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To All The Single Girls At The Wedding

I have something I want to share with you.

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wedding bouquet being thrown through the air with clouds and blue sky behind it
Bartholomew Cooke/Trunk Archive
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Hi, sweetie. It’s mom-with-mileage here, just checking in to see how you’re doing. I know some save-the-date cards showed up in the mail a few months ago, so now I’m guessing you have at least a couple invitations tucked away in your planner and a couple dresses picked out to choose between when the actual days get closer.

I see you on the day of your friend’s or your cousin’s or your parents’ friends’ daughter’s wedding. I see you getting ready and doing your hair and putting on that dress you ended up choosing. I see you digging your wedding purse out of the closet. I see you debating if you need some kind of jacket or wrap, in case the day or night turns chilly.

I see you waiting for the ceremony to begin, cataloging all the details and mentally deciding if they’re things you’d want to do at your own wedding.

I see you gazing at the bridal couple, maybe imagining yourself in the bride’s satin shoes ... maybe wishing it could be you, maybe wondering if it ever will be you. Maybe not ... but maybe.

If you are imagining or wishing or wondering, I hope you know that the fact that it isn’t you coming down the aisle is not any kind of commentary on how beautiful or attractive or smart or funny or interesting or likable or lovable you are.  

And I hope you know it’s perfectly OK to want to be at a wedding that is your own. It’s OK to want to buy a dress you’ll wear only once, with no apology. It’s OK to want to be the one tossing the bouquet instead of trying to catch it. (Or maybe trying to avoid being herded into trying to catch it.)

But I’ve been both where you are and way on the other side of where you are, and here’s what else I want you to know. This is not the most important day or the best day of your friend’s or your cousin’s or your parents’ friends’ daughter’s life. And she shouldn’t want it to be. There is so much life left to be lived after “the big day.” There is so much life to be lived before it. So much life for you to live.

What’s happening today is special and beautiful. But it is not completing the bride or guaranteeing her happiness or making her any more of a person. You are not incomplete just because you don’t have a ring on your finger or a “Mrs.” in front of your name (if you’re going that route). And the happiness you can have in your life now and in the future is not some diluted version that only marriage will bring to full strength.

What you are seeing today is not the whole story. The smiling bride probably cried not long ago. She’ll probably cry again soon. If what she’s starting today is going to be all it can be — if the accumulated days of her married life can fulfill the promise of her one wedding day — there’s going to be lots of work involved. There will be lots of rough spots. Much like your life right now, I imagine.

If you hope to be a bride yourself someday, enjoy the looking forward and the anticipation of it! It’s a beautiful dream worth imagining. But life isn’t lived in the waiting. Your life right now is not on hold.

Your friend (or cousin or parents’ friends’ daughter) will wake up tomorrow with her whole future ahead of her. But so will you, beautiful girl. So will you.