One of my workmates is getting married this year and I was just thinking about weddings and wondering whether there could be a funny story involved, somehow!
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Here Comes The Bridesmaid!
Cici was the youngest in her family. Her brothers were older than her and all of her cousins were older than her, too. Not that Cici ever minded; being the youngest meant that everyone paid lots of attention to her. And if there was one thing Cici loved, it was being the centre of attention!
Whenever the whole family got together - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the lot - Cici would regale them with jokes, or sing them a song she'd made up all by herself. Whenever someone took out a camera, ready to take a family photograph, Cici would pull a funny pose and position herself right in the centre of the picture.
So, when Cici's cousin Leia announced that she was getting married and she wanted Cici to be bridesmaid, Cici was over the moon! She was going to get to wear a pretty dress, carry a bunch of flowers and walk down the aisle in front of everyone. She could hardly wait!
"You know, a bridesmaid's job is really important," she told her brother Jacob, over breakfast one morning. "I have to make sure Leia has everything she needs, and I have to help carry her train. Although, why she's taking a train to her wedding, I don't know. And I'm guessing it's a toy train, not a real one, because I definitely couldn't carry a real one all the way down the aisle. In fact, I'm not even sure a real train would fit in the church..."
Jacob just rolled his eyes.
Later, on the way to school, Cici explained: "Leia says I have to try to stay really clean and tidy when I have my bridesmaid dress on, because I'm going to be in all of the photos."
Cici's oldest brother, Marcus, gave her a glance. "Not all the photos," he said. "Some will just be of the bride and groom."
Cici frowned. "Well, I'm going to be in nearly all of them," she insisted.
As the weeks went by, Cici threw herself into learning how to be the best bridesmaid ever.
She practised walking down the hallway in her house, pretending it was the aisle of the church.
She went shopping with Leia and picked out a lovely dress to wear on the big day.
She taught herself to play Leia's favourite song on the recorder, with the intention of surprising her cousin on her wedding day, by standing up and playing it in front of everyone in the church. Nobody had asked her to, but Cici knew they'd love it.
In fact, as time went on, Cici's plans for the wedding day got bigger and bigger...
"I'm going to paint a portrait of Leia and Bobby and then they can hang it up in the church for the wedding," she announced to her dad, one evening. "And I was thinking, instead of just walking down the aisle, what if I made up a really cool dance routine?!"
Dad took a long breath and pressed his mouth into a little line. "I'm sure walking will be just fine..."
Cici ignored him and twiddled the ends of her hair, as she thought to herself: "I know, why don't I write Leia and Bobby forever on my arm in that glitter glue I have upstairs?!"
Mum peeked up over the top of her magazine. "You can't put glitter glue all over your arms, Cici," she insisted. "Besides, you're going to be wearing a pretty little shrug, remember? Your arms will be covered up!"
Cici frowned. "Maybe I'll write it on my cheek..."
Marcus and Jacob rolled their eyes...
Finally, the day of the wedding arrived. Mum drove Cici over to Auntie Clare's house, where Leia was getting ready. There were three other bridesmaids, all older than Cici: Cici and Leia's cousin Abigail, Bobby's sister Delilah and Leia's best friend Louise. They all smiled at Cici when she arrived.
"Girls, I have this great idea," Cici announced, as she strode into the living room. "Why don't we make up a special bridesmaid song that we can sing at the wedding?!"
Abigail pulled a face. "I think we just have to, er, stand there at the wedding," she explained. "The only people getting up to do anything are the ones doing readings."
Cici frowned. "Readings are boring, though," she said. "What about if we do a play? We could do it at the reception, if you like; that gives us time to practise. I can be Leia and..." She pointed at Delilah. "You can be Bobby!"
Delilah bit her lip. "I think there's already entertainment planned for the reception," she told Cici.
Cici folded her arms across her chest. "Hmm, fine," she grumbled. "I'll make up a song by myself and I'll sing it when everyone makes their speeches."
Before she could say anything else, Leia came into the room with her mum. Leia was wearing her wedding dress and she looked like a princess.
"Wow!" Cici grinned. "This is so exciting! Is it time to go? I've brought my plastic microphone so I can announce you as we walk down the aisle!" She patted the little white bag she was wearing over her shoulder. "It's not very loud, but that's okay; I'll shout!"
Everyone glanced at each other. Cici thought they all looked a bit nervous, but that was okay; she had read that sometimes weddings made people nervous...
Cici's mum drove the bridesmaids to the church, with Leia travelling ahead in a special car, with ribbons on the front. All the way there, Cici chattered excitedly about the grand entrance she was going to make.
When they finally arrived at the church, everyone made their way to the little porch at the front. Leia took a big, deep breath, as the door opened and the organ started to play. Cici was supposed to walk in first.
But as she looked at the sea of faces, staring at her, Cici felt her feet sticking to the floor. Her heart started to thud in her chest and she couldn't make herself move. Her eyes began to glisten as she stared up at Leia.
"I can't do it," she whispered. "I can't sing my song, or announce you with my little microphone... I can't even remember the dance I made up to do on my way down the aisle." She took a deep breath. "I'm the worst bridesmaid ever. I'm too scared!"
Leia bent down and gently wiped a tear from Cici's eye. "Oh, silly," she soothed. "You don't have to sing or dance! And you certainly don't have to be scared. The most important thing for a bridesmaid to do is be there for the bride. And you're right here for me, aren't you?"
Cici blinked up at her. "I suppose so," she whimpered. "But I don't know all of those people in the church. What if I fall over and they all laugh at me? What if I drop my bouquet of flowers and they get ruined?"
"Nobody will laugh at you, whatever happens," Leia promised. "All you have to do is smile that big smile of yours and be the Cici I know and love. Just walk down that aisle with a big grin on your face. You're going first because you're the most important, after all."
Cici swallowed hard. "No, I'm not," she insisted. "You are. It's your special day and I've been trying to make it all about me. I'm sorry. And now I'm too scared to even do any of the silly things I said I would!"
Suddenly, Cici's cousin Abigail took her hand. "Shall we walk together?" She asked. "That way, you're still walking down the aisle first, but you don't have to do it all by yourself."
Cici nodded. "Thank you..." She glanced up at Abigail and then at Leia. "Now I know how important bridesmaids are," she smiled. "You've just saved the day, Abi!"
And so, Cici walked - not danced - down the aisle. And she didn't sing, or perform a play, or shout her cousin's name down a microphone. But she did give the biggest smile she'd ever smiled. And she was the proudest bridesmaid in the church.
"Abigail?" She whispered, when they were standing at the alter. "If you ever get married, can I be a bridesmaid?"
Abigail grinned. "Of course you can."
"Great," said Cici. "I've got lots of time to rehearse. I might write a rap about weddings and wear a cap with my bridesmaid dress. I could call myself MCiCi Bridesmaid..."
Abigail just shook her head and smiled.