In Chick Ellen Byron’s new book, BODY ON THE BAYOU: A CAJUN COUNTRY MYSTERY, heroine Maggie Crozat gets suckered into being the Maid of Honor for Bridezilla Vanessa Fleer. Today, the Chicks share their own stories of walking (in front of the bride) down the aisle.
When I was thirteen, my older brother got married, and I was so excited to be a bridesmaid. They put me in a full-length dress that was a powder-blue color that I have blessedly never had to wear again. To say that I was going through an awkward phase would be putting it mildly. I had braces that were doing their darnedest to contain my overbite, my hair was inelegantly held back by bobby pins, and I was highly uncomfortable with my newly developed boobs, so I have my arms crossed over my chest in every picture. Oh, how I would love to burn every last one of those pictures! I haven’t saved any other photos from that era for good reason—but I haven’t managed to convince my brother to expunge me from his wedding album. I should count myself lucky that he doesn’t display any of them in his living room!
I’ve been in two bridal parties—one as a bridesmaid in Cincinnati and the other as maid of honor in New York City. The first wedding was my college roomie’s, and it was beautiful. I still have the pretty music box she gave me. It plays the theme from St. Elmo’s Fire, which is what we walked down the aisle to, in powder pink satin dresses. I absolutely loved it, though I could probably have been sent by Central Casting straight from the movie set of Marla’s book Terror in Taffeta. Not one of my finer occasions, thanks to the free flowing champagne. The second wedding was held in a Manhattan church, with pictures afterward at the Botanical Gardens and a reception at a restaurant with a gorgeous view of the Big Apple skyline. Sadly, I had a headache the whole time—not from toasts of bubbly, but because the stylist braided my long blonde hair super tight and pinned it to the top of my head like that choir lady from The Sound of Music. I haven’t even been invited to a wedding in a really long time, but that is about to change—my daughter just got engaged!
I’ve been a bridesmaid three times, once for a friend, twice for my brother. Yup, twice. His second wedding was tasteful and sedate. You know how brides always tell their bridesmaids, “I picked a dress you could wear after the wedding?” That actually happened with the dress from brother’s Wedding #2. However, that first wedding… OMG, where do I begin? We walked past a beautifully restored sailing ship at the South Street Seaport in New York to a listing rust bucket. A storm broke out, forcing all the guests to huddle in the galley. The bride and groom decided to serve watermelon instead of cake for a dessert, so the bride donned a plastic raincoat over her gown, and my brother – the groom – handed her a Civil War sabre that she brought down full force on the watermelon as the shivering guests watched from the hold. The marriage lasted maybe two years. But I will have the memories of that nutty night forever.
I’m a sucker for weddings. I will cry at a stranger’s wedding on TV. So you know I’m complete waterworks at the wedding of someone I know. However, both times that I was a bridesmaid I managed to hold it together. They were both within a year of each other, both for my best friends in high school and college respectively and both over ten years ago. Although I enjoyed both weddings immensely, one does hold a special place in my heart because my friend passed away four years ago after an illness. She was only 33. I still can’t believe it, but instead of thinking about her death, I try to think about the good memories and her wedding is definitely top of the list. She was such a beautiful person and such a beautiful bride. And I’m so honored that she wanted me to share that experience with her.
Readers, do you have a happy or horrific bridesmaids story? Do tell!
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