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My maid of honor is, as I type, graduating from college. I couldn’t be there for a couple of reasons (and unfortunately they were practical enough that even I couldn’t talk myself around them), but I figured that this was the perfect moment to not only talk about the benefits of having a great MOH, but to explain why my maid of honor is, hands down, the best.

And so, without further ado, consider this an ode of sorts to my maid of honor and bff.

It’s kind of interesting, I think, to try and figure out how exactly to go about planning a wedding these days. Traditional “lines” seem to have been erased (or, at the very least, smudged considerably) in a lot of areas: brides and grooms are, just as often as not, paying for their own nuptials and planning them together, the ceremony itself is just as likely to take place on a mountainside or sandy beach as it is in a church, and cookie-cutter wedding parties (matching dresses, hair, nails, shoes, jewelry, etc., etc.) are a must-have of the past.

But there is one thing that, in my opinion, will always be an important part of the proceedings: a girl wants to have her best friend there along the way. And (insert side note here), although I would be the first to say that I am marrying my best friend, there’s just something about the girl who stands by your side and helps you pick out shoes that you’re probably not going to find in your football-watching soul-mate (I am sincerely envious of those of you who have found this to be otherwise) and which is, no matter the circumstance, often crucial to one’s emotional stability.

And so, in light of that (difficult and stress-inducing and maybe sometimes necessarily sugar-coated) role, dearest MOH, thank you.

Thank you for calling to check in on me when we’re several states apart. Thank you for giving your opinion on invitation fonts and shoes, for being relentlessly thrilled about the fact that I’m getting married, for being supportive when I’m really not sure about the dress and being the first to suggest that we go find at least one more to try on (and saying that the only thing you don’t like about it when I do find the right one is that it’s now off the market and you won’t be able to wear it when you get married) and for tugging on bridesmaid dress after bridesmaid dress (the photos don’t even begin to encompass it all) and being excited about them all.

And, most of all, thank you for loving me enough to remind me that this is my day and that, in the end, I need to decide exactly what I want it to be—not what I think everyone else wants it to be.

Congratulations, graduate. And thank you, bff.

Photo credit: Megan W Photography