Runaway Bridesmaid

When my sister told me she was getting married, I was overjoyed. When she asked me to be her maid of honour, I said yes without a doubt in my mind. I knew she wasn’t going to get married on the beach at sunset with daisies in her hair. It would be a go-big-or-go-home kind of wedding, complete with an itinerary, centrepieces, a seating chart, Pinterest inspirations and stress. Oh, there would be stress. I was promised this the day I was given my responsibilities. Okay, I told myself; I can deal with stress. I assumed my sister and her groom were over-exaggerating so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed.

They weren’t.

The pressure of planning a perfect day is intense, to say the least. You need the perfect venue, you have to invite everyone you possibly can within a budget, hire the right photographer, videographer and DJ. You have to make sure the food and alcohol situation is as good as it can be. You have to find the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the perfect veil, the perfect bouquet, the perfect tux. The perfect… Perfect. It all has to be perfect.

After learning first hand what wedding planning took, I decided against having one of my own. This one would be enough for me. I didn’t get it. Why do this to yourself? Why spend all this money and time just to freak out that the flower arrangements were wrong? It dawned on me that the entire idea of a wedding was a big conspiracy. I began theorizing while sitting at my desk for the third hour surfing Nordstrom’s like an Internet zombie, trying to find the right bridesmaids dresses. Suddenly I had this big epiphany that weddings are total and complete bullshit.

Two weeks before the day, my stress was visible: I found three gray hairs and started drinking espresso. I was constantly texting or calling someone to make sure everything for the bridal shower was flawless, that everything was running smoothly. Do everyone’s dresses fit? Are these cupcakes the right colour? There was a checklist going off in my head, and I wasn’t even the one doing the actual planning. Why were my sister and her fiancé, two otherwise very intelligent and level-headed people, doing this to themselves?

Finally. The bachelorette party was done, the bridal shower was done, and it was Friday, the eve of the wedding. Everything was ready to go — a year’s worth of planning complete and set up for the next day. And suddenly it happened. The stress left my body that night and was replaced by an excitement I’ve never felt before — an excitement that had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with the love I have for my sister. The big day was here and the minute she put her dress on I started to cry. Just a day ago I had decided weddings were total bullshit, and now there were tears of joy running down my face.

This transformation carried on throughout the day. No matter what happened, it happened perfectly. Our limo driver almost ran someone over, we were late for the ceremony, my hair looked terrible — but everything was tranquil.  At the end of the night I stopped for a minute and saw an entire dance floor full of people, people who were all there to celebrate love, dancing together — happy, drunk and letting loose. I realized that this wedding had brought happiness to them all. On what other occasion would I witness this? The joy I felt that day was something I’ve never felt before in my life. Looking at the couple and seeing how in love they were on their night… all the stress, the gray hairs, the yelling — it was all worth it in the end.

I learned something valuable that day: never get caught up in superficialities, but also don’t deny yourself of what you want. This wedding had everything a traditional wedding has, including stress, but the magic in the room was louder than everything that went into making the night. You can plan and plan, and try your hardest to make your dream wedding come true, but never let that get in the way of the reason you’re there to begin with. TV shows and magazines have turned weddings into a business; planning a wedding can be enough to break a couple up or make them go broke. It’s important to remember why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for. Your wedding night should be everything you want it to be, but what you want should be by your standards, not by those of some reality show on TLC. Do it for you and your loved ones and nothing else. After all, there is no price-tag on true love; it will shine through no matter what.

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