7 Things No One Told Me Before I Watched My Childhood Friend Get Married
Rachel and I have been as thick as thieves since roughly sixth grade. We went to middle school and camp together, attended bar mitzvah parties and visited colleges side by side. So when—on one visit our senior year of high school—Rachel hit it off with the cute older boy she had a crush on at camp, I was ecstatic for her.
Fast-forward eight years later. Rachel and her camp crush just exited the chuppah with me by her side. Here's what no one told me about watching someone you've known for more than half your life enter a completely new phase of their life. (Spoiler alert: I probably could have used some calming tea.)
1. You'll cry—a lot.
Like, a lot. Yes, weddings are an inherently emotional thing, and I obviously knew I'd be shedding tears, but nothing could have possibly prepared me for how emotional of a day it was for me, personally. There's something about seeing someone you used to talk about sleepaway camp "spin-the-bottle" games with marrying the man of her dreams. It's utterly surreal. (And shoutout to the makeup artist for the epic waterproof makeup that somehow lasted through it all.)
2. You'll feel old.
"When did we get old enough to get married?" was one question my fellow bridesmaid and I whispered to each other—through tears—the entire day. One moment you're young enough to be selling lemonade together at the local pool, and the next thing you know, you're watching the same freckle-faced girl say her vows in front of hundreds of guests.
3. Years of memories will flash before your eyes.
I suddenly started to remember all the times we'd made up dance routines in her basement, took our first selfies with my digital camera and walked to Panera every weekend because we didn't yet have our driver's licenses. Little did I know, all of these little moments were ultimately leading us right here, to this big one—watching her first dance, taking professional wedding photos and eating steak and salmon at her wedding reception (a slight step up from the bread bowls we used to get at Panera).
4. You'll have to rethink your nickname for her.
What happens when your friend's nickname involves the last name she's giving up? I hadn't truly thought of it until after the ceremony, when we all cried and yelled her name across the reception dance floor and realized it wasn't her name anymore. To be honest, we'll probably still call her that. (In fact, my mom's friends still call her a derivative of her maiden name, and it's a sweet testament to how long they've known her.)
5. In a way, you'll feel like it's your wedding.
I know, I know—it sounds ridiculous. But as I walked down the aisle to an acoustic, live version of "All of Me" by John Legend, saw her groom at the end of the aisle and the sobbing faces of some of my closest friends, I couldn't help but feel like this was a milestone in my life too.
6. You'll stress out.
Oh, and the fact that I was having more anxiety than the bride was for the entire day—you'd think I was the one getting married. Nope, I just wanted her day to be so, so perfect—while she was perfectly calm and relaxed (knowing she was simply exchanging vows with someone she's already been with for eight years), I was frantically pacing back and forth in the bridal suite, with a knot in my stomach so tight I could barely eat the entire day. At one point, the bride told me to "calm down." I doubt I would've been as nervous if it wasn't the nuptials of someone I cared about so deeply.
7. You'll (briefly) get nervous.
I had a fleeting, selfish moment of, "How will this change our friendship?" "Can we still do girls trips?" "Will she still like me, her loudest friend, when she's a mom?"
Of course, that worrisome feeling passed as soon as it arrived. Because when a friendship has endured for some 14 years already, something tells me it'll last a million more. Not even a very adult milestone (like, you know, a wedding) or a camp crush turned husband can change that.