Okay, so when we left off in The Wedding of the Century, Adam and I were readying for the cocktail hour. Adam had joked that it was like going to prom and it totally was! Except better because it included alcohol in a glass rather than mixed with fruit juice in a Gatorade bottle. I had gotten a new dress, a mani and pedi, my hair was done, and I spent far too long on my makeup. We were dressed, ready to go, and determined to actually take a picture at this wedding (something we inexplicably failed to do at Allie’s wedding. Unreal). We succeeded, but barely: we have only the below crappily lit iPhone photo. Better than nothing, right? Eh.
Cocktail hour was held in another room at the Merion – and later transformed into the dessert room – and it was the most lavish, amazing spread I have ever seen. Way better than prom. There were passed appetizers that included crab cakes, spanokopita, and lamp chops carried and served from enormous skewers. There was a pasta station and maybe a pizza station, a monstrous display of cheese, fruit, and veggies in the middle of the room. There was a carving station and a seafood bar, complete with oysters, crab, and lobster. And that’s just what I saw. The room was enormous and I was too busy consuming the exact right number of drinks that one consumes prior to making a speech to partake in the festivities. Adam and I made rounds, before settling into a cozy corner with my bestest to talk (about the food, of course). Before long, Rooms Masi summoned me to the bridal suite – a downstairs one – to entertain my Rooms. She was in a new outfit – equally beautiful and ornate – and looked stunning. The other bridesmaids joined us soon after, and we enjoyed some girl talk and a champagne toast.
Much too quickly, cocktail hour ended and we lined up for our entrances into the ballroom, an immense space with a large, long dance floor in the middle. The room was, of course, beautifully decorated – have I mentioned Rooms does event planning for a living? – and my favorite part was the table numbers. Each number had a little fact about Gunjan and Jyotin on it; for example, at table 6, under the ’6,’ a caption read, ‘The number of months they dated before Jyotin told Gunjan he loved her.’ (Note: he told her after six months; we all know he knew it after about two and a half.) It was adorable, informative, and a really sweet personal touch.
Gunjan and Jyotin had their first dance, and then it was time for the MoH speeches. Now, I’ve mentioned how calm my co-MoH, Allie, was the entire weekend. Well, three minutes before we took the microphone, Allie started crying. Hysterically. Like, literally, sucking in breaths and sobbing. I reassured her that I would do most of the speaking and we could do anything for three minutes and we’d only be talking to Gunjan and Jyotin. Allie took a deep breath and was still wiping her tears as we walked to the front of the room to speak.
Now, I don’t generally stress public speaking. Part of all of my jobs has involved presentations in the community, and if you can get up in front of auditoriums filled with juvenile delinquents, a group of family and close friends isn’t a big deal. But I don’t know if it was the lack of time to prepare, or Allie telling me how nervous *she* was, but I was kind of nervous; hence, the lack of eating and the need for vodka. Plus, when I said I was nervous, people kept (very sweetly) telling me they weren’t worried and they knew I’d be fantastic. The bar was high.
Truth be told, I have *no idea* what I actually said. But this is what I meant to say…
I first met Gunjan eight years ago, when our dorm rooms were next to each other. We bonded quickly over a shared love of junk food, planners, General Hospital, and all of the fun that being young and in college brings. However, for two best friends, Gunjan and I have surprisingly little in common. She used to joke that she’d go into a clothing store, find something she’d never, ever wear, and buy it for me as a gift. But what we *do* share is a bond that you can only have with a person you grew up with. I don’t have a sister, but If I did, I know we wouldn’t be as close as me and Gunjan. For nearly a decade, Gunjan and I have shared our rooms, our lessons, and our lives. Gunjan is the person who taught me to stand up for myself, and what loyalty really means. We got each other through our first heartbreaks and bought each other our first legal drinks when we turned 21. Together we learned that everything really is going to be okay. When I look at Gunjan now, I am so proud of the woman she’s become. She’s the most beautiful person I know, inside and out. She is strong, brave, and has never been afraid of who she is or what she wants, and she goes after it with her whole heart.
When I first met Gunjan, she already had her wedding date picked. No groom in mind, mind you, but her date was in her planner. We’re a few years past that date now, but one of the lessons Gunjan and I have learned is that it doesn’t matter when or what you’re supposed to do. What matters is that you make the choice that is right for you, And I’m so thrilled that she found someone that makes her so happy. Jyotin is such a kind man with so much ambition, and, of course, they make a stunningly beautiful couple. The honesty and and comfort they have with each other makes it clear to everyone who knows them that they are truly best friends. I remember a time when Gunjan and I were living together in NYC; she was cooking dinner – I know that sounds out of character; maybe she was trying to impress Jyotin? – and he was watching her with that huge smile that he has and I knew then that she was going to be okay. I am so happy and so excited for you both, and I love you both so very much. Take care of each other, love each other, laugh together.
I remember my cousin Derek’s wedding in Atlanta. I was in high school, and it was the first wedding I attended when I really knew what was going on. There were tissues outside the church, and I wondered aloud what they were for; my mom took several and said, “Emma, a lot of people cry at weddings.” Why? I thought weddings were happy? I laughed her off, and she refrained from saying, “I told you so,” when, seven minutes into the ceremony, I stole two of hers.
I always cry at weddings. Happy tears, of course – for the couple, for their future, for their happiness. And Rooms’ wedding was no exception; in fact, it was the most emotional weekend for me, ever. The magnitude of this event was felt even if, for much of the weekend, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.
The thing is, Rooms and her hubs have been together for more than four years, and they’ve also lived together for the last couple. In theory, nothing was really going to change after the wedding, other than that they’d be able to file taxes together. And this is what Rooms kept saying in response to everyone’s comments of ‘Omg, you’re really getting married’ and ‘Omg, things are never going to be the same again.’
But there are reasons that weddings are a big deal. Because while the only tangible changes are in legal terms, when Gunjan and Jyotin officially became wife and husband, we all officially felt the beginning of the end of young adulthood. Marriage is a grown-up commitment, it’s for keeps, it’s permanent, and we all felt the full weight of the word. With her vows to Jyotin, I knew that it was official that we would never live in a house with our best friends, being young and carefree and single, again. And while this wasn’t exactly a surprise, I have never been more aware that that era has ended.
After the reception was the after-party at the hotel bar. Naturally. Champagne and tequila shots were being passed around and the atmosphere was absolutely jovial. At one point, Rooms and I slipped away to change her into pajamas and put her poor bewildered nephew – who remained happy and sweet despite being under a year old and in a bar at 1 AM with a bunch of his boisterous family members – to bed. As I watched Rooms rocking him gently, his head rest against her shoulder, eyelids fluttering, I found myself verklempt. Again. And then she made the most poignant, most honest statement, voicing something we both knew in our hearts, but had never been spoken.
Some people are meant to have blossoming careers. I’m meant to be a mom.
I know. I knew it when were in college, picking her major based on which credits she’d already completed. I knew it when she left her first job because it wasn’t fulfilling. I knew it when she met Jyotin, and when I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how cute their babies would be. And I certainly knew it when she married him earlier that day. Before long, my best friend would become a mom, the one job that I expect she will find to be equally challenging and rewarding, the job that she will love beyond all others.
And as much as I sometimes want to fight it, and sometimes want to turn back the clock to when we lived in our Barbie pink room and our biggest concern was who got the driveway spot, that’s not a possibility. We are growing up. And as terrified as I am of how babies will effect our relationship – because, omg, watching Gunjan’s sister-in-law manage three children under five, and the luggage that three children under five require, was probably the most shocking part of the weekend for me; the work, the nonstop, continual work of being a mother, made me wonder if Rooms would ever have time to tap out a text to me again. Ever – I could not be more happy for this woman I call my ‘person,’ my sister. We may not be young and single and childless forever, but that’s okay; life is about so much more than youth. It’s about love and passion and fulfillment and contentment and happiness and being alive. *The only way to live a life is to love it.*
And I have a feeling that the two of us will be just fine. Babies and all. <3