Always a bridesmaid

Today’s guest post comes from Amber Wackford —a student, counselor, and blogger who truly loves her work. Amber sees counseling as “a special invitation by the people stepping into my office to sit with them in their most vulnerable places.” (Note: Amber’s “Dan and Rachel” refers to a different couple. … I made my bridesmaids wear red!)

In the back of my closet hangs Butter Dress, the most infamous of the bridesmaid’s dresses I have worn since graduating from college five years ago. It’s floor length, poorly fitting, and its color truly resembles the inside of a Country Crock container. I can say with absolutely certainty that I will never wear this dress again. But, I can also say with absolute certainty that I love this dress. In all of its ugly, it reminds me of something beautiful and important.

Two and a half years ago, I wore Butter Dress in my friend Rachel’s wedding. Rachel lived across the hall from me freshman year, and we bonded over shared histories of growing up on military bases and a love for reading. When she asked me to stand for her, I knew it wasn’t a light question aimed at solely getting my opinion on dresses (obviously), flowers, or table settings. She was asking me to make a covenant with her, similar to the covenant she was making with Dan in their marriage vows. She was asking me to stand for her in wedding and in her life, to support and encourage her and her husband through the duration of their marriage so that they didn’t become another divorce statistic. She was asking me to be her friend for the long haul. By simply saying “yes” when she asked me to be a bridesmaid, I was saying “yes” to living in community with her on this side of heaven.

I said “yes” to Rachel, and I have said “yes” to Joanna, Julie, and Danielle. Butter Dress has found kinship in Strapless Dress, Blue Dress, and Grape Dress, and my closest has become a reflection of the “always a bridesmaid” cliché. The thing that seems to strike everyone in my life as a little strange, though, is that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m on my way toward 30 and I’m nowhere near ready to take on being a “bride.” I’m not in a place where I can put on a white dress, throw a big party for my friends and family, and force them into doing the Chicken Dance, nor am I in a place to be someone’s wife, with all the challenges and joys that brings. I’m not in that place because God’s not called me there, and until He does I’m committed to embracing the moments of my singleness for as long as they last.

Truth is that this becomes difficult when the people around me – the people of the church, “my people” – don’t embrace singleness with the same zeal. When I’ve attended these weddings, I’ve been bombarded with questions about my less-than-busy dating life and the type of guy I’m looking for because a well-intentioned congregant’s hairdresser’s cousin’s son is my age and available.

When I attend weddings, I’m not provided with the opportunity to talk about the really exciting ways that God’s moving and using me – through my Master’s degree classes, or the research project I’m wading through writing, or the middle school and high school girls Sunday school class I’m privileged to teach, or the fun trips I’m taking and the new people I’m meeting. It feels often like I’m expected to wear black and drown my sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby because I have no hubby of my own.

Forgive me for sounding flippant, but I much prefer to wear my sneakers, grab a cup of coffee, and live my life in forward momentum. Life truly is too short, and there are too many people who’ve not experienced the enveloping love of Christ, for me to feel too bad for too long about not having a companion for the journey. Because the point is, single or married, I’m not alone. I have God’s ever-present help and presence, and He’s opted to take care of me – and everyone else – by creating us to be in relationship with each other.

Seems to me that when I said “yes” to standing for Rachel, Joanna, Julie, and Danielle, I joined not only with them to support their marriage, but they joined with me. They’ve agreed to welcome me into their lives and their homes, and to engage with me in the kinds of friendships that last a lifetime. They’ve partnered with me to offer encouragement, accountability, and admonition. They’ve stepped in to take some of the sting out of the loneliness of being single.

I think if we as a church opted to operate in community at large the way we operate in weddings, in making covenants and joining in partnerships, then maybe being a single adult wouldn’t be such a big deal. Maybe being single could be seen as a godly calling, as “good,” as Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 7. Like my closet holds room for Butter Dress, a one-of-a-kind creation, so should there be room for singles in the community of the church.

So, if you’re part of the church, I’m asking you to make room for me. I’m also asking that you stop trying to set me up with your hairdresser’s cousin’s son who’s about my age and available, and give me permission to simply enjoy this season of being a bridesmaid.


McKinney bridal show Saturday at MPAC

Take a walk down the aisle of history at a bridal show at the McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC) on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This bridal show is sponsored by Chestnut Square Historic Village, 97.5 KLAK, El Dorado Motors and Coldwell Bankers McKinney and highlights the unique options Collin County wedding professionals offer to brides to ensure their wedding is a day to remember.

“McKinney is quickly becoming the wedding destination of North Texas, thanks to the wide variety of quality options brides have in our community,” said MPAC Director Dave Taylor. “Brides have so many decisions to make for their big day, and this expo brings all of the experts together in one place to help them with every detail.”

Admission at the door is $3 for one and two for $5.

Attendees will meet experienced wedding professionals and enjoy specialty goodie bags for the first 300 brides, raffles with prizes for the entire bridal party, live demonstrations and samples. For more information or questions, please call 972-547-2650 or visit

A Storybook wedding for the Deputy Chief

By J.B. Blocker

The first wedding since the reopening of Dry Gulch western village in the back 10 acres of Storybook Ranch in McKinney came together like magic.
Mark down Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 was a historic night for many reasons. The last time the Sun, Earth, Moon, and Jupiter were in opposition (on a vertical plane) was in 1951. The next closest sighting will be in 2022.
On Thursday evening, the first newlyweds from the Storybook reopening were able to view this rarity knowing that all their stars were aligned.
For McKinney’s Deputy Chief of Police Kim Lee and her new husband Sean Malolepszy, the 23rd has become life changing. Both of their birthdays are on the 23rd and now they are Mr. and Mrs. Malolepszy.
The Chief will take on her new last name. It will be much harder for people to say or spell.
The wedding included Sean’s children Chynna and Maddie, and Kim’s children Kenzie and Jason along with a close collection of family and friends.


When Justice of the Peace Paul Raleeh arrived, he shared his long relationship with Storybook.
“I used to work events here 20 years ago as an officer on security detail. I remember working with this good looking blonde. We even baked cookies together for an event. I married her!”
On Thursday, he officiated as Sean and the Chief were married, too!
In a quaint, personal, and sometimes humorous ceremony the I-Do’s were recorded by McKinney photographer Juan Carlos Cortez and can be viewed on-line at
The whole affair was made possible by a series of coincidences.
The day after the couple decided that Sept. 23rd was the perfect date, Chief Lee visited Storybook Ranch for the first time to help Directors Wayne Kirk and Vanessa Fry coordinate security for upcoming events.
When Kim saw the little white chapel with 100 year old stained glass from the original Adophus that had been moved in years ago from Clarksville, Texas, she mentioned her intentions to marry in a private ceremony at the courthouse.
Wayne would have none of that!
He insisted on using the chapel. The Chief was concerned about the details on such short notice, especially since judges are readily available at the court house but not so much outside on short notice.
I happened to have JP Paul Raleeh on my speed dial, and he always responds to me so I took a shot and explained the situation. As you read above, the Justice of the Peace had his own personal reasons for offering his services.
Next, Wayne volunteered me to take the wedding photos. Now I have hundreds of photos published in the locals each year, but they are of the impromptu event category. This was the wedding for the Deputy Chief of Police in my hometown!
So, I called my friend Juan Carlos to take the photos and volunteered my guitar and a wedding song for my part.
I told Kim, I don’t do “Here Comes the Bride,” but I would be honored to play a song of my own for their First Dance.


You know that Go Daddy commercial with Danica Patrick getting pulled over by a woman officer who pulls off her sunglasses, let’s her long luxurious hair down, and then reveals her Go Daddy shirt? No one really believes that the women in all the cop TV series are really that hot in real life.
I’ve known Kim for about two years. I’ve only seen her with her hair pulled back tight, her shades on, and a bullet proof vest under full police uniform.
Who knew? Look at their wedding photos at and you’ll see what I mean.
Sean knew!
Congratulations to the new couple, and best wishes.

J.B. Blocker is a media consultant with Impress Me Media based in Historic Downtown McKinney, Texas.

Proposal at the Parade

By Beth Shumate, McKinney Convention & Visitors Bureau

Army PFC MP Caleb Binkley proposed to his girlfriend, Emma Marland (both 2009 McKinney Boyd High School graduates), from the Operation Appreciation truck (driven by John Dugan) in McKinney’s Hometown July 4th Parade on Sunday. PFC Binkley ships out to South Korea in a few days for a one-year tour of duty and wanted to have a ring on her finger before he left. It was no wonder that his surprise romantic gesture was greeted with an enthusiastic “YES!” and a kiss from his new fiancee’ before she joined him in the vehicle for the rest of the parade. Emma said she was expecting him to propose sometime, but she never thought it would be like this. His mother, Zon Binkley, however, had said a couple days before the parade that the two had been together since his return last week from five months of MP training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. “Oh, she’ll say ‘yes,’” she enthusiastically told the MCVB when asked if there was any doubt what her answer would be. “They’ve been talking about it, but I was so proud of Caleb wanting to do something so romantic and special!”

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