I have made my way down the aisle many times and have managed to stay single. My method is simple: I am ALWAYS the bridesmaid - NEVER the bride. Having experienced this privileged distinction, I can honestly say that these hand picked friends and relatives of the bride-to- be do not get the recognition they deserve. Instead, they get emotionally abused, verbally abused, criticised, generally burdened, and above all, bankrupt.
I selfishly admit that upon hearing the news of a girlfriends engagement, the emotion that I experience following my initial reaction of joy, is sheer terror. My mind races with excuses. What if she asks me? How can I get out of it? Why have I been putting off moving overseas? Is there some terminal illness I may have that will get me off the hook? ... And then we are having drinks after dinner and she hugs me and tells me how much she loves me and needs me to be a part of her special day. I am drunk and flattered and ready to call it a night, so I say, "I would be honored". At that moment, in my minds eye, I see the hillbilly roller coaster mechanic flip the switch and in a violent lurch forward, I am stuck on this ride.
Tea & Sympathy 108-110 Greenwich Ave. New York, NY
For the next 6 months to 2 years, life consists of all sorts of drama. Phone calls, emails, text messages from the other bridesmaids, suggesting high tea parties (I suggest we go to Tea and Sympathy and chuckle to myself) to discuss the wedding plans.
For every event, there is drama. Debates on venues, gifts, and favors become more complicated that the Lincoln Douglas debates of 1858. Color schemes, fabrics, strappy vs. pumps, bus or limo, Friday or Saturday, flatware vs dishware, and on and on and on You know how I get through it? A lot of yessing, nodding, talking behind their backs, and drinking.
The lovely bride-to-be has morphed into "something" that her best girl relatives and friends never thought she would fall prey to ... a ghoul of sorts. She cries at the drop of a hat. She cuts her sister off because poor big sis suggested Lillie's instead of Roses. She goes to weekly appointments, with her groom reluctantly in tow, to learn about and dissect the art of napkin folding. She is removed by security at Bloomingdales for causing a scene over bridesmaid gifts. The bridesmaids are yelled at, manipulated, accused of being jealous or in my case indifferent. She wants bridesmaid #3 to lose 10lbs and bridesmaid #5 to color her hair to match the hideous dress. All communication with the bride-to-be consists of statements beginning with: "We like ...", "I want ...", "my parents said they would ...", "She is being a bitch ..."
Notice anything missing from these conversations? YOU. Make no mistake about it chica, you are just a player in this play, and yes it is a play. The good news about this perspective is that Mrs. Soon To Be So And So most likely has an understudy waiting to replace you in case you are fired or quit. From costumes, to lighting, to sound, makeup, props, scenes, scripts, and players. Where did you think the term "Rehearsal Dinner" came from? So what are we obligated ladies to do? I don't have a clue, beyond yessing everyone to death and drinking as much as possible. The good news is that there are websites and forums out there to help us through this ardous experience. Click away!