See Edit Below
This year marks the fifth year in a row that I’m a member in the bridal party of a wedding (I’ve been to far more weddings than that – I’m at that age where everyone I know is getting married). And my darling friend K just got engaged and asked me to be her maid of honor, so next year will be number 6.
Here’s the deal with being in a wedding as something other than the bride: when it’s someone you love and give a shit about, it’s wonderful, a huge honor, fun, exciting, and awesome, and you're delighted to be part of such an important day. When you aren't particularly close to the person or don’t really give a shit, though, well, it sucks, and you’d much rather be a normal guest who just gets to show up with a gift and enjoy the party.
I was the maid of honor in my friend MJ’s wedding and it was AWESOME. Other than the fact I totally blanked on the fact I was supposed to give a speech until about 3 days before the wedding, when I just panicked and slapped something together, it was a blast. MJ was a very self-sufficient bride. She needed very little help and other than the occasional “this or that” consult, I pretty much just threw her a shower and showed up on the day of the wedding wearing the adorable dress she picked out.
Next weekend, though, I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding I don’t want to be in. See, the mister is friends with M, M is getting married to J. J and I know each other in the way of women whose men are friends; we can chit chat for half an hour and be comfortable, but we don’t know any personal information about each other, we don't tell each other secrets or rely on each other for support, and we don't hang out or spend time together unless our boys are present. To illustrate how little I know her, when I went to get measured for the bridesmaid dress, the poor girl working the counter asked for the bride’s last name so she could pull up the information AND I DREW A BLANK. I had to call the mister, who called the groom, got the name, and called me back.
But she needed a third bridesmaid and, well, I’m it, despite the fact the mister is not in the wedding at all. I tried everything I could think of to avoid participation – lack of time, lack of money, all the excuses. They were all overridden and now I have to suit up in a strapless red satin number and uncomfortable shoes.
But all the things that annoy me about this wedding were things I loved about MJ’s and will likely love at K’s. Looking for dresses was a blast with MJ, but looking for them for this wedding made me itch. Debating invitation styles or bouquet arrangements was tons of fun with MJ, but annoyed the shit out of me for this wedding.
I mean, I’m glad M and J are getting married and I wish them well and hope their wedding day is glorious, but I don’t particularly want to be part of the wedding, you know?
And it’s all about love. I adore MJ and I pretty much think the sun shines out of K’s ass, so participation in their nuptials was/will be a blast. But next weekend’s bride? Well, I like her husband, but I don’t know her and I’m not invested in her life the way I am in MJ’s or K’s (or the other friends on my “loved and adored” list, you know who you are). And giving a shit makes all the difference.
Edited to Add: Upon rereading, I realize this makes me sound like I don't like J, the bride, which is the wrong impression. I do like her, and the small amount of time I've spent with her has been enjoyable, but we don't share that I'd-help-her-bury-bodies-and-I-know-she'd-do-the-same-for-me connection. Without that sort of friendship behind us, I know I'm just the filler bridesmaid, chosen for my ability to wear strapless red satin and smile for pictures, rather than any real relationship, and the duties that go along with being a bridesmaid feel more like a burden than they really should.