This weekend was one of the best weekends of my life! I got to participate as a bride’s maid (why can’t it be bride’s sassy lady?? Why does it have to be maid??) in Bonnie’s wedding and it was hands-down one of the coolest experiences of my life. To really understand how awesome it was, you have to go back about 14 years.
NCSSM 2005 Graduation Picture – Kacie, Carla, Rachel, Bonnie, Katrina, and myself. I still talk to three of the other women in this picture and hug the heck out of another one whenever I get to see her.
I attended the NC School of Science and Mathematics during my junior and senior years of high school. For those that don’t know, it is essentially a free and public school that acts as college two years early. We lived on campus. We had professor’s that went by “Dr.” It really was a tiny college for teenagers that thought they were far more grown than they were. This is the setting of where our friendship began. And it is probably why our friendship is so strong. We left our families and our local friends for a chance to try out the “nerd school.” The men and women that we lived with became our surrogate families. If you can survive living with other moody teenage women, you are probably destined to be friends for life. She was the one that laughed at me when I feel with her bunk bed ladder on top of me. I was the one that told her she would find another love after her first NCSSM crush turned out to be 100% gay (not just 25% as we had been led to believe earlier). We were the managers for the baseball team and were very dutiful in our responsibilities to clean their pants…once they had removed them in front of us. There were movies watched on lap tops, more Chinese and ramen dinner dates than I can remember, and annual trips to her father’s house for rides on the boat. It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
Two things to note: she was a beer pong champion this night and I used to have long black hair (we were both young once). Someone took this picture of us and titled it “Hussy 1 and Hussy 2.” We always got such a kick out of that.
NCSSM ended and college began. She attended NC State, as any dutiful Merrell does. I attended UNC because, let’s face it, a liberal arts atmosphere better suits my liberal heart. We didn’t see each other often but, when we did, our friendship picked up right where it left off. I was standing beside her when she dominated in beer pong. She was the one that picked me up in the middle of her dinner date when I was heartbroken. Bonnie is a genius so it was no surprise when she got accepted to UNC’s pharmacy program. The next three years were spent living together in Chapel Hill and letting the memories continue to grow. I walked with her to Sub Way when her car window was busted during an ice storm and a walk to Sub Way seemed like a reasonable way to cope. There were parties at the house and parties on the town. I was with her when we burned an ex’s photos on the back porch. She was with me when I got my precious puppy.
From that time we went on a cruise! The first picture captures our excitement over getting to Florida after way to many hours in the car. The bottom pictures are proof that the drive was worth it!
When it came time for her to return to Raleigh, I followed. While in separate apartments, we lived in the same complex with only a ritzy pool to separate us. When I broke up with my live-in boyfriend, Bonnie didn’t hesitate to offer me her extra guest room and daybed. We would drink wine and watch The Bachelorette. I was the one that got to listen to her gush about her first dates with her now husband. She was the one that got to hear me ramble about the Georgia sweetheart that I’m going to marry. I was at her graduation when she finished pharmacy school. I attended NC State football games with her family – and even wore NC State gear! We shared countless hangover biscuits from Bojangles and made the most amazing eyeball Jell-O shots for Halloween (that we can never duplicate because black vomit is as bad as it sounds). That apartment saw some great times.
We also make memories with other people! Usually the same other people…but that is what makes it fun!!
Bonnie would stay in Raleigh, and I would return to Chapel Hill. We wouldn’t see each other as often, but we still shared an incredible friendship. I was thrilled when Mike asked for my help in planning the proposal, and I’ll never forget her face when she realized her gal pals were in on it. I didn’t hesitate to say “yes” when she asked me to be a bride’s sassy lady (I’m making this happen!), and I cried at almost every bridal gown she tried on. Every memory led to this past weekend.
Back to that moment when Bonnie had a beautiful proposal at the Biltmore House.
Here is what you need to know. There was dancing and drinking. There were people and good times. But the most important part of the whole wedding was watching one of my closest friends marry a man that loves her. Bonnie knew pretty soon after her first date with Mike that he was the one. He is thoughtful, caring, and supportive. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard Bonnie speak ill about him. They have been through cruises, broken legs, major life changes, and now a wedding. It is an incredible feeling to know that your friend is going to share a life with someone that she is meant to be with. I don’t doubt their life will be wonderful and, sometimes, terrible. But they will do it together.
I know why people have big weddings now. I loved seeing Bonnie transform into a beautiful bride. I loved sneaking a glance of when her father saw her in her gown for the first time. I loved watching her walk down the aisle with a goofy (but incredibly photogenic) grin on her face. I loved swirling around the dance floor with her. And I loved watching her drive off with her husband when the clock struck midnight. It’s such a rush and an adventure, and I’m grateful that I got to witness the moments in person. I wouldn’t trade these memories – or any of them – for anything.
It’s been one hell of a ride, Bonnie.
Bonnie, thank you for being a wonderful friend. Thank you for taking care of me when I needed it and never holding it over my head. Thank you for allowing me to be in your wedding and for agreeing with me when I recommended Panera before the wedding. I love that you approach life with 100% excitement and have no doubt that you will take that excitement with you throughout your marriage. You were a beautiful bridge and will be an amazing wife. When the time comes, you will be a terrific mother with Mike as your partner. No matter the final score, the ECU vs NC State football game just got a lot more interesting for you. When you get stressed out over the things you can’t control, take time to laugh when Mike gets flustered with his words. And – no matter what – don’t forget that I am here if you need me. When I look back on all the terrific memories we have created, I can’t wait to see what the next 15 years have in store.
The only picture of us from Bonnie’s wedding – so typical. So wonderful.
Wedding Update: We have made progress! But still need to tell a few more people so internet updates will have to wait for now.