Congratulations! Your best friend/sister/college roommate/stalker just got engaged and you’ve just been hired to play the role of the Bridesmaid/Matron of Honor in this production. I got to do it THREE TIMES.
And what an honor it is! After all, you love your friend and she loves you, and you’ll do anything to help make her special day perfect, won’t you? But how much time and money really goes into making this day of hers so special, and what are you out to learn during this process? That is, other than full length purple ruffles look terrible on everyone?
Let’s balance some perspective here, because I’ve married three of my friends and I positively shine in purple. I’m no polygamist; I’m a guy who went to an online church, downloaded a certificate and managed to string enough sentences together that weren’t profane or pop culture references that when I was done, three sets of people were pronounced married. I’ve also been a groomsman in three others.
Being part of a wedding party, especially when you’re a crucial part of planning the ceremony itself can be pretty eye opening. Loryn, how about we tackle this one tag team style?
Abso-fucking-lutely, brother. What do you say we start at the start and then take it away? Let’s look at this whole wedding thing from a perfectly Americana, Pleasantville perspective and count how many fucking appearances we’re obligated to make from the time the groom embarrasses his new fiancé when he proposed at the bar, up until the very end of the wedding reception itself? Get those fingers out Sesame Street style, kids. Because we’re counting to nine!
4) All the Appearances You Have to Make
All right- ready? Here they are:
1) Photo and bio on the wedding website. The bio I’m required to write. Then we appear at…
2) The Engagement Party
3) The Bridal Shower
4) The Bachelorette Weekend Getaway
5) The Wedding Rehearsal
6) The Rehearsal Dinner
7) The Bridesmaid Brunch
8) The Wedding
9) The SPEECH (which you have to make custom. No copying or cheating, you jerk!)
See everything you’re in for? Prepare to lose a full year of your life, kids. All right, Yennaedo. Spill it. You’ve experienced this same misery, haven’t you?
I’m honestly a little confused by this, and I think every guy is. I mean, yes, there’s the engagement party which is open to everyone, then the bride and female side of the wedding party has a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, and even a wedding shower leading up to the wedding. I couldn’t tell you the differences between them, only that I know guys definitely aren’t invited to the bachelorette party.
Oh, there’s one guy who’s very much welcome at the party, but he has a strict Banana Hammock dress code!!! ::bawdy, crude, uncontrollable laughter::
Is it me? Because Banana Hammocks do not effectively mask my thunder. Really though, so different for us guys. We get told a lot of these are happening but that we aren’t expected to be at them because there are always a couple of these intended for women only in the heteronormative setup. When we do show up, the expectation is:
1) Look nice
2) Don’t throw up on anything.
See? The bar’s pretty low.
I think it’s a slightly different imbalance for for speeches, since there’s a weird cliched expectation that the Maid-of-Honor speech has to be this tear filled sentimental thing, and the best man is supposed to be hilarious and toe the line of propriety with his speech. The reality is, everyone is just checking their watches and disappointed if either speech goes over 3 minutes.
::refills wine glasses::
I’ll have you know, sir, those were the best 3.5 minutes of their lives.
I’ve used that line before… but never with regards to weddings *winks* [crowd groans]
3) It Costs You More Than You Expect
Funny story: Even in the aforementioned Americana Pleasantville Wedding, it’s still not tradition for the bridal party’s…well, anything…to be covered in the wedding costs. So, in addition to your time being chewed up, which it absolutely will be, your finances are going to shit as well. Thought it was finally time to replace that shit furnace from ’87? Well, too bad, sucker. You’re in the wedding party! And for me that mean paying for:
1) Gifts for the couple during all those previously mentioned parties. Not to mentioned that the bridesmaids are expect to pay for the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and possibly even the bridesmaid brunch if it’s not a gift from the bride herself.
2) Your bridesmaid dress, shoes, makeup, hair, and accessories
3) Travel costs and hotel accommodations
I’m not even kidding: when you’re tricked into thinking it’s a privilege and honor to be included in the wedding, it can literally cost you like, a thousand dollars. Easy. Maybe even more.
Okay this one is true, and it catches every wedding newbie off guard. Granted, there are way more expenses on the ladies’ side, but even for a guy: pitching in for the bachelor party, renting your suit, travel and board for the wedding and a gift.
(yes, you still give a gift if you’re in the wedding party, you’re not Kanye and can’t claim your presence is a present).
2) You’ll Work Harder Than You Want To
Remember when I said most weddings eat up more than a year of your life and you’re not even the one getting married? It’s beyond fucking true! My god, I’ve known people with temp jobs that were shorter than being “hired” for the role of Maid-of-Honor. And when your position is that close to the bride’s, let me tell you that without a shadow of a doubt, you become first, her employee.
And then, her slave.
Even if the bride promises she will never become “that bride”, she always does in her own way. You will end up being more than you imagined. And depending on the lady, everything from your hair length/color to your height is up for scrutiny. In fact, when I became pregnant with my daughter (which made me 13 weeks pregnant at my best friend’s wedding), one of her other bridesmaids had the audacity to say “Ugh, she *really* couldn’t wait?”
I’m starting to notice a pattern here. It’s pretty darn easy for the guys. Groomsmen have the best gigs: you’re invited to the bachelor party, you get to be up there at the altar with your best friend lookin’ fly, you made the cast list (read: program) and you’ll get preferential treatment from bartenders at the event.
Plus that preparation extravaganza? Most bridal parties will be up before dawn to start getting ready if the ceremony is in the late afternoon. The guys? We get to sleep in, grab brunch, and do some pre-ceremony drinking before we start getting showered and ready about two hours before the ceremony.
Planning? Groomsmen just pitch in thoughts and votes on what is the bro-iest of email chains that will ever grace an inbox: the bachelor party planning email chain. As officiant, I just had to have brunch or dinner with the couple to sort out order of procession for the ceremony and themes for my opening speech and pronouncements (my goal is always to make people cry, as is my wont in life in general).
1) All in the Hopes You’ll Get a Gift in Return
By the time you receive something BACK you’re like Robin Williams in Jumaji when he got out of the game after 26 years – you’re just happy to get SOMETHING after your escape. A cheese board, a necklace, another necklace, a hair clip. Fine. SOMETHING.
I think every bride should give her bridal team gift cards to Bev-Mo because that’s where I’ll be when this hypocrisy ends…speaking of hypocrisy: Why do the bride and groom think it’s okay to register for $800 kitchen knives from William Sonoma? You jerks have been living together for five years! You have all the god damn knives you need! And sheets! God damn it, stop trying to get nicer things under the guise of a wedding! I don’t care how much Daddy spent on it- YOU DIDN’T!!!
Yikes, again, guys have it pretty good here. I think because of all of the above, the work to return ratio is pretty solid. Plus, the gifts I’ve gotten have all been really good: an engraved hip flask that I proceeded to use at the ceremony itself, an engraved business card holder- lots of gentlemanly engraved stuff that I use when I need to feel fancy.
Watching or actually marrying my friends is a pretty sweet deal: I get to go to a fancy party and get a gift in return for it? Loryn, I think we may have stumbled on something pretty revelatory here:
It’s awesome being a dude, but it seems like society puts some pretty heavy pressures on women with these “traditions” and expectations, What do you think?
…that hip flask won’t fit in the boushie little pocket book I was forced to carry…
You can find Yennaedo toasting life on Twitter. He also has a pop culture blog called “Optional Irony”. Loryn is showing up to the party on Twitter. She has a personal blog. Her debut Young Adult novel “My Starlight”, about anime fandom, cosplaying, love, loss, and friendship will be released 08/03/18 by Affinity Rainbow Publications.
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