My brother Corey and I were traipsing down Memory Lane the other day when I referenced the time that my childhood best friend and I were “professional junior bridesmaids.” Corey was like, “Whoa whoa whoa, back up. I don’t remember this??” To his credit, he was like 2 years old at the time and too concerned with drinking “strawbeddy” milk to notice his teenage sister walking down aisles in pink taffeta.
(Was it taffeta?)
(Do I even know what taffeta is?)
As I was filling in the missing pages of this chapter of the Kelly Family Story for him, it made me realize how actually fucking ridiculous this whole thing was. Let me tell you about it.
The year was 1992. My aunt Susie was planning a wedding with her fiance, Mark (he was fucking awesome, btw, and played in a cover band called Le Chic!). I don’t know whose idea it was, but I somehow got locked in as “junior bridesmaid.” And because my BFF Christy was basically an honorary family member to the point where my Pappap once offered to take her to Europe with us but her parents said no (I was sad!), she was also offered a supporting role in The Wedding.
If you’re reading this and you know me personally, you will remember that this was basically the impetus of what would become a lifelong fear of food / eating disorder / etc. for me because I was a preteen FATTY and my grandma made sure I was aware of it. God forbid I should ruin Susie’s wedding with my fat ass registering seismic activity as I Stay Puft’d my cankles down the aisle. So this was also the year that I became exercise-obsessed too. I was on Slim Fast (yep, at 11! Ask me about the lingering effects that had on my psyche) and working out with Denise Austin and Gilad every day. I remember feeling awesome at the last fitting when my dress had to be taken in, but also thinking that I was still fat.
Speaking of the FITTING, some memories I have of that:
- being pissed because the adults got to drink champagne;
- obviously hating Susie’s choice of dress for us (and let’s be honest, it was probably my grandma’s choice);
- the saleswoman’s name being Rosemary but calling her Rosethorn behind her back because she kept sticking us with pins;
- maniacally singing “Pop Pop Goes the Weasel” (some inexplicably popular pseudo-rap song that was v. popular in 1992?!) in the back of my grandma’s car after leaving the dumb bridal shop to the point where my grandma legit lost her shit and yelled at us. God first, I’m fat then I’m annoying on top of it all.
Fast forward to the wedding. I was 12 by then, I think?
Corey asked who even was in the wedding and all I could remember was Susie’s friend Lori was a Girl Scout (no, not like, in her youth – she was STILL a Girl Scout somehow? I can’t remember what the deal was but I know that Christy and I were majorly side-eyeing each other over this, back when we didn’t know that side-eyeing was a thing) and had once dated former Pgh Penguin Phil Borque but back when he was in the farm league. Interestingly, my mom was not in the wedding party (she probably opted out because anything that puts even a background spotlight on her is not my mom’s jam) and either was Sharon, the eldest sister, but this is not shocking because Susie and Sharon hated each other.
Luckily, I found these pictures. I have no idea who any of those dudes are or the first lady, but the blond is my cousin Zita: former lingerie model and former girlfriend of former Red Wings Chris Chelios. Lots of hockey…connections in this wedding party.
Susie and Mark have since divorced but Susie is still married to that hairstyle. (Not even knocking her – that coif works for her. I literally can’t imagine her with any other hairstyle. It’s her signature!)
But where this gets kind of weird is that my cousin Zita’s brother Chris (also my cousin, obvi, but also has the distinction AND HONOR of being my godfather) was also slated to get married that year, two months after Susie. So he’s at the wedding with his fiancée, you know, and someone on that side of the family thought it would be adorable if Christy and I donned the dresses again for a second strut down the aisle, this time at the wedding of Chris and Laurie.
I mean, I barely knew Chris, if we’re being honest. Super nice guy, but our families didn’t like, hang out. And Christy CERTAINLY didn’t know him! But yeah, OK. Sure. This is normal. We will be in your wedding too! Wearing the same dresses! Knowing NO ONE in the wedding party!
This wedding was actually kind of fun though. I have a strong memory of getting into the limo after the ceremony to go to the reception. The wedding was at some really nice church downtown, I think? I don’t know, but the reception was at the Embassy Suites near the airport, and I remember it being fancy AF. So, we’re in the limo, right? And all the adults are popping the champers and just, you know, popping off in general too. And this one groomsman, he was really starting to get loose in the limo and the lips, and he looked at me, gestured at me with his sloshing glass, and said, “Your aunt Susie is A BITCH!” Christy and I were like, “Ooooooooooh!!!!!” Anyway, he went on to tell us that he was IN LOVE with her in high school I guess, and she broke his heart or something, I don’t know, but Christy and I were sure to report back to Susie on this later.
The other thing I will never forget about this wedding was that the bride’s younger brother looked like a young Mario Lemieux (hockey again) and Christy and I were LUSTING.
At the reception, we mostly just ran around letting everyone wonder who the fuck we were, but at one point Zita snagged us. She was with her then-boyfriend, some much-older rich guy. She joked that we would also have to be in their wedding. “It’s going to be in Bermuda! We’ll fly you there!”
They never got married, and Christy and I never got another gig as the Pinkies. Probably for the best considering NEITHER COUPLE made it to their 10th anniversary.