February 20, 2011

The Entourage

The awesomest thing (read: worst fucking thing imaginable) about weddings is, it makes even the simplest of tasks needlessly complicated.  You know who your friends are.  Of course you do.  We all do.  Or think we do, until we have to select our wedding parties.  Then, for some reason, it's all up in the air.

I hear about brides who have to narrow down 18 possible choices to 9, or who need help deciding which of two girls is the more appropriate choice.  I have difficulty understanding this, but I won't judge, because I have no sisters and it's my own fault that I don't have more friends.  I think it's a little nuts that brides don't just know who they're close to, or that anyone would want 136 people in their wedding party, but to each their own.  Apparently, there's also a possibility of being turned down by your would-be bridesmaids.  This had not occurred to me.  "You are one of my closest friends and I can't imagine getting married without your support, will you stand with me on my wedding day?" ... "No thanks".  The horror. Sometimes your family forces you to choose other family members that you wouldn't otherwise have considered, and often you also feel obligated to include members of your new family-in-law, just to be nice.  Lucky for me my fiancé is an only child, and none of that will come into play.  And of course (as all things wedding-related), these decisions must be made with the utmost care and foresight - because now you're stuck with them.  It doesn't matter what your expectations were, or how their plans match up (or don't) with yours, you can't fire a bridesmaid.  Firing bridesmaids ends friendships.  But after all these obstacles and decisions, eventually the maids are chosen and then the "fun" begins.

I have never been a bridesmaid.  Bridesmaids to me are just a smiling group of girls that wear the same outfit and hold the bride's dress while she pees.  A position of honour, meant only to showcase special people on a special day, and to make the bride feel like she's got some serious support.  As it turns out, I was wrong.  (Imagine my surprise). 

Apparently, being a bride makes a lot of things okay.  Like slavery, for example.  I pulled this little gem off the internet and noted a few of my favourites:

Attend the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. (Keep abreast of all prewedding parties, and go to as many as possible.)  Keep abreast of all prewedding parties.  All of them. Part of your job description is to maintain complete symbiosis with my social calendar.  Actually, it might just be easier if we sync our electronic calendars so it will be impossible for you to miss anything.  Lord knows a bride can't go anywhere without 10 tulle-wrapped clones trailing behind her.  

Help to plan, cohost, and pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party with other bridesmaids. I guess this isn't included in the previous one?  Interesting.  Now I have a whole bunch of NEW questions about what they meant by "prewedding parties".

Scout out bridesmaid dresses, shoes, jewelry, and other wedding accessories. Pay for the entire ensemble.  I did not know this.  One of the pitfalls of never being a bridesmaid, I guess.  It might just be me, but I can't imagine asking my best friends to be with me on the happiest day of my life, and then expecting them to pay me for the honour.  "I'm getting married, you're one of the most important people in my life and I can't imagine doing this without you by my side.  Would you do me the honour of standing with me on my wedding day?  PS: You now owe me $1,000."  A position of honour no more!  Being a bridesmaid is a job.  A job they have to pay me to do.  I am so disillusioned right now.
Accompany the bride on visits to the restroom, if asked.  Holy shit, I got one right!

Hit the dance floor when the music kicks in. Dance with groomsmen during the formal first-dance sequence. Also, be on the lookout for toe-tapping guests who might need encouragement and/or a dance partner.  Exactly what any socially-awkward wedding guest wants: to be pinpointed and pulled out on the dance floor for a public display of embarrassment.  And sucks to the bridesmaid who wants to rest her feet from the pinchtastic shoes I made her squish into - bitch is a fucking dance coach/partner for hire now, work the room!

Run last-minute errands. On the day of the wedding, be on hand to confirm flower delivery times, meet and greet the ceremony officiant, or satisfy junk food cravings.   The junk food thing I could get down with, but confirming deliveries?  Isn't that the job of the people actually planning the wedding?  You know, people like... me?  Maybe my wedding planner?  But hey, anytime I can give out someone else's phone number instead of my own, I'm all for it.  I'll tell my maid of honour to clear space in her basement to hold my centrepieces.

Offer to help with prewedding tasks. Try to be specific when you volunteer. For example, say, "Would you like me to help you shop for bridesmaid dresses/stuff invitations/pack for the honeymoon?" instead of just, "What can I do?" Pack for the honeymoon?  Am I the only one who has certain.... expectations for their honeymoon?  The kind of expectations that maybe would be best kept private?  I have never packed for a honeymoon before, so I might be misassuming what's involved, but I can guess at a few things it's no bridesmaid's business to know.  Sweetie, I love you and I appreciate that you want to help me out, but Put. The Underwear. Down.  I'll pack my own honeymoon gear, thanks.

Be a trooper, no matter how stressful the ordeal becomes. Try not to complain about the bridesmaid dress -- even if the color is horrendous. Be gracious and tactful.  Now this one I like! This right here is my free license to be a freak bitch and get away with it.  I can put my bridesmaids in the ugliest possible dress and stress them within an inch of their sanity, and there's not a thing they can do about it but be "gracious and tactful" and "not complain".  Smile and nod, girls, smile and nod.  DO IT NOW!

There once was a time when I was kind of sad that nobody has ever asked me to be in their wedding.  That time has officially passed.  I also now understand why there is a possibility of women refusing the request to be in the bridal party.  It's expensive, time-consuming, exhausting, there's a risk of potentially unflattering photos in hideous outfits, and a high possibility that you won't like the other girls you get stuck with.  I can't do any of this to my girls.  For me, it's going to be exactly what I always thought it was, before I was "educated".  I think it's honour enough for me to have them there, and I want to show my appreciation by not emptying their wallets or destroying their sanity.  Obviously I mean something to them if they're willing to go through this with me - probably with the expectation that I'll be the same bride as all the others they've worked with.  I think it says a lot for them that they're willing to let me zilla them into the ground, even if they kind of suspect that I won't.  Also, you've got to really like someone to hold their dress while they pee.

Kate and Celene, I love you.

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