Guest Post by Nicole Lariviere of The Common Day Blog
One of the biggest, and in my opinion, least talked about aspects of the entire wedding and wedding planning process is how to navigate the selection and relationships of the bridal party.
As brides, we’re lead to believe it will go one way which is basically an unrealistic mirage that everyone will be excited, everyone will drop everything and be there, and everyone will feel the way you do about your wedding day. Reality? Not the case. Not with everyone, at least. The good news? It’s okay. It’s for the best, even.
ALL TOGETHER NOW
As I wrote out each card to ask my closest friends and family members if they’d do me the honor of being by my side for my wedding I was all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I dropped them in the mail to eagerly await everyone’s response with that unrealistic vision in my mind that it was all going to be seamless, perfect and that I was guaranteed a shoe-in of total support. Initially, this was the case. And it felt amazing.
Getting married and having a troupe of your dearest and closest loved ones helping you plan and share in such an intensely special time in your life is like nothing else. It’s a unique situation. I can’t think of another time in one’s life when you literally get to dawn on people's support and request that they exclusively surround you in a close knit way for a single event. But alas, that is the case when it comes to your wedding. And it’s wonderful.
THE UNEXPECTED CAN AND WILL HAPPEN, BUT IT’S OKAY.
However, I wish I knew better. Perhaps in order to protect my heart. It simply is not reality to expect this from everyone. Why? Well because you’re dealing with a lot of personalities and personal situations here. It can be hard to please everyone. Impossible, really. And it is a two-way street. This is incredibly important to understand, realize and take into consideration before asking your dear ones to be a part of these huge roles for your big day.
Personally, I’ve been extremely sensitive to this in the sense that before I make any decisions or ask anything of my party, I do my best to put myself in their shoes and imagine if I was my own bridesmaid, is this something I’d be comfortable with? If not, then I reconsider and try to find a better solution if possible.
Even with your best effort to please, sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes it won’t work out. Sometimes the absolute unexpected will happen. Sometimes, a long while into your engagement and only a few months before the wedding day — someone will back out. Yes, it really happens.
TAKE YOUR TIME AND KEEP YOUR COOL
Unfortunately, and fortunately, it happened to me. It hurt, a ton. I felt a lot of emotions: anger, resentment, embarrassment, failure, frustration, disappointment, all of it. Before I decided how to proceed, a took a few days to cool off and talk it over with my fiancé, my soon-to-be sister in law (who is also marrying us!), and a close friend at work who would have a totally unbiased opinion. I basically needed reassurance that I wasn't awful or nuts for feeling the way I felt.
As any bride knows, there are a lot of emotions flying around in this whole wedding planning process so it can get confusing as to what is in check and what isn't! In the end it was up to me, the bride, to decide how to proceed. I thought a lot, cried a lot, and reflected a lot. I went back to the root of what I was basing my decisions on for who I was choosing to fill these important roles in the first place and what my gut had been telling me from the start.
LIFE MOVES FORWARD
At the end of the day, the show must go on. Life must move forward. And there is no better way to do so than to not only make the best of the situation but to make it even better than it had been before. To do this, choose to learn from the situation. There is no wrong or bad place in life if you come out the other side having learned a solid lesson. If you can do that, then you benefit and it was well worth enduring.
Beyond that, I personally chose to move forward with an open heart and an open mind. Moving on and letting go of what was out of my control and embracing the new reality. I am a huge believer that everything happens for a reason. Things fall into place just the way they should, they really do. Especially in high stakes situations like this, it’s just the way life seems to work. It’s important to keep this in the forefront of your mind, should you have to navigate a bump in the road like this of any sort throughout life or your wedding planning.
If you’re too hung up on dwelling on negative emotions, you’ll miss the opportunity to see the reason why things are happening the way they are. Nine times out of ten, it’s for the better. Choosing to not wallow in negative emotions, I was able to see the potential for everything to unfold beautifully right before my eyes.
THE TURNING POINT
I ended up asking one of my best friends who was originally appointed as a bridesmaid to step up to Maid of Honor. In my heart, this was the biggest relief when she gladly accepted. The pieces were all falling into place. I felt a sense of wholeness that I had not felt before. We both knew that this was the best role for her. And I am so honored and grateful that it’s now hers.
I then reached out — carefully, nervously, hopefully — (this could be a post in itself how I approached this sensitive situation!) to one of my close friends from college to take the role of bridesmaid. To my surprise (because I'm overly cautious of not wanting to ever offend, hurt or upset anyone!) she was also extremely happy and excited and best of all, grateful to do it! In that moment it was as if the clouds had parted and quite literally everything fell into place. I felt an overwhelming amount of support and excitement that just had not been there before.
At this point, this experience has drawn me so close and filled me to the absolute brim with love and support from some of my very closest friends and family in a way that could only happen in the environment of coming together for my wedding. It is the best and something I will always cherish with these sweet souls by my side.
REMEMBER WHY YOU’RE HERE
With that said, you can imagine the toll that this is taking on the relationship with the friend who backed out. But as Sharon discusses in one of her posts, boundaries are gold. And it’s important to always bring yourself back to a reality check. You need to remember the reason you even have a wedding in your future in the first place: to get married. To be a wife. To begin the best chapter of your life.
I so believe in the deep importance and sacredness of the covenant that is marriage. So much so that it’s the heart and root of the Common Day blog but also my life.
You deserve to be surrounded by nothing but love and support. It’s astonishing what weddings will bring out in people. The good, the bad, the ugly. Find your lane of goodness and stay in it. Let the rest fall to the way side. Rejoice with those who are there with you and show immense gratitude for their presence. Take the good with the bad, but allow the bad to only serve a lesson and you’ll be sure to have the most fulfilling experience no matter what.
– Nicole Lariviere
WEBSITE // thecommondayblog.com
INSTAGRAM // @thecommonday
Hey there, I’m Nicole — the creator of The Common Day blog where I share my daily happenings based deeply on devotion to my engagement (soon to be: marriage!), family and home as a twenty something year old. My mission with the blog is to encourage others to celebrate the beauty in the common day moments of an intentional life rooted in the comfort of home and personal well-being.
My fiancé, home and family are my core and where I find fulfillment. Navigating life as an engaged couple with a tight knit family and our first home on our hands, is what I thrive on. This is where I find success and my greatest joys in life. The Common Day blog is where I share all that goes into my pursuit of an intentional life focused on my devotions.