Tag Archives: bridesmaids

I get by with a little help from my friends (and family)

[I am married and weddinged! I wrote this post last Thursday, on the 4th of October, in the only free time I had to myself in a week, but ran out of time to publish it before we all had to hustle off again. Standby for wedding recaps coming at ya like a beam like a ray like a kestrel*. It was wonderful and it was difficult.] 

The first three guests arrived a week ago, and then three more arrived, and then five arrived…The last seven days have been a whirlwind of people wrangling, flower shopping, flight time checking, poolside hanging, spreadsheet consulting, insomnia. In a few hours we will be off to the Registry of Marriages to do the legal thing and then we’ll all take the ferry to Bintan and then I’ll suddenly feel much calmer (I’m hoping).

It’s been a rollercoaster. The joy of being reunited with loved ones, combined with the harried-ness of making sure all their needs are attended to. For the first three days M and I didn’t get so much as ten minutes alone together. There have been six people staying in our apartment, and the lounge is basically a backpackers hostel now. Happy Hour is downstairs at five all day long.

And I had a whole thing I was going to write about how my friends have been crazy awesome about being supporting me and getting into the spirit and showing us love, but right this minute there are 4 guys and 1 mother buzzing around me and I don’t think they’ll let me get too many more sentences out. You’ll have to wait for the recaps.

Meanwhile, M and I got respectively bucked and henned the other day:

Electro Girl, Electro Boy

I was in a crazy 80s-belly-dancing-bride-goes-to-a-rave get up that bridesmaid R orchestrated, and it was ridiculous but also unexpectedly flattering.

My get up included an apron with my initial, sequins around my wrist, and a requirement to have a wooden spoon about my person at all times. (Sorry the pic so small).

Onward to the wedding!

PS. If you don’t understand the electro reference, please go ahead and discover The Mighty Boosh. Here’s a clip to get you started.

*Yes, this is a Mighty Boosh reference.

Choose your bridesmaids by not overthinking it

Have you guys noticed the amount of bridesmaid drama on the blogs? It’s an ever-popular topic for the Ask Your Blogger to Solve Your Dilemma type of advice columns (you know, those contrived melodrama columns that make me yawn so). East Side Bride receives so many emails about bridesmaid crap that she started a second blog devoted to simply posting the emails. She quaintly calls it My Maid of Honor is a Cunt.

I think what is going on is that, like so many others things, the role of the bridesmaid has become regarded as ceremonial necessity. It’s not a proper wedding without at least one, and the role of the bridesmaid has become weirdly formalised. Take for example the list of tasks the bridesmaid is supposed to perform – The Knot (who else?), gives 24 duties. Now granted, some of these are not actually jobs, there’s plenty of fluff in there like “Keep the bride laughing” (memo to my bridesmaids: if you don’t extract at least one laugh from me per every 5 minutes of wedding reception, I’m cutting you from my friends list), but there is some legit actual work in there too. Let us take a sampling:

  • Make sure everyone gets their bridesmaid  dresses, go to dress fittings, and find the right jewelry
  • Host or cohost a bridal  shower for the bride.
  • Keep a record of all the gifts received at various parties and showers (Wha..?)
  •  Plan the bachelorette party with the bridesmaids
  • Collect any gift envelopes brought to the reception and keep them in a safe  place
  • Dance with the best man during the formal first-dance sequence and possibly be  announced with him at the beginning of the party. Also dance with other  groomsmen, the groom, and others.

What is the dance sequence stuff? That sounds like it belongs, if anywhere, in a world where young ladies also have such a thing as a debut into society, followed by attending balls as a means of finding a husband, and men ask for permission from their love’s father before proposing, and the wedding is paid for by the bride’s family, and that all sounds a bit like Regency England, or maybe a wealthy old money subset of southern US. I always get those two mixed up. I think it’s the carriages. Except even Emma and Mr Knightley did not hold a private ball as a wedding reception, so, burn. This formalised dance sequence oddness does not belong in our world, ok? What is it with this urge to build elaborate etiquette ceremonial behaviour into things that don’t need it?

And the same applies to the other alleged official duties of the bridesmaids. Act as official collecter of gifts? A shower and a bachelorette? (Quick aside: Words that are feminised by adding ‘ette’ or ‘ess’ on the end irritate my feminist sensibilties. Manageress? I don’t think so. My people don’t use the term bachelorette, we have Hen’s nights).

Anyway, I really like how Miss Manners describes the duty of bridesmaids. There’s only one: be a friend. Just, be a friend. Also note, there is nothing about matching clothing.

Things get so much simpler once you start ascribing to this view. No longer is the success/legitimacy of your wedding dependent on your bridesmaids’ ability to look equally ravishing in dresses of the same cut and shade of Tangerine Tango. Who cares if they suck at putting together a celebration of penises I mean Hen’s night. And hence, all angst surrounding bridesmaid antics or lack thereof, are instantly dissolved.

By extension, the angst of deciding who your bridesmaids should be also dissolves. In my opinion, you should only have attendants that are obvious choices. In fact, since their job is to be a friend, they choose themselves…by being your friend. The person who spontaneously decides to arrange a shower for you (if this happens, you should look into your daily hygiene habits. Hah! I kill myself), is performing the standard role of attendant, so then it becomes obvious to go ahead and call them an attendant. After we got engaged, my dear friend Z, who resides in Perth,  didn’t waste time going “We get to throw you a Hen’s night!” while dear friend R, who is living the Parisian dream, went “Oooh, can I please make you a garter? Or a ring pillow?” These chicks also happen to be close confidantes, so, done.

So easy. So simple. So melodrama-free.

On the pitifulness of traditional wedding media

For ages now all the wedding reading I do is in blogdom, and I’ve gotten so used to it that even when I disagree with stuff, there are still a number of certain mutual understandings among the blogs that turn out not to exist yet in the traditional media of magazines and newspapers., and I fear, therefore the general non-wedding-obsessed public too. Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise: wedding magazines are necessarily part of the WIC and their dependence on advertising means they can’t remain bias free; meanwhile, any column about weddings that a newspaper spits out is probably written by someone who has spent, let’s just say, WAY LESS time thinking about weddings than bloggers have.

So perhaps I should forgive the author of this article about the supposed new, 2012, rules of wedding ettiquete. Some of it she gets right, some of it she gets painfully wrong, and some of it she phoned in to buff up the word count.

I mean, just take a look at this stuff:

“If the bride pays for the bridesmaid’s hair, makeup, dresses and shoes, she has every right to make them look as gorgeous or as heinous as she likes.” I think the idea behind this is it’s supposed to be the corrolary to the fact that you shouldn’t force your bridesmaids to pay for an outift that wasn’t of their choosing. But that doesn’t mean that just because you’re paying for it, you get to be totally inconsiderate to your friends that, by the way, you care enough about to have in your wedding.

“If they have a registry, use it. At the very least you know that your gift is wanted.” Nope. Most couples have a registry not because they want to make sure they don’t get any gifts that aren’t good enough, but out of consideration for the guests who aren’t quite sure what to buy otherwise. And that means non-registry gifts are likely to be some of the most welcome of all.

“Asking for money is now not considered rude. In fact, it’s pretty convenient.” No, it’s still fracking rude.

“If you’re on a budget, how much should you spend on a gift or cash? A good rule of thumb is ‘how much would this event cost me if I had bought a ticket?’” AAAAAAAAARGGHHH! NOOO!! You give people presents as a way to show love and affection, and what in the world does that have to do with how much money the couple happened to have available to spend on their wedding? This woman seems to be under the impression that weddings are fundrasiers. Way to go on making an important life event devoid of meaning.

I can’t imagine any of the wedding blogs I read saying this kind of stuff, and if they did, a bunch of people in the comments would call them out. But in the traditional mainstream media, a poorly thought out, top-of-the-mind article like this can be gotten away with. And what’s worse, most likely swallowed whole by most of the readers, and this crap then becomes the received wisdom. When someone you know thinks your wedding is not meeting the guidelines of propriety, this is why.

Thank gods for blogs!