Post originally written for the bridal blog, Wedding Maniac.
All of these television series are delivered directly from the perspective of the bride or the couple. Bridezilla may offer some commentary from the irritated bridal party, but wedding programs centered from the perspective of the best friend are few and far between.
As someone who has never been married, it is fascinating to me to watch brides navigate the road to wedded bliss. How fancy should we make our invitations? Do I want a two-tiered or a three-tiered veil? Or, what flavor of jelly should we put in our gluten-free, Disney-inspired 3D animated cake? All important things to consider. I’m sure I’ll have my share of questions when I finally make my way down the aisle, but in the meantime, I luckily have a best friend who is set to be married in September. In the three short months she’s spent planning so far, I’ve learned a lot of valuable things that are important for any bride (and best friend!) to know.
1.) Friends will have ring envy.
My best friend’s ring is GORGEOUS. I’m not talking Kim-Kardashian-75-karat gorgeous (truly, is that really attractive?)…nay, friends…it’s so beautiful that I feel like I can finally relate to Gollum, Bilbo, and Frodo.
This ring envy is so bad that I’ve physical removed it from her hand and tried it on…again, and again, and again. It makes me happy. It makes me jealous. It makes me giddy and angsty and nauseous all at the same time. Brides, be aware upon viewing your hand candy, your friends may have a reaction similar to this:
Or even this:
Don’t worry. Although we may look like a toddler wailing upon the fluorescent-lit aisles of Toys-R-Us, we’re actually very happy for you! Don’t buy in to the friends who come off as aloof or stoic after seeing your rock: they’re totally jealous, but it will pass! We may have Ring Envy for a while, but it’s really just a defense mechanism. We want what you have…we want that happiness and pride that’s on your face. Our bodies just don’t know how to properly display it. We’ll get there…just be patient with us!
2.) Friends will get caught up in the bride’s fairytale.
It’s inevitable: we want to add ourselves to your happily ever after in whatever way we can. What is it about happiness that makes it so infectious? We need to get our dopamine fix, and watching you plan your special day makes us excited. In turn, we want to share in that excitement, which makes us very apt to offer whatever we can to the planning festivities.
Need a bridal shower? Done. Want to host a stag and drag? We’re on it. Need helping licking the invitation envelopes. Here’s a sponge, you lick your own damn envelopes, people can die from that.
We may, in fact, step overboard and offer to plan too much. It’s not intentional. We just get so caught up in the mayhem and frenzy of cake tastings and caterers that we start to feel like it’s our wedding. I sometimes find myself at that awful crossroad of laissez-faire and doing too much. I would do anything my friend asked of me for her wedding, but the tougher thing by far is not taking it personally I don’t get asked to do things.
It’s something as small as a bridal shower or stag and drag. I want to plan one of these things for my friend, but I truly don’t know if she wants either of them to happen. This isn’t her first marriage. In my head, I know she deserves a party, but I have to force myself to stop and reflect on whether or not she wants it to happen.
I think friends of the bride can easily get unnecessarily offended by a lot of small things, which only stresses the bride out more. Don’t forget: she’s contending with family members (on both sides of the aisle), childhood friends, work colleagues, college acquaintances, and a host of strangers who are working very hard to produce her special day. She’s trying to make everyone happy at once, when in reality, she should be focusing on her happiness. Everyone will be calmer in the long run if you let her do most of the planning, offering your advice when asked.
I’ve been more aloof with the planning of her wedding, if only because I want to give her the space to enjoy the planning process. If she wants my advice or needs my help, she knows I will do just about anything. In summation of this point, less is more.
3.) Simplicity is often best.
I am watching my best friend get married for the second time. The person she is marrying, however, is walking down the aisle for the very first time. It’s been interesting to watch them through their engagement because of these two facts. Having been through the pomp and circumstance of one wedding already, I feel like she is more focused on just enjoying the ceremony this time around than the planning behind it. Now, that’s not to say she’s not excited to plan it, but I think she understands that the cakes, the party favors, the seating charts, and the centerpieces all fall secondary to just having a good time.
She’s having an acquaintance make her dress. The ceremony will be held at the same place as the reception. The wedding party consists solely of the maid of honor and the best man. There are minimal musicians. She hasn’t specifically asked for a shower, and I know a bachelorette party is the furthest thing from her mind. I truly think she’s avoiding a lot of excessive planning because the marriage will take centerstage, as it should be. I’m taking several notes from her if I ever make that important decision to spend my life with someone.
4.) Don’t try to make everyone happy.
My friend and I had a conversation one evening about the size of her bridal party. I remember her being so worried about who to include. She was very afraid of upsetting anyone who was slighted an invite to the party. If she included Person A, then she had to include Person A’s significant other. If she included Person A, then she had to ask Person B, who she’s known just as long. And then Person B came in a package deal with Person C, and so on, and so on…
Once you’ve asked 16 people to be in your wedding party, there’s no going back. You’ve recruited a small army, and there is no honorable discharge. She also contemplated not asking anyone at all and just including her sister. Of course, this made her worry that her other family members would be slighted, as would her closest friends, and you can see the infinite arc this could spiral into.
In the end, she kept it simple: 1 bridesmaid, and 1 groomsmen. And honestly, no one can fault her for it because IT’S HER WEDDING. If people want to get mad over something as small as this, they need to stop and reflect on why they’re mad in the first place.
I think prospective brides will just know how to plan their bridal party. I think that intuition is marred by wanting to make everyone happy. Simple advice: don’t.
5.) Honeymoons don’t have to be epic.
My friend’s wedding unfortunately falls during a very busy time of year for her, which makes booking a honeymoon very difficult. Her dream trip had designs of Ireland in the mix. She found a great Groupon, double-checked the hotels, and had intended to book…or so I thought.
Just the other day, she was looking at resorts in the United States. “But,” I said, “…Ireland?!?” (I really want to go myself, so I was hoping to live vicariously through her) She replied that it was just a tough time of year to make Ireland work, and that they were trying to find something local.
The idealist in me went a little berserk. But, it’s your honeymoon! You should go big or go home! Schedules be damned! At least, this is the thought of many who hype up the honeymoon to be the vacation of all vacations. We get this idea in our heads that the honeymoon is supposed to be this perfectly romantic getaway that trumps all other excursions. And the thing is, it still can be even if you don’t go far away.
Chances are, you will probably take 10+ vacations during your entire lifetime with your spouse or partner. And out of those vacations, a few will really stick out as your favorites. But they become our favorites because we enjoy them in the moment. The first time I went to Disneyworld, I had no expectations. I had no idea what I was getting myself into…just that I had waited 29 years to get there. Having no set presumptions about the trip helped me enjoy every experience because it was brand new…I had no other choice but to enjoy it (and really, how the hell can you not enjoy Disney?)
So, even if my friend doesn’t go to Ireland for her honeymoon, I have a wager that this trip, wherever it leads her, will be even better than a luxurious trip abroad. And you want to know why? She’ll be going to a place with no expectations. She’s picking someplace new because it’s easier on her schedule, but at the same time, she’ll be opening up her awareness to the new locations around her and to her new husband. And isn’t that the point of a honeymoon? To celebrate, just for a few days, that you successfully found the person who completes you?
You don’t need to travel far away to have the time of your life. When you are with the love of your life, every moment is the time of your life.