As I look around our studio at the photos of brides happily posing with their closest girlfriends, I find myself reflecting on the memories I have as a bridesmaid. The connection, the shared experiences, the fun and the acknowledgement that these are the most important women in their life.
With so much of the focus of a wedding being on the bride (well, I guess this is fair enough!) the second most critical person to the running of the day is sometimes forgotten. And while he is definitely playing a larger role, you already know I'm not talking about the groom.
In fact chances are you probably met your groom more recently than your bridesmaids, and he certainly wasn't the one whose shoulder you cried on after you and the jerk from the year above you at school broke up, or helped push up your cleavage in preparation for a night on the town!
Your bridesmaids are those special friends who you want to kill because they give you their honest opinion, but who also know when a little white lie will go a long way (of course you can wear my dress, we are exactly the same size.)
They are also the ones who are the most happy for you that you have found the man of your dreams, and who are committed to doing whatever it takes to make your big day perfect for you.
And so it was that driving rain and the Friday night call of the couch was no match for the Rachel Gilbert warehouse sale. And wow what an experience. Frenzied brides and dutiful bridesmaids as far as the eye could see. Naked women packed tightly into a small room, squeezing their bodies into intricately beaded designs – it sounds like something you’re more likely to see at a bucks party!
There was no elegant champagne or lilting laughter. Just dozens of women, doing their best to do the right thing by their friend, and score a bargain dress.
I don’t care who you are, trying on 15 sample size dresses is not good for the soul, well, maybe the soul of your running shoe as you make a firm decision to hit the gym - tomorrow.
But the bridesmaid’s duties do not end at dress selection. There’s the bride’s dress fittings to attend. Production of the multi-layered invitations over a bottle or two of Cab Sav. Attendance at bridal expos, florists, stylists and of course organization of the Hen’s Party. Then come the day, I can clearly remember lifting the hoop on my friends gown so she could inch into the toilet sideways, and… well, let’s leave that story there.
Bridesmaids duties are endless with recognition of a job well done being an inclusion in the best man's speech of “How hot do the bridesmaids look!” and probably a quick bum squeeze later on the dance floor if you’re lucky. So why do we do it?
Because there is only one thing worse than being asked to be a bridesmaid – and that’s not being asked.