Always the Bridesmaid, Never… meh

Traditionally, weddings have been viewed as “the bride’s big day,” the day she gets to be a princess. It is 2016 though, and the world is changing in some culturally significant ways. Women… and men have many options these days: more and more people are opting out of marriage; same-sex marriage is legal now, and though the tradition of marriage isn’t different for gay people, this new factor will inevitably change the traditional face of weddings. So, I’m going to say something here that may get me uninvited to this season’s nuptials: maybe the image of the Princess Bride is a little outdated. Maybe it’s time to let go of the Bridezilla stereotype.

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Check out Modern Brides and Modern Grooms for a guide to planning non-traditional weddings in the 21st century.

I’ve been in three weddings: maid-of-honor for my sister and for one of my best friends, and a bridesmaid for the other best friend. Luckily, they were all pretty laid back: the bridesmaids’ dresses weren’t horrible, the expectations were manageable, and the brides were no more stressed than anyone planning a life-changing event with family and friends arriving from all corners of the earth. This kind of stress, however, can drive a normally laid back person to do things they would never think of doing on any other day.

Here’s the deal: weddings are romantic, weddings are fun… but brides can be kind of a drag. Haven’t we all attended weddings where the bride was in tears over one misstep or another, or where you never even got to speak with the happy couple because there was just too much going on? I heard a friend once talking about bridesmaids’ dresses that cost five hundred dollars. Before I thought better of it, I blurted out, “Oh my God! Please don’t ask me to be a bridesmaid!” Not one of my finest moments, in fact I pretty well ensured that I would never be asked to be her bridesmaid. But, come on! Five hundred dollars?

Being single, I am good at a couple things: getting what I want, doing what I want it, and not asking for permission. I have made being happy a priority in my life, sometimes it means dealing with drama, and sometimes it means avoiding drama. Here’s my unsolicited advice to people getting married: think long and hard as a couple about what you want from your marriage and less about what you want from your wedding.

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Jen Doll shares her experiences as the perennial bridesmaid in Save the Date from experience and with humor.

I know you’ve been told that this is your day, so you should do what you want no matter what anyone else thinks, but a wedding is about creating a family and sharing your vows to your beloved in front of witnesses who love and care about you. Ask yourself this, do you want a perfect wedding or a happy life? Are you willing to trade one for the other? Yes, you are going to have to get creative with the seating arrangements to make sure exes don’t sit at the same table, and you might not want to make your forty-something, unmarried bridesmaid huddle up to catch your bouquet in hopes of being the next lucky girl, but is it going to affect anyone’s ability to enjoy your special day if the grooms are all wearing hand-knotted bowties, or if the caterer forgot iced tea and only has lemonade?

Embrace your new life together. Enjoy your family and friends. Wear some fancy clothes, eat some great food, and get a little tipsy all in the spirit of love. Just a thought from the single gal… always the bridesmaid, never the bride.