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9.24.2012

The best friends a woman can have are the ones that don't make you feel ashamed when you eat an entire burrito in under ten minutes. They laugh at your macabre sense of humor, and they typically know better than you do what clothes you look great in. They don't hold it against you that every time you buy a gift for their birthday, you lose it before you can get it to them.

I had a hard time narrowing down my bridal party. It's been an honor for me to stand beside many of my friends as they marry. In the interest of space (and the hope of fitting everyone in one photo), I chose six women to stand beside me. For every year that I was single and hoping to one day be married, my time was well spent - cultivating deep friendships with some amazing women. For those that couldn't stand beside me, I loved knowing they were there with me on that day. Because so much of who I am is because all of those women let me eat my burrito as fast as I wanted.

There aren't enough great adjectives in the world to accurately describe them, but I want you to know them! I promise it's worth your while.

Camille Garcia LaVilla (Sister/Maid of honor, loves stealing my clothes)

(We did not even mean for this to look like a Land's End catalog. It's from our trip to Ireland. Remember that?)

We share a childhood. It doesn't get any better than that. We are six years apart, but closer than close. That is what happens when your single mom has to go back to work and Camille is left to the devices of Fran's After-School Program and Fran's Summer Camp (in our basement). We assembled a band comprised entirely of our cats. One time she cut her bangs off while I took a nap. We memorized (and performed) the Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party for our mom until our dog chewed up the VCR cord and then we watched Shrek no more.

Camille is in nursing school - which means, my family now believes anything and everything she tells us about health and the human body. She tells me, "Not to worry, it's just a headache. No, Fran. You do not have meningitis." She has the sweetest of hearts, and loves helping and serving others. She's obsessed with mountains and I sometimes make fun of her for how she dresses now because of it.

Hanna Elaine Wahlbrink (Woman of Honor, hates velvet)
(Photo by the talented and dear friend/former roommate of mine over at Alumbra. Look at the whole post, it's amazing)

Hanna married Reid over Memorial Day weekend. We both loved that her wedding was the kick off of summer, and mine the close of it. We both hated the word Matron, so we changed it.

Hanna is that friend you hope to meet when you go to college. Our second semester in, we met each other and fell in love and the rest is history. Sometimes we skipped class to watch Lost (or, let's be honest...The O.C.) and sometimes we put on ridiculous outfits and pranced about campus. She has experimented every hair color (and looks great in all of them). She is relentless when it comes to any kind of play fighting, and/or desired outing that no one else wants to attend. You may think you want to stay in for the night, but Hanna will not rest until you change your mind and are left wondering why you wanted to stay home in the first place. She is confident and sure of who she is, and she invites 
others to do the same. 


Ashley Elaine Brake (Bridesmaid, hates pudding)

Our first in-depth blog encounter with Brake was The Costa Rica Adventure.
I met Brake in college a little bit before I met Hanna. She's out in California, devoting her time and life to an awesome church (that just turned one!) My earliest (and favorite) memories of her are when our group of friends would hang out, and if something got stressful - she just ran away. As in, we'd turn around and wonder where she was, and she had just straight up run home. 

She is one of those people that can pull off every trend you wish you could try but aren't brave enough to. She lets me make fun of her big head, and she loves me just the same. She is patient when I don't return phone calls for days. She is so compassionate - like John Coffey in The Green Mile. It's rare to meet a person that bears burdens with others the way that she does. 


Jessica Lyne' Ross
(Bridesmaid, loves Castle & Alias more than any human)

Jessica is unbelievably gifted at being a friend. Even though that sentence sounds like The Golden Girls theme song, it's just so true.

Camille and Jessica's younger sister Catherine became great friends in high school, and they kept telling us we needed to meet. The first time we met, I was 'chaperoning' a home school dance (and by chaperoning, I was dancing to Usher) and Jessica came to pick Catherine up. I danced up to her to introduce myself, complimented her outfit, and then bounced away. Jessica was going through a phase where she didn't believe drums should even be played in church, so I am sure the whole thing was overwhelming to her. But WE PREVAILED.

She's an incredibly talented videographer.

She also LET US GET MARRIED ON HER BIRTHDAY.

She's an extravagant encourager. There's no distance too far to travel and no bounds to the way she'd express her love for you. Her faith is refreshing, and she is the one of the only people that loves Double Feature movie nights as much as I do. We are movie nerds. NERDS. I also hate playing her in Scene-It because she's one of the only people that can give me a run for my money, (and she's way over the top when she wins).


Megan Marie Miano, (Bridesmaid, hates gluten)
For whatever reason, my friends and I all served time at the Gap. Hanna worked in Baby Gap, I was in Gap Kids. Brake worked in Adult for a while, and Susannah was over in the quiet land of Gap Body. If Hanna and I were working at the same time, there was basically no productivity going on. If it weren't for Megan coming to work in Gap Kids, I think I may have just died a slow death from folding children's jeans and listening to the Kids Bop version of every horrible Top 40s song. 

After the Gap, we lived together in 409 (the house of nine best girl friends). Some of my fondest memories are of Megan and I taking long walks in the arboretum together. She is a wise, and faithful friend. She isn't afraid to challenge, because she knows that is what a true friend does. She has a great laugh. I always feel really accomplished when I can make her laugh really hard.



Andrea Boyers Wernz 
(Bridesmaid, loves dogs with expressive eyes)
(Photo by the lovely Selah Photography)

When I first moved back home to Northern Kentucky, I met Andrea at a new job. What started as us sitting together during lunch time turned quickly into a vital friendship for me. She believes so well in the goodness of God, and always reminds me of that. She and her husband (David, who is equally awesome and officiated our wedding) have such great perspective of God's kingdom. They love people well, and there's never been a time that after I've been with them that I haven't left refreshed, challenged, encouraged, and excited to know more about God. 

She's one of my favorite people to drink an Irish car bomb with, and she'll frequently send me emails of baby animals because she knows what it does to my heart. She also tans better than any person I've met, and my skin often feels translucent next to hers. 




That's just a tiny glimpse into who I am, and the powerhouses I had standing beside me on The Eighth of September.



Tomorrow, I'm going to tell you about that one day I got married.