Sunday, March 27, 2011

Choosing the Ladies and Gents (440 Days to Go)

One of the first things that Jeff and I did in the wedding planning process was to pick the folks we wanted to stand beside us.  I didn't have a hard time coming up with my list of girls that I wanted to stand beside me and I knew that I couldn't settle for just one maid of honor.  But I had another problem, I had several male friends from college that I just couldn't imagine not being included.  Bridesmen perhaps?

That suggestion was shot down really fast.  Apparently my future family to be didn't like the idea of a slightly non-traditional lineup despite the fact that it is becoming increasingly more common.  My fiance and I decided that we would each get to pick four of our own gender and two of the opposite.  Therefore of the six bridesmaids, four are my choice and two are his and the opposite holds true of the groomsmen.  Of all the people that I wanted to ask, half of them weren't even close by and those that were, well, we're all incredibly busy and we're lucky to see each other every few months sometimes.  So phone calls it had to be for me.

I first called up my best friend from high school, Sara, who at the time was living in the northern part of the state.  She was thrilled to be a co-maid of honor and refused to be a balance to my other co-maid of honor, Kansas.  So unfortunately, my plan of having the to MOHs balance each other out fell through.  Luckily for all the craziness that I can count on them coming up with, I know that they're the most supportive girls I know.  Sara was always the person I could count on picking up the phone and calling, night or day and listening to me.  I have called her in near panic attacks at times and she's put up with it.  I only hope that I have done equal service to her though out the years.  I also hope that I can be as good a bridesmaid to her as I know she'll be a MOH to me.  Now that she's living in Arkansas with her wonderful beau, she's joined the list of my friends working on their wedding plans.  It's funny, I'd hoped someone would go first so I could watch and learn and instead we're all getting married within about a year and basically acting as a support group instead.

Kansas I called next and she was equally excited.  She's always been a bridesmaid and never a MOH but always stuck filling in the duties of the MOH.  Kansas and I became really good friends in college partially through our major (we were one year apart and she'll graduate this May) and partially because I became an honorary commuter (via my ex) and eventually became a full fledged commuter when I moved off campus into my own apartment.  You have to understand that at Duquesne University being a commuter is a way of life and it takes a special kind of people to survive the lounge.  Kansas is incredibly special to me because she is the person who took me from being vanilla to being chocolate chip.  I have a feeling after the bachelorette party she may have me bumped up to cookies in cream.  But she has done so much to help bring me out of my shell and not be afraid of anything.  Which has been extraordinarily helpful when it came to trying on dresses.  I couldn't believe how much time I spent standing around in my skivvies!

It's the commuter lounge where the three of my other choices came from as well.  Kim, who was my ex's ex (gotta love it when the girls stick together like that), was also a commuter and from New Jersey originally but is now working in Maryland.  So she too had to be a phone call.  This one turned out to be a little tricky as she'd just gotten engaged about a month earlier than me and we both liked the same time of year for our weddings.  We'll see how it plays out but last I checked we were planning our weddings about two weeks apart. So I'm crossing my fingers that logistically it all works out so that she can be there fore me and I can be there for her too!  But she is my zen bridesmaid.  I know when everything else is starting to go crazy, she's the one who will keep the calm.

Next on my list was my buddy, Joe.  Joe is in a word: loud.  He pretty much sums up exactly what you'd expect of a Western PA kinda guy.  Don't get me wrong, he's an amazing guy and I can't count the number of times he's been a good shoulder to lean on.  His first reaction when I asked him was to congratulate me.  His second was to ask when the bachelor party would be.  There's a reason I couldn't possibly imagine celebrating my big day with him.

The last commuter was my friend Dom.  My masters year in college, we got dubbed as the mom and dad of the lounge because we were the final remnants of what had been a relatively tight knit group--of Blockus players.  But Blockus was just one aspect of that group's foundation.  We had everything from History channel marathons to video gaming to heated debates about anything and everything.  The group became known as the circle.  There were four arm chairs that sat in a circle around an end table where we would play Blockus.  And on any given day, the circle would grow by people sitting on the arms, pulling up other chairs or just standing on the edges.  The circle would flux by the hour as people came and went to class and as the years would pass and graduates would leave for good. I can't count the number of hours I sat in that circle with Dom and Joe and thus, Dom was the guy I called up and asked to give me away.  It felt right that my last friend in college would help me make that ceremonial parting with my old life.  When Jeff and I couldn't pick an extra guy to be a groomsman, we decided that Dom would just shift down to the end of the line and be a groomsman as well.

Last but certainly not least (she just didn't fit into the category of commuter) is my friend Becca who is now a med student in Erie.  We met through the fact that at one point we were both working for residence life and we shared one terrible class of immunology together.  We bonded over our hatred for one of the co-professors of the class and our love for the other professor.  And there were times where when she worked late night shifts, I'd stay up all night with her either working through her physics homework or watching comedy sketches on You Tube.  She's been engaged for almost as long as I've known her and I can't wait to stand beside her this coming December when she finally ties the knot.

Jeff's picks were all friends of his from high school and/or growing up in his neighborhood.  So far, I've fallen head over heels for at least two of his picks that we've been able to spend a decent amount of time hanging out with and am incredibly thankful for Nicole who is a multiple time bridesmaid.  Between her and Kansas, I think the rest of my friends who are all brides-to-be themselves and myself will learn a lot about how to get through this coming year without too many attacks of bride-zilla.  Nicole has also been a bit of a lifesaver for me too.  As I mentioned above, most of my bridesmaids are all out of town with the exception of Kansas.  So it'll be nice to have a second girl around to go do things with--such as pedis.

Aaron is one of the groomsmen he picked and I love his laid back attitude.  He's one of those guys that you can just go chill and hang out with or go beat some little kids at laser tag with.  And he's also joined the growing list of people bound for the alter that are in our wedding party.

Jeff's other picks include his cousin, Shayna, who from the few times we've met I'm getting a good feeling for her.  As with the other groomsmen, I just wish I could hang out with them more often so I could get to know them better.  I've still got a little bit of that anxious feeling that I might do or say something wrong at some point.  The guys are Rich, Will, and James (Nicole's brother) but I have met Rich and James only a very few times and not really had a chance to hang out at all; and I haven't had the chance to meet Will at all yet.

But there is plenty of time to meet all of them in the future and I cannot wait to have all these fantastic people standing up for us on our big day.  They've all had such important influences over Jeff and I's lives and helped to make us who we are that I know even those I haven't gotten to really meet yet that I will love them in the long run because of how amazing Jeff is.

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