One of my closest friends recently got engaged. And I couldn’t be happier for her.
Thank god, because honestly I was a little afraid I might feel jealous or irritated.
We had an awesome time catching up about the proposal and gazing at her beautiful ring at “our” diner and then she asked me if I’d be a bridesmaid in her wedding, starting with “I know you’ve always said you didn’t want to stand up in a wedding again…”
The last time I was a bridesmaid was in 2004. A high school friend and former roommate asked me and I was excited to be a part of her big day. It was a little surprising since I ended up being the only non-family member in the wedding party.
She was extremely close to her sisters and cousin and in general, their family was a tight knit bunch. Her fiance was Indian, so the ceremony would take place over two days, Friday the Indian ceremony and Saturday the Catholic church service.
The bridesmaid dress, a purple, full length number, put me out $240, though I was told I could wear whatever shoes and jewelry I wanted. I paid another $60 or so for that.
His family was traveling to India before the wedding and offered to buy affordable saris for the ceremony. I eagerly agreed to have one picked up for me, especially since the cost would be under $40. But when I got it, it was entirely too small. I didn’t want to pay for something I had absolutely no use for and later found out one of her sisters was really upset by this.
When it came time for the bachelorette party, I was not involved in any of the planning except to help find a suitable hotel downtown somewhere. My dad helped me get a Marriott Inn suite for the occasion and I was never reimbursed. The total for the room came out to be around $250.
In a panic that my sari didn’t fit and knowing I’d need it for the Indian ceremony, I went up to Devon and dropped $170.
Bridal shower and wedding gifts came out to around $150.
I had to take a day off of work that Friday and drove myself out to the suburbs, not knowing what the day would bring. From the get go, I was not informed of any of the wedding details.
When I arrived, the bride was getting her hair and make-up done. She looked stunning. The rest of the bridesmaids all sported matching henna tattoos, something they had done without me.
It was time for the ceremony to begin and we all exited the women’s dressing room. I followed along unsure of what I was supposed to do. As we were about to enter the main area, I asked one of her sisters what was going on. She said plainly “Oh, the ceremony is family only.”
I stopped mid step realizing not only would I be sitting with the guests, but I absolutely did not need to be wearing a sari.
The next day brought more attention to the fact that I was clearly not a part of the bridesmaid clan when everyone else showed up in matching jewelry and shoes, their intricate henna tattoos still fresh on their arms.
Wedding photos took too long and I showed up to my boyfriend’s apartment to pick him up, drunk and belligerent. We’d only been dating a few short months and got into a fight, heading to the reception in near silence.
The entire thing was an expensive disaster and aside from a few Facebook interactions,I have not had contact with her. In fact, I didn’t even see any of the professional photos until years later, again, on Facebook.
There’s a part of me that wished I could have vented all of this to her, but there was never a good time. In general, the whole experience proved that our friendship was already falling apart. Still, maybe it’s unfair that I kept quiet all of these years.
Needless to say, I was burned badly and have since claimed I would never stand up in another person’s wedding no matter how close we were.
But ten years and a very special friendship later, I think I’m finally ready.