Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Wedding Arch
Everything about weddings is so intoxicating! The soft white hues, the candles, the dancing, the flowers—the romance of it all! I have participated in more than my share of weddings as a bridesmaid for my cousins, sisters, and friends alike—each bride more dazzling than the next. While I am unquestioningly happy for them as they stand under a beautiful arch and declare their love for their betrothed, I can’t help but wonder: when will it be my turn to be the wedding arch? When will I get to delicately balance myself on four posts above some woman as she marries the man of her dreams?
I’m not one for being the center of attention, but I do long for a special day of this sort. A day when all of my friends and family, and the friends and families of the couple getting married, would watch in awe as I framed the bride and groom like a perfect, tipped-over letter C, adorned with flowers and fairy lights as they recited their vows, just as I always hoped I would.
A Lifelong Dream
As a child, I daydreamed about this day. Dressing up in my mother’s pearls and make-up, setting a teddy bear up to play the husband, a Barbie to play the wife, and I, proud wedding arch, doing a backbend beside them. Would I grow up to be a modern arch? A chuppah? If I met the right bride and groom, could I ever be a gazebo? I smile now about my naivete. It seemed it would be so easy to find my happy ending!
My schoolmates would gab about the ideal beading of their stark white dresses. But I gushed over optimal stains for the grain of my wood. I imagined the various fasteners with which florists and wedding planners would struggle to assemble me, how I would laugh and laugh if they forgot to secure my bottoms, as the wind pushed me over onto a candle and I burst into flames. We watched the boys play soccer, my chums would giggle, encasing the initials of prospective mates in doodles of hearts in their diaries. I, however, couldn’t take my eyes off of the goal posts. Secure. Rectangular. Proud.
Even as I’ve grown, amassing a fulfilling career, a warm home, and an independent life I am proud of, I can’t help but fantasize about whether or not I am truly complete without ever having been made someone’s wedding arch. It is silly, I know, and somewhat regressive, but I simply can’t help it. My heart wanders. I yearn. It almost happened for me once. At times I think it would have been better had I not come close at all than to have suffered such loss.
Has My Moment Finally Arrived? Sadly, No
I met the ones—or so I thought—while they were having their engagement photos taken under the St. Louis Arch. The couple, Dan and Marcia, dear friends to this day, smiled for the camera, holding hands and looking up together at the majestic feat of engineering, positively angelic, embraced by its steel curve. This is it, I thought, I’ve found them.
I’ll spare you the details of our friendly courtship and skip ahead to several months later, when they invited me out for coffee to formally ask if I would participate in their wedding. I couldn’t contain myself. I blurted out “I do!” before they even finished asking. Alas, my enthusiasm waned as I understood I was to fill in as a bridesmaid, yet again, for Marcia’s cousin who had refused to buy the $900 bridesmaid dress. I masked my disappointment as tears of joy and mentally tore the pages of dreamy birch posts and sturdy oak columns out of my wish journal.
I am thrilled to be next to my loved ones as they enter into matrimony with their beloveds. But someday, should the fates allow, I’d be honored to be above them where I know I belong. At the end of the day, I can’t fault myself for wanting what every little girl dreams of—to hover over the perfect wedding. Some women say they were born to be a mother, and some were born to be a wife. I am waiting patiently for my day—the day when I become someone’s wedding arch.