Page One

My final wedding of the year took place in New Jersey last Friday night, for a girl that I suppose I have to describe as a “work friend,” but truly she’s so much more. We worked together while I was at my last firm, and we’ve stayed close – she always joked I’d be invited to the wedding, but it was still a(n awesome) surprise to receive the official invite in the mail a few months back. I mean, she easily could have given the invite to another distant family member, another friend of her husband’s, but she chose to have me there, and I couldn’t have been more honored. Terrified, to be fair, as I made my way down the hotel elevator to the shuttle bus alone, feeling the full weight of knowing not a single soul at that wedding, but honored and excited all the same.

My fears of basically crashing a wedding with an invitation were totally unfounded, and within three minutes of sitting on the bus, I’d made a friend, and I kept meeting awesome, fun, wonderful new people all night, who embraced me as their own and did their best to make sure I had fun. I looked around at one point at the afterparty, and realized it felt almost comfortable. It felt like I was supposed to be there, like I’d known everyone there for years and maybe it wouldn’t have been the same if I weren’t there. I’m sure it would have been – or perhaps everyone was just blinded by my sequined pants. But it felt that way nonetheless.

Two days later, in an attempt to sweat out the rest of my hangover from the most aggressive partying I’ve done since my very early single days (#jersey), I went to a Bikram yoga class in Harlem and found myself meditating on the fact that I hadn’t felt that in a really long time, like maybe it would have been different if I weren’t there. It’s a hard feeling to explain – it’s not that I’m linking that statement to a particular occasion or even group of friends or family. But to be so wholly embraced by these strangers as a friend, to have the bride single me out in a wedding of nearly 200 people for a dance and many selfies, just to feel like I was with a group of people that were so happy I was there, it all felt foreign, in a great and terrible way.

Replaceable. We replace our dishes, we replace our clothes, we replace our apartments and we replace our friends. Sometimes we grow out of things or we break them, sometimes things outgrow us or walk away. Everything, mostly, is replaceable, whether we want to believe that or not; it’s nice to think we’re all going to live in the same place forever and we’re going to work the same job forever and we’re going to be best friends forever, but when you account for all the growing up we do in such short periods of time, it makes sense that sometimes we just need to move on. Imagine reading the same book over, and over, and over, doing the same thing over, and over, and over. Eventually it’s time for a new book, because the old one is worn out or you don’t like it anymore. Lately I’ve felt like that book, worn out and no longer relevant. Replaceable, if you will.

I stopped by to see my M&N, the newlyweds, after work this week so I could catch them up on the juicy wedding details, and she made a comment that’s stuck with me. After I mentioned how much fun I’d truly had, despite not knowing anyone, she laughed and said “of course you did! It was the first wedding this year where you could basically just turn up and say I’M HERE!” She meant it more like I wasn’t on bridesmaid/maid-of-honor duty for the first time, but I heard it on a different level. The wedding was a blank slate. I was a blank slate, page one of a new book. All the bullshit of the past six months, two years, five years, ten years, no one knew any of it. No one knew who I used to be, no one knew what it took me to become this person.

They just knew me as me. The Me now, this me that I’m carrying with me into 2016. It was a new page in the Book of LB, a blank slate, replacing the prejudices of the past two, five, seven years and starting over. And it felt nice to be on Page One of something again. In fact, I’d say that feeling is irreplaceable.

PLD Montage Vol. 2.3: Pre-Wedding Wedding Edition (Pt. Twinster)

To say my life has been taken over by weddings this year is a massive understatement. In the full volume of people that I hold dear to my heart, there are only two other single people, with everyone else now either engaged or married – and most of them are getting married this year. Though we planned an amazing weekend bachelorette/bridal shower combo for my partner-in-crime R back in June, this last weekend was a much bigger undertaking, wherein I needed to plan a bridal shower and bachelorette weekend for my twin sister. And truly, the weekend went better than I could have imagined, and at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Well.. okay. Maybe I would have *tweaked* just a few moments….

I give you: PLD Montage, Vol. 2.3: Pre-Wedding Wedding Edition (Pt. Twinster)

  • We had a full house at my parents’ the night before the wedding, with myself, my lovely friend M, T, three of her friends, my parents and my sister’s almost-in-laws. The original plan for the night was for all of us to enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner together, and then M and I would head to a dear family friend’s house, where the shower was being held the next day, so we would each have a bed for the night and then could be there early for set-up. M and I both had stressful Fridays – she was coming in from NYC and her plans changed abruptly two hours before her train left, where I mismanaged my time and was somehow running errands from 9am till 430pm – so when the wine came out for dinner, we gratefully accepted. And accepted… and accepted….
    Lesson learned: If you don’t pace yourself with alcohol on a night you’re supposed to drive to sleep somewhere else, you end up sleeping on the floor of the house family room, where the calming noise of crashing dishes being washed at 5:30am will wake you from a Merlot-fueled restless sleep.
  • We all woke up bright and early the next morning (yours truly at the aforementioned 5:30am), shared coffee and breakfast on the deck in the beautiful weather, and planned to get to the shower location by around 10am for last minute set-up and to heat up the food. I was starting to get somewhat eager/anxious for the rest of the weekend, so my usual two-to-three cups of coffee somehow turned into four and a half. Then I had to get in a convertible and drive the 10 minutes to the shower location with my recently-done hair and flowers picked from the garden, all while in a black dress in the sunshine.
    Lesson learned: Coffee makes you sweaty and shaky, which doesn’t help when you’re driving a convertible with sun beating down on your black dress, which in turn makes you more sweaty, and also convertibles mess up hair. TL;DR: No part of my morning was well thought-out or planned.
  • Set-up actually went incredibly smoothly, and we had popped the first bottle of champagne by 11am, drinking slowly to savor the last few minutes of calm before the 40+ guests arrived. The main event of the shower, the CREPE TRUCK, was running late, but eventually made it, and I was really looking forward to a ham and cheese crepe, as I hadn’t eaten much that morning due to nerves and too much coffee. Then crepe truck man proceeds to tell us that he has: forgotten ice, forgotten all of the savory ingredients, brought one can of whipped cream for 40 people, informed us that setting up the stand was going to take 40 minutes, oh, and he let it slip that he may have been “a little hungover.”
    Lesson learned: Always trust and emulate your mother – not only had Mama B planned ahead and made enough quiche and salad to feed an army (“just in case people don’t want crepes!”), but after exchanging a few words Idiot Crepe Boy, she got them to waive the fee for the truck and send us an IOU for our next party. She’s the best.
  • A few weeks before the shower, T and I were texting and she sent the most bridezilla thing that’s come out of her mouth since getting engaged: “Dude, I’m at a shower and we’ve been sitting in the sun for almost two hours watching someone open presents. If we don’t set a record for gift-opening since you’ll be pre-opening everything for me, you’re fired as my maid of honor,.” Challenge accepted.
    Lesson learned: With a joint effort between the bridesmaids, we had every damn gift opened, cataloged and stored for the taking in under 45 minutes. BOOM.
  • I woke up the next morning after the Moulin Rouge themed bachelorette party that followed the shower, and sighed loudly. M and I had shared the futon in the office for the night, and as it was 7:30am, I inched my way out of the bed so as not to wake her so I could survey the damage in the house and start cleaning before everyone else woke up for breakfast. In walking into the kitchen, the sun was just starting to peek over the treetops in the backyard, calling us to the deck for a slow morning with good friends and laughs about the night before. The house was already clean, a joint effort from all the girls there, and as everyone slowly emerged from the various sleeping locations around the house, we all had laughs and good memories from the two parties the day before. The one thing that was missing? Almost no one took pictures from the bachelorette.
    Lesson learned: Maybe it sucks when you can’t Instagram all of the decorations and hard work that you put into a bachelorette party for your twin sister, but when everyone is having too much fun to stop and stare at a cell phone, you know it’s been a hell of a night.

Two wedding shower/bachelorette weekends down, one to go – next up, H and R’s wedding!!