Here’s the thing about bridesmaids – I was always under the impression that they were friends. I don’t necessarily mean friends with each other – before Kyle and I got engaged, some of my girls had yet to meet one another because I’d cherry-picked them from different phases and “chapters” of my life – but I’d always assumed that bridesmaids were at least friends with the bride. That’s why the bride chose them to stand with her on her special day, because she wanted her friends up there with her. Her friends. FRIENDS.
I’m going hard on this ‘friends’ thing because – to my knowledge, unless something has changed with the biblical golden rule – friends are not assistants. A bridesmaid should not be treated as your employee. First of all, you’ve probably seen her throw up after too many shots of tequila (your first clue that you’re not hiring her, you’re asking her to hang out with you and wear a pre-approved matching dress on your big day) and second of all – a bridesmaid/bride relationship should be a fun, girlfriend-y bonding experience. A bride shouldn’t be barking orders at her bridesmaids, or demanding things of them, or asking them to spend thousands of dollars on an elaborate bachelorette weekend. Just because you’re becoming a bride and you’ve got this big rock on your finger, suddenly you think you’re Princess Shiba? Get a grip, Bride Lady. These are still the same girls who ate Taco Bell with you at 2AM in college. They know you’re not that fancy – yes, even though it’s your wedding and they’re all very excited and very happy for you, but they shouldn’t be expected to hang on your every whim. They have lives too.
This has been my PSA in service of bridesmaids, sparked by an article I found on Pinterest from a website called “womangettingmarried” dot com. Not women getting married, woman. Just one. Singular. (Odd choice for a name, but maybe the domain for womengettingmarried was already taken.) The article was called “12 Rules Every Bridesmaid Should Live By” – which already seems like so many. Right? Twelve rules for a bridesmaid? I think I had two rules for mine: “Don’t be late” and “Please drink champagne with me in the bridal suite”. Granted – I was very weird about “being too bossy”, because the last thing I wanted to be was that bride. The bossy “get me another mimosa” bride.
Although when my maid of honor asked me if I wanted another mimosa, and I said sure, and she made it for me… that’s totally not the same thing.
Rule #1 (according to this ‘woman’-getting-married. Original post here.) You’re not just a bridesmaid: You’re a therapist, personal shopper, secretary, and straight up back-haver.
We’re off to a great start. First of all, ‘woman’, I assume you aren’t paying your bridesmaids as hired employees. Therefore you shouldn’t be going around calling your friends your “personal shoppers” or “secretaries”. Even if they are personal shoppers or secretaries at their day job – unless you’re paying them as a client, you do not get to assign them the same tasks that you would a personal assistant. They should not run your errands for you, make decisions for you, or file your taxes for you. Bridesmaids should be considered friends who are there to celebrate with you and offer support and positivity on your big day. They can help you with your hair or your dress, drink champagne with you, open the door to bridal suite when someone knocks, etc. What a bridesmaid should not be is your literal maid.
Rule #2: Don’t complain about your bridesmaid dress unless the bride has complained about it first. And if the bride has complained about it, don’t just pile on – that’s only going to stress her out more, okay? You can say something like “I’m happy to wear whatever, and I think this is fine! But if you would be more comfortable with me wearing something else, I understand”. Basically just don’t complain. About anything. That should have been rule #1. Go with the flow – it’s one day of your life and it’s not supposed to be about you. If the bride wants you to wear a poofy, princess peach, cupcake dress – then just smile and wear the poofy, princess peach, cupcake dress. Support your friend. As a bridesmaid, that should be your only job.
Rule #3: Ya’ll need to eat before the wedding. There’s an open bar ahead of you. Well, first of all, not every wedding has an open bar – and second of all, it’s nice that you’re taking advantage of the fact that your friend is paying for drinks. While I’m all about – yes, you should eat something, because it’s going to be a long day – the motivation behind the eating should not be “because we’re going to get shwaaaaasted”. Don’t get shwasted. Don’t be that bridesmaid. Eat because you have a full day’s worth of activities ahead of you before dinner in 6+ hours.
Rule #4: You are on lipstick patrol for the bride. ALL NIGHT. No you’re not. I mean, yes, you are, but…. it’s not your JOB to be paying close attention to her face all night. I would hope that if she’s got lipstick on her teeth, someone – anyone – would tell her. Unless this rule means you’re supposed to hold the lipstick for the bride? I don’t know, ‘lipstick patrol’ isn’t really clear. Either way – just be a supportive friend. That’s really all you need to do.
Rule #5: If a chatty uncle is talking the bride’s ear off, step in and take one for the team. Honestly, my maid of honor did this for me at our reception, and I was forever grateful. No sassy commentary on this one.
Rule #6: Nothing good can come from bringing up an ex during a wedding speech. Do people do this? They must, because I’ve seen this ‘rule’ more than once on various websites. How does that go? What maid of honor is looking at a room full of people and saying, “Oh man, remember Joe? Joe was the WORST. I was so glad when you broke up with him! And look, then you found Chad. Awww.” <— don’t do that. Nobody in that room wants to hear about Joe.
Rule #7: If you’re in the bathroom at the reception, check the stalls before you say ANYTHING about ANYONE. LOL something tells me ‘woman’ learned this lesson the hard way. First of all – don’t gossip… like, in general. It’s bad karma. Second of all, don’t talk shit about people at a wedding, especially if you’re in the bridal party. It’s just bad taste. Regardless of how weird the bride’s uncle is, or how much the groom’s grandmother smells like Chanel #5 – these are people are important to the couple you’re celebrating. The couple you’re supposed to be friends with. Don’t be negative, and don’t speak poorly about anyone at the wedding… especially while you’re at the wedding. Have some class. (But if you really need to get something off your chest about how grandma smells, then text it to someone who isn’t there and can’t rat you out to the bride and groom. The end.)
Rule #8: At no point should you be drunker than the bride. At no point should you really be drunk at all. You do you, boo – but it’s going to look gross in pictures and you’ll regret being remembered as “the drunk bridesmaid”. Don’t forget – the bride and groom are going to keep these pictures FOREVER. They might even end up in a book somewhere for grandma. Nobody wants to see a picture of you with your bra hanging out or one eyelash falling off.
Rule #9: Dance with the least attractive, single groomsman at least once. I would like to know what this ‘woman’ looks like, and why she thinks dancing with the ‘least attractive groomsman’ should earn her some sort of street cred. This isn’t junior high where the shy guys are sitting in the corner, too afraid to ask a girl to dance. This is a wedding. And you should dance! But don’t make “dancing with an unattractive dude” your charitable action for the night. Dance with him because you want to dance with him, not because you think he’s ugly. No one is going to look at your like you’re Mother Theresa. And – newsflash – someone else might think he’s Brad Pitt! Again, this isn’t junior high. No one is being judged on their looks at a wedding reception.
Rule #10: Your problems do not exist on the wedding day. No whining allowed. This falls under the ‘no complaining’ thing I said earlier. And I wouldn’t go as far as to say that your problems don’t exist – but I would certainly try to keep a positive attitude and don’t complain about things like “It’s too hot” “It’s too cold” “I’m tired” “I’m hungry” “My feet hurt” etc, etc. You get the gist.
Rule #11: Hooking up with that cute cousin? Totally fine. Check with the bride before you hook up with the cute brother. Wait a minute, wait a minute – who said it was okay to hook up with the cousin? What if it’s not okay? What if he has a reputation you don’t know about, or a girlfriend? Look – I’m not trying to be a Sally-stick-in-the-mud here, but don’t hook up with anyone at a wedding. I mean, if it happens, it happens.... but have some common sense. Don’t ask the bride if you can sleep with her brother. It’s weird. If you like him, you can talk to her the day after the wedding – but not on the wedding day. And again – hooking up with someone’s cousin? Listen – don’t go to a wedding trying to hook up. If it happens, it happens – but don’t go in there with the intention of trying to hook up with someone you don’t know. Capeesh?
Rule #12: If the dance floor is empty, you know what to do. Get other people to go out there with you. Don’t go it alone. My maid of honor tried that at our wedding and ended up doing the Wobble by herself for a solid minute. Drag friends and family, but don’t hit the dance floor alone.