AKA: Katherine Heigl is my Spirit Animal
I’m assuming all of you ladies (and certain gentlemen) out there remember that Katherine Heigl movie that came out a few years ago called entitle “27 Dresses”
For those of you who have been living under a rock or have otherwise forgotten, the gist of the movie is that KH is everyone’s best friend and is the quintessential “bridesmaid, but never a bride”. Long story short, this reporter does a story about her and her many bridesmaids dresses in the shadow of her little sister’s wedding to KH’s boss. La la la…. the girl gets the guy (spoiler.. or not because let’s be honest, this is a chick flick) and end scene.
While it all ends well and good for KH, let’s bring it back to me (the way it should be). 😉
While I may not have been in 27 weddings, I have been in quite a few. By living in the South and going to a fairly conservative southern university, I am probably one of the only 24 year olds who has more married friends than single ones. I can literally count the number of single friends on one hand. In addition to being in more weddings than normal 24 year olds, I have also attended and/or helped with many others.
Please also watch this funny video where my girl-crush Mindy Kaling explains the difference in bridesmaid and groomsmen duties.
Shoutout to Mindy: I totally agree, also can you, me, and Amy Schumer form a new #GirlSquad? Kthanksbye
Let’s face it, being asked to be bridesmaid is a (generally) awesome feeling. Not only are you invited to partake in one of the most special days of your friend’s life, you get like a backstage pass to the whole event, almost a VIP. However, as you can see from Mindy’s video, actually you are asked to be a slave to the wedding.
- You buy your own dress
- (unless your employer aka the bride decides that it fits into the wedding budget)
- You fly or drive to the location
- Often times you are asked to pay to get your hair and makeup done so you don’t look like a crazy in the wedding pictures
- There is generally a bachelorette/bridal shower/wedding shower that you must attend
- There are always other hidden costs of wedding attendance
- Examples: different shoes, rental car, food/drinks, hotel rooms, gas, etc…
I don’t even want to quote you how much I have spent on not only being in weddings, but also attending weddings in the past few years. (hint: I could have bought my house a lot faster).
I don’t want to sound ungrateful for all of the wonderful memories and happiness being a bridesmaid has brought me. Several of these weddings were actually very low cost for me and a few were in my town, which made getting there fairly easy (one was only 10 minutes away!). However, this is not just about me and my personal experience. This is to bring awareness to the fact that the much beloved Pinterest has made poor little college girls think that they have to have this fairy-tale wedding even if they are in school-debit (or personal debt) up to their eyeballs and their future husband is in a similar situation. What happened until waiting to get married when you’re financially stable? What happened to using that $30,0000, the average cost of a wedding in America, as a substantial downpayment on your future home?
So then there is the point of view “well our parents are paying for it”. That’s awesome. I’m glad that they have the financial ability to gift you this amazing wedding. However, please realize what you are asking your friends who are in similar financial situations as you to expend potentially a thousand dollars to help you out for this one day. How important is it that they be there for this momentous occasion? I’m not saying don’t invite them, but maybe don’t guilt them into flying halfway across the country on their own dime (shoutout to my dad’s air miles for saving my butt more than once) to stand up for 30 minutes while the preacher makes some weird jokes and gets your name wrong. Maybe think about chipping into the budget to help these people that are apparently so important to you make that journey.
Another suggestion: buy their dress or pick a dress that they can wear again. David’s Bridal is great for many reasons, such as no matter where you are in the country, there is a store within driving distance that will have the exact dress you need. However, there are plenty of department stores that can do the exact same thing for usually half the cost and it will be something I will actually get to wear to another function. Despite my previous naive thoughts, no one on eBay wants to buy my once-worn bridesmaid dress in the color peacock. I graduated college in May 2013. By the time May 2014 rolled around I had been participated in/attended 6 weddings and had turned down several others. Of those 6 I was actually in 4 of them, helped greatly with 1 (that was in another state), and just attended the remaining 1. For a recent college graduate just starting out in the working world that is a LARGE financial obligation not to mention that when you start a new job, generally you don’t get Paid Time Off right off the bat. Many of the days that I was traveling to attend weddings went unpaid since my PTO hadn’t started.
So you go to this wedding. It’s beautiful. You’ve spent a lot of money to be there and see these people. Then they leave to go on their honeymoon and you don’t hear from them for months. Maybe you don’t like their spouse, maybe their spouse doesn’t like you. Whatever the case may be, realize that someone has just spent a large amount of time, money, and energy to make it to your wedding and you can’t even send your thank you cards at all (never mind that traditional time limit suggestion). Cool you’re in wedded bliss adjusting to your new life. I’ll give you 6 months in la la land, 1 year if I feel generous. However, after that 1 year mark is up I need you to snap out of wedding brain and get back to the real world. This is one of the reasons I feel like people drift apart: latent anger. People may wax nostalgic and think “Oh, we just drifted apart after awhile”. No. You were secretly angry at them for making you go through this extensive and expensive exit interview on being your friend. No judgement, I get completely understand.
I could rant about this for a very long time, but I will leave you with this thought: Go ahead. Make those expensive decisions for your friends; just realize that when and if I someday get married you will all be wearing Kate Spade and I want to go to Napa for my bachelorette party.
Disclaimer: I am very happy to have been a bridesmaid/involved for all of these previous weddings and hope that this blog post does not in fact discourage other friends from choosing me for their future weddings. Through the expensive exit interview process I still love you all.