As Featured on News Cult: Navigating the Politics of Bridal Parties


I have the good fortune of never having had to be in a bridal party (except when I was like 4 and someone’s flower girl and had to wear an unfortunate, garish headband, but that hardly counts). I attribute this to the fact that I make it very clear I am not a person who gives a shit about your wedding, so none of my friends would want me in her bridal party, (and also none of my friends are getting married yet because they’re sane people–no offense if you married too young).

But, I have heard enough nightmarish stories from my family and friends who have had to be in bridal parties, to feel confident that it’s the absolute worst and I am qualified to speak on the matter. As far as I’m concerned, there are four things that bring out a person’s true colors: traveling with them, living with them, having an abortion with them, and being in their bridal party. All of these things will make or break a relationship.

With bridal party politics, there are a few key elements that contribute to the making or breaking of a female friendship.

First, money.

It seems that when people get married, they expect their friends and family to spend money on their wedding. To an extent, I suppose this is reasonable; for example, paying for travel to the wedding location if it’s in most of the guests’ country of origin/habitation. However, a lot of brides (grooms, too, but we’re focusing on the bridezillas here) take it farther than that, and their bridal party bears the brunt of this–they expect you to fly out for their engagement party, then travel to their destination wedding half-way around the world, pay for accommodations and transportation there, buy them a wedding gift, and spend money on your dress, hair, makeup, the bridal shower and the bachelorette party.

I think the solution to this problem is the good old golden rule: treat others how you want to be treated. If you’re a bride, take your perfectly pedicured feet out of your tacky faux satin heels for one minute, and put them in your friends’ shoes that they got at Payless and have had for 5 years because they can’t afford a new pair: would you want to spend hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars on their weddings? Especially if you’re a twenty-something just trying to survive in the world? Probably not. So don’t be a hypocrite. And if you must make monetary demands on your bridal party, try to make them minimal and/or optional, and make it clear you don’t expect your bridesmaids to pay for your bridal/bachelorette activities in addition to their own. Only suggest pricier options if you’re prepared to pay for them (which we all know you aren’t).

Second, and similar, is attention.

Much like brides expect their maids to spend too much money on them, they also expect them to spend too much attention on them. It’s really not that hard to get married–like, performing heart surgery is hard. So is surviving in a third world country. And being a Mexican immigrant in Arizona. There are plenty of things far worthier of celebration, recognition, and attention than getting married, so, in short, get over yourself.

Don’t ask your friends to spend hours doing gag-worthy, masturbatory exercises with you, like going through wedding magazines, seating charts, gift registries, color palettes, invite lists, and the setup of your nobody-cares ‘wedding website.’ Don’t expect them to use all of their vacation days on a bachelorette getaway in a remote, secluded cabin, because that sounds like their worst nightmare and may end in a murder-suicide.

Just don’t expect your bridesmaids to be as excited about your wedding as you are–you shouldn’t even be as excited as you are, and they have better things to do, like giving no fucks (… but you can still ask them to do cake tastings–where there’s a will, there’s a way to accommodate cake).

Third, the bridesmaids’ outfits.

It’s no secret that many brides choose fugly dresses for their bridesmaids to make themselves look better. That’s just a dick thing to do. These poor girls are already putting on a song and dance to feed the bride’s ego, and then they have to parade around in olive green, polyester prom dresses that accentuate their large thighs and love handles, too?

Maybe think about letting your bridesmaids choose their own dresses, as long as they’re a certain color you like, or at least give them a few options of different cuts. Similarly, don’t force your bridesmaids to use your makeup and hair stylist. That usually involves far too much artifice, plus, a lot of girls prefer to do their own makeup/hair or even go au naturel (sacrilege, I know). Theoretically, you chose your bridesmaids because they’re your friends, and they’re your friends because you love them for who they are, right? So, let them be themselves at your wedding, which should be an authentic celebration of love in your life, rather than a manufactured, cookie cutter, Disney-worthy scrapbook cliché.

Basically, if you’re a bride, just don’t be an asshole (words to live by). Otherwise, the minute your wedding ends, your ‘best friends’/bridesmaids will disappear in a cloud of feathers from the boas and other props you chose for your photo booth (that were undoubtedly slobbered on by hundreds of germy children at who knows how many Bar Mitzvahs before your wedding) and become your ‘former best friends’ (or ‘current frenemies,’ if you’re lucky).

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