I can't tell you how lucky I feel that on my wedding day, I'll have seven of my best friends standing beside me.
TINA is my Maid of Honor. She and I have been friends since we were in middle school, when we swam together on the same team. We met Michael Phelps together, were disappointed in what an asshole he was together, laughed, and read the hell out of Harry Potter. We skipped weight training maybe more often than we went, and shared a locker, where we would wait for our teammates who were lifting weights, passing the time by eating Peeps. Her friendship has been one of the most constant things in my life, and she's truly been there for me through everything. She's a law student at University of Richmond, and she is positive and smart and one of the kindest people I know.
EMMA and I became friends through cross country at Roanoke Catholic School. We were pretty inseparable until I left for college. We were the queens of sushi lunch dates, sleepovers during the week, and getting up really early before school and going out for coffee. We lived out of Meg Jet, my Volkswagen Jetta, and we truly split our time up between our two families like we were one child from two different places. We've moved around a lot since then, but we're always able to pick back up right where we left off, and she means the world to me.
SHAWNA and I were acquaintances since childhood, but also didn't really become close until cross country season one year. We stayed in touch after graduating high school and found a way to actually see each other relatively regularly in college. She spent some time trapping turtles and doing research on their habits, and one day she introduced me to my first alligator friend, Angela. I loved that thing. We both lived in Charlottesville at the same time, so we spent a year running together and drinking coffee, making dinner, watching movies, and just enjoying being everyday friends again. She's in Florida now, just a week away from beginning medical school, and she is just generally really an amazing person.
ELENA is another running friend. I try to explain it, but really can't do justice to the magic that was our cross country team. We learned a lot about life and about friendship before most of us could even drive a car, and we had our ups and downs, but we came out with a really important outlook on life and love, and I feel like these girls are just part of who I am. Elena and I used to work together at a little ice cream shop, and we were also champion sushi eaters at a young age. We used to go to her house and dance to that Hillary Duff song about what dreams are made of. Elena is currently overseas, serving as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, and she is one of the bravest people I know.
Emma, Shawna, Elena, and I all come from what was a really tight-knit group that felt a lot more like family than a high school sports team. Like, you don't need to shower with your best friends, but we did anyway. Running camp does strange things to a person, I guess.
Melissa, Jenna, Whitney and I all connected in 2011 at a blogging event in DC. Whitney and I didn't actually meet there, but we organized a brunch where we got together with a few other girls (Melissa included, but no Jenna) and proceeded to get horribly drunk off of an unlimited mimosa special. We had the best time, but I probably can't show my face at that restaurant ever again.
MELISSA and I hung out, even if just a little bit, almost every weekend that I visited Rob in DC for the six months that he was there. She is smart and witty and hilarious, and more of a grown-up than I'll ever be. Sometimes when I don't know what to do, I think to myself, What would Melissa do right now? and so far, so good! We can laugh and be ridiculous, but we can sit down and have really important and sometimes serious conversations, and that's something I've learned to value as I've grown up a bit.
JENNA and I have spent time together in person a whopping three times, but we keep in touch weekly, sometimes daily, and I just felt like she was one of my best friends after meeting her for the first time a year and a half ago. She's a terrific writer and a wonderfully sweet person, and we have so much in common. She is the perfect example of the kind of friends you can make blogging, because we barely see each other, but I couldn't imagine not having her in my wedding party.
WHITNEY is just wonderful. She used to live in DC and she was someone I could visit with when Rob was at work and just sit on her couch, under a cozy blanket, talking for hours. I love hearing what she has to say and wish we lived closer to each other. She is laid-back and easy-going, which the anxious basket-case inside of me really appreciates. She's a good friend and she's brave, too, picking up and leaving DC for New York City for a new job and a new adventure. I look up to her so much.
Last summer, Tina was doing an internship in DC and I had plans to spend the night at Whitney's before picking Rob up at the airport early the next morning. I brought Tina over to Whitney's house before all of us walked together to meet Melissa for dinner, and watching everyone just hit it off so well was a huge testament to making new friends, but keeping the old ones. Just like the Girl Scouts always said.