If you’ve never worn your bridesmaid dress to go drinking downtown, you totally should.
This is Susan talking, by the way. Not that it really matters. I’m pretty sure the effect would be similar either way.
A couple things that might be relevant here: 1. This wedding was held in Asheville, where the downtown drinking is pretty damn good in the first place. 2. This was a magical bridesmaid dress. It (a) looked fantastic on every one of the five bridesmaids in question, and (b) has, in fact, been worn again since the wedding.
Years ago, Erik and I invited our friends Carl and Rachelle to Asheville with us. We’d recently discovered the town ourselves, and we were excited to share it with them. We kind of created a couple monsters. Carl and Rachelle visited the town countless times after that, as did Erik and I. A few years later, when Carl and Rachelle got engaged, they chose Asheville as their wedding location.
“Susan, you HAVE to be a bridesmaid!” Rachelle exclaimed on the phone the day after the proposal.
In Asheville? Twist my arm.
The fabulous weekend actually started Wednesday afternoon, when we treated Carl and Rachelle to a Brews Cruise as our wedding present to them. That Friday afternoon we had a bridesmaid lunch at Hana Sushi. The question arose, “Who wants sake and who wants champagne?” My friend and fellow bridesmaid Megan and I had a quick and silent conversation across the table before saying, almost in unison, “Can we not have both?”
Turns out we could.
The wedding rehearsal was that evening, at the beautiful St. Lawrence Basilica.
The stern parish wedding coordinator said, “You will absolutely not bring any alcoholic beverages into this church for the wedding tomorrow.” Every member of the bridal party worked very hard to seem earnest and agreeable, and not catch my eye. Every member of the bridal party also knew I had a flask full of Bailey’s in my purse for whenever Rachelle needed a tipple.
For medicinal purposes only, of course. I am a healthcare professional.
That evening, there was a post-rehearsal dinner party at Asheville Brewing Company downtown. We love ABC, especially since it’s basically right across the road from the hostel where we and most of the rest of the wedding party were staying.
Saturday morning the wedding party met up for hair and make-up. This was the first time I’d ever been a bridesmaid, and I took full advantage.
Erik’s favorite joke that summer was, “Always a bride, never a bridesmaid.” We’d been married four years at that point.
The wedding was gorgeous beyond words. Erik and I didn’t cry at our own wedding, but we’ve cried at every wedding we’ve attended since; this one was absolutely no exception.
The reception was equally fabulous; possibly the best moment was when all the bridesmaids agreed we were done wearing our crinoline petticoats and lined them all up against the wall.
Actually, no, I’m being ridiculous. This wedding was in Asheville; the best part of the reception was the beer.
Which brings me to that evening: after the happy couple fled their well-wishers and the bridal party did our duty of packing up the materiel, we arranged to meet up at some of our favorite Asheville haunts (the fact that Rachelle’s wedding gown might have garnered her free drinks didn’t NOT figure into that decision). I sat drinking my beloved ESB at the beloved Green Man, enjoying the compliments on my dress and hair. Later, most of the party wound up at Lexington Avenue Brewery, sitting along the brick-lined window, five women wearing the same dress and enjoying the afterglow of our friends’ joy.
To sum up: Asheville is great. Asheville when you’ve helped your friends celebrate one of the happiest days of their lives is AMAZING.