A few weeks ago I was a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my closest high school friends.
Lauren came on my radar in 8th grade, but she hung with a way cooler crowd than I did. That was the year we had speech together, and this one guy and I were always debating her and her partner — this kind of goth, bone-crusher grrl that I’m pretty sure had a crush Lauren. We were on opposite ends of every social and political spectrum, but even though Lauren made me angry, I was intimidated by how cool she was. (Ok, so maybe I had a crush, too. The whole school did. That same year, she was voted Miss Rosa Scott.)
Lauren was also this big classic-lit nerd, which was perplexing, because this was pre-internet-subculture-glorification, and nerd was not at all synonymous with cool in mid-90’s Madison, MS. A few years later, we ended up sitting next to each other in Civics, and I’d already realized that back in those 8th grade debates, she’d been on the right side of things way more than I had, even though I had ended up winning the award for highest grade out of all the speech classes (now who’s a nerd?), and so of course, we became inseparable. And I’ll second what another bridesmaid said during a toast — Lauren is the easiest friend I’ve ever had. She’s smart, analytical, quirky, self-composed and gracious.
Lauren and Django got married in front of a rusty wall on packed dirt, yet it was intimate, beautiful and ridiculously fun – 100% their vision. Lauren planned the whole shindig with only last minute help (I think they got a wedding coordinator a few days before the event — maybe she came with the venue?). They had the ceremony and reception at this reclaimed mill turned art space near Durham, NC, where they live. Lauren teaches at UNC Chapel Hill, where she’s finishing up her PhD in Renaissance Lit, and Django’s a local rock star, and not just because he speaks fluent Mandarin and makes Lauren happy.