I got my film from Austria developed! More to come on the trip at a later date but for now . . .

Like anyone else, I’ve been to what feels like hundreds of weddings in my lifetime. Every year, more of my friends get married and I find myself making arrangements to get where they are to celebrate. I have a lot of thoughts/conflicted feelings on weddings but for the most part, I enjoy attending—especially when they’re good friends of mine.

My conflicted feelings stem from the lack of variety regarding weddings. To some degree, they all feel exactly the same. I don’t know how you could have an original wedding, really, but going to multiple back-to-back, I find myself wondering what the difference is besides the two people getting married. Again, this isn’t coming from a place of judgment or criticism, just an observation.

Recently, one of my dear friends asked me to be in her wedding and it was a real honor. I felt so thankful to be included in the small group she wanted to stand by her side when she married her best friend. I imagine it isn’t easy to come up with a list of people to invite to the wedding, let alone, include in your wedding party. Those are the people you look back in 20 years and remember as your good friends and if you’re fortunate enough, still are.

I had never been in a wedding. I was asked once by a good friend of mine but they decided to elope instead. that was seven years ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was asked this time. not to mention, I was nervous to be the outsider meeting 12 other women whom I only had one person in common with. This person and couple is particularly special to me though and I trusted whoever they chose to surround themselves with would be just as lovely as they were.

I was right.

I’ve been trying to find ways to push myself outside of my comfort zone and this was definitely a test. I would arrive at a bachelorette party (alone), hours after everyone else arrived and had time to introduce themselves/bond. I jumped in headfirst and tried to keep any anxiety I had at bay. This wasn’t the time for me to let my anxiety dictate my ability to socialize. after three days, I became fast friends with former strangers. I allowed myself to have a good time and be a part of something. I felt accepted and that alone was liberating.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell someone what they mean to me, especially when they’ve done things for me they probably aren’t aware of. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become very selective about who I choose to spend my time with or share things with. That in itself is a double-edged sword as it can make your world very small. Even when my world was “big” I wasn’t quite as happy, though. The less frequent but meaningful connections mean so much more to me than having a friendship that no longer serves one or both parties.

When i met Jonny and Sara, I was a different person. I was 21 in my last semester at college and very lost concerning my future. All of my friends were moving to different places and didn’t know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to be. An important friendship of mine had recently been terminated, I was seeing someone I shouldn’t have and that’s really the story there. On the contrary, Jonny and Sara were also my age but in a very different part of their lives. They were in the earlier days of dating, working, and enjoying a vacation together with Jonny’s family. When I met them, I feel like I was one of the worst versions of myself. Luckily, this didn’t affect what would become a long-lasting friendship. For some reason, they accepted me into their very special circle and allowed me to stay there for years to come. I’m really thankful they did.

It’s been almost seven years since I met Jonny and Sara and I feel like I’ve gone through 10 versions of myself since. All along the way, they’ve been there as loyal friends. I tried out different places to live, career paths, etc. and their friendship remained steadfast. They (unknowingly) pieced me together after Omie died and spent an amazing weekend with me when I felt like i didn’t deserve to be happy or had the capacity to be. They include me in their life, send me letters, invite me on trips, and when I was one of the first to hear of their engagement; I felt special. Two people who really, truly loved each other in a way I had rarely experienced firsthand were going to get married, and furthermore, they wanted me to be a part of it. I had never been this excited about a wedding— maybe because I had rarely seen love like theirs.

Sara and I became close because we have more in common than I/we realized. we come from dark pasts with complicated, rarely understood realities. She made me feel accepted, heard and loved when I confided in her. I learned it was okay to trust someone and let them in. She writes letters to me and sends me things when she’s thinking of me.

Adult friends, I’ve learned, are so much different than your college, high school, or even co-worker friends. You have to search harder for common ground and put effort into an adult friendship. Jonny and Sara have evolved into true adult friends of mine. They may have known me while I was in college, but our friendship really formed as adults. We’ve known each other through some hard times (on both sides) and the connection is so much different. It feels really intentional and one you can’t get complacent with or it goes away. All I’m trying to say is: I’m thankful for them and felt honored to be included in the most special day of their life.

here are some photos I took of their day~

this was a really nice day via film right before lock-down