You’ve had all sorts of those conversations – in coffee shops, on your best friend’s bed, at the end of a dock in the summer time. You’re there. Just laughing and asking each other questions like “what colors would you choose,” and “who would your bridesmaids be.” But now, you’ve had that conversation with all sorts of friends (and soon-to-be family) and somehow, the imagining has become less glamorous and more worrisome. You’re wondering how to choose one friend to be your go-to gal on the big day.
My goal is to help brides diffuse the tension and pressure of upsetting friends in the process of choosing a maid of honor. Choosing who you want to stand beside you in a wedding is a huge, multi-faceted, emotional task that needs to be addressed with insightful and encouraging words. The idea is to keep friends, not lose them, when you’re preparing for the big day!
With all these friend groups from high school and college and work, it’s hard to choose! Do you go for the friend you’ve had since grade school or do you ask your college roommate who was by your side when you switched majors seven times? No matter who you choose, you can count on seeing a little disappointment from the others who weren’t chosen. But, this choice shouldn’t be about which one of your friends can handle disappointment the best. This choice should be about the gracious and gentle ways you can communicate (to all parties) about the woman you have chosen to stand next to you on your day.
In a perfect world of friends, they’d just be happy no matter who was chosen by you, if they really wanted to see you happy and stress-free. But, it hardly ever works out that way so let me help you out. Take a deep breath. Actually, take three! Now, without juggling everyone else’s emotion and trying to mind-read into future reactions of your friends, make a list. Sit down with a big cup (or glass) of whatever makes you feel safe, cozy, secure, and write out a list of all the potential maid of honor choices you’ve been ruminating on.
And, most importantly, let yourself off the hook. You can’t expect to make a confident decision if you’re heaping pressure and worry on your own head. Don’t open your hands to anxiety in this simple and sweet process. The last time I checked, the choice to spend the rest of your life with someone, wasn’t an obligation. So, don’t think your maid of honor choice (or any choice) should be made out of obligatory pressure. Breathe deep with me, take a sip of your favorite coffee, wine or tea, and set aside time to visualize with this list in your hands.
Think back to the moment – the moment you said “YES!” and let that joy flood you as you look down at the list of names. Consider how each friend listed has shaped your life, and let thankfulness envelop your thoughts. Now, under each name, choose a few words to describe each friend. What do these ladies mean to you? Which one of them is going to stand by you, and more importantly, which one of them would still be next to you should plans go wrong.
The mix-up comes when you evaluate friends and your current needs based on past memories. Right now, you are considering future, not past! You can choose freely. And you can think freely, for the present planning. Think of who you want with you in the present wedding time, and in the future. The past is the past, you are living and deciding and making choices that will shape your present day and your future day. And whoever you choose is your personal business. Where brides start to anger and hurt friends is when they try to explain their choices to those not chosen. Don’t. By over-explaining your choices, you allow other friends to feel like they are in lack. Then, you’re right back to feeling guilty, upset and confused. Just make a choice that’s right for you, and let the pieces fall. You’re not responsible for other peoples’ reactions. You are only responsible for your choices – and in this special time these choices are what make your wedding day everything you ever dreamed of!
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