After a long, dreary winter, summer is finally here – the season for suntanning, vacationing and, of course, getting married.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been a bridesmaid close to 10 times in my life, and, no, I’m not being sarcastic when I say fortunate.
I’ve been fortunate because I’ve stood under the chupah for some amazing friends, including my sisters. But I’m also fortunate because being a bridesmaid has taught me a lot about women, about friendship and, most of all, about patience.
The best brides that I’ve had the pleasure of helping have been the girls who haven’t been planning their wedding since they discovered Bridal Barbie as a kid.
These brides are considerate and easygoing. They let me choose the kind of dress I want to wear, they didn’t insist on having me wear lavender or seafoam green, and they were certainly appreciative of my efforts.
These are the brides that make it a pleasure to bend over backward for.
Then there are other brides who take their friends dedication to them for granted.
I have one colleague who was her best friend’s maid of honour this past May. She made us all laugh when, at lunch one day, she showed us a long “to do” list that she had just received from the bride via e-mail.
My colleague’s chores included picking up the bride’s wedding dress, spending a Saturday afternoon wrapping bonbonieres and putting together a video scrapbook to show at the reception.
“The worst thing is, she wants me to run the video myself throughout dinner,” she complained to us. “I don’t even get to eat dinner at her wedding!”
My friends and I have a book full of horror stories to tell about our experiences with Bridezillas, but I don’t think venting is the solution to this problem.
Now, I know that brides need all the support they can get. They’ve got a great party to plan and a new life to prepare for. But many of them get carried away planning their big day and lose sight of what it’s all about. That’s when they morph from Bridal Barbie into Bridezilla.
A wedding is a declaration of commitment and celebration of love between two people – nothing more, nothing less. It’s not about a bride’s dress, the floral centrepieces or the colour scheme. In my opinion, these frivolous details don’t bring much value to the big day. If anything, they take away from it.
A lot of brides consider their wedding day to be a day to shine and be the centre of attention. The grooms are simply there to stand beside them and act as Prince Charming in this stage production.
Even retailers are keen to jump on this notion. One commercial for tuxedos always irks me when it says, “When everyone’s looking at her, she’ll be looking at you.”
I feel for the grooms out there. I really do.
While wedding receptions can be beautiful, emotional and incredibly special, so is the relationship that is being celebrated. Years later, no one will remember the dresses your bridesmaids wore (I hope!), but they will remember the kind of relationship you have fostered since the wedding.
So to my fellow bridesmaids, I say let’s gently remind our bride friends that we’re here to support them as much as we can, especially when it comes to helping them keep some perspective.
And to the brides that we have the honour of standing next to, please remember that in they eyes of your family, friends and, especially, new husband, you don’t need a princess dress to be special to us.
After all, a good friendship and good relationship makes every day a special day for all of us, not just for you.