Every word of this is true. (And the last line is where Adam pops up.)
Here comes the Groom, on the arm of his mother, as is traditional in a Jewish ceremony and as is traditional in his life - he has lived with his mother for most of his life. The Bride has started to wonder about the Groom, in fact - he's been a bit of a dick over the past few months. At first, she chalked this up to moving stress (new apartment). When the dust of moving settled, she chalked the behavior up to wedding stress. But she is beginning to wonder if, in fact, this is simply his base personality, beginning to reveal itself.
Bit late now, though. All the people are here, and the flowers, and she's in this big dress. So. Here comes the Groom.
The Best Man
(There is no Best Man. There is no Best Man because the Groom decided to dramatically reveal controversial information about his life to his disapproving brother a matter of days before the wedding, thus causing said brother to back out not only of being the Best Man, but of attending the wedding altogether. Ditto the Groom's father. The Bride thinks that the Groom really could have waited a few days, but she was not consulted. Consequently, she will never meet the Groom's brother or father. Also, the ratio of bridesmaids to ushers is now askew, but she will persevere.)
Usher #1 is the Bride's childhood best friend and (mutual) first crush. He would be The One That Got Away, but for the fact that they never got together in the first place. This is openly and regretfully acknowledged to be a repeated accident of timing. When Usher #1 bends to sign the ketubah, the Hebrew marriage license, he whispers, "Why is it not me up there marrying you?"
"Because you were dating someone else when I moved back here."
"Oh, yeah." He looks up and grins. "I'm free now. Wanna elope?"
Usher #2 is the Bride’s high-school friend, the Groom’s co-worker, and Bridesmaid #3’s husband – though he almost wasn’t that, by today. Usher #2 and Bridesmaid #3 separated after he cheated on her, a scant few months ago. During their separation, Bridesmaid #3 kissed Usher #3. Usher #2 discovered this upon perusal of her diary and ended up stalking Usher #3 through a shopping mall with a knife. Miraculously, Bridesmaid #3 took Usher #2 back, and the Bride is forced to have him in the bridal party if she’s to have Bridesmaid #3. Usher #2 has conditions under which he will participate.
“I don’t want to be in any pictures with Usher #3.”
“Okay,” says the Bride. “You won’t be in any pictures.” It’s Usher #2 who’s causing trouble, after all. She’s not going to penalize Usher #3 for it.
“And he can’t come to the bachelor party.”
“Fine. He’ll come to the bachelorette party instead.”
Usher #2 is clearly not content. He expresses this by adding his own, very goth, modifications to his tuxedo, and by refusing to tie his hair back as the other ushers do. But he is there, which means that Bridesmaid #3 is there, and that is what counts.
Unbeknownst to anyone but the Bride, the Groom, and Usher #3, Bridesmaid #3 isn’t the only one who’s been kissing Usher #3. Usher #3 and the Bride have been doing a bit more than kissing. This has been the case for quite some time, and it makes for rather a strange wedding experience for Usher #3.
Besides the Usher #2/Bridesmaid #3 situation, even.
Bridesmaid #1 initially refused to be a bridesmaid unless she could wear faerie wings. The Bride patiently explained that it was not that sort of wedding. Bridesmaid #1 reluctantly gave up on the wings, but has continued to be difficult. “I want to wear a purple dress!” No, the Bride explained, you are wearing green. Forest green velvet. Bridesmaid #1 acknowledges that the green sets off her eyes beautifully, but continues to sulk.
This is the way of Bridesmaid #1. It has long been accepted that one cannot talk sense into her. She will, for instance, forever be known as the lesbian who only dates Swedish men. The Bride opines that, if Bridesmaid #1 dates men, she is bisexual, not a lesbian – but Bridesmaid #1 insists that she is a lesbian, despite having not seriously dated a woman in five years and having seriously dated Swedish men in the interim.
The Bride does not know what the deal is with the Swedish men. One of them is accompanying Bridesmaid #1 to the wedding, of course. The Bride did not know his last name until two nights ago when, having left Bridesmaid #1 several messages pleading for said name so she could finish the placecards, she threatened to write his name in as “Bork Bork Bork” a la the Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef.
Bridesmaid #1 is here because she and the Bride have been friends off and on since seventh grade, and because she was the last girl Bridesmaid #1 fooled around with.
Bridesmaid #2 is the Bride’s sister. The Bride has many anecdotes about Bridesmaid #2, but not in her role as Bridesmaid #2; she has been a model Bridesmaid. We can move on.
Of all of the Bridesmaids, Bridesmaid #3 has been the most helpful – has acted, in fact, much as a Maid of Honor ought to.
But the Bride has almost lost Bridesmaid #3 due to the hijinks of Usher #2. Bridesmaid #3 has offered to back out to avoid conflict among ushers, but the Bride won’t have it – Usher #2 needs to simply shut up and deal, since the whole thing is really his damn fault.
Bridesmaid #3 does not know that the Bride has schtupped Usher #3. The Bride does not think she’d take it well.
Bridesmaid #4 is the co-worker Bridesmaid, and is another model Bridesmaid. She is, in fact, the only Bridesmaid the Bride still speaks to seven years later.
Maid of Honor
The Maid of Honor disappeared for a year. Specifically, the year between her selection as Maid of Honor and the rehearsal dinner.
Stephen King writes that we never again have friends like we did when we were twelve. This is true, and it’s why the Maid of Honor is the Maid of Honor; she was the Bride’s best friend in middle school, in high school, and the Bride has only recently moved back home, has not yet noticed that they have grown apart. The Bride had only begun to notice how unpredictable, how unreliable, the Maid of Honor was before naming her Maid of Honor. But really – this is the Bride’s best friend from the tender, easily-imprintable age of twelve. Who else could be her Maid of Honor?
The Maid of Honor shows up for the rehearsal dinner. The Bride confronts her. The Maid of Honor’s apology? “I was afraid – this whole wedding thing. I was afraid that the Groom would replace me as your best friend.”
The Bride thinks that disappearing for a year makes that a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyway, the Maid of Honor showed up for the wedding; right now, that is enough.
Here is the Flower Girl – the four-year-old daughter of the Bride. Her golden hair is curled, her little white basket overflowing with rose petals. The Bride is aware that one cannot expect a four-year-old to follow complicated instructions; the Flower Girl’s are simple.
* Walk through the doors.
* Bridesmaid #2 will be up front. Walk toward Bridesmaid #2.
* Toss petals on the ground while walking.
* Upon reaching Bridesmaid #2, stop and wait for the Bride.
The doors open. The Flower Girl casts one frightened look back at the Bride, who smiles encouragingly. The Flower Girl steps forward, and the doors shut behind her.
There is a collective “Awwww.”
There is a moment of absolute silence.
And then there is uproarious laughter.
The Bride bites her lip, grins, and repeats her mantra: “No matter what the Flower Girl does, it will be considered cute.”
The Bride later learns what transpired: The Flower Girl stepped forward into the crowded, brightly-lit room, relatives and strangers and camera-flashes, and stopped short, deer-in-headlights, for a long moment. Long enough that Bridesmaid #2 began to gesture at her half-frantically.
Upon seeing Bridesmaid #2, the Flower Girl remembered half of her instructions: Get to Bridesmaid #2.
And took off running.
Not a single petal hit the ground, and it seemed that her feet didn’t, either – the photographer was unable to get a picture of her walking. The picture in the wedding album is of the Flower Girl airborne.
Now stands the bride, breath held, heart pounding, in no way sure of herself and her actions.
But the people are here. The flowers. The dress. Bit late now to bow out.
The doors open.
Five days later, she will meet the love of her life.