By Carolyn Shields
We both spent hours of our childhood dreaming of this day. Many of us do. What our dresses would look like, how the man would react as we walked down the aisle to him, and so on. Olivia fell in love first, with a marine. (Damnit! She set the bar high!) Watching my sister-not-by-blood fall in love was an honor enough, but when she asked me to stand by her on that day, I was flushed with warm admiration for her. It was an honor to participate in all of the small, intimate ways that weekend and something I will truly cherish forever. From listening to her tiptoe upstairs the night before, to having that moment together to eat toast and sip coffee the morning of, when the earth was defrosting itself. To standing behind the doors of the Church, where I straightened her dad's tie, and she whispered, "Carolyn?" And I turned.
"Do I look okay?"
And my eyes smarted with tears as I straightened her veil once more, tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, and she pulled me into a hug, kissed my cheek, and told me she loved me. And then I had to go ahead of her.
So you're here too? I'm sure you're feeling just as honored as I did. Sisterhood is something so beloved, and I wanted to share just a few ways to incorporate as much prayer into your best friend's day as possible. And if you're like me, I no longer lived close to Olivia during her engagement and couldn't run across the street to her house like we did when we were little to help her tie 150 ribbons for her favors.
But you can do the following, no matter how far apart you and the Bride are...
Pray for Her Guests
I was privileged to write out Olivia's wedding invitations, something I could do on quiet evenings in my apartment, nearly three hours away. As I wrote out the names of her guests, I realized just how many names I didn't recognize and was curious as to who these people were that meant enough to Olivia and her fiance that they were invited to join them on their Big Day. So over each envelope, I thanked God for their presence in their lives.
Secondly, I also wrote out her escort cards. Over each of these, I prayed for their safe arrival to the ceremony and reception.
Create a Spiritual Bouquet
I know it's tradition to collect the ribbons from the Bridal Shower to build a swiss cheesey bouquet for the Bride. Trust me, I did...and it was the saddest looking thing ever! So instead, I reached out to Olivia's friends and mine to build a spiritual bouquet. I bought a few white roses and scribbled the sacrifices, novenas, rosaries, and prayers that these girlfriends were offering for Olivia and tied them with twine onto the bouquet. I thought she would feel more comfortable walking down the aisle holding a bouquet of prayer (some from women she never met) than one made of ribbon!
Take a Moment to Pray Over Her
Trust me, I wasn't a fan of people laying their hands on me either for a long time, but I think in that moment, when she looks immaculate, it's minutes before go time, and the butterflies are raging, she won't fend anyone off. Invite the bridesmaids to join in, place a warm palm on her shoulder for physical support, and let your heart sing its praise.
Reflect on Honor
That's who you are! The Maid of Honor. What's it mean to honor someone? What does honor deserve? What place does honor have in our faith? If we believe our Holy is who He says He is, then we must understand who we are. And on this weekend, on that altar, that's what you represent.