So I’m Engaged: The Politics Of Choosing A Bridesmaid

I’ve been reading this book I Was Told There’d Be Cake, a collection of personal essays by Sloane Crosley, for the last few months. Though I think the book, in general, is a little “try too hard”, there’s one story in particular that really struck a chord with me. “You On A Stick” is about the time that Sloane’s best friend from her youth called her up out of the blue, after not having spoken for years, and asked her to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. The essay ends up being about a lot of issues associated with being a bridesmaid — from the mundane and annoying tasks associated with the duty, like making a veil out of wrapping paper at the bridal shower, to the more serious issue of female friendships and what they mean. The latter hit home for me though — for the record, my bridesmaids will never have to make an asinine hat for me out of ribbons unless they put a gun to my head and force me to wear one — because I’ve been having a really hard time with this particular part of getting married.

I don’t have a sister and the close female cousin I did have is now my sworn enemy.

Not to be all “Wah, wah, poor me”, but I’ve never had many close friends. I’ve had plenty of friends in my life, but people I pour my heart and soul out to? Yeah, not so much. I’m actually a pretty private person, despite revealing details of my engagement or telling the world I’m on my period on The Frisky. I’m not big on trusting people with my deep personal feelings on things that actually have to do with, you know, me, though I will tell anyone who will listen my deep personal feelings on celebrity parents or the election or abstinence education. So, when it came time to think about who I want my bridesmaids to be, not to mention my maid of honor, I was a little bit stuck. My three wedding magazines (I bought a new one that I’ve barely cracked this weekend) made the following suggestions for people who could be BM’s (hahahaha) and the MOH:

  • Your sister or a close female family member, like a cousin:
    I don’t have a sister and the close female cousin I did have is now my sworn enemy.
  • Your best friend(s): What exactly is a best friend? Is it sad that I don’t think I’ve had one for a very long time? For some reason, I feel like the words “best friend” needs to be used in reciprocation — I haven’t called someone my best friend in a long time, because I haven’t felt confident they would call me their best friend. Is that pathetic? I fear rejection and having my “best friend” just call me her “good friend” would feel crappy. That’s why my fiance is my best friend, technically. He can’t reject me. Anyway, I do have good friends and I immediately asked the first of them, Gillian, to be a bridesmaid. I was happy to know she assumed she was going to be one — for some reason, that meant a lot. Asking my other friend Teri took a little more confidence. She’s a great friend, obviously, or I wouldn’t be asking her, but I got a worried feeling in my stomach when I was considering her thanks to Sloane — Sloane kind of mocked her old friend for asking her, because Sloane would have never reciprocated. Teri recently got married and I wasn’t a bridesmaid — I never expected to be and was terribly honored to go to the wedding — so I felt paranoid that she would think it was odd I was asking her. I over think this shit. I finally asked her and she was thrilled. Or so she says.
  • Friends you’ve had since childhood, high school, or college: I’m not entirely sure how many bridesmaids I’m going to/should have — supposedly it’s proportional to the number of guests, or so says my stupid wedding magazine. So I’m holding off on asking anyone from my college days. I have no one to ask, really, from childhood or from high school because we’ve all gone our separate ways and I am not so desperate that I’m going to call up that girl from kindergarten. But I do have two people from college I feel compelled to ask. One friend was supposed to get married last year and I was a bridesmaid. Unfortunately, her fiance backed out in the worst way possible and the wedding never happened. But regardless, am I obligated to ask her? She lives across the country and we talk, like, once a year. For some reason it feels a little odd to ask someone who isn’t part of my day to day life. Another friend, also from college, just got engaged too. I have a sneaking suspicion she may ask me to be a bridesmaid, which would be lovely, but then I face the same problem — do I have to reciprocate? What if I only have, like, two bridesmaids — are these old friends going to be pissed?
  • A member of the groom’s family: This part is easy. My fiance has a sister, who’s close to my age and whom I get along with famously. I’m planning on asking her because I really want her to be a special part of our wedding. I think it would be nice for me, but also nice for them. But you do have to wonder for people who aren’t close to their groom’s siblings — is this something you “have” to do?
  • Whew. Do not even get me started on the Maid of Honor. I am not having one. I just cannot deal with that decision too. Besides, the whole lot of them can just work as a team to humiliate me with gross gifts at the bachelorette party.