton of good karma too)

And your “flock” is no accident either.

That is, you have such a tight, close family…with tons of friends…and your relatives are also friends…all built on a foundation of loyalty, love, respect…and unlimited generosity.

It’s not easy to do that.

But you make it look easy.

Margot and Ralph…

Congratulations on becoming the King and Queen of Tampa.

How you prioritize your lives is a case study for the ages.

And the Kurtz’s are happy to now be part of your flock.

We’ve become royalty by touching your robes.

And to repeat…true friendship is “earned magic” …and the Marcadis and Kurtz clans have magic in the bank to last three more lifetimes.

And to everyone celebrating with us today…and those who couldn’t make it…and to those we’ve lost along the way…on behalf of my eternal soulmate Robin (and Maddie’s best friend and partner-in-crime) …and I’ll also speak for Margot and Ralph:



Maddie and Stuart’s marriage is like the Nutcracker because I have no idea how it ends.

Not because I will sleep through it…but because the ending is not yet written.

I highly recommend to everyone here, who I assume love Maddie and Stuart, to not sleep through it either. I encourage you to continue being part of their lives.

As you know, you are always welcome in their lives.

Let’s all live for today…and toast Maddie and Stuart to a long life of love and joy…and to the best Zips not yet taken.

-Brian Kurtz (“A FUDE WITH WAT TOO MANY WORDS”), April 14, 2024

P.P.S. So there’s at least ONE member of my online family—Bill Gough—who appreciated my post last week (“The back from the dead tour revisited”)…which led to some correspondence about his daughter’s wedding…which is coming up in May.

Included was the fact that his daughter chose the same song my daughter chose (Tiny Dancer) …followed by some advice I gave him about appreciating the planning and lead-up…the wedding day… and the afterglow.

Lo and behold, he posted what he heard on his whiteboard and sent me a picture:

Obviously, I was honored when I saw this…the email had the subject line, “Thank you coach!” and it gives me hope that someone else in my online family will get something useful from this post too.

I did get some valuable feedback last week from many of you as well which is always appreciated.

Especially the notion that “survival has its privileges.”

And I invite you to give me feedback this week.


You will have a wonderful experience with your daughter even without referring to your whiteboard…because you are so loving and caring…and you chose the perfect song for your first dance. 🙂

Coaching (from me anyway) is both unnecessary and overrated.

In closing this post of too many words, I want to wish everyone in my online family similar, life altering experiences in your own lives…as often as possible.

They may not happen as often as we might like, but when they do, soak up every moment…before, during and after.

Life is long…full of stellar events and moments and joy…don’t let any pass you by.

It also says to do that on Bill’s whiteboard. 🙂

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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