It’s a sobering thought to realise that the people you adore might not, perhaps, feel the exact same way about you. I must have known this once, years ago, as I have distinct memories of embarrassing and stalker-y crushes and infatuations – romantic and platonic – but twelve years with a partner, 8 of which are cemented in the legally-binding certainty that you are their favourite person as much as they are yours, seems to have decimated my healthy uncertainty of others’ regard.
Perhaps you’re wondering where I’m going with this, I admit – I am too. I don’t want to sound whiny, nor do I want to embarrass my friends, but I think I am going to be that rare creature – only the bride and never the bridesmaid.
I never experienced the rush of weddings that some of my friends have complained of. At most we go to two a year, whereas some people have had upwards of seven or eight to attend, perhaps it’s because many of my close friends were already married when I met them, but there’s a couple to whose weddings I had particularly looked forward with just a teeny, tiny hope that I might be asked to be a bridesmaid.
There are a few reasons I’d like to be involved in this capacity, one, as mentioned above, because it indicates a particular regard for the person you ask and it’s nice to know that those you care about want you to play a special role on their big day. Two, I have a lifelong passion for wedding dresses, perhaps if I’d been a little more brave I might have become a wedding designer or stylist or something – I have book upon book of sketches from age 8 onwards of women in spectacular confections and oh I *long* to help someone else choose theirs and get to sit in all those boutiques playing dress-up. Three, I love the excitement of the getting ready, helping the bride on with her dress, advising on hair and makeup (two more careers I ruled out, despite a passionate interest), being part of those special memories…
Perhaps my sister may yet ask me, but there’s always the creeping concern that she’s only asking *because* I’m her sister and, well, she’s kinda stuck with me, isn’t she? Plus she’s as opinionated and passionate about hair and makeup as I am, so she’s probably got that all mapped out already anyway and my suggestions will be irrelevant.
More than one wedding has passed with me seeing the bride taking photos with her bridesmaids dresses, the bridesmaids being mentioned in speeches, being thanked for their friendship and feeling, just a smidge, second best and saddened, because these women, you see, have meant so very much to me: the recipients of late night confessions and drunken secrets, the subject of my thoughts and concerns when things weren’t going well for them, the topic of my pleasure and boasting when they achieved something great. And my man, my lovely man, has read my mind, and squeezed my hand under the table, and smiled sweetly at me and reminded me that I am an honoured guest at their wedding, that they love me, that he loves me, that perhaps I’m being a touch over-sensitive, but he completely understands and I feel better, but still.
Now the last wedding has passed, the last one of my unmarried friends who might, conceivably, have asked me to be a bridesmaid, do a reading, or just even come by to help them get ready, has got married. Her wedding blew me away – the love and happiness and joy that abounded, but I still felt a little, selfishly, sad to be a one-amongst-the-many, not even qualifying for a mention in a speech.
I don’t think she reads blogs, I hope she doesn’t because this isn’t intended to hurt her. I felt immensely honoured to be invited to her intimate and beautiful wedding, but it was also a startling reminder that you can’t ever really see inside other peoples’ hearts or minds, because the maid of honour from my own wedding, didn’t include me, in hers.