Now, I can reason this out logically - he's kinda young, he's a guy, he didn't know what a big request this was, blah, blah, blah - but it was painful nonetheless. This did, however, confirm for me that the wedding party was not going to be the right way to involve my family in our wedding. Once I recovered from the hurt of this realization, it was actually a rather liberating thought.
Giving myself the freedom to involve more of my friends (a.k.a. family of choice) came with its own set of worries, but it felt exhilirating to imagine my bridal-ly self surrounded by people who have loved me and supported me for the *whole* time I've known them. If there's anything I want for us on our wedding day it's to be surrounded by people have loved us - not just as individuals but, at least equally if not more importantly, as a couple.
Here's where that whole "non-wedding-crazy" friend group comes into play. I want to preface this by saying that I absolutely truly deeply madly love my friends. Yet asking them to be a part of the wedding party felt like I'd be asking them for a really, super big favor - a favor that I wasn't sure any or all of them would actual want to participate in. My worries stemmed from a number of reasons including, but not limited to, personal/political anti-wedding beliefs, geographic barriers, and relatively short length of friendship. Combine all that with the fact that I'm not very good at asking others for things I want (hey, nobody's perfect - I'm working on it!), and you end up with one ridiculously (and somewhat unnecessarily) nervous engaged lady.
Mr. NM (bless his little heart) really had to step in and help me here because I couldn't really talk to my friends about this given that what I was debating had to do with... them! He helped me to clarify what I wanted and needed out of those who would stand up - for me and with me - on that day. He also assisted me in brainstorming a title to take the place of "bridesmaid" cuz to be honest, I just wasn't feeling the connotations of that word. So we decided our wedding party would consist of "Ms. Meticulous' Party People" and "Team Mr. NM."
Here are the things I realized when I put together the Party People:
1) You don't have to pick a "person of honor" just because that's how it's usually done or because people expect you to. Yes, it may make some things more complicated, but choosing someone under duress only cheapens the role you ask them to fill. It's okay to let everyone be equally important in your wedding if they are, in fact, equally important in your life. And with that I decided not to have a Party Person of Honor.
2) It doesn't matter if some friends aren't particularly crazy-pro-wedding for themselves, as long as they can be crazy-pro-wedding for you. And with that I asked dear friend E to be a Party Person.
E and I met on one of our first days of graduate school, and we loved each other so much we moved in together that next summer. One bad roommate, one quick roommate, one great roommate, and three years later we moved out of our beloved house and in with our respective partners. E and her partner now very much feel like a "couple friend" to Mr. NM and I, and I couldn't be happier that we all mesh so well together. We always look forward to driving down to LA just to sit in their apartment for pretty much 48 hours straight and talk our heads off (no exaggeration). I now present you with Party Person E.
3) Long friendships should not be a necessity for choosing a wedding party. A good friend is someone who you feel like you've known forever, even if you technically haven't known them for that long. And with that I asked fab friends K and N to be Party People.
K and I met during our internship year, and it was just pure luck that we ended up at the same placement and happened to be totally enamored with one another. Our friendship saw us through a busy and trying internship year, and we followed that up by spending every weekend together studying for the licensing exam. If you can spend every weekend toe-to-toe on the couch with the same person, reading the same materials, week and after week after week, you know you've got a friend for life. I wish she lived just a bit closer, but thank goodness it's close enough for semi-frequent visits. I now present you with Party Person K.
I lucked up again during my post-doc year because N and I were the only two post-docs at our location. Thank goodness we got along so splendidly! Our friendship sustained us through the anxieties of worrying about finding a job and then the unfortunate realities of unemployment. The silver lining of unemployment, however, was that it left us lots of time to be "ladies who lunch." Now that we're both employed (yay! kinda...) those lunch dates happen a little less frequently, but they've expanded to last from breakfast through dinner - because I just can't get enough of this girl! I now present you with Party Person N.
4) #3 notwithstanding, there's no replacement for your longest-running friendship, even if there's a strong possibility that person will be on the other side of the globe when your wedding rolls around. Because sometimes the asking means more than the answer. And with that I asked special friend L to be a Party Person.
L and I lived in the same entryway during our freshman year of college (11 years ago - agh!), and we became fast friends. (The person who kinda-sorta brought us together shall remain nameless.) And oh, how I miss the days of IMing someone who lives two floors below you to see if they're ready and willing to go to dinner with you or to talk about the antics of your roommates. But I digress... I am so lucky that L's Ph.D. program is in the Bay Area because that means we've been able to remain close geographically through many of these past years. We could always do a better job of getting together (and we will, I just know it!), but every time I see him I'm reminded of why we became friends in the first place and how grateful I am to have him in my life. L will be moving to China for a year beginning about 1 month before the wedding, and we're not yet sure if he'll be able to attend the wedding. But he's oh-so-definitely still a Party Person. I now present to you Party Person L.
5) When given the choice between flower girl and "junior bridesmaid," your 9-year-old mini-bestie will almost always choose the perceived "older girl" role. And with that I asked incredible mini-bestie M to be a Junior Party Person.
I had the random good fortune of meeting M's family through Craigslist 4.5 years ago when they asked to interview me for a nanny position for M's little brother. M was 4 years old at the time. Back then we played Candyland and *backward* Chutes 'n' Ladders. Now we do crafts together and talk a lot about friends, fashion, and make-up. We have transitioned from a babysitter/babysittee relationship to an older/younger girl friendship and she really is a mini best friend. I love her as if she were a magical combination of my sister and my own kid. She is far and away the most amazing 8-year-old I know (fyi - the same was true at ages 7, 6, 5, and 4). I now present to you Junior Party Person M.
I started nannying for C when he was only 4 months old. Back then our interactions together were simple - he did whatever he wanted and I just kept him moving at all times. Now our relationship is a bit more complex - he does whatever he wants and *I* have to keep moving at all times. It's incredible to watch a person grow from a nonverbal, loveable lump of baby to a talkative, insanely-active, super-smart little boy. And who doesn't *love*smile*swoon* when a little boy adamantly chooses flower boy over ring bearer?! I now present to you Flower Boy C.
Were you happy with how you your wedding party came together?