Let it go, let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know the hardest part is over?
Let it in, let your clarity define you
In the end we will only just remember how it feels
– Rob Thomas
It’s full-on Wedding season here in Miss Clarissland… and I’m your resident Maid of Honor.
Yeah. I’m not super honorable.
I mainly just get wasted and hang out with the groomsmen. Whatevs. Homegirl’s gotta get a date. Know what I’m sayin’?
Tay and Bradley tied the knot on April, 18.
And honestly, it was the most perfect weekend ever.
The bridal luncheon on Friday really kicked the festivities off right. We gathered at one of my favorite local restaurants – Youssef 242 – with all of the bride and groom’s immediate family. There was good food, great mimosas, and even better company. Tay sat to my left and Kristen was on my right. I was happy. I felt whole, and peaceful, and excited. Everything was beautiful. Everyone was joyful, and excited, and full of love. It was a good day.
The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner went off without a hitch. Which is fantastic, considering I had to give a speech. A speech I had just completed hours prior… while drinking wine… and talking with Momma Lail about how fucked up my life is…
Good news is, I only cried once.
I cried once-ish.
Again, pretty solid odds, being that my go-to bartender (Christian) kept calling me “Edward Yuenglinghands” under his breath.
Whatever. You gotta do what you gotta do to get through, ya feel me?
So, after the country club cut us off, Kristen and I took the groomsmen (or they took us, rather) to the bar for a few more celebratory beverages. We reminisced about when we were kids (because that’s what this wedding was – an elementary school reunion). We talked about things, and people, and memories I haven’t thought about in years. We had a lot of fun. And then, Kristen came back to my house for a sleepover.
The next morning, we were both a wreck. At one point, I pulled over into a gas station (on our 10 minute drive to Tay’s Godmother’s house…) and threw up while Kristen bought four 5-hour Energy drinks, a Gatorade, and two liter-sized bottles of water. The struggle was real, y’all. But I forced down a Cajun filet biscuit, a Bo-sized sweet tea, and had the makeup artist cake on the under-eye concealer.
It was Mere’s wedding day.
I had to get my shit together.
The wedding was beautiful. The reception was off the chain. We danced, and ate, and laughed, and sang, and drank, and just had the best time.
Oh, and I cried… like, twice-ish.
Last weekend, was Kaley and Colby’s wedding.
The resemblance between the two weekends was eerily similar – but in a good way. The girls and I decided to throw K a surprise bridal luncheon at Youssef’s on Friday after getting our nails done. Ten of us gathered at a long table in the middle of the restaurant to celebrate Kaley with a cocktail and a cupcake.
After their rehearsal at the church, Kaley came back to my house for a sleepover. We stayed up until 1:30 in the morning talking. The next morning, all of the bridesmaids and the mother of the bride came over for brunch and mimosas. We watched TV, and helped with each other’s hair, and touched up makeup, and talked. It was a relaxed morning. Nothing was rushed, or forced, or unnerving. At one point, I even made the comment, “I don’t even feel like we’re going to a wedding. I sort of just feel like we’re getting dressed up to go out.”
The wedding was perfect.
I cried a solid one time… during a solo of “Little Wonders.”
I feel like it could’ve been worse though.
In my mind, I imagined throwing myself into the ferns sitting on the alter steps, flailing around like a child, crying hysterically, screaming out obscenities, and then having to be physically removed from the church.
Good thing I’ve come to know some sort of restraint.
No one could get over how beautiful the weather was on Saturday. Their reception was at a local golf course, which really worked out phenomenally. Our pictures turned out beautifully, the band played on the clubhouse deck overlooking the greens, and no one had to worry about their face melting off. We had so much fun.
Both brides wore beautiful dresses embellished with lace. Tay’s actually came in three separate pieces, so, she was able to rock two different looks throughout the day. Kaley’s mermaid gown fit her like a glove. They were stunning.
For Tay’s wedding, the girls wore a light mint green chiffon cocktail dress and bright purple leis (to celebrate the brides Hawaiian heritage). And for K’s wedding, the four of us maids wore totally different dresses… totally different colors… totally different fabrics… totally fitting each of our personalities. Mine was a bright purple, with a fancy back, and sparkles. Duh.
This is the speech I gave at Tay’s rehearsal dinner:
I have known Meredith since the first grade – nearly 20 years. So, when I sat down to write something to commemorate her wedding day, you could imagine why I had such a hard time finding a starting point.
“Tay” – what I’ve always called her – is my “person.” You all know what person I’m talking about. Your “you won’t believe this” first phone call person… or “but seriously, do you think we could hide the body?” person… or how about your “should I purchase this realllllly expensive purse and eat Spaghetti O’s for 6 weeks orrrrrr just buy a wallet and eat like a human being” person. She is my “talk me off this ledge” person… and “does this dress make me look like a cow?” person… and “in case of emergency please contact…” person. That’s Tay. That’s the kind of relationship we have.
She is my first phone call, my shoulder to cry on, my sunshine, and my partner in crime.
I grew up with her.
And not just “grew up” in the sense that one got taller, the other learned to walk in heels, and we both graduated high school and college in a timely manner. What I mean is, we GREW up together.
We have become who we are together.
We have vacationed together, cried together, loved and laughed together. We have shared secrets, and kept secrets, and made secrets together. We have talked about everything… from politics, to religion, and anything and everything imaginable in-between together. We have lost and overcame together. We have held each other’s hands, and kissed each other’s foreheads, and hugged each other tightly in times of need. We have laughed so hard together sometimes we snort or even cry. We have seen, and felt, and did everything together.
We have become women together.
When you’re little you daydream about growing up. You play house, and make plans, and imagine your life as an adult. Over the last 20 years, Meredith and I have had the chance to plan quite a bit.
We were going to live on a beach somewhere, drive matching Hummers, marry realllllly cute brothers, and live happily ever after. But then reality set in. And well, the only Elder/Cook brother left is the same age as my baby sister…. so that’d be kinda awkkkkward.
Anywho, I am willing to sacrifice.
I am willing to give up our silly childhood dreams and let Bradley take it from here…
A while back, I spent the weekend with Meredith and Bradley. The three of us spent the evening in Charlotte eating, having a few beverages, and just enjoying each other’s company. On our way back to their apartment, I distinctly remember Bradley switching the radio to the Disney station, turning up the volume, and looking over at Mere. She was belting out “Let It Go” – the Frozen theme song. I’m talking eyes closed, fist to the heart, hands in the air – the whole nine. I giggled.
And then, I glanced at Bradley.
He was smiling too. But it was different. He was happy and amused – he was at ease. His eyes were filled with a kind of love people search their entire life for…
A kind of love I hope to find one day.
So, here’s to my very best friend and her nearly new husband. I wish you a lifetime of laughter, joy, compromise, good communication, great food, safe travels, health, love… but above all happiness.
Oh, and about that beach house… I’m really into balconies.
I received so much love for my speech at Tay’s wedding, I decided to use a similar format for Kaley’s. This was what I came up with:
Kaley and I have went to school together since the seventh grade. We have known each other for the better part of the last 13 years… which is really kind of weird to say, considering we didn’t become close until college.
She and I shared a bathroom during our junior year at ASU. A bright pink bathroom. A bright pink bathroom, with a zebra print shower curtain, in a crappy little apartment just yards away from the Boone Mall.
Needless to say, it didn’t take very long for the two of us to realize just how much we had in common. We were both into big hair, makeup, Carrie Bradshaw, high heels, and a good deal. It was basically love at first tease… and over the next few years we only grew closer. We vacationed together. We spent birthdays, and holidays, and special occasions together. Every weekend, became “family fellowship” weekend. We would eat dinner together, and play games, and tell stories, and laugh, and make memories together.
Our lives became so intertwined, at one point, there was talks of a “group wedding” at the beach…
Thankfully that never came to fruition.
Anyhow, a few months ago, I was in the car with Kaley and Colby, telling them a funny story about one of my other best friend’s (Tay) most recent pre-marriage counseling experience.
I rambled on in the passenger’s seat, “The pastor asked, ‘Why do you want to marry your partner?’ And after it was all said and done… they both forgot to say they loved each other! But apparently, it happens all the time. Like, so much so, he uses it as part of the lesson… even though it’s understood you love your partner, never underestimate the power of actually saying it aloud.”
Kaley and I kind of chuckled… but Colby, Colby just shook his head.
“How could you forget that?” he exclaimed, “That would be the very first thing I would say.”
His comment sparked my curiosity, “So, just what would you say, Colby?”
Without any hesitation, he said, “I love her. She’s the best person I’ve ever known.”
His response was so simple… so matter-of-fact… so perfect.
In two small sentences, he managed to say everything anyone has ever wanted to hear.
Not gonna lie… I kinda teared up.
My hope for the two of you… is that you never forget those few easy, uncomplicated words. Love each other. Support one another. But above all, appreciate your partner.
Oh, and shoes… buy lots of shoes.
My love for these girls is indescribable. I could not be happier for the both of them. (Well, actually, I only have one wedding left at the end of the month… Kayla’s will be the last of the #mybestfriendswedding-s. So really, I could not be happier for, like, the eight of ’em.) I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends and I am so very thankful to have had the opportunity to share these magical moments with each one. I wish each of them all the happiness, peace, and love this world has to offer.
They deserve nothing less.