I just got back from a wedding. One of my oldest friends married the man of her dreams this weekend, and was nice enough to let me wear a polka-dotted dress, carry a pretty pink bouquet, and share the day with her.
I always think that being a bridesmaid is kind of like going to boot camp, minus, you know, the running and push-ups: it's an intense period of collaboration, often with complete strangers who will soon become your closest allies. (Also, there are matching outfits that you probably didn't pick out.) For four days, I shared a one-bedroom apartment with five other women; we started out various levels of strangers, but you can bet that by the time the bride had to pee between the ceremony and reception, we were a well-oiled machine. You'd think that kind of people-time would have forced me into some kind of fit of introversion--I certainly thought so--but you'd be wrong: I loved it. Fun girls to hang out with, whenever you want! Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version, obviously) playing in the background! Who knew I'd miss having roommates?
I guess I'm something of a habitual bridesmaid--well past the three-wedding limit that's supposed to keep me single forever--which I think strikes other people as odd or maybe a nuisance, but instead reminds me that I have a lot of amazing friends, who apparently like me back. I sort of like the singleness of purpose that comes in the days before a wedding ("We must write 80 gazillion place cards, organized by height and middle name! We must tie perfect bows around the heart-shaped cookie cutters! We must watch Newsies and get massages!"), and spending time with my closest girlfriends JUST at this key moment in their lives, even if this key moment in their lives involves running a million errands and keeping the hot-glue gun running and thinking you'll never wear a bra with straps again. In 25 years of memories of the bride, some of my fondest will probably include hanging out in her new, un-air-conditioned apartment, with no place to sit, just being us. (Also, I now have a comprehensive list of To Dos and Not To Dos for my own [theoretical] wedding. Don't think I'm not paying attention, people with your crazy metaphorical unity exercises!)
Anyway, it was a delightful wedding (and I should know, with all my pretty-smiling, bouquet-holding experience); the ceremony was personal and meaningful and dotted with laughter and tears, and people actually danced at the reception, and the music was good, and the cake had mousse swirled into it, and the bride and groom were absurdly happy and are now married, and that is what counts in the end.
Congratulations and best wishes to the bride and groom. Thanks for letting me be there, and call me the next time you want to share some french toast casserole.