Receptions- Are you invited?

The second I found out that I was going to my cousin’s wedding reception I was, confused. How else can you react when the MO these days for weddings is a small ceremony and exclusive dinner (which by the way doesn’t include extended family except grandparents)? Now, while it was awkward as in: I’m wearing a funny looking, out of style, black and white spring dress and I just saw a name card for my third grade teacher beside my plate (what?!), it also was a fun if unconventional event.
Perks of the day included: delicious fruit, mini cheesecake desserts, and mingling with my cousins and other family members.
As receptions go, I always feel like there is something missing. Is it the newness of their love, the anticipation, the sharing of their vows in front of people who love them? Not everyone needs to agree with me, I’m not expecting that, but you can’t expect family and friends not to be at least a little hurt when you don’t include them on the actual wedding day. Isn’t that the day you want to dance with the ones you love? The day your heart and soul sing and it’s made even more joyous by sharing those feelings, those indelible moments with the ones you love?
I may be biased to big, family weddings, but they’re not for everyone and I do love the uniqueness that is part of every bride’s wedding day.

Awkward Moments and Weddings

So when you usually think of weddings doesn’t an ideal come to mind? You think of a perfectly smooth ceremony, the bride perfectly calm and poised, the family cooperating peacefully, fabulous food and music, good company and vintage and cute decorations.
Then, I became a bridesmaid and my whole outlook changed. First, I never realized how family drama and DIY weddings could make the anticipated event so stressful.
First: Never leave out the siblings, even if they were only guilted into being part of the wedding. Include them to avoid hurt feelings and awkward moments when they’re about to cry for being left out even if it’s inviting them to go out to eat or something!

Also, if you’re conscripted into flower clipping, especially with roses please wear gloves! Speaking from experience, it can be painful handling dozens of rose stems. Snipping off those thorns is no party, I promise. Yet, it can definitely be a bonding experience and give you something to laugh about later, especially when you have to clean up all the stems and leaves that flew all over the kitchen. You need to take a step back and remember: you have no control over the petals wilting and browning. Even if they do, don’t worry. Roses have enough petals to pick off.
Another thing, if you’re working on venue setup, plan to get to the venue with the bridal party an hour early. We were running late with decorating and soon enough, wedding guests were pouring into the venue and we were still doing our hair, frantically pulling on bridesmaids dresses and slathering on makeup all while the videographer snaps close up shots of you putting on eyeliner. Give me some space, please?

Even in all this awkward though, I realized that the quirk makes you smile more than the perfect. When the bride forgets her veil and you remind her, you share a secret joke. The stress can frazzle your nerves but if you ride the waves of it, you can truly realize just how valuable weddings really are despite awkward questions about your relationship status (yes I’m single and no I don’t want to sit with your dorky single guy friend) family drama, scrambling to get ready for the wedding and everything in between.

Pet Peeves and Weddings

In October I found out my brother would be getting married in April.  Initially, I freaked out.  Since I’m in the House Party,  four other girls and I were chosen to wear gold dresses .  One month later, I impulsively bought a dress at Dillard’s that I loved at first after scrolling through several tacky, too short, too low cut or too bronze looking  to make the cut for the perfect gold dress.

When I tried it on, *gasp* my waist disappeared in all the baggy gold fabric that hung on me like a sheath dress.  Only I didn’t order a sheath dress! My trip to the tailor was equally eventful, but no less annoying, stressful and irritating since I had already spent a quarter of my paycheck on the thing.  Two weeks later, the lovely Korean woman tailored my dress to a T and it finally looked presentable.  The only setback: I had no classy heels to wear with it. I am usually never impulsive like this, but I found the cutest black cut out stiletto heels at Nordstrom.  I couldn’t resist.

Now, though, mere weeks before the wedding, I have imagined all sorts of things going wrong:

1.  In every picture I will tower over every family member, random stranger and acquaintance.

2.  I will totter and trip over an unseen step, carpet (or just myself-even better), arms flailing, face turning beet red in front of all of my brother’s and fiance’s friends.

3. I will be forced to dance with my brother or dad and of course tower and totter my whole way through said dance.  “Didn’t you have chance to practice in these?” He says as I stumble over his fancy dress shoes and dash back to the safe haven of the ice cream bar (yes this is a thing. 😉

One more thing annoys me about the preparation that goes into weddings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love pictures, my brother, his fiance, and them being together and growing up in general. BUT.  When you loop through 150 pictures, rearranging, cropping, inserting audio clips and waiting, jaw clenching, eyes tossing at how slow your computer is working because of all of the media stashed in one PowerPoint presentation you wish secretly the whole thing could be over to your greatest relief!

Coping with Weddings, Part 2

One of the many ways I cope with weddings is through jabbering about it with the instant, weekend long friends I make during  wedding prep.  Here’s what you need to know about this very essential wedding coping mechanism. 😉

First, new found, instant BFFs are one of my favorite things about weddings.

The randomness and accidental nature of these friendships make them way more fun.  You never know which bridesmaid you’ll click with most, but most of the time they’re all super happy for your mutual BFF anyway, they won’t be anything but thrilled to be there and get to know you (even if they can’t stand you switching the radio station to Taylor Swift AGAIN whenever a hipster song comes on).

Also, the humor.  I’ve learned you can’t go an extended weekend in another state, living out of a suitcase with a group of other girls your age without cracking up about the silliest things because you’re all sleep deprived. Nor can you survive this weekend without revealing your quirks to them….Your addiction to Starbucks, your pathetic ability to do hair (can anyone do anything with my frazzled mop of hair?), the list goes on.  The evening after one wedding, my plane schedule became a slight issue with another bridesmaid who needed to catch a ride to the airport too: “Um. yes I do have a flight to catch at 8:00am, and our carpool leaves at 7:00…What, you’re not a morning person?”

Yet, these friendships have their perks.  One of them being, your sole stress relievers during the wedding.  Since making the bride perfectly, blissfully happy is key, she is not the woman to run to when you lost your makeup remover, you can’t find nail polish to match your mint green dress, you can’t find a bathroom to change, you need ibuprofen because you’re barely eating and sleeping in the excitement of all the flower clipping, or the last minute crate painting and mingling with the bride and groom’s families (that you barely know and half may speak Spanish) the night before the wedding.  When worst comes to worst, and the groomsmen crack jokes about the bridesmaids and the bride missing their cues during the waltz down the aisle, DON’T FREAK OUT.  Later, on a drive to or from venues and rehearsal dinners, laugh at the chaos with fellow bridesmaids.  Chances are they need a reason to detox from wedding stress too.

A favorite memory I have is post-wedding related.  After the chaos finally subsided, the pies and desserts cut and devoured,  friends lingering to take pictures with quirky oversized glasses and mustaches in a photo booth, I dashed away to the bride and groom’s apartment with a fellow bridesmaid to collect my suitcase and leave.  The only issue was, we had no way of getting to a hotel room and the bride and groom were on their way there within the hour.  As we waited for another bridesmaid to pick us up, the other girl and I perched on her couch, hugging purses and suitcase handles, wanting so desperately to take off our bridesmaid dresses and just relax. THEN…..we heard a knock and screams filled the room like you wouldn’t believe.  Seconds later, the third bridesmaid pushes her way into the room and we collapse, giggling, faces tomato red.  We finally made it out of there, but whoosh! What a scare! 😉

Coping with Weddings Part 1

To start off, there are three things you must know when you’re a twenty something struggling through your career, and no white dress, shiny diamond or tropical honeymoon are in sight. To top it off, your “close” friend invited you to the wedding of the century: hers. What do you DO?

First, the best thing you can do if you need to find cute heels and a cute dress in a pinch that don’t scream “poor college kid” and show you’ve graduated from sweatpants and your college fraternity tee?
Call Grandma.
With Grandma by my side, trust me, we blazed through the racks at Francesca’s and DSW like pros on TLC (my grandma did this while I “browsed” casually not making up my mind on what to try on as usual).

Second, the seating arrangements. If you see that a “Cole” or a “Chad” or a “Mike” is plopped beside you, chances are high you’re sitting beside the grooms single guy friends. Caution! Try to act cool. Don’t bring up how you were supposed to be in the wedding and how if you were a bridesmaid, you would have pulled for a live band. Don’t do it. And don’t panic. The guy is (while heart stoppingly attractive or completely NOT your type)just as nervous as you, if not more uncomfortable in a tie that he can barely breathe in.
Break the ice by asking about how he knows the couple or how you know the bride. BUT, try not to spill the wedding cake and don’t be afraid to pull a Cinderella and slip out the back when he grills you on your major, your classes, your grad school application or worse your relationship status (don’t ask me if I’m single, DON’T do it!) . Friend, this is not the bachelor, a Nicholas Sparks novel, a Taylor Swift song or a Hallmark movie. Think Katniss Everdeen.

Three: Not making the cut.
So you get the cutest wedding save the date and invite, but You’re not in the bridal party, house party or anything! Even though the bride put you in an awkward position, from there, it can only get better.
This happened to me once but trust me it isn’t that bad. Showing up, dressing up and giving the bride something special will show her you love and appreciate her. It’s not about you, despite the awkward stares from friends you don’t know, the talks with the parents who feel guilty you weren’t in the wedding but fumble with the right words to say: “you mean so much to Alli. We appreciate you… You’re so….special.” Um what? Eyebrows raised, you hold your breath for them and then, you leave. You laugh. You smile and let go.
It’s a new season for them and so what if you’re not part of it. You learned a great character lesson, how not to treat people in the future. Please have a good laugh and a long talk with another friend who’s been blindsided by weddings. Just don’t tear apart the annoyingly cute Michael Buble music and ask the bride why she didn’t choose you. She can pick her battles and so can you.