You know how most women have that thing where, in the presence of a wedding they are all breathless, and excited, mentally photo shopping their head on the bride’s body and inwardly changing all the things about the planning/rehearsal/wedding/reception they would do differently? Or maybe glancing at their date wistfully, beaming them psychic signals that one day they really hope the girl up there in the white dress holding a bouquet of irises is them, with date in tow?
Yeah… I don’t got that.
When confronted with the prospect of attending or participating in a wedding, I find myself filled with a mild, but very real panic. Do I have to go? What is proper protocol for my role in this whole situation? This is all followed by my initial genuine befuddlement; Oh. People are actually doing this, huh?
It’s not that I don’t believe in love or marriage or that I spend all day plotting bitter ways to convince people that forever is fleeting and Santa isn’t real. Really it’s just that despite having experienced quite a bit, I still feel so green. Like there is more to do. Like I am not ready to settle down. Like the prospect of my joining my life with anyone else’s while there is a 2 leading my age makes me want to become Muzak in the wedding background; present and adding to the ambiance but invisible.
Even at my age, I have YET to participate in a bridal party. Not because I don’t know anyone who is getting married. Oh, contraire, mon amis. EVERYONE I know is getting married (and half of them promptly divorced). I have been to tons of weddings and bought every manner of gravy boat and coffee maker and flatware set you could imagine. But because I am playing a game of hide-n-seek with marriage and I am REALLY good at it, I’m still crouching in my hiding place as marriage lurks around the corner, really close to me and silently repeating my marriage mantra in my head, “Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me.”
I have treated marriage, and largely weddings, as a sort of don’t ask don’t tell situation. I KNOW they are there, but I don’t know anything concrete about them. I don’t know who plans what or pays for what or what the fuck an oriental lily is other than a politically incorrect flower. I know next to nothing about diamonds. The only things I know about my wedding is that there will be an open bar. A friend of mine once made a comment about needing to meet with her wedding planner about selecting a charger and I thought she was buying her fiancée a car.
So imagine my absolute horror and delight when my best friend of 247 years FINALLY got engaged after 10 years of being with one of the greatest guys on earth.
When he sent me a pic of the ring, while smartly not telling me when or how he would propose, I promptly sobbed over the steering wheel of my car for an hour. I still have the message she left me after he proposed on my voicemail; “How you gonna not pick up when I call to tell you I’m engaged?!” I was so damn giddy, hoping I’d have long enough to find an industrial strength waterproof mascara and trying to figure out when I could get home to help her go look for a dress.
Then one day she sent me an email. “Hi bridesmaids!” it said at the top and then it hit me…
Oh my God, what the fuck am I supposed to do?
I’ve never been maid of honor for anyone and anyone who has ever met me will tell you I am neither a maid nor honorable. But now, suddenly, I have to make up for damn near 30 years of ignoring what the hell goes on during a wedding and it’s planning.
I am SCREWED.
My best friend, bless her lovely heart, having known me now for 158 years, was absolutely sweet about my panic. “The point is that you will be there. And we will be together.”
She’s perfect. So, I did what any clueless maid of honor would do for someone who loves them so much that she isn’t even letting on that she is terrified you will ruin everything she has waited ten years for; I Googled it.
Y’all. There are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF RESULTS. Which makes me feel somewhat better because that means I am not the only clueless MOH in the world. But it is also more confusing. One site says I should plan the bridal shower. One says I should leave that to her mom. One site says I should pretty much be pitching in with everydamnthing the bride is doing. One says I should allow her and her fiancée to do that at their leisure. And what the fuck is arranging a receiving line? I am ashamed to admit that my first thought was sexual ‘til I figured, this might be in a church. That can’t be right.
I am a mess. I need a maid of honor to hold my hand while I hold her hand through this whole thing, ‘cause I am exhausted. From a Google search.
Once she set the date I figured I could focus on those fun and frilly things as it drew closer. Instead I decided to focus on practical things like a budget. A couple plane tickets to and from Georgia, a bachelorette party, bridal shower, dress, shoes, jewelry, hair, makeup, gift, a small penguin to perform circus tricks at the reception. All in all it will cost me just a little bit of dignity as I am SURELY going to have to start hitting up some local amateur nights to pay for plane tickets alone.
In all honesty, I am not abundantly worried about my ability to figure any of this out and make sure that my best friend of 477 years has the wedding she deserves. But I am SHOCKED at just how much I didn’t know about the entire process. I am sure that I need to give up some part of my membership in Womanhood for this. But really, I’m just a girl, not yet standing in front of a boy, asking him if we can have an open bar. And, if I got that important part covered, isn’t that better than years of wedding studies?