This month I was inspired to pen a letter to you lovely ladies after watching the hilarious romp Bridesmaids. I’ve helped to create so many weddings over my tenure with David Beahm and I’ve even been in a few wedding parties myself in the last few years. So I’ve pretty much seen it all – and while Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy never made it to any of those celebrations – I’ve witnessed both wondrously magical and painfully inappropriate interactions on the part of Brides and Bridesmaids. Therefore, I’d like to suggest a few of my rules for you ladies to follow when you are cast as a major player in a wedding.
Brides, I’d like to start off here with both a reminder and a validation: YOU are the star of the show; it’s the day you’ve been waiting for; dreaming of; planning – it’s yours. However, like any celebrity, it’s only appropriate for you to treat those around you with grace and civility; that includes your bridesmaids. Remember that while your wedding is the center of your universe – it is not the center of everyone else’s. The lives of your friends continue to move along with victories and tribulations. About two years ago my dear friend Ellie was getting married and we would get together for dinner or drinks every month or two. Even though she’d have lots of questions and updates for me, each time I’d see her she’d make a point to stop mid-conversation and say, “ENOUGH! ENOUGH! ENOUGH! What’s going on with you???” Bravo Ellie.
Brides also remember that your bridesmaids may not have your body, aesthetics, or your pocket book. I know there are loads of theories on dressing your bridesmaids: all one dress, different dresses/one color, same dress/different colors. But all those theories ignore one important fact – you owe it to every single one of those girls to make sure that what you put them in for your day makes them feel as beautiful as you (and won’t put them into debt along the way). I’ll use Ellie again as example of how to do it right. When Ellie was choosing her bridesmaids’ dresses she leaned toward a retailer that only produced relatively pricey dresses in a relatively limited range of sizes. Several girls struggled with both fit and cost. But instead of getting frustrated, with all the grace of a loving friend, Ellie up and changed designers, selected options for every price range, and made sure that each and every one of her girls loved what we had on that evening. Again, I’ve got to give Ellie some major kudos.
Bridesmaids, on the flip side, you are the unsung heroes of a wedding. You wipe tears, plan showers, tie ribbons on damn near everything, and most importantly stand there for hours (in heels) for your friends. In the months leading up to your friend’s big day you will be kept abreast of plans; you will be informed of major decisions; and you will watch the day come together. However, just because your friend is sharing her ideas with you – it does not mean she is seeking your approval. Keep your feelings private unless they are specifically requested. Your friend has about a gazillion opinions and demands being thrown at her (from his family, to her family, the list goes on and on). Adding your two cents to the mix does not help, in fact in can even strain your relationship at the time when your friend needs you the most.
Bridesmaids, the larger point is that alas, you are NOT the star of the show. It does not matter if you’ve been unlucky in love. It does not matter if you thought you should be going down the aisle first. It does not matter if you feel bloated and hate your up-do. Ladies, this is the time, more than any other, to act like ladies. Step aside and give your friend the spotlight. She’s earned it, hasn’t she? It should be remembered that anger and jealousy are not pretty colors on anyone. Do not make a snarky speech; do not show up late; do not get toasted and make a fool of yourself. Composure, elegance, and joy – this should be your battle cry!
In conclusion, Brides & Bridesmaids, I must implore you to remember one final thing: before all this talk of lace, sugar flowers, and seating assignments; you were friends. People will move away, babies will come along, and lives will move gaily forward. But just because the wedding day is over, it doesn’t mean your friendship is too. And that friendship, my ladies, means way more than one night in a white gown or a bridesmaid’s dress.
photographer credit: Christopher Lane