When my soon-to-be-husband proposed almost a year ago (on the Harry Potter Studio Tour while outfitted in Gryffindor robes because, you know, HE GETS ME), I knew that getting engaged and planning a wedding would teach me a lot about our relationship — which it has.
But what I didn’t realize was how much planning a wedding would teach me about friendship.
I’m not the kind of person who expects everyone’s world to stop just because there’s something going on in my life, so once the initial “OMG YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!” texts died down, I figured most friends would go back to their regularly scheduled programming until it was time for me to walk down the aisle.
But what I learned is there are “most friends” — and then there’s E and J.
E and J are my closest friends, so I knew their response to my impending nuptials would be a little more involved than a congratulatory text or Facebook message. But the support I’ve gotten from them over the past year of engagement, planning, and #alltheweddingthings has been my life’s biggest lesson in what it means to be a friend.
When I got engaged, they broke down in full-on happy sobs. When it was time to pick out my wedding attire, they got on a plane and flew 3,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York to make sure they didn’t miss the moment I “said yes to the dress.” When I felt completely overwhelmed with how much there was to do for the wedding, they talked me off the ledge — and then asked what they could do to take some things off my plate so I could avoid a pre-wedding nervous breakdown.
In the process of planning my wedding, E and J have taught me so many invaluable lessons about friendship — so many, in fact, I’ve started keeping a list. Here are my favorites:
1. It's OK To Be Real.
I was raised in the school of “pretend like everything is fine — even when it isn’t.” I’ve always been terrified that letting people see me in moments of pain, sadness, or imperfection would push them away. So when people ask how wedding planning is going, my first instinct will always be to plaster on a smile and give a well-rehearsed stock response of how great everything is going.
But E and J don’t want the “everything is great” version. They want the real version. When they see me trying to avoid real talk, they push me to share what’s really going on.
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By giving me the space (and permission) to vent for 40 minutes about one of my vendors dropping the ball or cry over a stupid wedding-related argument, E and J have taught me that it’s ok to be real — and that far from pushing them away, being real actually makes our relationship stronger.
2. When You Need Perspective, Call A Friend.
Weddings are a weird thing. You’ve been conditioned to believe that your wedding is the most important day of your life, so it’s easy to forget that the world will not collapse if the printer messes up your “Save the Date” envelopes or if the precise shade of Sage you want for your bridesmaids’ dresses proves harder to find than you originally anticipated.
Luckily, E and J have been on hand throughout the wedding planning process to deliver a healthy dose of perspective. Over the past year, they’ve reminded me on more occasions than I’d like to admit that planning a wedding is not a crisis situation — and to take a deep breath and relax.
3. Family Is How You Define It.
When you get married, there’s a huge emphasis on family — your family, your soon-to-be-spouse’s family, and the family you’re creating. And rightfully so. A wedding is a celebration of the love between you and your partner, and there’s no one more important to have by your side while you celebrate that love than your family.
But what I’ve learned throughout this process is that family is how you define it. My parents, my siblings, my future in-laws — those people are my family. But so are E and J.
The fact that they’re not technically related? Doesn’t matter one bit.
Planning my wedding has been one of the most special, challenging, exciting, and all-around-crazy times of my life. But in between the challenges, excitement, and craziness, I’ve learned more about friendship than I ever thought possible — and it’s all thanks to E and J.
And those lessons? They’ll be with me long after I’ve walked down the aisle.