The Best Woman

When Gary and I sat down to start planning our wedding, we started with a completely blank piece of paper.

We decided from the very beginning that we would do this entirely our own way and that we would only keep the parts of a ‘traditonal’ wedding that we wanted to.

So when it came to planning our bridal party, we wanted to make sure that it felt true to us and the people who play an important and consistent role in our lives.

Gary decided very quickly that he wanted one and a half best men (more on that in another post!) and I came to the conclusion that I would only have one bridesmaid, as we are trying to keep the wedding small and intimate.

To me, bridesmaids feel quite old fashioned; particuarly as they were originally designed to protect the bride from being kidnapped on the night before her wedding!

But whilst browsing for save the date cards, I came across this and something just clicked into place.

Gary is having a Best Man – so why shouldn’t I have a Best Woman?

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The decision of who to have as my BW was straight forward in many ways but difficult in others.

I am lucky to have several amazing women in my life, all of whom are close to me and all of whom would be a brilliant support in the run up to the wedding.

But really, there was only one person who could fill those Converse.

On my first day of the second year of uni, I was at the presentation where all the tutors discuss their modules and basically try to get you to sign up to their class. I was sat with my friend, David, when a wild haired, wide eyed girl literally threw herself into the seat next to me and started jiggling about. She looked like she had been up all night and then drunk a pint of coffee (which turned out to be true!) and I instinctively shifted slightly away from her.

She spotted David next to me and then leaned across me to start a really loudly whispered conversation with him about a mutual friend of theirs.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I don’t deal well with having my personal space invaded. David spotted the look on my face and suggested that we switch seats, which I did, gratefully.

A few weeks later, the wild girl turned up at my shared house – where I was living with David and few others – and I learned that her name was Steph.

We didn’t have much to do with each other at first; she was taking poetry and science fiction modules, whilst I was still on a largely literature based course. I’d see her from time to time when she came to work on something with David, but that was pretty much it.

And then in our third year, I took a science fiction module (because it meant I could finish early on a Friday – priorities!) and she was in it. I was a total sci-fi newbie and she was so kind and helpful to me. We also bonded over a shared bad experience at the hands of another girl (which is something that I may write about one day) and we quickly became firm friends.

And that’s how it has been ever since, almost ten years ago.

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She is my strong, opinionated friend who has taught me to think for myself and to look at things from as many angles as possible. She is headstrong and stubborn as hell but she has also got one of the biggest hearts and she has picked me up when I’ve been low and cheered me on when I’ve succeeded. She’s funny and clever and she’s probably rolling her eyes if she’s reading this…She is my person and I know that she will always have my back, just as I will always have hers.

So, with the decision made and a date in the diary to see Steph (she lives hundreds of miles away these days, so meet ups are frustratingly rare), I ordered the card.

And yesterday, I got to give it to her.

We went for a lovely walk around a nature reserve and after lunch, I handed it to her. She was really surprised and happy and we had such a cracking day, we hadn’t been together for months but it was like we’d seen each other the day before – which I suppose is one of the signs of a great friendship.

We also completely failed to take a picture together (as usual!) so I’ve had to pinch this one that her lovely stepmum, Susie, took of us:

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And that’s another decision made.

Just 575979382727 to go…

VJ x

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