Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bringing Back the Matron of Honor

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GUEST POST BY JANE BOKUN




I spent the first weekend in October in Chicago as the maid of honor for my niece.

She and I have always had a special bond. Meaning I loved her from the momentous moment I saw her lovely black ringlets and beautiful blue eyes. She was smart, aloof, funny and didn’t share my interest in music. I knew because I once sang James Taylor’s “Daddy’s Baby” to her at three weeks old and she cried immediately.

According to yourdictionary.com, “The definition of a matron of honor is a woman, often an older or married woman, who is chosen by the bride at a wedding to stand up for the bride and to be an assistant in the planning and carrying out of the wedding.”

I’ll tell you how it really felt to be the matron of honor. It felt like I was a little old lady running after the bride and bridal party. This is a metaphor for life because I often feel I’m running down the block and not catching up to younger women. There were some signs, like I was standing alone and no one was speaking to me. I think I felt like my position was a bit superlative because there also was a maid of honor. No one made me feel that way, in fact my niece and all the other ten bridesmaids were great. It was a feeling I couldn’t shake during the wedding rehearsal at the church. Everyone lined up and they ignored me as I stood in the back of the church, alone. It seems the Serbian priest had never heard of a matron-of-honor.

Even though in my opinion, matrons of honor have lost a lot of their luster, I’m bringing them back. Some women even ask their moms to be matron of honor. I think we’re a dying breed because people either want to pet us while saying “Oooh” like cooing to a cute baby, or ignore us. But, we’re usually wise and great in a crisis – like a 500 person wedding.  Years ago, matron of honor was maid of honor because everyone was married by age 21. In this case, the woman playing the part of a volunteer wedding coordinator forgot me.  As comedian Rodney Dangerfield said, “We don’t get no respect.”

“Why don’t you go sit down next to your sister,” the priest said to me.

“No way,” I said. “I paid $400 for this dress and I’m wearing it down the aisle.”

The priest acquiesced.  His second notion was that I couldn’t walk down the aisle alone. I needed an escort.

“I walk alone,” I said with purpose, and it’s taken me years to be okay with that.

Turns out the bride did need her matron of honor. The next day the bride called me from the airport on her way to Europe and thanked me for all the emotional support I provided.

“Why would she call you?” my jealous mother said.

“I’m her matron of honor,” I said.


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