The True Story of Shoshanna Shapiro’s Absolutely Perfect Girls Wedding

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Zosia Mamet as Shoshanna Shapiro. Photo: HBO

Sunday night’s episode of Girls was sadly Shoshanna’s final episode on the show. That means the last we’ll ever see of her is when Hannah inadvertently crashes her engagement party in the penultimate episode. But that’s not nearly enough. How can we not go to Shoshanna’s wedding? Don’t worry, we imagined just what the day would be like when our favorite girl finally becomes Mrs. Byron Long.

Shoshanna Shapiro had so much to keep track of on the last day before she could forget her maiden name forever. There was the choreography for walking down the aisle, where the bridesmaids and groomsmen would march to Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally” and make a sort of trellis with their outstretched arms as Shoshanna walked down the aisle under them, her head slightly bowed as if she were protecting her eyes from a hailstorm of imaginary rose petals falling from heaven. The video of it would go viral, if only in her mind.

But that would be easy. The real choreography was what she and Byron had been practicing for months with a professional ballroom dancer. She had to keep her top frame stiff and high and her face turned slightly to the side as they waltzed around the dance floor at the St. Regis, the short train of her dress tickling the parquet as she swept in circles like a former gymnast on Dancing With the Stars.

Those were just the dance moves. There were her vows, in both English and Cantonese, which she learned phonetically so that the Longs, who had traveled all the way from Hong Kong, would know exactly how deep and abiding her love is for a man that she met only a short time ago at a Sprinkles cupcake vending machine. She sat in her plush hotel suite only wearing her Spanx and a bra, worrying now about the cupcake tower that would very fittingly serve as their wedding cake. Would there be enough? Will everyone get one or will they have to share? Or, wait. Will they be too big? Will Grandma Long try to eat an entire Sprinkles cupcake, have a diabetic attack, and need to be rushed to the hospital? Does Grandma Long even have diabetes? And what is her first name? Is it Meiwah or is it Wahmei? How do you say “grandma” in Cantonese? Will she have to? What if she has to?

Shoshanna got up from staring at her face in the vanity and paced around the room, taking deep breaths with loud, slow exhales and fanning her freshly manicured nails in front of her face. It wasn’t calming her down. Would anything? She took some comfort in the chill of the room as she walked back and forth in her foundational garments, as all her favorite blogs called them. There was so much to do. The glam squad, as she insisted on calling them, would be there any minute and then she would squeeze into the dress, then the whirlwind of ceremony, the dancing down the aisle, the chuppah made of red flowers, her husband stomping on a glass, then cocktails and dinner, more dancing, and the cupcake tower. Would there be enough? There had to be enough.

Just then there was a knock on the door and Shoshanna did a little sprint toward it. Rachel and Ziva were there, her old college friends, each carrying their bridesmaid dresses in a Jamba Jeans branded garment bag. They had been so great over the past year, welcoming her back into their lives and installing her as head of social-media outreach at Jamba Jeans. They even planned the bachelorette party where Shoshanna had her first Jell-O shot in New Orleans, in between a ghost tour and group mani-pedis. “Are you ready for your big day?” Rachel or Ziva — she couldn’t focus on which — said in a tone you use when asking a dog if she’s ready to go on her walk.

“It’s my big day,” Shoshanna said, as a smile cracked on her face and her head tilted to one side. “It’s my big day.” The inflection in her voice on the last word went up, like she was asking a question. It was like this day couldn’t be possible at all, like it was all just some kind of dream, like she was getting everything she ever wanted and she still wasn’t quite sure she deserved it.

While Rachel and Ziva were her old friends, it somehow seemed like they were new, part of this new life she had dreamed up for herself like a Pinterest board made flesh. The other bridesmaids, Robin and Jill, filtered in, new friends she had met through Byron and taken as her own. They had gone Whole 30 with her in solidarity as she winnowed down to her wedding weight and booked a group SoulCycle class with Mantas, her favorite instructor, just two days ago so they could get one last sweat in under the dim lights and oppressive sloganeering.

It was like everything was the future for Shoshanna and she had put the past behind her. Well, not entirely. Marnie was the last bridesmaid to arrive, a little frazzled but taking charge in a way no one entirely asked her to. All the other girls smiled strained smiles, wondering what it was that Shosh saw in this girl, and Shosh wondered the same thing. Marnie had practically asked herself to be a bridesmaid, and there was something in Shoshanna that wanted it to work. She was dating a guy she had met at their engagement party, a colleague of Byron’s who worked at the same bank. She thought Marnie could be the bridge to her old life, but it didn’t seem like that would work.

As Marnie tried to give the glam squad pointers, Shosh wished for the first time that she had asked her cousin Jessa to be in the wedding party, but they weren’t really speaking. She invited her to the wedding, but the invitation was returned. It was always hard to find Jessa, even when she was living in the same city. She always moved around like a shark, worried that one minute of stagnation would lead to her death. Hannah wasn’t coming either. Shoshanna didn’t even have her address anymore. She would be glad not to see her there, wearing something inappropriate and scoffing at her well-rehearsed entrance.

It was funny to her that she was closer to her Japanese friends from her time in Tokyo, two of whom were flying all the way to New York, than she was to Hannah who was just a Metro-North ride away. It’s funny how upstate feels like another planet, like that New Yorker cartoon where the country ends at the Hudson that Shosh had a poster of in her NYU dorm sophomore year.

Shoshanna was seated in a director’s chair, her face relaxed and passive as a professional applied her makeup. She closed her eyes as instructed and, for the millionth time, imagined how the day was going to go. She saw all the faces looking back at her as she started to dance down the aisle, but there was only one she could really see vividly: Ray. How comforting it would be to have him there, the former love of her life. How sweet that he would smile that crooked grin of his. He would stand up and button his blazer that doesn’t really fit and he would reach for Abigail’s hand and Shosh would smile back at him and it would all be perfect. Ray didn’t think this was a mistake. He didn’t think they had rushed things. He didn’t think a cupcake tower was stupid, even though he didn’t eat cupcakes for some stupid reason that she couldn’t remember.

“Shosh!” she heard Marnie shout, snapping her out of her reverie. “Are you ready to put on your dress?”

“Yes,” she said, feeling the warmth of Ray’s smile follow her into the now-crowded suite and infusing it with a sort of glow you usually only get from the best Instagram filter. “It’s my big day.”

Shoshanna Shapiro’s Absolutely Perfect Wedding