My definition of “bridesmaid” is not:
- A doll to be stuffed in an ugly-ass dress
- Fair game for forced temporary eating disorders
- A bridal slave for any and all things slightly wedding related
In other words, my definition is not this crazy’s definition:
For God’s sake, woman. An engagement ring is not an excuse to abuse your “friends”, which, by the way, is in quotation marks because guaranteed they are not anymore.
Bridesmaids are a gift and should be treated as such. Of course, there are duties that go along with the title. Yes, they should be making the bride’s life easier. Absolutely, they are there to plan events and look pretty in pictures and help you get out of any awful shapewear contraption you’ve managed to squeeze yourself into so you can finally just PEE. (That’s a whole other blog post entirely.) But what a bridesmaid is really for, in my opinion, is to be someone who you choose to honor as one of the most important parts of your life to date.
One of the first things I thought about after I got engaged (well, besides the fact that Bill actually liked me enough to ask and how distractingly gorgeous this shiny thing on my finger is but mostly just is either of those two things for real and DID THIS ACTUALLY JUST HAPPEN?!?!?!) was the tough-but-not-so-tough decision of who I would choose to be in my bridal party. Throughout my life I have been lucky enough to have a lot of close friends. There have been times when these friends could arguably have been called co-stars in chapters of my life, times when it seemed more like they had a cameo or two, and times where location or time or life circumstance made any appearance at all beyond difficult. Choosing six was going to be difficult.
Or so I thought.
First there was Jen. No-brainer. After five and a half years of living together all the way through college, there were many (both drunk and sober) times that we had the tearjerk-ing “You Know You’ll Be My Maid of Honor at My Wedding” conversation that looks incredibly naive and girlish on the outside but feels incredibly momentous on the inside. Well, guess what, you haters. It was the latter. She was my Maid of Honor so you can just shove it with that box of Cheez-Its and those cheap burritos we lived off of in college.
But the day I was hired at the local news station fairly fresh out of college, I met the lady that made that first plan a little more complicated. JJ crashed her fabulous way into my life unexpectedly and became the type of friend I never tought I make out there in the big scary real world. Here was another, more unexpected no-brainer. I had heard of people who’d had a Maid and a Matron of Honor, and after helping JJ plan her wedding the year before, I couldn’t imagine mine without her in a top spot.
As for Amanda, we were assigned as roommates freshmen year of college. Between her wit, her heart, and her (occasionally) filthy mouth, I have never laughed harder than when Amanda is in the room. I’m talking can’t-breathe, tear-inducing, stomach-hurting laughter. I’ve never met anyone who has made more days than this girl has. It’s rare to find the kind of friendship Amanda has brought into my world – the kind you just know without a doubt will last a lifetime. So, again. No-brainer.
And Katie Bianchi! I first met her in preschool, but we ended up in the same elementary school and high school together, and finally, the same college. Twenty-one years of love and laughter, good times and hard ones, smiles and tears have created my unending thankfulness for every day Katie has been in my life. From the first sleepovers and lost teeth to celebrating finals and nights out on the town, nothing can replace the happiness that Katie’s bright personality spreads everywhere she goes.
Oooooh, Sasha. This girl moved “across the field” in 3rd grade, and I never knew how much I would learn from her in the years to come. Whether teaching me code words in Russian or how to be unapologetically myself, Sasha’s impact on my life is undeniable in the most amazing of ways. And even though we haven’t lived in the same city since graduating from high school, a friendship likes ours is one that never skips a beat – despite the miles between us.
As I continued to think about the bridal party I was creating, I realized that something was missing. My first experience with Shelby Rhodes was when I heard Bill on the phone with her after picking me up on one of our first dates saying, “Shelby, you have to meet this girl.” It wasn’t long before I realized that what he really meant must have been that I was the one who had to meet Shelby, because she is the one who is really something. She quickly became my partner in crime for all things San Luis Obispo, debauchery optional (but often included). Shelby was one of the many wonderful things that Bill had brought into my life, and I needed her as part of my girls.
No-brainer. No-brainer. No-brainer.
Wait, is that six? That was way easier than I thought, and I ended up with two bridesmaids from each of the three major chapters of my life: childhood, college, and the real world. Where was all the drama? And the tears? And the cat fights and punishments and forced expectations? WHERE WAS MY INNER BRIDEZILLA?!?!
As for the emails written by that bride from the link above? Hear this, LADY. When my girls worried about how they would look in their dresses, it was my job to tell them how beautiful they are inside and out. When one asked how I wanted her to cover the tattoo on her shoulder, I told her that her tattoos were an expression of herself, and it was the person she was, is, and always has been that I want next to me. I wanted them to cut their hair if they want to, and stay their perfect size (which is not a specific number), and wear their own damn bikini at the pool in Vegas at my bachelorette party. Because if someone is to be your bridesmaid, there should be nothing you want to change about them, expect for their understanding of just how IMPORTANT and BEAUTIFUL a part of your life they have been.
So take a gander at the ladies who have made me who I am. I hope you appreciate them as much as I do.
Now go tell your friends that you love them.
Photography by Drozian Photoworks