For the second installment the Bridesmaid Drama Series, we talk Duties & Responsibilities… this is after all a big job! If you missed Part 1, click here.
When it comes to responsibilities… somewhere along the way bridesmaids racked up a long list of duties, everything from helping you go dress shopping (to all 15 bridal boutiques across the state) to paying all your expenses at the bachelorette party you wanted to have… in France.
Did you know that many moons ago Bridesmaids where part of the bridal court to ward off and confuse bride thieves?
Yes, back in the day when marriages were arranged for political reasons & power mergers, rival villages would stop the union of elite families by stealing the bride. Enter bridesmaids (or otherwise known as peasant women selected to essentially be sacrificial items). They would all be dressed in their best set of frocks (enter bridesmaid dresses) to look like the bride (who didn’t wear white back then) so that the rebel thieves could not tell the difference between the women and thus their plans to stop their future marginalization were thwarted by failing to identify & steal the correct bride.
While none of your girlfriends are going to be set out as bait for kidnappers. It is uncertain when it became commonplace for them to have a the responsibilities they do today, from the financial; dress, shoes, make-up, hair, fake tans, mani, pedis, bridal shower complete with hand-made favors from Bali, bachelorette party including first class transportation, increased data plan on their phones for the next nine months… to the emotional; forbidden to get pregnant, bringing a plus 1, cutting their hair, or expected to shed a few pounds.
Being a bridesmaid, especially in the current height of pintrest’s glamorization of what they are “supposed” to be and do is overwhelming.
This needs to be redefined… or actually, reclaimed to what it once was:
Bridesmaids are the women who stand next to you as you make eternal promises to your beloved, who will hold you accountable to those promises, and comfort you when the going gets rough. They are to be advisors, confidants, sources of wisdom, and your cheerleaders, more importantly they are your friends.
Whether she knows what it is like to be in your shoes or not, her agreement to be in your bridal party is based on the mutually loving and giving relationship you have. On a history of sharing some of your greatest moments in life together… Triumphs, laughs, adventures! And on the likelihood that you’ve made it out of tough situations together too. This wedding is another milestone in the story of your friendship, another opportunity to be overjoyed in a way only you, as friends, can celebrate… not angry or bitter because she didn’t manage to pull off the wine-tasting bachelorette party to France you hinted at all year.
The laundry list of assumed duties for bridesmaids is insane. I am sure you can list at least 10 things that you think they’re supposed to do right now as you read this (they are not responsible for the Bridal Shower by the way). But let me tell you, you cannot actually list out responsibilities in friendship, just like you can’t keep tabs of short comings and disappointments. It gets you nowhere but on the short bus ride to friendless-land. Bottom line, if she has agreed to be your bridesmaid, you have to discuss and compromise, all reasonable expectations need to be put out on the table (dresses and attendance are about the only requirements)… which can be tough when you have more than one in you party… But hey, let that be practice for the lesson you will carry on into marriage: Express wants, discuss needs, and decide together.
Then give her a bouquet of flowers to carry for good measure!
What are (or were) your expectations of your bridesmaids? How did you discuss and decide? Did you lose a friend while planning your wedding?
Image by Aaron & Samantha Photography