5 Things I Learned About Friendship While Planning My Wedding
From the day I got engaged until the day I said, "I do," my friends were a huge part of my experience as a bride-to-be! They traveled from near and far for my surprise proposal/engagement party, and partied with me from Orlando to New Orleans leading up to the big day. During this journey, I gained more takeaways about friendship than I anticipated. If you don't mind, I'd like to share them with you!
#1 - When People Are Happy For You, It Shows
Can you imagine experiencing a monumental moment where the loudest claps come from those you don't know well, or haven't known long? We all want to share our successes with those who have witnessed the journey and FEEL their support. One thing I've learned is that support is not silent; support makes its presence known. When I'm proud of my friends, I brag on them and I celebrate them publicly. My friends were happy for me, and it showed. From sharing our photos from the night of the proposal, hitting me up to share how excited they were for the wedding, checking on how I was feeling, screaming in the background of their IG stories at our reception, and showing their friends and family how happy they were for Gladys and Randall--it was so touching and spoke volumes.
#2 - Not Being in Someone's Wedding Doesn't Mean You're Not Close
I had 14 bridesmaids, and even that did not include all of the women near and dear to my heart. I have such unique bonds and connections with each of my girlfriends, it wasn't a matter of including the people who meant the most to me, because I could never have stopped there. At first, I was afraid of how the friends I didn't ask to be a bridesmaid would feel. Would they think we weren't as close, or that I didn't value their friendship as much as someone who was a bridesmaid? That's the last thing I wanted, and it gave me anxiety every time I thought about it. However, I had to cap it somewhere. To my relief, nobody fell out with me over not being in the wedding party, and their love and support was so authentic. And at my bridal shower and bachelorette, it wasn't "these friends" and "those friends." It was all of my friends, on one accord, united by a common interest in exclaiming their friend's moment.
#3 - Sometimes You're Still Friendly, But You're Not Still Friends
Similar to my challenges with forming the bridesmaid roster, creating the guest list was even harder. There was no way I could accommodate everyone I've known and loved in my lifetime, but when I had to decide who to cut I was stuck. Not to mention, I have huge families on BOTH sides. As I went down the list, I realized there were people I cared for who I had fond memories with, but we weren't as close as we used to be. We were cool and could still make good conversation to this day, but although we had a tight history--we weren't tight anymore. In recognizing this, I realized that I was still friendly and social with lots of people, but they weren't active in my circle of friends. My dilemma was, I didn't want anyone to take it personal, because I had and still have so much love for them.
Gaining this understanding showed me that just because you're still friendly doesn't mean you're still friends. No drama or hard feelings--sometimes the bond just fizzles out, and it's not because either party did anything wrong. Some people just end up charting separate courses as life takes them in different directions. The love is still there, change just comes with transition and shifting seasons. I had to recognize that although I had a tight history with some people, I hadn't had a real conversation with them in over a year. And as my friend, Jas, put it: "I shouldn't have to catch up with someone to invite them to my wedding."
#4 - People Can Only Give To You, From What They Have To Give--AND THAT'S OK
Different friends are in different seasons with different obligations. Some of my friends were married, new moms, in grad school, caring for sick family members, etc. As a result, some of them were able to be more present and hands-on than others. But I learned that just because they were able to be those things, didn't mean those who weren't able were "bad" friends. Depending on the season, some friends have the time and balance to be more active--and some friends are just naturally more assertive/vocal. This is a difference in lifestyle and personality, not in love or loyalty. In turn, I learned that it wasn't fair to compare Friend A to Friend B and take Friend B's limitations personally. The truth is, there will be seasons where some friends just do not have the bandwidth to be as physically or even emotionally present. And it doesn't mean they don't love you, but at the end of each day--they have to confront real challenges in their own lives. So consider this perspective, don't allow short-term offenses to turn into long-term resentment, and know that not taking things personally is half the battle of protecting your peace. Now, don't be naive; sometimes people you think are in your corner don't rock with you like you think they do, and God will reveal it to you. But if you have a really good friend that has an excellent track record, and there's just bad timing with your life event and what they have going on personally, don't let it define the future of your friendship. Have some grace and keep your peace!
#5 - Friendship Is Not About Who You've Known the Longest...
It's about who walked into your life, said, "I'm here for you," and proved it. Some of the most helpful, active people in this experience came into my life within the last 2 years. Because our relationships were so new around the time I got engaged, I didn't know if I'd be jumping the gun to include them in such a personal, intimate experience. However, I'm glad I went with my gut, because these women were ride-or-dies!
I learned that the length of a friendship does not determine its depth, value, or promise. I am so grateful that in spite of the awesome friends I already had, God thought it not robbery to gift me with a few more.
And there you have it--my 5 nuggets of wedding wisdom as it relates to friendship. I hope you were able to read something you needed to know/hear! I'll be sharing more of my lessons from the journey soon, so stay tuned!