The countdown is on for my BFF’s wedding, which will bring my Maid of Honor duties for this wedding season to a close. I have been “on duty” for well over a year, standing beside two of my best friends, one this past November, and now another coming up Memorial Day weekend.
It’s been a great ride.
When your two best friends from different walks of life get married in the same year, you learn much more than how to make bouquets out of ribbon and why peonies are such a big freaking deal. You learn about the gritty meaning of what it takes to be a good friend.
That’s because as a bridesmaid, all of the elements of your friendship with the bride come together in fast-forward mode. You have to remember how you fight, how you make up, how to listen and, most importantly, how to think about what your friend wants, rather than what you want (queue strippers vs. karaoke singing at the bachelorette party). This is the time when the bride really needs you – not just to throw parties and be a sounding board for all things wedding, but to help her actually get the guts to walk down the aisle, looking better than ever, while cracking up to your inside jokes until she says “I do.”
My friend who is getting married in a few weeks has been one of my dearest friends since we were five or six years old. We grew up together and have seen one another at our very best — and our very worst. Our fights border on sisterly just as much as our laughs. So when she got engaged, she genuinely wanted to share each moment with me while she plotted through the unchartered territory of wedding planning. And it was an honor to be there — for real. Periodically, just to let her know that I was totally in it with her, I would look at her and say, “We’re getting married!” And we’d laugh.
Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th dress fitting, the second bridal shower and receiving the invitation she’d explained in such detail over the phone in the mail, I understood something that maybe slipped my mind over years of friendship: I was her person. And this was much more than just being a bridesmaid — it’s about celebrating the culmination of years of friendship.
When you’re a bridesmaid, you can finally show your friends just how important they are to you, and that’s a kind of love and support that is so sincere, it is reciprocated 10-fold in plain old appreciation. Knowing that friendship is what being a bridesmaid is actually all about, makes it a breeze to show up for each event and be the best friend I can be. I know there is a lot of folklore about the role of the bridesmaid, mostly tied to bridezillas and unrealistic (and expensive!) demands. Forget all that.
It’s really just about being a good friend.