Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Consummate Bridesmaid: A Wedding Story

I have been a bridesmaid 6 times now and I'm good at it.  I help with the invitations, the errands, the dress fittings.  Whatever the bride needs, I do my best.  And then on the special day, I do my best to be the hottest bridesmaid I can be *ahem.*  Still, the day is not about me- it's about them.  

I can think of few happier moments than standing up for my best friends' weddings.

Erin's wedding almost 5 years ago stands out especially.

The day started early after getting little sleep.  Getting hair done, make-up, and finally dressing.  The wedding itself was beautiful.  Erin and Mark made a point to center the ceremony around honoring God and it showed.
I'm not sure that I ever stopped smiling that day.  I glowed in witnessing my best friend marry her true love.  I should note that Mark was the first guy that Erin dated that I liked.  I knew the first time I met him that he was the one for her.  I have a knack for those things.

Being there on their wedding day, and not just there but a part of it, made me burst with the most positive of emotions.  

At one point during the reception, Erin and Mark were outside taking pictures but Erin was needed- for what, I don't remember.  I headed out to find her and the two of us walked back inside, hand in hand.

The photographer caught that moment, both of us unaware.  It has turned out to be my favorite from that day.  The smiles on our faces, my attention completely on her.  I look like the consummate bridesmaid- and I was.

Weddings tend to make me sad because they are reminders of what I do not yet have.  I am happy for my friends, to be sure, but there's a part of me that wonders if or when it will be my turn.

I didn't feel that way once when Erin and Mark were married.  My joy was complete.

My blogging- soon to be real life- friend Lindsay posted this yesterday: "...God telling me that I would never receive the fullness of life He wanted to give me unless I could rejoice with someone over the very thing I longed for."

I don't always get it right but I certainly rejoiced the day of this wedding five years ago.  And this tells me that it's possible to continue rejoicing, even if my dream of marriage is never realized.  

This post was written for the Remarkable Faith link-up at Giving Up on Perfect, a series of memories and posts as we approach Lent.

How do you rejoice when others receive that which you're longing for?


  1. I've done the bridesmaid thing 4 times now, maid-of-honor in 3...and it's one of my favorite parts of my life. I've found that standing for my friends in their wedding is one of the few times where I'm mindful of the "it's not about me" cliche, where I'm cognisant to keep my attention wholly focused on the other. It's a pretty spectacular privilege and pretty awesome dynamic that results. Because you get moments like that photographer was able to capture between you and your friend.

    Beautiful post. I'm so with you!

  2. What a sweet, sweet post Leigh! I'm getting ready to be a bridesmaid for the FIRST TIME (can you believe it? I'm 31!), and I'm so excited! Love that pic of you two...such a treasure.- Wanted to let you know about a new par-tay going on at Living Graciously tomorrow. It's all about linking up a picture that brings you joy - spreading happiness throughout blogland! I hope you'll join us (and tell your friends)! See you tomorrow!

  3. Oh sweet, Leigh. Your post reminded me of the movie "27 Dresses." You are such a good and faithful friend, I can just tell. I loved this because your heart really shines through here. Beautiful!

  4. That shot of you and your friend is completely beautiful and classic.

    I have to confess that I am generally not quite as gracious as you when others receive what I am longing for. I pretty much have a little pity party for a day or so before I lay it all down before the Lord (AGAIN). I long for the day when my first response is genuine, authentic joy!

  5. My daughter is waiting patiently (?) for the man God is growing for her. I just tell myself he's going to be simply amazing by the time he shows up :o)

  6. @Amber, I still love your perspective in your guest post for Rachel. Those "it's not about me" moments are imperative for our growth and relationships, I think.

    @Kristin, I find it hard to believe that this is the first time you'll be a bridesmaid! The fact that it's for your sister will make it all the more meaningful.

    @Shelly, thank you for your kind words. I hope that I never stand up in that many weddings (can you imagine the cost?!?!) but I do love that movie and the sentiment behind it.

    @Megan Oh man, I am only that generous with my bestest of friends. When I hear of the engagement of that 21 year old I used to babysit or someone who is twice-divorced, I am all kinds of bitter and malcontent. When I read Lindsay's words about rejoicing for others, I thought about the moments that I was able to do so. Now I'm going to try to do it in those other moments. It won't be easy but since there's no guarantee I'll ever get the longings of my heart and I don't want to be a bitter, whiny person, I have to start somewhere.

    @Merry, I hope that is true for both your daughter and for me!

  7. Leigh, your friends are lucky to have you! Your post reminds me of 2 of my sweet bridesmaids who came with me to try on dresses, patiently (and hilariously) sitting on the floor in the dressing room, creating a rating system for the process. I'm also reminded of being a bridesmaid and having to practically slap the other bridesmaids in the face to remind them that the day was not about them. Sounds like you are a gift to your friends!

  8. I loooove that photo! You're definitely a hot bridesmaid. ;) I love hearing your heart in this post, and like Amy said, your friends are so lucky to have you!

  9. This was such a sweet story - thank you for posting it for all of us to read. And yes, you are a hot bridesmaid - and yes, there will be a time for you to be the center of the day - just think of the list of friends who will want to support you on that wonderful day. Count on it.

  10. Every post makes me more glad that I have found your blog. I love weddings. It reminds me of God's love, no matter what we do, we always get to be His Bride! Pretty dress and all. And when we share about our Groom's love for us then we get to watch bridesmaids and groomsmen become part of the wedding.


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