This is a Special Guest Post by a woman that has (smartly) chosen to remain anonymous.
I like weddings.
I’m not obsessed with them, but I like them.
For the past few years, one of my favorite pastimes has been watching funny and touching wedding videos. Everyone is just so darn happy. I like watching the bride take her first steps down the aisle. I revel in the way her husband-to-be looks at her like she’s the most beautiful woman in the world (and bonus points for him if he sheds a tear!).
I enjoy witnessing the collective gasps and fawning over how gorgeous the bride looks on that special day. I’m always curious about how the wedding menu will be and if the food will be any good (hey, I’m a foodie!). And, of course, I LOVE a good wedding reception with a great DJ or live music.
In my relatively short time living on this earth, I’ve attended dozens of weddings – many of them celebrating the newly minted union of people I didn’t know from a can of paint.
Why? Well, my mother owned a catering business. So, almost by default, I got the opportunity to observe too many weddings to name. And even though I played a part in many of these celebrations growing up, I had no idea what weddings actually entailed, beyond having an amazing dinner menu.
Only after college graduation did I understand all the pomp and circumstance and extra-ness that can come with participating in what has now become a multi-billion dollar industry. Those coins aren’t raining down for nothin’ because they’ve got folks falling for it…hook, line and sinker. Since the five years I’ve been out of college, I’ve participated in 4 weddings – and I’m about to participate in my fifth as a bridesmaid. After every one of my friends’ weddings, I vow to myself that I’ll never again be subjected to what seems like the tortuous role of bridesmaid. I’ve broken that promise to myself 4 times. But this time? I’m done. For real. I can’t take it anymore. I won’t fall victim to rising costs and expectations ever again.
I’m pretty sure I’ve spent the equivalent of what it costs to secure two new Macbook Pros on all my friends’ weddings combined.
You see, if you’re my friend and you’re not yet married, but you’re THINKING about getting married…
Please. For the sake of our friendship, don’t ask me to be your bridesmaid (or a hostess, or anything that requires me to spend inordinate amounts of time and/or money I don’t have).
It’s not that I’m not happy for you. I am.
It’s not that I don’t want to share in celebrating one of the most important days of your life. I do.
It’s not that I’m jealous…not even a teensy bit.
It’s simply because I don’t want to share the financial burden, the mental and emotional stress and frustrating challenges with you.
I know this is probably the most important day of your life. I empathize with you.
But, at the same time…
Because we’re all doing this ‘adult’ thing and have turned into roaming nomads, I’m about 75% sure I’ll have to spend a weekend traveling to where you live. I’m about 50% sure that said travel will just happen to be on a weekend when I won’t be able to catch a flight deal (try as I might). I’m about 99% sure the dress you’ll pick for me will be that ill-fitting, ball gown length and the way the pricing at David’s Bridal is set up…I’ll likely have to sell plasma (or an organ) to afford it. Not to mention if you decide I need to order an expensive designer dress from some high-end boutique that serves champagne while we wait because it’s always been your dream to have your bridesmaids in a particular color, style, and designer. Sigh. I’m 100% certain you won’t care very much whether I like the gown or not.
After all, it is your day.
I’m pretty sure you’ll send me multiple emails painfully detailing how you want me to wear my hair a certain way (even though you’ll probably not murmur a word about relieving me of that expense). You’ll request that I get a special mani-pedi in just the right shade of blush to satisfy your coordinator (even though I’m 1000% sure no one is looking at my hands and feet). You’ll also want me to participate in a rehearsal the night before where you promise it’ll only take one hour of my time (fyi: you’re a liar. It ALWAYS takes longer).
I’m also sure you’re so consumed with planning (and paying for) such a spectacular event it probably slipped your mind to ask whether I have the coins to finance my participation in your wedding day shenanigans.
After all, the hundreds (!!!) I’m spending pales in comparison to the thousands you’re likely throwing around.
I get it. It’s YOUR day.
You see, when you ask me to participate in your wedding as a member of the wedding party at this stage of life, you’re essentially sacrificing a wedding gift.
Because the way my bank account is set up…my presence is my present.
I don’t say that to be mean. It’s not even that I don’t want to give you a gift. I do. I say that because I’m pragmatic. All things being equal, my participation in this event will likely equate to or surpass a normal wedding gift.
And here’s another the thing about events like these…
10 times out of 9, they require participation from people other than you, your spouse-to-be and your families.
So, when you ask people (who are not related to you) to be a part of your special day, you have to also be conscientious about where they are in life and you must level your expectations of them.
Are they broke students? Are they suffering through crappy entry-level positions? Are they entrepreneurs? Do they have a job at all? These are all the questions to ask yourself before you expect me to buy that overly priced gown that I’ll probably never wear again.
Now, I’m not asking you to run every minuscule decision regarding your wedding by me (I’m pretty sure I’ll like your wedding dress and wedding colors well enough), but I am asking you to exhibit common sense and etiquette by at least giving me a high-level view of how much I’m expected to spend to stand next to you when you say, “I do.”
Then, and only then, can I make an informed decision. And can we park here for a second and talk about this pervasive idea around this being “your day”?
Yes? Ok. Here’s the thing about that.
You’re right. It IS your day. Which means it’s not mine.
Which means I cannot and will not care or invest as much as you do. These are facts. So, tell that wedding coordinator feeding you that… ahem…malarkey, to miss me with it. You cannot have whatever you want. Furthermore, I shouldn’t be expected to walk on egg shells, quietly complaining to your other victims (bridesmaids) about all the hidden costs and excessive sacrifices you want me to make.
Oh, please believe, your bridal party is talking about these demands. Your friendships are probably on the rocks right now and you don’t eem know it.
But even if you did everything “right.” Even if you were considerate enough to give me a peek into the costs and the expectations around your wedding… The answer would still be no.
I love you, but no.
I’m happy for you, but still, no.
My wallet, my financial future, and my sanity can’t and won’t be compromised again in this way. So, don’t think of this as a negative thing. I’ll still attend your wedding (wearing whatever I want!) and I’ll gift you that thing you’ve been lusting after on your registry. I’ll still celebrate with you and wish you well.
I’ll continue to be supportive and encouraging. I’ll always be your friend. I won’t stop being your homie.
I just can’t BE in your wedding.
It’s probably best for the sake our friendship.