Thursday, January 21, 2010

Once a bridesmaid, once a bride, and that's about it.

I've been a bridesmaid once. In 2002 I went to Ohio for like 20 hours to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. I've since lost touch with that friend. Oh well. I went to a wedding or two over the next few years, always as a guest. Yeah, being a bridesmaid would have been cool, but no worries. Then, John and I totally jumped the curve in our group of friends and got engaged. We had a long engagement and my wedding was EXACTLY what I wanted: 5 people, including John and I. Two of those people are my inlaws now. I love that! I love that for the rest of my life, whenever I look at my brother in law, I'm also looking at the man who legally married John and I. Up until a few months before the wedding we joked about our other friends, "What's wrong with you? What do we not know? How come NONE of them are engaged?" Long term relationships abounded, but no actual engaged couples. Oh boy, did 2009 change that! At a party this weekend for, comically, an engaged couple, John observed that now only two of his friends weren't married or engaged, when at this time last year that was the minority.
It looks like I'll be sticking to my Ohio memories of being a bridesmaid once. As SquirrelGurl lamented last year, no one asked me to be a bridesmaid. We have five weddings (s0 far) this year and one last year and no one has mentioned the b-word to me. I've analyzed it, and I think I dug my own hole. First, I continue to be SO HAPPY that I had a simple wedding. It made alot of people cranky, but it was exactly what I wanted. Pastel tulle, overdressed children, rented linens, "Mustang Sally" thank you. I don't want to be a bridesmaid for the pomp. I want it because the women and men getting married are lovely human beings whom I love and want to stand beside them and say, "YES! You are getting married! You are perfect for each other! I want to tell everyone that both of you are great, but you're so much better together!" I've seen these half dozen couples (well, most of them...don't know too much about one of our friend's fiances. I'm sure that will come later.) for years, through thick and thin, and I want them all to succeed. And I want THEM to know I want them to succeed. And I want THEM to want to tell OTHER PEOPLE that they know I want them to succeed. Getting that out of the way, I've seen that my downfall here was not having a big enough wedding to have bridesmaids. Not to sound too much like a second rate comedian, but the bride/ bridesmaid relationship is this weird Survivor-esque alliance. Let someone be your bridesmaid and you're guaranteed a spot in her wedding party. One of the brides to be told me last year that she was considering having a small wedding specifically so she would not have to have a certain someone as her bridesmaid. Well, guess what? That certain someone made my friend a bridesmaid in her own wedding, so the woman whose presence my friend was attempting to exclude is a bridesmaid in her wedding. I didn't have any showers thrown for me or bachelorette parties, so I didn't get to giggle and bond with my other female friends over flatware. It's kind of a lonely feeling. Again, it has nothing to do with wanting to be included for pageantry's sake... I have known these people for years and years and want to show that I am so happy for them.
Not to sound too doom and gloom, there are some circumstances that flesh this out a little bit. My sister and brother in law had a TINY wedding with just family. Since I was the only woman there who wasn't a mother of someone getting married, I consider that bridesmaid-y. Another engaged couple decided to go the same route that John and I did: teeny wedding, and take the money and run. I can't fault them for that. A downpayment for a house and investment in one's education beat passed hors d-oeurves any day.
I want to somehow acknowledge the women whom I would have had as my bridesmaids, because I do love them. Is that weird? "Hey, what's up? I just wanted to let you know that when I got married 10 months ago I would have had you as a bridesmaid if I went down that spendthrift, cookie cutter path."
I'll smile and be happy at all the upcoming weddings. I would just be happier and smilier if I was wearing a matchy bridesmaids dress.


Wendy said...

My husband and I got married after four months of dating (yeah - you just know) and did it at the court house with two non-family witnesses. Five years later and no regrets - wouldn't change it! I've been a bride's maid once as well. It was OK, expensive, but OK. I wouldn't take it personally. They know you love them. I've never understood the whole "I'll be in your wedding so you will be in mine" thing. Maybe say a nice toast for the couple and be happy to share thier experience. I'd personally rather just be one of the guests - but that's me! :)

agirlnamedstewart said...

Thanks so much, Wendy! I'm so happy you got to have a wedding that made you happy...and one that sounds like I would love!