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The Jaded Bridemaid’s Guide to Surviving Wedding Season

Posted Aug 16 2012 12:25pm

(Disclaimer: Now before you get your panties in a twist, this is IMO. I’m sure you have a wonderful splendid wedding filled with magic and May-poles. This doesn’t mean I hate being invited to weddings. I am sharing my stories about being in the trenches of war.)

 Bridesmaid in one wedding, guest at another, Maid of Honor in another. Now I love these girls with all my heart. I love their fiancés. I love love. I love celebrating it. I love getting dolled up and being part of their special day. I love little tiny finger foods and big strong drinks. I love meeting family members and other friends and I get a glimpse of how the bride came to be.

Being the single bridesmaid/guest/MOH, is a little different.  I already planned my wedding, the wedding that never happened. So this last year has been especially difficult since everyone got engaged as I was packing up whatever life I had left to move on. The very last thing I wanted to think about were weddings. Within weeks and still not completely unpacked yet, in comes the flood of save the dates, bridal showers, wedding invites, baby showers, baptisms. I tried to set them all on fire and jump in it… it was unsuccessful.

Being alone means I’m already invited sans guest and seated at the ‘Singles’ table. Yes, that’s exactly what I want. To be reminded just how single I am, with a bunch of other singles at a wedding when two people are celebrating their undying love. The least I can do is bring a friend who I can get drunk with and dance to Journey (Thanks Erik!). But let me tell you about single people at weddings. We’re a pain in the ass for the bride planning the wedding. It’s expensive to feed guests. So if the happy couple has no idea who you are with, chances are they don’t want to shell out $100 a plate for him/her.

My jadedness doesn’t come from my friends life choices. I’m ecstatic for them. My favorite moment is they see me in person to tell me they got engaged and the look on their face is priceless. Just pure bliss. My lack of enthusiasm comes from being behind the scenes so often that I know exactly what special form of hell they experience. Also, you have NO idea what it is like, unless you’ve already planned your own wedding. Everyone thinks that this is ‘your special day’. It is not your special day by a long shot. It’s your special year of the dumbest fights and people pleasing you’ve ever encountered. Unless you’re made of money and you can hire a wedding planner and not worry about a budget, you’re going to have a bad time. Most of my friends are paying for their weddings out of their own pockets, without help of family. Welcome to Ramen Noodles and tap water.

Sure, the entire process isn’t torture, the fun part is picking out color scheme / theme, deciding on your bridal party, guest favors, maybe even trying on dresses. But let me tell you, as the girl who has picked up many 2am phone calls from a screaming crying sniffling bride-to-be in the middle of a psychotic break down, it is not all kittens and rainbows people. This is war.

I obviously knew I was going to be the Maid of Honor at my best friend’s wedding. She didn’t even ask, it was just a given. Then I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my other besties wedding. Then guests at others. 2011 was the year to be engaged (or to break up) and everyone decided this Summer was the perfect time to do it. Most of these brides are ALSO bridesmaids or guests in each other weddings. I do not envy these brides this year. I’m sure the things I’ve seen is just the tip of the iceberg.  Being in a wedding only solidifies my feelings about how I never ever ever ever want to do this (sorry Mom).

I just got back from NYC from a bridal shower we threw for my best friend. We didn’t have it catered, we supplied the alcohol and food, we picked and created the favors, we decorated and cleaned. The five bridesmaids were on TOP of this, and the bride who couldn’t sit idly by helped way too much. It was the 2nd most exhausting thing I have ever encountered (the other being a 5 hour taekwondo sparring seminar in NYC earlier this year). But I survived to tell the tale.

If you’re ever asked to be a bridesmaid, you really need to understand this isn’t a joke. There are things expected of you and everything comes at a cost. Here is my Jaded Bridesmaid Guide on How to Survive Wedding Season:

1. Only say yes if you are willing to make this an occasional part time job. Depending on how close you are to the bride, the more hours you’ll put in.

2. Don’t be a bitch.

3. It will be expensive. Accept it.

4. Sometimes the bride doesn’t need you to wrap 250 party favors. Sometimes she’ll just need a shoulder to cry on, that should be you.

5. Don’t try to talk them out of getting married because you’re a jealous c-word.

6. Always always offer to help with writing/stuffing invitations.

7. Accept you will have to coordinate with 5-7 other bridesmaid about plans. Some people may not like the idea of ‘shooting guns’ as part of the Bachelorette party.

8. After a few glasses of wine, don’t try on the brides engagement ring and start crying and rolling on the floor wailing ‘Why not me!?’

9. This goes for guests too: Do NOT post photos of the bride and groom during their wedding ceremony on Facebook as it’s happening, unless they approve. Tactless!

10. Have your phone on you at all times. Check your email often. If you miss an update, that’s your fault. The bride has enough to worry about and shouldn’t have to wonder if you’ve checked your email yet.

11. Do engage guests at the reception. Dance with Grampas and little cousins! Offer introductions.

12. Do dance vivaciously, just make sure you leave room for the holy ghost.

13. Do have a few words to say during bridal showers, toasts, receptions, rehearsal dinners. Keep it PG.

14. Buy your dress early and have it altered immediately if need be. Don’t wait to the last minute.

15.  Do not rely on the bride for ANYTHING on her wedding day. Do not call her for directions or last minute details. Instruct guests if they text and/or call the bride while she’s getting her make up done, that you will personally slice a bitch.

16. DO have a say in your bridesmaid dress.

17. Don’t change your appearance drastically right before the wedding. IE, wait to get your arm tattooed till after… (ahem….)

18. Do not give the bride a hard time about not being able to bring a guest. If you’re really not dating someone serious, don’t force them to pay for a friend.

19. Do NOT forget to eat. Oh you’ll always find a way to drink, but don’t do it on an empty stomach. You will be very busy come Wedding Day. Don’t be that hot mess.

20. Always lie to the bride if something went wrong. You fix it. Then tell her when she gets back from her honeymoon.

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