Hello, hello, hello! Thank you to everyone who left a sweet comment here (or on social media) regarding our engagement. I have been floating through a dream for the last week (so much so that I accidentally hit a pole in a parking garage with my car…I have digressed a bit here).
Since announcing our “secret engagement” to friends, I was humbled and surprised by all of the love and support I received from my closest friends. My best friend, Nicole, was more than happy to spend her weekend with me wedding dress shopping and giving her opinions on wedding colors/bridesmaid dresses/etc. My cousin Genevieve volunteered to spend the entire week before the wedding with me to help with any last minute details and my friend Claire is always the first to respond to any wedding messages and emails. Our friends have already offered their artistic talents, their time and their patience when I do things like send a full on manifesto regarding bridesmaid dresses and accessories. I could not have dreamed up a more supportive group of girls.
Of course I didn’t expect any friends to be blatantly unsupportive but at the end of the day I tend to think society puts a tad too much emphasis on events like weddings and too little emphasis on life achievements like higher education or other accomplishments that take significant grit. So while I am manically excited to marry Jordan and can’t help but count down the days until our wedding, I did not expect my friends to put their lives on hold for six months for my celebration of love. It has only been a few weeks but I have already found myself tearing up thinking about the sweet and caring gestures my friends have shown me!
Even though this post isn’t about weddings (I swear it only seems like its about weddings…), as a bride-to-be it becomes far too easy to focus on yourself. Wedding planning can become a bit like tunnel vision. I’m only a couple of weeks in and it is already so tempting to talk about wedding planning 24/7. While all of my girlfriends willingly indulge in my wedding talk whenever I so desire, I don’t want the next six months to be all about me. No, REALLY Mom, I don’t need all six months to be about me.
But I’m not above my psychopath moments. What type of lying sociopath would I have to be to act like demanding how my friends, dress,do their hair and paint their nails for MY party is normal. It isn’t normal, it feels flat out WEIRD (and that’s coming from someone who gets a natural high from micromanaging, so it must be even weirder for you laid back folks). Unless you’re Angelica from the Rugrats, you’ve likely never been so bossy & controlling of your girl gang. Anyone that can make a girl feel special and not like a psycho leading up to her wedding deserves a cupcake (& a mimosa to take off the edge), that’s for sure.
This whole weird bridesmaid thing got me thinking, and not about the strange part where we ask all of our friends to dress in matching outfits that are slightly uglier than our own gown for the day. I realized how grateful I am for the friendships I have cultivated over the years. I am always thankful for my friends, but seeing all of my closest girls so willing to make the time leading up to our wedding so special for me is truly humbling. Wedding planning has been an important reminder of how important it is to be a good friend. Whether you’re getting married or not, right now is the perfect time to show your friends how much you care.
A few ways to show your friends you care:
1. Pick up the phone and give her a call. So often we text our besties from out of town but put off calling (or face timing) for months. I am SO guilty of this. In my case it isn’t that I don’t want to talk to a friend but that I worry I will call at a bad/inconvenient time, it’s a really silly and irrational concern. I know when a friend unexpectedly calls me it never fails to brighten my day.
2. Send a handwritten note! While many of us remember to send love letters to our romantic interests, I think it is just as important to show our friends we appreciate them. No need to worry about beautiful calligraphy or well-written prose if that isn’t your thing. A simple “thank you for being such a great friend” means more than you would imagine!
3. Remember something (big or small) that is important to her and make a point of asking about it. Whether it’s a presentation at work, a test for a class she’s enrolled in or her dog’s birthday-make the effort to remember and follow through. If you have to write it down or schedule a reminder to text, do it! It might feel robotic to set an alarm to text a friend, but the positive impact on your relationship will overshadow the regimented feel of scheduling your friendly duties.
4. Print out recent (or old) photos of the two of you and send them to her in a card. With the popularity of Instagram it seems like no one prints photos anymore making actual prints a bit of a novelty. If you have the time and drive you can create a cute, handmade card or scrapbook…but a store-bought greeting card with a few prints will still make a big impact.
5. Pick up the check on a coffee date/dinner date/happy hour/etc. If gifting is your love language (or hers) make an effort to pay the bill the next time you’re able to. Don’t worry if you can’t pay for a lavish bff date. When a friend pays for my Starbucks order or picks up an inexpensive bottle of wine on her way over her thoughtfulness stands out just as much as a friend who pays for dinner and drinks.
6. Practice being an empathetic listener. We’re all guilty of jumping head first into conversations without truly listening. Over the years I’ve caught myself rambling on and on even cutting my friends off mid sentence. While I never intended to be a BAD friend, I wasn’t necessarily being a good friend. Take a deep breath and stop thinking about what it is you will say next. Just listen, that’s it. Abstain from giving life advice until you have fully heard a friend’s issue (if you must give advice at all). Everyone needs to rant now and then, and the friend that can be a good listening ear is a friend worth keeping.
7. Pick up flowers for her just because. This one is fairly straight forward…who doesn’t love fresh flowers? Prior to this photoshoot Nicole and I were searching for pink roses at Whole foods when a strange man walked up to Nicole. “Beautiful flowers” he said, “sometimes they’re better than people” he continued. Nicole and I couldn’t help but laugh at the comment but the sentiment still stands! Don’t save flowers for a special occasion like a friend’s birthday, pick them up just because and you’ll make her day extra sweet.
8. Plan a Girls’ Night. Invite friends over for a laid back evening with a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries or get ready together for a night on the town. If possible find time where everyone can be away from their significant others. No matter how much you love your bestie’s boyfriend (or girlfriend) it is refreshing to find time to catch up just the two of you.
9. Plan a mani-pedi date or Spa Day. If you know your friend is burning the candle at both ends, make friend-time double as self-care time. Save money by scheduling massages or facials at a beauty institute or compile your favorite masks for an at home spa night.
10. And if you ARE a bride, don’t be an effing diva-psychopath. Just chill. Are you the bride? The birthday girl? The diva extraordinaire? Enjoy your moment as the center of attention without transforming into a loathsome, self-centered brat. Know what I’m saying?
It’s Valentine’s Day week, so get out there and show a little extra kindness. Throw around love and happiness like it’s confetti, why not? Do something sweet for your besties, they probably deserve it.
All photos are taken and edited by Kaitlin Bauld.