The best thing about besties is that you get to have more than one soulmate. And as I prepare to marry my fiance-soulmate, I’m finding that choosing bridesmaids can be one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding and I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to have so many awe-inspiring women in my life. Carrie Bradshaw said it best: “The most important thing in life is your family. There are days you love them, and others you don’t, but in the end they’re the people you always come home to. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born into, and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.”
So, here is my list of the family I made for myself. These are the besties who’ve been by my side through the best and worst points in my life, who believed in me after I stopped believing in myself, who got me through break-ups and moves across the country and self-tanning mishaps, the ladies who have made me a better version of myself:
THE LIFELONG FRIEND She’s been there for you since you were both in diapers. In kindergarten, when you had to wear an eye patch to correct your lazy eye, she wore one in solidarity; and when you’d only answer to “Dorothy,” she declared she’d only answer to “Toto.” You guys connected on some higher level before you could even speak, and haven’t stopped talking since. Her dad lent your boyfriend his badass car to drive you to prom, and your dad officiated her wedding. She may not be the sister you were born with, but she’s the sister you chose.
THE HOT MESS She is your partner in crime. (Literally.) She closes the bar down at 2am, then asks where the after-party is (on a Tuesday). She plays on Tinder like it’s a game of Candy Crush Saga, has never waited in line to get into a club, and once went to Cancun with a bunch of NBA players “because it sounded like it would be a wild story.” (It was.) Her job is some sort of party: She’s a fashion blogger, or a club promoter, or Tweets for a living. Nights out with her are exhausting and exhilarating, because who else would you make fake aliases with when you do costume karaoke, and tell people you’re foreign exchange students from Sweden? She challenges you to let loose and live each moment like it’s your last (and with her, it might be.) Bonus: You get to live vicariously through her exploits, safely, over Bottomless Mimosa Brunch.
THE FRENEMY She posts pictures on Facebook in which she looks amazing and you looks hideous, and hashtags it #gorgeousgirls. She re-pins all of your brilliant ideas on Pinterest, and passes them off as her own. That guy you met on OkCupid and actually liked? She went out with him weeks ago and “didn’t really feel it, but he’s so your type.” She thinks it “sends such a good message” that you eat whatever you want without worrying about gaining weight. Your lives are almost parallel, she’s just so good at making hers look shinier! Here’s the deal: At the end of the day, she really would give you the shirt off her back (she’d just tell everyone she didn’t want it anymore because “it’s out of season, but you don’t care about stuff like that.”) And if you two could just get over the ridiculous, unspoken competition you have going, you might discover she’s actually a real friend.
THE EARTH MOTHER She doesn’t eat meat (or anything that might hurt an animal in its journey to your plate). She bikes to work, and only asked for used/recycled items for her baby shower. She believes that, somehow, the world will be okay and she does more than her part to make it so. She could care less about materialistic things, or what anyone thinks of her, and because of her, you abide by Meatless Mondays. She encourages you to be a little gentler on yourself and the planet, and because of her, you actually stop and smell the roses. (Literally, and figuratively. We have it so good, guys!)
THE THERAPIST She’s read every self-help book, goes to Marianne Williamson lectures weekly and speaks Oprah-isms fluently. Her version of a girl’s night out is staying in with a bottle of wine, making vision boards, reciting mantras from The Secret and talking about your feelings. She’s got killer advice for any problem, and you always leave a hang sesh with her feeling peaceful and like you now know yourself on a deeper level.
THE COLLEGE (OR 20’S/30’S/40’S/YOU GET IT) ROOMMATE She’s the one you figured out (by trial and error, lots of trial and error) how to be an adult with. You held her purse, hand and hair on her 21st birthday. She drove you to the hospital when your “at-home bikini wax that’s going to save so much money” went horribly awry. You know if she’s going through a hard time, the only thing that will make her feel better is to put D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel” video on repeat, and cry and eat tubes of cookie dough together. And as exciting as it is to be getting married and moving in with your favorite boy (or girl), you can’t help but mourn the happy, hilarious years of living with your favorite girlfriend.
THE “LEAN IN”-ER She’s probably going to be the first female president, or the next Tina Fey, or Sheryl Sandberg. When her assistant emails you to see if you can do lunch with her in 23 minutes, you jump in your car because you know Kim Kardashian will probably be engaged to someone new before the next opening in her schedule. She’s driven, confident and has bigger (proverbial) balls than most guys. She inspires you to challenge yourself, chase your dreams and refuse to accept the word “no.”
THE DUDE When Harry Met Sally asks if women and men can ever really just be friends? I say yes! Yes, they can! He doesn’t play weird, passive aggressive games, he’s straight-forward and doesn’t overthink things, and sometimes it’s just awesome to see a situation from the perspective of a guy. He gives great advice, and you’re each other’s wingperson — like, for real, not like in some lame rom com storyline where you fall for each other in Act III. You were a groomsgirl in his wedding, and you can’t imagine your day without him backing you up, either.
THE MOM She’s nurturing to her core; when you’re sick, she brings you organic chicken noodle soup she whipped up from scratch. At the beach, she makes sure everyone is wearing sunscreen. At your ironic, adult dodgeball league games, she always shows up with snacks. Whenever you go out, she appoints a designated driver or coordinates Uber carpools so everyone stays safe. She texts you pep talks. All of her parties have awesome themes that are perfectly decorated, complete with cleverly-named hors d’oeuvres, and a homemade, Pinterest-worthy favor. Maybe she’s got three kids already— or maybe she’s actually your mom—but whatever the case, this lady loves you selflessly and unconditionally.
THE PLATONIC LOVE OF YOUR LIFE Maybe you have a “meet cute” story, and didn’t love each other when you first met. Or maybe your friendship is the non-romantic, equally epic version of Noah and Allie in The Notebook, only she’s not still adoring you in a nursing home, she’s still adoring you as you nurse a hangover so wicked you’ve forgotten your own name. Regardless of how it all started, this girl has become an extension of yourself. She makes you laugh until champagne squirts out your nose, she’s honest when everyone else is afraid to be, and is as excited for your successes and happiness as she is for her own. Sometimes you pick up the phone to dial her, and she’s already on the phone because you both needed to talk at the exact same time. You’re just on the same wavelength like that. And no one supports you harder; she believes in you and your dreams so passionately, you can’t help but catch her contagious confidence.
What say you, Gigglers? If you were choosing your bridesmaids, which besties would stand by your side?