The invitation greets you in your mailbox. Curvy letters are displayed across a thin card and form to make sayings like “You’re Invited” or “Will you be my bridesmaid?” You smile at the handsome couple as they stare into each other’s eyes, excited about their future.
If your letters spell the phrase “You’re Invited,” you start to brainstorm what to wear. If they say “Will you be my Bridesmaid,” you feel honor and check your pocketbook.
Fear not. Being a bridesmaid can be one of the most fun times of your life. It can also be one of the most stressful. Here’s how to keep it fun.
My level of involvement in weddings this past year has varied greatly. The first was a level 1; my only involvement was to show up. The second wedding was a level 4; I did the hair and make-up for the wedding party of 3, including the bride. My final wedding of the year wins on the involvement scale at around an 8; I am actually part of the bridal party and all that may encompass. It is the third wedding that has inspired me to write this article; how to survive a wedding as a bridesmaid.
1.Travel on a budget. The entire wedding party is from Kansas City. I sort of count only because I moved after high school graduation to the small town my family moved to after my father retired out of the military. So, almost all of the wedding festivities (the engagement party, the bridal shower, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, the shopping, the venue tour followed by cocktails, etc..) are happening in Kansas City; 6 hours away from me. For a new college grad with a new job and hefty schedule, this posed a problem. So, I compromised not only the finances but also the trips. Now, I am not saying that one part of a wedding is more important than the others, I am just saying that if your budget and schedule only allows for a couple trips, choose wisely. I am sure the bride will understand your absence from the venue hunt, but it is probably important to make sure you attend the Bachelorette party and the rehearsal dinner. If you live in the same city, you should be trying everything to make every event.
2.Be your most positive self. Mostly likely you will be running into some old friends, old enemies, old boyfriends, old hook-ups, potential new hook-ups, potential new boyfriends, and everyone will be wondering what you have been up to. So, be your most fabulous self! Feel free to share your recent projects, your new relationship, your new house, your new job or what have you. Most guests will be waiting for the chance to talk with the wedding party. Be ready to have things to share!
3.Watch your alcohol. Nothing is worse than a too-tipsy bridesmaid. You’re there for the bride, not for the drinks and as bad as this may sound, the bride chose you to stand up there with her, don’t make her regret that choice!
4.Be prepared for an emotional bride. Weddings are stressful, exciting and scary. That is a lot of emotions for one person to feel, so be ready to lend a hanky or a shot of tequila to your very sensitive bride.
5.Be fake. No seriously, be fake. There may be some bridesmaids you do not get along with but remember, this is not about you. It is about your friend the bride and she chose the people she cares about most to be there for her even if they may not all get along with each other. Be friendly to the ENTIRE party, despite any bad water that may be flowing under some bridges. Do not choose the wedding as the day to confront that snobby fellow bridesmaid about how snarky she is in her emails or how bad you want to punch her for posting that pic of you from the Bachelorette party that was anything but flattering or maybe how she hooked up with your high school boyfriend after you went off to college. Either way, just fake it until the honeymoon.
6.My final piece of advice is for the single ladies or ladies in relationships that seem to be stuck at the cross between engaged or legally Commonlaw: do not let all the excitement around your friend’s happy ending cause you to ignore the happy things happening for you. This is something I am trying really hard to do. I want nothing more than to marry the man I am with right now, but it just doesn’t seem to be the right time, and that’s okay. But I have to admit, hiding the bitterness is harder than I thought. I have to keep reminding myself that my time will come and know that these moments are moments that I will not forget and neither will my friend. I do not want her or myself to remember them as being sad or miserable but instead as magical and fun; just the way they are!
Weddings are wonderful. They are even more wonderful when people you love and care about are the ones getting married. Being a bridesmaid isn’t just about responsibility. It parallels the mark you put onto other people’s lives, and there is no need for a survival kit for having too many meaningful relationships.