Here come the brides
The experience of seeing two of my friends being married is made all the sweeter by the fact that they are both brides
I have been excited about this wedding for weeks. Ridiculously so.
The night before, it is hard to find sleep. Lying in bed, I am wondering what they’re going to be wearing, if they’ll have written their own vows, if they’ll walk in together, or if someone will give them away. The way I’m carrying on you’d think it was the first wedding I’d ever been to.
And, in a way, it is.
The first time I went to a wedding, I was nine and I was ridiculously excited then, too. My oldest cousin was getting married and I got a new dress. I was never that into dresses though, so I think I was more excited about the prospect of staying up late, of being one of the adults.
That, and the purchase of boxes of confetti to throw – blue on one side, pink on the other – with both embossed with a cartoon bride and groom.
If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve been to 40 or so weddings since that first wedding, maybe close to 50. Some blur into each other, some I’ll always remember, some I’ve loved and some I’ve liked, and some had too many drunken uncles saying “you’ll be next” too many times. But this wedding, the one I flew back from New York for, is the first time that statement might actually be true.
Because this wedding has two brides.
Waiting for them to walk down the aisle, we have our cameras and smartphones at the ready. And our tissues. And there they are, both in white, different dresses but the same look on their faces, both radiant with love and excitement and emotion like any bride. Only they’re not like any brides. This might be the first time they’ve held hands in front of some of the people here, certainly the first time they’ve kissed. Months ago, I discussed that kiss with one of the brides: what kind of kiss it should be, how you wouldn’t want to have the kind of kiss that would shock the aunties too much.
We’ve talked about a lot of things over the last couple of years, that bride and I, things that, when I was a teenager growing up in south Dublin, I couldn’t even let myself think about, never mind talk about. Like me, she came to who she was later than some, only a little while before I did.
Watching her sit there, holding hands with her lover, her best friend, her soon-to-be wife, I remember a freezing February night when we walked Dún Laoghaire pier in the dark. I had a toothache and the wind was biting, whipping my words away as I told her what was on my mind, that I’d met someone, that I didn’t know how to tell people.
She hugged me, she said it was brilliant news, and she couldn’t wait to meet her. She’s not one to give unasked for advice, and the piece she gave that freezing night, I took to heart. “Don’t act like it’s the end of the world when you’re telling people,” she said, “because it isn’t.”