I have never been fortunate enough to just be a guest at a wedding. I'm always in the wedding party and more often than not, I'm the maid of honor. For some reason I have that "maid of honor" appeal, or maybe, and far more realistically, the majority of my close friends just don't have sisters who can fill that role.
When Holly asked me to be her maid of honor, I was hesitant. Yes, we had been friends since 4th grade, but it was also a friendship that had been very on-again off-again over the years depending on how caught up she was with whatever fella she was dating at the time. I was also already lined up to be my sister's maid of honor that summer, as well as another friend's, so it just seemed to be too much. And honestly, I loathe being maid of honor. I'd rather find myself at the gynecologist with my legs in stirrups for an entire day than deal with all the drama that comes with such a "prestigious" part of a wedding.
Since I knew Holly was going to be asking me, I had already, long before her actual request, thought about whether or not this was a road I'd want to go down with her. Even before she officially asked, two of her other friends had already thrown fits and cried because they knew that they were going to be just bridesmaids. It was a scene to which I really did not want to be privy.
But our history as friends, although fair weather at times, won out and I agreed to fill the position with a teeth-gritted smile.
Being in New York City let me off the hook with a lot of things when it came to planning the shower and bachelorette party. The two women who had already all but threatened suicide over my appointment of maid of honor were more than happy to organize the necessary events leading up to the weddings since they were all in New Hampshire. They were practically throwing each other under a bus over who would decide on the colors for the shower and who would get 60 percent of the credit for the damn thing. From a few states away, I just watched all the arguing unfold via email and considered myself grateful that all I had to do was show up, smile, and yet my "crown" was still in tact.
Then something wonderful happened.
I got a job in the fashion world. Although my original dream was to move to the city to write, answering phones at a fashion-related company was far more glamorous than doing the same at a doctor's office while I pursued my writing on the side. A few weeks into my new job I realized there was one glitch in this new-found fancy job that had me in daily contact with some of the most famous designers in the world: I would have to choose between Holly's wedding and Fashion Week. Her wedding happened to fall on the Saturday of September's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
Although I was never explicitly told that my job was on the line if I took off the weekend and the days leading up to it, the notion was implied. This was before the recession so if I had to quit, having only been there for a few months, I probably would have found something else, but the problem was that it was Fashion Week in New York City. I was about to attend an event that I had been reading about my entire life; I was about to meet designers over whom I had swooned since I first picked up a Vogue. I was about to fulfill some sort of dream, and it was that dream that won over being at Holly's wedding that September day. As she walked down the aisle, I was at Bryant Park in a far-from-designer dress with my boss, playing pretend.
Holly did not understand when I told her my decision. She let loose about how I had been an "absent" maid of honor from the beginning and anyone else would "kill" to have been in my place at her upcoming wedding. While I did not disagree with her, I did think about how many more people would have killed to be in place at Fashion Week that year.
Again our friendship went into off mode, as I knew it would. When she got pregnant on her honeymoon, it went back into on mode, and then off mode again a year later when she couldn't understand why I didn't want to spend Christmas with her new family. Apparently, she had forgotten that I had my own family with whom to spend the day.
I realize now that my decision was selfish. If I were a really good friend I would have been there. I would have altered my entire summer to be at her beck and call, as many maids of honor do, but it's just not me. I'm a far too selfish person to be a maid of honor, but yet that doesn't stop people from continuing to ask me to be one.
I do not regret my choice to bail on Holly's wedding. Had it been my sister, this story would have ended differently: I would not have known what Fashion Week looks and feels like. But now that I do and had that experience, I know in my heart that I made the right choice for me. I moved to New York City for many reasons, and being part of a glitziness that you can't find in many corners of the world is one of those many reasons.