Asking Your Attendants
Bride’s Eye View
I Promise I Won’t Make You Wear an Ugly Dress
Lee and I have been the best of friends for a very long time. We bonded in middle-school math class over the antics of our goofy teacher, and our friendship has been growing stronger ever since. Despite attending different high schools and living on the opposite sides of town, then choosing different colleges and careers, we have somehow managed to stay close. I can’t imagine asking anyone else to be my maid of honor.
Of course, I should say matron of honor. At Lee’s wedding six years ago, I stood beside her as her own maid of honor (in a shiny green taffeta bubble dress with puffy sleeves). I don’t think my eyes left her face during the entire ceremony as I watched her begin the biggest journey of her life. Later, at the reception, my toast to the couple devolved into a tearful mess as I told her husband, Brant, that he would have to be her new best friend now.
Lee’s family has always been a second family to me, to the point of calling her parents “Mom and Dad” and spending time with them on every holiday, sometimes before I even made it home to see my own folks. That’s why it was such a shock and a surprise to everyone (ourselves included) when Gary and I started seeing each other. Because Gary is Lee’s older brother.
Gary loves to joke that I had a crush on him throughout my teenage years, when Lee and I spent every second together and he was away at college. I always respond by saying that he was “way too old” for me to even think about. Whatever the reason, whether luck or chance or simple good timing, Gary and I hit it off during on of my Thanksgiving visits. Lee was a little put off at first, but she was a good sport, joking and teasing with everyone else. As Gary and I grew more and more serious, any concerns she had with our dating were forgotten, and I sensed her approval (as long as I didn’t share too much information!)
I’m sure she knew immediately after I told her that Gary and I were engaged that I would ask her to be my matron of honor. But Gary and I decided to wait to ask our attendants until we had a better handle on our budget, location and the tone of the wedding. With those matters settled, we decided to keep the wedding party to a small group of family members. I planned to ask Lee and my sisters, while Gary would ask his brothers and a close cousin.
I think I feel as nervous as Gary did when he proposed when I ask Lee to stand up for me. I don’t doubt that she will agree, but her presence, and the implied blessing, at the ceremony are deeply important to me. I want her to understand that I need her there, not just as a token gesture but as a symbol of what her friendship has meant to me over all these years. In a nervous voice I say “Lee, would you be my…”
Tears well in her eyes and mine, and we laugh and hug without my ever completing the sentence. We reminisce about her wedding day, including our elegant private lunch together… at the local taco stand. Which will of course be duplicated on my own wedding day. “I am so glad you will be there for me,” I say, more than once.
At that moment it occurs to me that my best friend, the one with whom I made it through adolescence and young adulthood, sharing every hope and dream and fear, was going to become my sister. For real, officially and legally. Sisters by law, yes. But sisters by choice, first. “I promise I won’t make you wear an ugly dress,” I laugh. She knows. She always will.
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