Over the years, I've found myself in A LOT of wedding parties. I always seem to snag that last bridesmaid spot, edging out a distant cousin or a old friend who just hasn't been pulling their weight the past couple of years. In fact, if my writing career doesn't work out, I've always thought I could rent myself out to desperate brides who are lacking a bulldog bridesmaid. Because doesn't every bride need a McGyver on their team on their big day? Someone who can perform miracles with a safety pin but who will also do tequila shots and the chicken dance?
When I said "I Do" last Fall when Lisa asked me to be her MOH, I felt slightly panicked. It had been a while since my last tour of duty and I wondered if I still had it in me. The last time I had served, I had been three months pregnant with my son and had to have my purple chiffon dress taken out more times than I care to admit and secretly worried I might throw up on my bride if the wrong smell crossed my path. But on that special day, I put my 24/7 nauseousness aside and bustled like nobody's business. And as I waved goodbye to them as they sped off in their limo to their honeymoon, I sighed and decided it was time to retire my status as perpetual wedding party member. Putting all that work in without the free drink payoff just didn't feel the same.
But when Lisa got engaged, I was ready. I'd had four years off and was ready to get back on the wedding party circuit-and the fact that I'd be reporting to a couple that I adored was just a bonus. And for the most part, Lisa was the most easygoing bride I had ever worked for. She let me choose my own dress and didn't make me have big ol' prom hair. In fact, she really didn't make me do much of anything before the big day. But I think that deep down, we both knew that was because she wanted me to be ready for battle when it counted. And I was! That morning, I wrangled guests, acted a photographer and DJ in the bridal suite and even held my tongue when I had my makeup done (She was great-but because of my alligator skin I gave "pancake face" a whole new meaning!). I had my A game on people!
Until my children showed up.
When Lisa generously asked my three and five-year olds to be in her wedding party, little did I know that having them there might mess up my MOHness. I was too blinded by visions of them floating down the aisle in their Sunday best, although the reality included, me, bent over, walking down the aisle with them while begging my daughter to throw just ONE damn flower.
So when they showed up in the bridal suite, demanding my attention, I was torn. I had made a commitment to serve my bride. How did I merge that with the fact that my daughter was walking around with her gold ballet slippers on the wrong feet and wanted to color on her cream tights? Or the guilt I felt when I whacked my three-year-old's head with my papparazzi camera as I tried to get the money shot of Lisa's toast at the rehearsal dinner the night before?
So when crunch time arrived, I was a bit flustered. Trying to smile as the photographer snapped pictures of me applying Lisa's lipstick, (What can I say, I'm a full-service MOH!) I prayed that he'd crop out the crying child hanging on to my leg and begging to come play "just one game" of Old Maid. And I'm crossing my fingers that my son was too busy with his hot wheels to notice that I drank half the bottle of "Mommy apple juice".
But at the end of the day, we all had a wonderful time. Thanks to a great friend, the hubs and I were able to party that night with our peeps in peace and sleep in the next morning. (Thanks Patrice!) And even though it was way more stressful to have my little rugrats taking part of Lisa's big day than if they had stayed home, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
I'll never forget how it felt to hear my daughter take a deep breath in when she saw Lisa for the first time in her (gorgeous!) dress or the way my son shyly watched her from the doorway as we arranged her veil. I'm always amazed by how much more work everything is when the kids are involved, but at the same time infinitely more rewarding. As always, the joys of parenting are always in the little things.