I sat at a long table last night, surrounded by people and loud music, strung lights and alcohol. I watched as my wonderful friend Aimey celebrated her impending wedding by donning her bachelorette veil and a lovely tequila-induced glow. She seemed happy, which made me happy. And she seemed alive- ready to embrace life as a married kind of person rather than a not married kind of person. I’ve watched numerous friends go through this same right of passage. So many, in fact, that I’ve lost count. It is the South, after all, and nothing brings the masses together quite like a good old fashioned bachelorette party. Or a good old fashioned wedding shower. Or a good old fashioned wedding. Followed by a good old fashioned baby shower and a good old fashioned birthday party. And then, well, really any good old fashioned reason to serve beautifully crafted beverages from vintage-inspired glassware most likely purchased from Anthropologie.
But I digress.
My point is, that in these kinds of celebrations, certain social rules seem not apply. Strangers shout things such as “Congratulations!!” or “You still have time to change your mind!” or, my personal favorite, “Don’t worry! Annulments are cheap!” Very suddenly, the bride belongs to the world. And the world buys her drinks and doles out advice and offers to take pictures as though this is how things normally go. It embraces her and cares, very loudly, about this thing she is about to embark upon. The world shows up to the party, at each new location, whether invited or not. And this is always one of my favorite parts - the observation of shifting rules and strangers celebrating strangers. Perhaps we are all in search of a few more reasons to celebrate. Maybe we secretly want to buy drinks and make new friends and wish someone all of the luck we can muster. Perhaps we are hoping to share our wisdom and tell our stories and be reminded that life can be really beautiful. I think sometimes it just takes running into a stranger in a bachelorette veil to infuse us with the courage to say it out loud.