When I was younger, I always wondered what it was like to be up at the altar with the bride and groom. The couple, the bridesmaids and groomsmen got the best part of the feast, seconds to drinks, and a good view of the family. They looked so beautiful up there smiling at guests and leading through the ceremony like kings and queens. This past summer, I was maid of honor to my aunt. The wedding was a very emotional ceremony for her and she cried happy tears the entire time. I sat there passing her tissues and trying to calm her down. The fact that I was the one able to sit there and do that for her meant something to me even though it’s not really a big deal. Anyone from the street could sit next to a bride and pass her tissues.
A few months later, a second ceremony was held to honor her and her new husband but I was unable to dress the same as the other bridesmaids and so my spot was given to another who has been her friend for a long time. Me being replaced hit me hard; having to see the wedding from under the altar like an outsider.
I don’t know if every bridesmaid feels this way but I had felt responsible for the bride and groom when I was up there. Like somehow I was a witness to their union and I had to see that they were this happy for the rest of lives. I felt like I was the maid of honor so I should be there for her should she ever need me. I considered the job of the bridesmaids and the groomsmen to be that they saw the newly formed family through thick and thin for the rest of their lives because when I saw the altar at weddings, I saw a family including everyone up there and not just the couple.
Watching my aunt and her husband from down below the altar made me wonder if the women who were sitting there with her were up to the task I obsessively expected of a bridesmaid. It made me think to all the weddings I had been to, bridesmaids and groomsmen fiddling with the couples dressing and dancing around them.
When we are young, we said to our friends that they’d be our bridesmaids and they’d be godparents to our children. Do expect them to hang around with us even after the wedding or are they just supposed to decorate the wedding and move on?
Who are your bridesmaids and your groomsmen?
[wrote this after reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban for the bajillionth time. Sirius Black groomsman to James Potter and godfather to Harry did his job very well. Would your friends?]