I’m invited to a friend’s wedding and am looking forward to her party. Is it because I’ve attended more funerals than weddings in the last decade? Could be. More likely it’s because enough years have passed since my last bridesmaid experience.
I tried, I really tried to be a good B-maid for my friend, Cindy. Dutifully, I paid for an unflattering dress and showed up for several dress fittings. Also, I helped arrange a wedding shower and a party for the betrothed couple, and I attended the wedding rehearsal. There were the requisite gifts and various expenses along the way. I smiled non-stop and gave positive feedback at every event.
In truth, I felt flattered to join her B-Maid line-up, considering our friendship hadn’t been all that tight before her wedding. Flattery didn’t last long; I began to clench my jaw and chant “suck it up” and “it’ll be over soon.”
Then I practiced my facial expressions for when confronted by the jubilant bride-to-be: “Of course I have time for another fitting,” (arch eyebrows in mock enthusiasm) and “Yes, I know, it’s YOUR day,” (lock smile in place) and “ANOTHER shower? Sure, I can help,” (pick up more vodka – for me, not Cindy).
Accepting the role of B-Maid is no laughing matter . . . did you expect to have fun? Wake up and smell the heart-shaped confetti. And while you’re at it, start unfolding and fluffing those 5,000 plastic bows for the bridal car. Screw the environment, people –it’s wedding season!
When Cindy’s wedding day arrived, I awoke with flu-like symptoms. But the show must go on: I showed up pale, shaky and on time.
First came the pre-wedding photos. And before we made it to the War and Peace-long church service, I realized two facts: 1) the man assigned as my bridal party partner was already drunk and obnoxious – “Whadayou know about anything? You’re just a chick,” he slurred – and 2) those flu symptoms were ramping up. My temperature rose and my nose ran while I tottered in pinching high heels, clutching my posies in a death grip throughout the service. Never heard a word of Cindy’s vows, too busy trying not to sneeze or faint.
Maybe I wasn’t such a good B-Maid after all because I didn’t stay to greet 250 people in the post-dinner receiving line. Although Cindy seemed annoyed with me – emphasis on HER day – I did everyone a favor. Who needs to shake hands and hug a sweating, snuffling Typhoid Mary.
All those wedding photos? Never saw or received a single copy. I’d love to know what I looked like in my dress. Not long after the wedding, I donated it and the uncomfortable shoes to my local Thrift Store.
With my duties concluded, I didn’t hear from Cindy again. But a few years later I ran into a mutual friend who asked, “Didn’t you fill in as one of her bridesmaids?”
“Huh? Fill in?”
“You didn’t know that? Yeah, her sister-in-law was supposed to be in the wedding party, but her due date was a few weeks after the wedding. Cindy worried she’d look like a beached whale in the photos!”
See what flattery gets ya? I was a pitch hitter, not even a first choice.
A postscript to my bridesmaid story: I discovered that Cindy’s marriage only lasted a few years. Maybe now she won’t mind parting with a photo or two from her album. Better late than never.
As for the upcoming wedding I’ll be attending, this woman knows how to throw a fun event and I can hardly wait. I’m grateful she never asked me to be in her bridal party considering today’s typical B-Maid is expected to cover costs for bachelorette weekends and travel to destination weddings. Fun? Sure, but who needs that kind of expensive flattery.
When I see her smiling face, I’ll be delighted to simply celebrate her special day from the audience (arch eyebrows in genuine enthusiasm).