Always a Bridesmaid: Memories Old and New

Katie gets to create new memories with one of her oldest friends on her wedding day.

Katie remembers old memories and creates new ones on her friend Angie’s wedding day.

A lot of women complain that being a bridesmaid is a lot of work, and I’m not entirely innocent of that myself. But aside from the honor of being asked, it has another perk: You get a lot more face time with the bride on her wedding day.

It might not seem as exciting to a guy to hang around for the pre-wedding preparations and primping—Angie’s husband went golfing with the guys before the wedding—but for women, it’s something special. Throughout the day, small moments reminded me of memories I already shared with the bride—moments that would become new memories themselves.

Beginning around 10 AM, the girls in Angie’s wedding headed to the salon uptown. Each round brought women who had to get nails done, hair up, and various other preparations attended to—and with eight bridesmaids, a mom, and a bride, that meant a lot of bobby pins. Still, Angie was as calm as anyone. It was like any other day, just with fancy hair. Like the day I was preparing for a Kenny Chesney concert with Angie and Crouton, back when we were all 20. I wanted cute French braids but had no clue how to do it, so Angie put to use all those years of experience she got from having two sisters. We were roommates at the time, and when she wasn’t introducing me to parties and good times, she often took on the mom role—helping me recover from those parties and good times, gracefully putting up with my annoying boyfriend, and encouraging me while I struggled with my microbiology courses. Even on her own big day, she was there checking up on her girls, asking if we’d break for lunch, making sure everyone got where she needed to be.

I get laughs from my other friends for carrying a camera everywhere I go, and the same was true in college. But today I have a lot of great photos that those other friends might not have had. The images help me remember those countless moments that might otherwise become fuzzy. Angie knew that when she chose my bridesmaid gift: a digital photo frame. Now in my living room, I can play a slide show much like the one we all watched at her wedding reception, reliving those memories when all of us clowns weren’t afraid to goof off for the camera, whether we were throwing snowballs, eating ice cream, or dancing like idiots.

Some of my best memories with Angie include dancing. We danced on the weekends my freshman year, back when we didn’t know why the bar First Run was called First Fun (in honor of us freshmen). We danced in our cowboy hats to Kenny Chesney and on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005 after getting sunburned in 50-degree weather on our spring break in Charleston, South Carolina. We danced to celebrate Dr. Angie’s hard work in veterinary school. Finally, we danced at her wedding.

Angie’s wedding day was full of moments that reminded me of memories we shared. But one thing will always stand out to me: the look on her face when she took her vows. And I’ll love having the memory of seeing Angie on that day—a smile that was a little bit different than I’d ever seen before, even though the girl behind the smile was the same.

Katie, a local bridesmaid-to-be, writes occasionally about planning for and being part of three (and counting) friends' weddings in one year. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.

To read the latest Bridal Party blog posts, click here.