Disclaimer: I’m going to suppress my pressing inner desire to fill this post with 27 Dresses references, but t’is more difficult than it appears.

I can’t say I have been a bridesmaid anywhere near as many times as the fictional character Jane but I can definitely say I have been in many weddings.

The whole idea of finding the perfect guy and having your closest friends there with you as you make one of the most important vows of your life has always filled me with wonder. As a bridesmaid, it seemed to be such a beautiful thing, witnessing someone you’ve known (for what seems like) forever stepping into a new life. (Geez Rhanda, do you have to make this sound like they are dying?)

Being able to witness my friends get married and support them on their day of celebration is always an emotional adventure. It truly is something special to go from giggling with a friend about a crush to seeing the first official “couple” post on Instagram (#millenials). Then next thing you know you are gushing about the new bling gracing their left hand. And now here they are donned in the most beautiful white gown with an overwhelmingly radiant glow emanating from their skin and all you can do is look back on what brought your friendship to this place.

I love my closest girls like family. These members of my framily (yes, you read that right!) have taught me numerous life lessons and helped me understand so many aspects of myself, whether it was by sharing their experiences or simply by being present with me through my own. Interestingly, they each have different lives, some more private than others, some more care-free than others. But that’s just what attracts me to them. Our differences. So standing next to them on their wedding days has been an honor.

Friendship is precious.

I’ve traveled across numerous state lines to “bridesmaid” (officially making it a verb, whether you like it or not) and have spent as little as two days and as much as 9 days out of town for the sake of being next to one of my girls as they said “I do.”

Was it too much to hop on my first plane, fly to a huge international airport alone, sleep in a cramped bed with two other girls, stand in a wedding, cry perfusely during the ceremony, clean up after the wedding, and then sleep for three hours before hopping on an early morning flight back home? Nope, not at all.

How about riding a Mega Bus for 12 hours to spend over a week in another state in order to attend both a shower and the wedding, and knowing that not only did I not have a car to come back to (due to recent transmission problems), but I also may not have had a job… Was that too much? I do not regret a thing.

These were just sacrifices for the sisterhood.

So as I prepare for my own wedding, I look back at those beautiful (yet trying) experiences as practice runs for me. Yes, I know that it sounds a little selfish to say that, considering I wasn’t the bride, only the maid. But I gained such valuable tools! I learned napkin folding, shower planning, bouquet-making, dress fluffing, and most of all tongue-holding. Ok… That came out wrong. I meant I learned how to hold my tongue… (Awkward.) Out of all of the beautiful ladies I have supported, all were mature enough not to go Bridezilla on everyone. Good examples to me, especially now as I come to a realization that WWIII may just break out in my house. (Government, if you are reading this, that was a mild exaggeration… Please don’t send any SWAT units to my front yard.)

Now, as I await the day when I walk down the aisle with some of my closest friends looking on, I feel appreciative that I was able to share some of their special moments with them. I do not expect them to spend a week in New Orleans with me (during the height of Mardi Gras season) and I don’t expect them to bestow upon me any special attention or gifts. No, that’s just not me. All I truly want is their support and love. And maybe a little alcohol. Daquiri anyone??