I’m the Fluffer

Being a maid of honor is hard work.

For the record, my main task was as fluffer. My dear friend Katy had a train so long that whenever she moved, I was in charge of getting it back into place. So the wedding basically went like this for me:

-walk to position
-fluff train
-take bouquet from her
-fluff train
-hand over ring
-fluff train
-don’t fall down steps or else my wife would have it caught on camera and would be blogging it from the service
-fluff train

And then I had to give a toast. Since my wife also informed Katy that she may want to check my rough draft before I give it, here’s the toast that I ended up giving:

Katy’s Toast
My name is Maurice Broaddus and I’m Katy’s maid of honor. Have you ever have one of those days where you wake up and go “how did I get here?” Well, I’ve had two of them and they both involved Katy.

I moved to Indianapolis when I was eight years old. We hadn’t lived here but a few days when there was a knock on my door. When I opened it, these two redhead little girls stood there saying “Avon calling.”

Come to find out, they were selling their mother’s makeup. They asked for my mom or sister, but it was only me home. Now I was big into Charlie’s Angels at the time and I had decided that I was going to be a spy and every good spy needs a disguise kit. So I took my mom’s cookie jar money and bought the makeup and the three of us ended up played Charlie’s Angels the rest of the day.

That was my introduction to the Swan girls. They would both go on to be an important part in my life. We went to church together, went through Youth Group together, survived our teen years together, but I always had a special relationship with Katy.

I’ll spare you tales of the special joy that was tutoring Katy in math. However, I was also there when her son Bryant was born … since I was Katy’s LaMaz partner. This was the first time I ended up asking how did I get here. Katy has always had that effect on me. She could talk me into anything. I’m surprised we survived high school.

At my wedding, eight years ago, my wife (the same woman who has been advocating for Katy to make me wear a dress for this) and I dismissed our guests by rows, giving us a chance to thank and hug everyone. Katy and I hugged so long, my other guests started murmuring “who’s that hugging him so long?” Then my wife turns to them and simply says “That’s Katy.” You would have thought the place was hit with the Holy Ghost the way everyone fell out. You could hear ripples of “oh, that’s Katy” throughout the building because they knew, they all knew, how much Katy means to me.

We’ve shared the good, the bad, and the ugly. But I wouldn’t trade even the ugly times, because that’s what friendship is all about. It’s the history and the love that ties us together. And that very same sense of history and love has brought us here today.

Not too long ago, Katy calls me up and says “Hey, I’m dating someone and I think you ought to meet him.” I know you know, Katy can be serious. So when she says I need to meet him, for whoever it was, play time was over.

Now you need to understand something, if you couldn’t tell by now, I love Katy. A lot. So whoever’s going to date her, much less marry her, had better be someone special.

So I invited Katy and Adam over for dinner and, man, Katy has him prepared, after all, I had to know the young man’s intentions. I barely got any questions out and he came back with answers. Good answers. But what he didn’t know was that the questions were only half the test. The other half was me watching him. You know what I saw? A man who adores Katy the way she deserves to be adored. Who respects her, listens to her, and wants to meet her needs. A man who holds her gently and most importantly love her.

And don’t you stop. Just because you said “I do” don’t mean I don’t still have my eye on you.

So here I am, asking myself “how did I get here?” as Katy’s honor attendant. What else is there to say? I don’t have to tell any of you just how special Katy is. She has the heart of a fighter and a spirit that won’t give up. And while she’s never gone at things the easy way, she’s one of the strongest women I know. Her life touches all of those who are blessed to know her.

And I know she’s in good hands.

To Katy.

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Friday Night Date Place – Never the Bridesmaid

Ladies, have you ever wondered how it is that I’m able to continue to write this column in a way that seems to continually resonate with you? Sure, we could blame it on the fact that I have many, many, many female friends have to listen to their constant complaints, uh, observations about men and dating. It could also be that I end up in many situations you can relate to: I’ve been asked to be, well, the matron of honor in a friend’s wedding.

Actually this will be my second time as the matron of honor in a friend’s wedding (and, by the way, all of you funny folks who want to see me in a dress, the official title of a guy standing on the bride’s side is honor attendant. I don’t have to wear a dress. So far, I haven’t even had to hold the bouquet). The lady in question is one of my oldest and dearest friends (we met a year before Jon and I if that gives you any idea of how long I tend to keep friends around). I even served as her La Maz coach and, as my wife can now attest, I am comedy gold in the delivery room.

Anyway, this has gotten me thinking about how many weddings I have been a part of, since I know this is a concern for many folks. I have one friend who treats weddings like moving her friends: after a certain age, you shouldn’t have to do them anymore. I have another friend who refuses to be a part of any wedding until her own. All told, I’ve been a part of 15 weddings. Breaking down the math:

9 times as a groomsman
–> 5 times as the best man (or honor attendant)
3 times as an usher
2 times performing the service
1 time as the groom

On the flip side, I have some friends who have never been a part of a wedding. This is what resonates most with me and why I almost always take part in weddings when asked. To me, it’s an honor. Sure, it’s also a headache (getting a tux, not a dress, having to organize the bachelorette party, etc), but it’s about the relationship. I have never understood folks who complain about having to be in weddings. This is someone who has meant a lot to me and the feeling must be mutual because she wants me standing by her side on her special day.

If that’s not the case, say no. I’ve had to say no to a couple of folks before (only one of which I came to regret). However, even in that case, it was because I didn’t think we were close enough or had even known each other long enough for me to be standing by his side (it goes back to the idea of instant intimacy: I had only known him a few months at the time … and it was a little weird to go from acquaintance to best man). Like I said, this is a judgment call because only you know the nature of your relationships.

I might as well make my peace with weddings now rather than later. After shooting off my mouth about family always growing, I have several weddings in my future. And I will consider it a blessing to be a part of the most important day in my family’s lives.

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