Being a woman in my mid 30’s with a pretty extensive social circle, you’d think that I would have been in multiple weddings by now. But the truth is, I’ve managed to get by unscathed in the dreaded act of being a bridesmaid. Funny enough, the only wedding I have ever been in is my own. At the ripe age of 25, I walked down a country club aisle in a stereotypical white lace dress, with a sweetheart neckline and beaded A-line skirt (clearly, I watch too much Say Yes To The Dress). It was hideous. The marriage may not have lasted, but unfortunately, the horrible wedding photos last forever.
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with weddings. We love the open bar, but we hate being a witness to any kind of eternal happiness. Kidding. (Mostly.) Having already been divorced at a young age, there was nothing worse than seeing everyone around you get engaged. I’m sure a lot of you can relate that when a close friend announces their engagement, it takes everything you have not to be overcome with dread and a little bit of nausea when you realize this event is not only going to cost you money, but all of your precious weekends leading up to the big day. Even when you’re not a bridal party member, between the engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette weekends and all of the time spent shopping for your own wedding day attire to ensure that you look hotter than the bride, you can pretty much kiss your entire summer goodbye.
Thanks to social media, a lot of pressure has been put on curating the perfect engagement announcement. Gone are the days of posting a single black and white photo of the newly engaged couple taken in the bride’s parent’s backyard printed in the local newspaper. Nowadays, we hire a professional wedding photographer and pay them $300 an hour to shoot photos in an exotic location that showcases the brides fun-loving side and the grooms ability to be a doormat. The stereotypical engagement photo of the bride-to-be’s ring hand in focus with the groom blurred in the background always makes me laugh. When you think about it, there is so much symbolism in engagement photos. Essentially all of the attention is on the bride, because let’s face it, nobody really cares about the poor sucker who cashed out his entire RSP to buy you that perfect princess cut diamond.
The moment all brides have been waiting for is here when you can finally put all of those ideas to use from a Pinterest board you’ve entitled “Some Day”. You get to dust off the case of mason jars that have just been itching to make their way out of the basement and onto a harvest table in a converted barn nearby. Men are usually just told to show up and shut up when it comes to weddings… lucky bastards. If they were actually forced to endure the painful planning of a wedding, the bride would be wearing a dress from a consignment shop and guests would be taking home a 6 pack of Coors Light as a wedding favour. Come to think about it, they could be on to something.
Every little detail about weddings seems to have intensified over the years. When I got married, many moons ago, the bachelor/bachelorette party was a drunken night out at your local dive bar, surrounded by all of your besties sipping from penis-shaped straws. By 2 a.m. you were sound asleep at home in bed, next to your significant other covered in body glitter and Tequila Rose and that was the end of it.
Somehow over time, the bachelorette party evolved into an elaborate three day weekend in the Hamptons sipping Cristal in some swanky vineyard. Each day is precisely planned out down to each scheduled bathroom break (which I can actually appreciate, being the type A person that I am). Everyone’s outfits are perfectly curated or worse… custom made. A lot of us now have a drawer dedicated to ill fitted silk screen t-shirts with the Insta hashtag theme of the bachelorette weekend printed on them. Be prepared to see a lot of women at the gym over the next few years branded with “Tammy’s Bride Tribe”… coming to an elliptical near you.
The reality is, that we as a society are obsessed with weddings. We even wake up at an ungodly hour of the morning to watch total strangers, otherwise known as the Royals, walk down the aisle. I don’t know why everyone considers the Royal nuptials to be so luxurious. If you think about it, they are actually the cheapest weddings on god’s green earth, aside from eloping in Vegas. They’re saving money from all angles. They already own a castle and have a full catering staff on the payroll, the dress is usually gifted to the bride by the designer, and even the ring and all of the bride’s accessories are heirlooms from the Queen’s personal jewelry collection (I mean, if you’re going to accept someone’s hand-me-downs, at least they’re of the Victorian era). Dragging their 50-foot train of exquisite (FREE) French lace behind them, carrying a bouquet of (FREE) baby’s breath they ripped out of the Kensington Palace’s garden 15 minutes before the church bells of Westminster Abby started to chime, this wedding probably cost less than your Italian cousin, Antonio’s.
I’ve attended many weddings as a guest, and have yet to experience anything other than monotony. (If you read that as monogamy, you would also be correct.) Between the mediocre food, horrible music, and the stale tasting fondant covered wedding cake that nobody eats anyway, I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people spend their entire life savings on just one day (myself included). One can only hope that the couple will end up making a better part of their money back in monetary gifts, but who even knows how much money to put in a wedding card these days. $100? $200? my firstborn?
I always find that the bigger the wedding, the bigger risk you have of total disaster. Especially when you have 150 guests who all ordered the steak. Good luck cooking one steak well done when everyone else ordered medium-rare. No matter how much fail-proof planning you do, something is always bound to go wrong. Whether it be a missing centerpiece, a broken zipper on a bridesmaid’s gown (because she went and got knocked up after she already purchased her dress) or nana Sue’s unfortunate heart attack during cocktail hour, you are unlikely to tie the knot without a hitch.
From the dry table wine to the even drier speeches, weddings have become pretty predictable, right down to the mortifying speech given by the maid-of-honour, usually in some form of a rap song cover. Why does every white girl think they can throw down the moment they put on silk chiffon? While I wait for the even whiter Eminem to finish her last embarrassing verse where she actually roasted the groom in front of his entire family (in a rhyme), I can’t help but look around to see if anyone else feels like they’ve wasted a killer outfit. We’re all just sitting there sipping our ice water waiting for the bar to re-open. Why even close it in the first place? Just keep that shit flowing.
Just when you think weddings couldn’t get any worse, you get an invitation to attend a destination wedding in Mexico. Am I the only person who thinks these are the absolute worst? Not only do I have to spend thousands of dollars to go on a vacation that wasn’t my choice but now I’m forced to mix and mingle with the bride and groom’s friends and family for an entire week. Don’t get me wrong, I love your cousin Britney, but I don’t need to watch her doing body shots off of the hotel bartender, Jose´… Cuervo.
The guest lists for destination weddings always have me shaking my head. Since couples aren’t paying for each individual guest, that usually means they end up extending an open invite to anybody and everybody which is extremely dangerous territory if you ask me. This is how you end up with Carol from accounting on your honeymoon! Meanwhile, your childhood best friend of 25 years couldn’t afford to come at all and is forced to send her best with a pre-recorded video message that ends up being a buffering nightmare during the reception due to the shitty hotel Wi-fi.
Couples usually go the destination route in hopes of saving time and money planning a big elaborate affair. But what I could never understand is, that they end up throwing a big reception back home for everyone anyway, including those who didn’t attend the sun-filled soiree. WHERE’S THE LOGIC IN THAT? If you want to exchange nuptials on the beach, just elope. Don’t force us to pay $30 US each to check a bag when we’re going to see you in the same wedding dress back on home soil just a few weeks later.
Now, having said all of this, I do have the great pleasure of finally wearing my bridesmaid sash this summer for the very first time. I was and still am incredibly honoured and excited to have finally earned the right to complain about the whole ordeal alongside all of the bridesmaids who have walked down the aisle before me. I get to reenact all of the fun-loving bridesmaid roles that I see in W network wedding movies and spend hundreds of dollars on a dress that everyone tells me I can just shorten and wear again. I was riding this wave of excitement all the way to my dress fitting until I walked out of the change room, only to have the seamstress look at me and ask in a rather perplexed tone: ‘Oh, are you the bride?” and that’s when I realized, that I still don’t get to be a bridesmaid.
The reason being is that even though I am indeed IN the wedding because the couple getting married just happens to be two men, there will be no bridesmaids and as such, only grooms-ladies. And since there won’t be a bride to upstage, each of us standing at the altar were asked to wear long, flowy white gowns. For those of you still following along at home, this basically means that even though I’m not the one getting married, I’m STILL a bride.
I’ve already been blessed to have experienced dress shopping for my best friend’s wedding, planning an over-the-top celebratory bachelor weekend and have worn my custom made t-shirt that will sit in my closet until I’m asked to be in another gay wedding (hey, it could happen). My speech may not have been written to the beat of a Jay-Z song, but I can assure you that at the end of this wedding, I’ll still have 99 problems, but none of them will be bridesmaid related.