Sigh...the things we do for love, a?
I just got back from a wedding of a good friend where as bridesmaid number 4, I spent $900 on a plane ticket, $815 on hotel accomodations for the week, about $200 on food/grocery for the week, $275 on the bridesmaids dress, $75 on the bridesmaid shoes, and $110 dollars on a wedding gift and bridal shower gift. In my entire life, I've never spent that much on myself for any vacation I've ever taken, let alone for something for someone else. I had to save for this thing like I was trying to pay for tuition. If I'd known, I probably still would have flown in for the wedding, but not been a bridesmaid or had to stay for wedding activities for the week.
The wedding industry as a whole has completely gotten out of hand and has convinced formerly kind and sweet hearted women, that they need all the things, and the best of the best of the best of, well, of the best no matter the cost to them or unfortunately to their bridesmaids. It's one thing if you warn them going in of your expensive need to have it all tastes, but its another when you find out, already 7 months into the planning when your names have been manually burned into the rustic invitations by some Etsy wedding artist, that you'll need to buy $350 worth of dress and shoes for a six hour gig. Maybe it's just me but I don't have the constitution to make my friends spend that much for something so temporary.
And back to the dress. As I was gritting through my teeth at the dress pricing, I was cheerily told by said bride that (and proceed to groan loudly) its such a universal dress that you can wear it again for sure---clearly trying to justify the high price in her head, to us. Why, why, why do a lot of brides believe this lie? Every event in my life, I have always gone shopping for a new dress. I think a lot of ladies do. It's the idea of the thrill of walking into a room of friends, with your significant other, and geting the oows and awes and compliments a new dress brings. If I know everyone at the wedding, which for the most part I did, and we all travel in the same circles, the next event I go to, that bridesmaid dress is dead. It's been seen and photographed and put on Facebook by ev-er-y-body and they all know it was a bridesmaids dress which of course, I did not pick, and like most bridesmaids, the dress is not entirely flattering to me (or flattering at all), and its not in a color or style I would ever wear. Beyond that, its a Bridesmaids dress. Its too fancy to show up to church in, and not in the right style or fabric to hit up a club in. So unless a gala comes along where I know no one, the dress will forever remain in a bag in a closet until I decide to clean the closet out and donate the thing to good will.
And cue the lists of stuff you must do. I think guys literally plan the Bachelor party, then show up five minutes before the wedding. Not so for the bridesmaid. There are 14 fittings, hers and yours, there are engagement dinners, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, hair and make-up consultations, luncheons to discuss plans, DIY bridal activities, and on and on. I thought at one point, I was pledging for a sorority with all the stuff I had to do..or else.
Then there was the day (or week) before where the bride is freaking out...on everyone..and everything. I stood there for 20 minutes whilst the flower arrangements I'd had to hand construct for 4 hours while my hands got pruney, were torn apart in minutes by a bride who forgot that I and the other maids were given a list and strict instructions to do it her way. Now could we re-do them the way (she apparently imagined she'd told us to). Oh and let's work out at 4am instead of 6am. Oh and could you not smile that weird way you do. Oh and could you make sure that you stuff the 200 programs with instructions to get to the other venue but put the insert on the first page instead of at the back like you did. Oh and let's review 2 more times how difficult it is to remember that the four of you need to walk down an aisle one behind the other. Yep, breathing, breathing, breath-iiiiinnnnnng!
In 2015, I feel as though the bridal industry, which is an actual thing now, has spoon fed brides this idea that everything has to be this certain way and the more things cost, and the farther you go, and the more stuff you do for the photographs, the better your wedding will be. In all of that, where is the fact that you're marrying the love of my life and that's all that's important, the main thing anymore. Everyone seems overly concerned how the wedding will turn out for the Pinterest page they intend to make, or how many likes their $10,000 gown which they can't afford, will get on Instagram and Facebook, or having a rare species of rose flown in from France which no one will notice or even care about. (Side note in case you were already thinking, well you'll be her some day too: I'm eloping, only 10 invited guests, bridesmaids and groomsmen picking their own outfits with a little instruction, instead of any gifts or pre-parties, asking everyone to make a small or big if they can or want to donation to a local children's charity).
At the end of the day, I could have said no to this bridesmaid thing (and been black listed for the rest of my life), but sometimes I suppose in the interest of love, friendship, and family, you just have to bite the bullet, don't complain (to the bride anyway), smile, show up, look pretty, and hold in all your bridesmaidy rage and save it for the appropriate time by which I mean a much needed rant and rave to the fine people of Gag.
Thank you for listening. I feel much better now.