Sunday, April 17, 2011

Need Help with a Wedding?

You know, the economy is precarious at the moment and it wouldn’t hurt any of us to take a look at our experiences and qualifications should the need to make a creativecareer shift arise. After another smashing vow swap and dance party last evening (thanks Brad and Zoeey, formerly Silverman) I realized my (back-up) calling in life, although how I am coming to this entrepreneurial realization so late in life is beyond me.

I have served proudly in weddings all across the state of Texas and beyond. I have worn countless (10) dresses, but just for the one time. Sorry Brides you are not fooling anyone with that “wear it again” line. And all these years of showers and ceremonies and receptions and reflection has not left this girl without a pretty hefty Wedding Party skill-set. I think I am now ready to take this show on the road—systematize it, sell it for profit and de-intimatize it as is a custom of my generation. Check out my new Vitae and let me know what you think!

August Angst Vitae

Wedding Party Participant Extraordinaire

Previous Positions (Some dates and Locations Approximated)

• Jr. Bridesmaid (and sister of the Bride): Temple Texas, September 1996

• Jr. Bridesmaid, Copperas Cove Texas, Summer 1998

• Bridesmaid, Temple Texas, Summer 2001

• Bridesmaid, San Antonio Texas, March 2004

• Hostess with the Mostest(aka: House Party Crew): Houston Texas, Summer 2005

• Maid of Honor, Brownwood Texas, February 2006

• Bridesmaid, Wimberley Texas, Summer 2006

• Bridesmaid, Albanyish NY, Summer 2007

• Maid of Honor, Belton Texas, Fall 2007

• Bridesmaid, Austin Texas, March 2011

What I Do:

Emotional Pep Talks & Reality Checks-Brides sometimes get the jitters – Do you think my mom’s alright? Should we do cake and then speeches or speeches and then cake? Can you even tell I’ve lost 35 pounds? Can you believe how great I look since I lost 1.5 pounds? How many more pounds do you think I can lose before the wedding?

They need a wordsmith around to reframe and affirm as needed, i.e.

I think your mom is overwhelmed with the love she has for you right now sweetie and isn’t it a gift for all of us to witness such profound affection from a mother to her child. Speeches first, cake second. You are tiny, I can barely see your waist. I am so glad you didn’t overdo it with the dieting---you look like freaking Kate Winslet on Titanic. I guess you could lose a pound a week or so but let’s keep in mind that you are pregnant so maybe we should just showcase the boobs. They can’t all be fairytales, people!

Awkward Garment and Body Arranging- Brides cannot do a d**n thing for themselves. Not because they are ignorant or slave-driving but because they are in a corset (that you put them in) with wet nails and a fragile up-do. So you can’t be afraid of a little necessary groping or of helping another grown woman go pee. And I am happy to report that each and every one of my ten brides have walked proudly down the aisle absent of any urine stains. And most of them have made their sojourn to the altar comfortable in the knowledge that their severe discomfort (what with the two bras, spanx and 3 layers of itchy petticoat) has made this the most beautiful day of their lives.

Crazy Relative Mgmt and Damage Control- Brides, for the most part, have a crazy relative or two whose blood connection has granted them access to be near the bride in the intimate and sacred moments of her wedding day. For this reason, they need a regulator. Someone has to tell Aunt Janice that she cannot bring her cat to the reception as her niece has a blotch inducing sensitivity to dander. Someone has to keep the divorcees apart and flirt with grandpa so that his old people tears (sweet though they may be) do not send the bride into ugly-cry right before her groom first lays eyes on her. That person is me, I am not afraid to send someone out of the room, ban pets or to use my feminine wiles for the greater good.

• Reception Dance Promotion-It is hard to get your reception on when nobody is getting krunk. I don’t know what that means, but I do know it is best when people are getting’ jiggy wit it at receptions. And I jig. I will two-step until I am body rolling and body roll my way all throughout the cupid shuffle. I can’t promise 100% attendance on sappy slow dances, but listen the groomsmen have got to be responsible for something. The point is every party needs a designated dancer and I am happy to be that for you. ( As long as we are still talking reception here. I do not do Bachelor parties. And speaking of my what I don’t do…)

What I Don’t Do: I will keep it short and sweet.

Encourage Stupid Purchases- You will not here me tell a bride that she NEEDS a third dessert for her 2 vegan cousins that might fly in from Vermont. It is your day and they are used to it. Forget about miss manners, think about how starving children in Burundi might view this moral dilemma.

That Juvenile Lingerie Shower Game: You know the one where whatever the bride says later comes back as a double entendre about the wedding night. So she describes the negligee as cute and little and everyone is expected to keal over in laughter when you think about if the bride had really been saying that about her new husband’s genitalia instead. Yeah, I won’t laugh. This is a non-negotiable. It is a stupid game and I cannot encourage its proliferation.

Pretty Much any Details: If we were to use a film analogy, bridesmaids are the “character actresses” in a wedding. They are meant to deliver snappy lines, look interesting rather than pretty, bring a little diversity to the pictures and get sassy as needed. It is really more of a performing art, less roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty kind-of-thing. So, if you are looking for someone to recount the programs a milliion times or make sure the chairs line up evenly, I think you are looking for a stage manager (wedding planner) or some child actors (little siblings).  Otherwise I am happy to be at your service.
Areas for Growth-there are a few positions I have not fulfilled in my 14 years of wedding participation, but I am willing to learn and work hard in each of the following roles:

• Flower Girl

• Ring Bearer

• Reader

• Singer

• Officiant

And it seems like there is one more still floatin’ around out there,

Oh yeah!

• Bride

So just if you know anyone expressing a need for any of these positions, send them on over. Thanks to everyone who has helped build my resume along the way!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Happiest, Saddest Day

There is this episode of Friends that Amy Adams and I like to quote when pals of ours get married. In this particular scene Phoebe and Rachel learn of Monica’s engagement and tabulate their percentage of happiness versus their percentage of jealousy beginning at a promising 90% happy to 10% jealous and (through a journey of neurotic self perseveration) ending up at around 60/40. As two relatively long-time single ladies Amy and I can relate. Occasionally you think to yourself how in the world did that mustachioed dictator of a woman get a ring on it before I did?!?! But sometimes you are really not jealous at all (okay maybe like 2% but that hardly even counts just like in milk).

Sometimes, like last night when Amy’s brother got married you are just in soul shaking shock. Amy’s brother (whose celebrity pseudonym should be Conan but I reference the real Conan too frequently for that to work) has been a friend for the last 22 of my 28 years. We have seen each other toiling and searching and laughing and loving. We have made fun of each other and stood up for one another and then made fun of each other some more. We have had water wars, trampoline contests, secrets, surprises, lake-house trips, haircuts, cross-country moves, and divine moments on the big front porch when God sent extra portions of food and conversation with a gracious breeze to hover over us in our communing.

And I thought about all those things and when everything had quieted down at the rehearsal dinner I said to his family: “I think I’ve changed my mind. Maybe we shouldn’t let him get married tomorrow.” And his mom nodded in understanding “We just don’t like change. It has been this way for a long time.” And it is true. That is the problem with some of these weddings-- It isn’t so much that you want what they have so much as you want them—unchanged untampered with for worse or even for better. You want them to be in your personal collection of people or at the very least be available for checkout in some sort of shared human library—and here they have gone and been claimed permanently by someone else. And it doesn’t even really matter that the person doing the claiming is kind and good humored and willing to share the appropriate parts of your old pal with you (such as the case with this particular marriage). It is just the idea that the way it has always been is gone from one joyous moment at the altar to the next making this the happiest, saddest day.

And I have a lot of experience with things getting even better than you imagined in new chapters of life, so I have faith that the same will be true as my earliest and closest family of friends marry off without me. I suppose I will have to find a few more solitary single-lady adventures to keep up with all the rampant 100% happiness in the air. And I believe those adventures might be just around the corner.

Wishing you all more august and less angst as you navigate the joy and pain of change,