Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

27 Messes

shoutout my iPhone and being a human disco ball

This past week, I had the privilege of being a part of my friend Sydney's wedding party.

I am always honored to be a bridesmaid, of course, and glad to be getting one wedding closer to dancing to Bennie and the Jets with James Marsden on a table, which is how being a bridesmaid works, but I am also always secretly surprised.

Because I am pretty definitively the worst bridesmaid ever.

Bridesmaids have, like, four primary responsibilities these days, and I suck at all of them.

First, they're supposed to help plan stuff — bachelorette parties, bridal showers, rehearsal dinner and big day logistics and all the details that come with those things. Outside of writing and design, I have not a detail-oriented bone in my body.

In that same vein, I lack any patience for or desire to do crafts, and bridesmaids are, second, expected to be crafty these days. A lot of women look at the DIY wedding abundance on Pinterest and see "fun." When I look at craft supplies I reflexively feel anger and fatigue and a compulsion to cuss. My theory with any given craft or DIY project is that I can either A) buy it off Etsy, or B) do without it.

So when a bride has a crafty wedding, I either have to commandeer purely aesthetic jobs — arranging the decorations that other, more capable women have created — or just kind of grab some of the supplies and hold them and look busy and offer a lot of encouragement to others and hope they don't notice that I haven't actually made anything.

The third thing bridesmaids are supposed to do is their hair and makeup, and I am miserable at both.

Finally, we are supposed to just stand there and look good in a lot of photos, and I am super the awkwardest at having my photo taken.

None of these marks against my bridesmaid career are helped by the fact that I — fun fact! — have never been in a wedding that didn't require travel. Sydney's would have been the first, except I moved to Houston the same week that she asked me. So all my unhelpfulness is usually compounded by being two plane ridesish away.

(This has not stopped courageous bride friends from twice appointing me long-distance maid of honor; though I do imagine that it has probably stopped other members of those bridal parties from being my biggest fan. I'm sorry, guys. I love you all so much. Jesus knows you were the real maids of honor. Jewels in your crown. Jewels, I tell you.)

I have forgotten my bridesmaid dress, wing-ed a speech, and once, in a display of the poorest planning ever, I decided to break up with my boyfriend the night before a wedding, which I believe goes in the dictionary under "mood-killer"! (Imagine for a moment how much cake I ate at that wedding. You can't. The limit does not exist.)

For all my faults, though, I do have some particular strengths once I'm there and it's game time.

I excel at talking brides and grooms and stressed family members off various ledges. I am also generally a small-talk queen. I keep peace with bridal party members. I maintain a light mood throughout the event. I run random errands. I distract drunk or annoying guests for ample amounts of time. I will tell you how pretty you look as many times as you need to hear it, I will pray over you before you walk down the aisle, and I will dance with you if you really, really want me to, even though I hate it.

And my speeches, winging it or not, are fabulous, thank you very much.

So in summary, I'm a below-average bridesmaid, but lucky to have so many great friends and happy they let me be a part of their big days. Thanks for loving me even though I'm a mess.

Just 23 more times to James & Bennie!

High-Five Friday: Behold