On September 24th I watched my best friend walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams. The bride had worked hard in her wedding notebook to make sure she had everything to make up the best day of her life, including picking out the best bridesmaids. On weddings, brides always go through an abundance of emotions, mostly joy, but still some stress. For the bridesmaids, weddings are also an emotional ride, more so than people believe. For most bridesmaids, there are essentially five emotional stages they go through from the moment they are asked to be a bridesmaid to the final moments of the wedding.
No matter if it is a simple card or a grand gesture involving a box and some balloons, each time a bride ask a friend, sibling, or family member to be a bridesmaid there is an immediate moment of excitement. From shrill screams of happiness to hysterical tears of joy women are overwhelmed with the prospect of being a bridesmaid. Followed almost immediately by the, "OMG, what are you colors, what kind of dress are you going to wear, let's get on Pinterest and make a whole board about it!" The excitement continues as the bridesmaids walk into dress shops and try on fancy dresses as if it is prom all over again. Then on to the excitement of the bachelorette party/trip, which, in my case, came a list of truth or dares to be carried out throughout the week.
Then comes the excitement of the wedding day finally arriving. There again there is nothing more exciting than finally eating after standing listening to two people profess how madly in love they are and you are still single.
With all the excitement comes an equal amount of stress. There is nothing more stressful than trying to ensure that the bride is not stressed on her wedding day. As if the stress you feel is not enough. The added stress you are relieving the bride as a bridesmaid is enough to almost lead anyone to insanity. Planning bachelorette trips, making sure the center pieces are correct, making sure everyone is there on time that is needed (DJ, caterer, cake, etc.) bridesmaids encounter more stress than many expect. Not every wedding is able to be this elaborate event where an entire team of people can come in to set everything up, many weddings leave it to the bridal party to ensure that the wedding is set up perfectly for when the bride walks down the aisle; all the while the groomsmen are hanging out drinking with their groom, playing pool, or watching football.
This differs from stress because the stress a bridesmaid carries is more of the bride's stress. That is to say that in retrospect, they would not be stressing over such an event, but have taken on stress to ensure the bride is not stressed. It all sounds very complicated and insane because it is. Anxiety is more reserved for the bridesmaid herself. It comes the moment after the excitement subsides in the events that make up a wedding. So, after being asked to be a bridesmaid, the anxiety comes to, "I hope she picks a dress that doesn't make me look fat, pale, or ugly." Then once a dress is picked it becomes, "Crap, how am I going to afford this?" Followed by, "How am I going to afford this annnnnnnd the bachelorette trip?"
Although, that is not the most anxious moment of the entire event. Once that dress finally arrives after being altered, comes the anxiety that it will still fit by the time the wedding comes around. I mean, what if you eat one cupcake too many at the bridal shower and it sends you over the edge! Standing in that bridal suite, holding your breath, sucking in your stomach, anxiety building with each moment as a fellow bridesmaid zips up the dress...and success, now you can breathe! Then comes the most anxious moment of the entire thing, walking down the aisle. The whole time in your head you are thinking, "Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall." Until the moment you are finally standing in your spot waiting for the bride to walk down, anxiety is pumping through your body.
When a group of girls gets together there is sure to be a fair share of drama, I mean let's face it, it is simply in our nature. However, there is also to be a great deal of laughter and enjoyment.
When it comes to a wedding, outside of the stress, there tends to be some reflection on past moments, stories of embarrassing times, jokes being made, and an overall jovial air about the entire thing. From reading off bridal mad libs at a bridal shower, playing truth or dare/scavenger hunt for a bachelorette trip, or the jokes made to lighten up a toast at the reception, there is bound to be an abundance of laughter that goes on throughout the entire process.
Throughout the entire process of being a bridesmaid there are so many emotions that can be felt, but the most significant is joy. Standing by the bride's side as she goes through the happiest day of her life. You are so overjoyed to experience each moment with her leading up to her special day, as well as, ecstatic to be there on that day. When all the stress, anxiety, laughter, and excitement has settled what is left is joy. You are first to see her as she walks out the bridal suite door rocking her gorgeous wedding gown that seems even more lovely than it did at the dress shop. You stand by her side as she reads her vows, handing her tissues as she listens to her husband to be read his. You stand and give a speech about the journey you two have been on and how you have watched her grow into the lovely woman she is and how the man beside her has brought a glow to her you had never seen. Then you are there holding the sparkler, tear in your eyes, as everyone sends her off at the close of the wedding. There is an all encompassing joy that comes from being a part of a wedding and seeing someone you love have the happiest day of their life.