My birthday is a magical day.
And I don’t say this because it marks my birth. I say it because it’s true: Romance just seems to blossom annually during these 24 glorious hours.
At my birthday parties, I’ve had multiple friends couple up and become, well, more than friends, and even in popular culture—spoiler alert for Silver Linings Playbook ahead—Tiffany and Pat perform their dance routine and subsequently pledge their love to each other on what is supposed to be December 28.
So naturally, I was pleasantly surprised when one of my friends asked me to be in her wedding, but not surprised when she revealed the date the big day would take place, a day when some people celebrate my birth (mostly my mother).
The first thing my friend said after approaching me with this role in her wedding was, “I’m sorry,” but I was honored to be asked, birthday or no birthday. Although often depicted as a thankless job in movies and on television, the role of bridesmaid is kind of like being a desert-island pick, like one of the five albums the bride would have with her if stranded with Tom Hanks and Wilson. If she could pick any number of people to stand beside her at the altar—it’s you.
So I embraced the idea and went with it. After all, Molly Ringwald got Jake Ryan at the end of her birthday-wedding extravaganza in Sixteen Candles. Plus, you get to see your friend find joy with her soul mate—on your birthday, no less. She’ll never forget the day now because otherwise she’ll have forgotten her anniversary.
When people would ask me what I was doing for my birthday, I’d tell them that I was going to be in a wedding, and they’d always moan for me, but honestly being in a wedding on your birthday has its perks. No one wants to get older (except Benjamin Button, that lucky bastard), so someone else’s big life event is a nice distraction from being another year closer to the grave (or in Benjamin Button’s case, cradle).
For one thing, everyone is dressed up for the event, so there’s no need to ask people to dress a certain way for your gathering and be disappointed when they show up at a wine bar wearing ratty sweatpants and a t-shirt with more holes than Swiss cheese.
Another thing: surprise gifts. Not only will people actually acknowledge your birthday, but because they feel guilty for dragging you away from whatever you really wanted to do on your birthday (attend a Discover the Dinosaurs exhibit in your area—don’t knock it), they will also go so far as to buy you something. Completely unnecessary—but completely heart-melting.
Did I mention that you get a party of more than a hundred people and you don’t have to pay for it? Free food, free alcohol, free tunes. However, your entry fee is a bridesmaid dress you tell yourself you’ll wear again (even if that time never seems to come up).
One setback to being in a wedding on your birthday is if you’re single. Warning: You may want to set yourself on fire with one of the lovely candles adorning the Pinterest-worthy table settings—only because being single, on your birthday, and in a wedding is kind of like a triple threat the way Ashlee Simpson was a triple threat for singing, dancing, and acting. You may feel like the only thing missing in this you + birthday + wedding equation is an oven to put your head in, but fret not: The feeling will quickly pass because you have other things to worry about—like how you’re going to shoe-horn yourself out of your bridesmaid dress that’s starting to compress around your chest like a boa constrictor made of taffeta. Plus, because it’s a wedding, there are always available romantic prospects at the reception.
It’s also nice to just not make the day all about you. There’s generally so much anticipation with birthdays—what you’re going to do, how you’re going to celebrate—that it’s nice to have everything planned out and for your mind to be elsewhere. I liked spending most of the day thinking, “Oh, right. It’s my birthday.”
In fact, if I had one wish for everyone, other than the abolishment of the mispronunciation “libary,” I would wish for everyone to at least once experience being in a wedding on their birthday, as it will be one of the most humbling experiences you’ll have. Remember: To one person, your birthday may mean the world, but to another, your birthday may mean an anniversary.