Plan I Must: Bridesmaids Are the Best
Choosing bridesmaids, bestowing dresses upon them, and even the word "bridesmaid", these are all strange concepts, aren't they?
Who is to say if family or friends or those who have remained closest should hold a ceremonial spot in your wedding, standing stoically on the borders of your photographs? Where did we get it in our heads that we should force our closest friends to buy dresses that come in colors called "shrimp" and awkwardly dote on us leading up to our big day? The word sounds like a throwback to King Arthur's court; except I don't need anyone to lace me into my corset and I'm mostly capable of going about my day independently. Mostly.
If I didn't have bridesmaids, would I trip and fall or have some wardrobe malfunction on my big day? Well likely not, but I'm not giving myself that much credit, and neither should you.
So inevitably, my next task in what's the become a seesaw of trying to fit into the wedding culture while also standing out was choosing bridesmaids (check), and then, the painstaking task of choosing what they would wear.
I started by closing my eyes and imagining myself buoyed by seas of various dresses. How does violet chiffon fit with the scenery? What if I tried grey tulle? Or I could just say, "eff it," and go with polk-a-dots. People pick bridesmaids colors that don't suck every day right? I can do this.
While I pictured myself floating against these backdrops, I suddenly felt myself sinking. The bridesmaid thing is antiquated, yes, and unrepresentative of what friends are. But there is something magical about choosing and honoring your friends too. With all of the positive energy floating your way, it's your chance to diffuse that energy and shine it onto your friends. It's a way to make them feel special. Picturing myself in a sea of my favorite hues did nothing but direct that energy inward and snuff it out.
So I reimagined the scene. This time, why not focus on what makes them stand out? They are five amazing pillars of support that I've very much looked up to, and gratefully rested on, throughout my life. I want them to forever be seen in my wedding pictures as the women who made me the woman I am. I want everyone to know they brought me to this place. They taught me to love myself, and how to share that with someone else.
I did say, "eff it," but not for the sake of polk-a-dots. Instead, I picked mix-and-match dresses. I dove back into research, this time choosing the most beautiful fabrics I could find in mints, greys, and golds with necklines and shapes made to flatter my favorite people. I let them vote on what I picked, but also left it open: Don't like anything here? Let's choose something else! Each one of my bridesmaids will wear a long, romantic dress at my laid-back California wedding so they can stand out. So they can be known as more than a backdrop. Instead, they'll be seen as beacons who have helped lead this bride to her wedding day, and will continue to lead her beyond it.
My decision to put five bridesmaids in five different dresses may have chipped away at my quickly shrinking timeline. But I wouldn't use the time I don't have any other way. I've benefited from the fabulous reflections of the women I've chosen to ceremonially stand with me on my big day. I only wish I could find more ways to show them how warming and vital their presence is to my life every day.