Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Joyful (and Legally Binding) Bridesmaid Experience

Alert reader Kevin sent me the following gem:
Bridesmaid Contract. According to Newsweek, these are cropping up in not-so-merry olde England as a way of guaranteeing the quality of your bridesmaid experience. I really, really hope it's a hoax.

Among the requirements: cannot gain more than seven pounds, cannot "intentionally" fall pregnant, and, cannot make any drastic hairstyle changes (a Felicity clause! Neat!).

Now, I could go on about bridezillas and entitlement and crazy social trends, but really, what I want to do is give advice to any bridesmaid who is faced with legally sanctioned indentured servitude.

Option one is to run like hell. Totally valid, and probably smart.

Option two is to recognize that the bride is not, was never, and never will be a true friend. You'd be well shot of her, and she deserves to have her Very Special Day sabotaged by a bridesmaid run amok. However, you'll have to be clever about it so you don't get sued. My ideas:

1. "I will agree to wear a dress of the bride’s choosing, regardless of my own opinions about style or colour."

Dead easy, that one. Buy a duplicate of her gown, after all, that is also a "dress of the bride's choosing."

2. "I will not intentionally fall pregnant before the wedding."

I swear it was an accident! I somehow confused my diaphragm with a piece of Tupperware. (Note: fake the pregnancy, not even I'm sick enough to suggest you spawn out of mere spite.)

3. "I will not consume more than 10 units of alcohol during the reception"

Nobody said anything about alcohol units before the ceremony, now did they?

4. "I will be happy and positive at all times during the wedding and reception."

...with a few hits of Ecstasy!

5. "I will not make advances towards any inappropriate male guests attending the reception."
The groom isn't technically a guest.

6. "I will not attempt to out-do the bride in any way"

No matter how many of these suggestions you try, you won't outdo the bride, in any way. Someone who would legally bind her nearest and dearest to an absurd set of expectations will never be outdone.

In the comments section, tell me about the most obnoxious wedding, ever.


Arjewtino said...

I once went to a wedding with a cash bar.

It was awful.

Shannon said...

Cash bars are the worst - I wouldn't charge my friends every time they grab a beer from my fridge, and a cash bar is the exact same concept. If you can't afford an open bar, limit it to beer and wine, or serve appetizers instead of a full meal, or cut back on the guest list.

Cash bars are TACKY.

Jamie said...

Try a dry wedding. You'll wish there was a cash bar.

On the flip side, I've been to one or two weddings where the bar was open BEFORE the ceremony. That rocked.

Anonymous said...

I went to a wedding where the bride danced individually with each man in attendance, during which they gave her cash.

I'm sure it's an ancient custom or something, but so is stripping.

Shannon said...

Jamie, there are few things more depressing than a dry wedding. Somehow I've managed to avoid ever going to one, which is funny when you consider I lived in NC for five years.

FreckledK, what song did they dance to? "Roxanne"?

Ibid said...

"I will not make advances towards any inappropriate male guests attending the reception."
Can you make advances toward the appropriate male guests?

"This male guest has been specially selected for your flirting. Please do not flirt with men selected for other women as our insurance doesn't cover hair pulling and eye scratching"

freckledk, the dollar dance is apparently some old Catholic tradition. I've seen it at most Catholic weddings I've been to.

I haven't been to weddings where the bride and groom have been bad.
I was at one where the guy in front of me had a stopwatch running. He says it was 15 minutes from when she walked in to when she walked out.
There was one where her dad was paying and was some high ranking staff member at the local university. So it was all about him and inviting the people that could help him. He ran up a $17,000 price tag.
Same wedding was Catholic because the dad was Catholic. The priest was insisting that they do a full mass while the bride and groom just wanted to get out. The groom compromised. He said they could do the full mass but only if it was done in Latin. The priest backed down.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

The dollar dance - horrible and tacky - even though its apparently a southern tradition - I am southern and I cut it out of the planning when I was planning a wedding.

I told the girls that were going to be my bridesmaids to find a dress that was comfortable for them. I hate seeing dresses made for teeny tiny girls on people who have a few extra pounds, its very mean to do that to someone.

Anonymous said...

I went to a wedding held at a house owned by the Transcendental Meditation society. No alcohol. No smoking in the house or on the grounds. No meat. No refined sugar either. The food was veggies and peanut-butter sandwiches and those heavy sweets made with carob and whole-wheat flour.

The bride and groom have since repented of what they did to us on that occasion...


Kevin said...

This may not fall into the obnoxious category, but it sure was funny at the time:

It as '94 or '95 and I was at a wedding in North Carolina. As the ceremony began I was looking at the wedding party. The women were beautiful and the men were handsome. All in all they looked very, very nice.

Then, to my everlasting amusement, I had a startling revelation: The bride had slept with three of the four groomsmen, one of whom was the groom's brother (the best man was the groom's father, making him the odd man to speak). To make it even more interesting, the maid of honor had scored with the groom, his brother and one of the other groomsmen. (Disclaimer: I was NOT a member of this wedding party.)

It was all I could do not to burst out laughing in the middle of that church near Greensboro. They'd all been friends throughout college and dated back and forth, but it wasn't until that point all the lines came together for me.

Shannon said...

Ibid, I've never had a designated flirtee - most likely because I was married for both of my bridesmaid experiences. Though, for one, my ex was overseas and the bride's biddy relatives couldn't understand why I wouldn't join in for the bouquet toss.

Zipcode, the only reason I had a church service was to make my sister wear a gown. I have photos.

Ibid, Zipcode - I know lots of Catholics, and my family is Southern, and I'd never heard of this sort of dollar dance. Weird.

Clio - throw in some gangsta rap, and you just described my vision of Hell.

Kevin, I think you just explained precisely why people shouldn't marry their college sweetheart.

Anonymous said...

Do I have to be a bride to dance for a dollar? Baby needs a new pair of shoes...

The bride was Buddhist. Apparently it's also Mongolian custom.

Shannon said...

FreckledK, sure, you can dance for dollars...provided you pick them up without using your hands.

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Lemmonex said...

I was in a wedding a few years back and the bride lost her mind. She is a good friend and I love her but she was a total stereotype of a controlling bride.

She sent us bridesmaid this insane email; timing of the day, tasks we all had, what was expected of us. I can forward it to you if you'd like...utter madness.

About three days later, another friend (who has never met Bridezilla) forwarded me an email and said "Um, Lem, looks like some email you were on is making the rounds...this friend of yours is nuts." It was the bride's crazy email...she mentioned me by my (uncommon) name in the email and this third party knew it was me right away.

Highly entertaining, yet I did feel a tad bad that it became an internet forward.

Shannon said...

FreckledK, just don't forget your G-String! Or did you mean some other kind of dollar dance?

Lemmonex, I would love to see it, just because I want to know if it's any crazier than the emails I sent out in my bridal phase.

KassyK said...

OH Lem--I have been getting those from 3 brides simultaneously. All normal girls pre-wedding. Good times!

I agree though Shannon...if someone made me sign a contract...I would decline being in the bridal party.

Crazy. Although those dresses in the pic look exactly like the ones I had to wear 3 weeks ago. Yeaaaa.

The cost of being a bridesmaid ALONE is at least a grand.

I'm doing 3 in 4 months. Someone give me a Valium. Thank gd one is over.

I could go on and on about brides and all that.

What is worse than a normal friend who turns into a bridezilla?

The MARTYR bridesmaids....I HATE THOSE GIRLS.

Yea--if I only had one friend I would have time to sew their name in perfect caligraphy onto 400 napkins too! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh.

Marissa said...

On the topic of giving people money to dance (not strip), it's not just Catholic. I went to a wedding of a friend getting married in Dagestan, Russia, which is predominantly Islamic, and not only do the male guests make it rain, if you will, on the bride, but it is totally custom for a dude to give money to a female guest if he asks her to dance and he enjoys it. It might be one of the best customs I've ever heard of.

Also, men and women aren't supposed to sit at the same tables. And technically, there are two weddings. The first is thrown by the bride's family, during which the bride gets "kidnapped" (although kidnapping one's wife for real still happens pretty regularly in Southern Russia as well as in various former-Soviet 'stans) by the groom's family, who takes her over to the groom's wedding. Then all the guests shuffle over to the second venue, where all hell breaks loose. Rubles were flying everywhere! And these Muslims were not against alcohol. We got crunk. And gave a toast. In broken Russian. It was possibly the best wedding ever.

Shannon said...

Kass, I've only been a bridesmaid twice, so I count myself as very lucky. Once was for a woman who is still a dear friend, the other was for my sister-outlaw, who made me wear a very heavy black satin dress. In Alabama. In September. I almost passed out from the heat.

Marissa, that sounds like the best wedding ever. If I ever get remarried, I'm plying you with liquor until you toast Russian.

lacochran's evil twin said...

3. "I will not consume more than 10 units of alcohol during the reception"

Can a unit be a 32 oz. Big Gulp cup?

I've been to some strange weddings with obnoxious practices and obnoxious guests, too. I've seen dollar dances. I've seen cash bars.

There was the bride that insisted on having a very large, fulled decked out (tails and gowns) bridal party standing in a very hot church under very hot lights. After the third groomsman passed out and banged his head on the floor LOUDLY they rushed through the ceremony.

There was the bride that marched down to the hotel bar and demanded that the guests who had left the reception hall to watch the football game get the hell back! Lots of obscenities flying from the bride.

There was the groom that thought it would be hysterical to have someone take pictures with some of the portable cameras of the groom urinating on the side of the hall.

There was the best man who thought it would be hilarious to hire a woman to show up at the reception and claim loudly that the groom had left her when she was pregnant with his kid! The bride smiled awkwardly. I would have annulled right there.

I need a better class of friends.

nutmeg96 said...

How about "I will not roll my eyes when walking down the aisle, and I will not get so drunk at the wedding that I pass out at the bar"? I don't think those things are a lot to ask of a bridesmaid.

Jamie said...

Awww, come on, nutmeg96!! At which weddings did you have the most fun -- the one where everything was civilized and the band stopped at 10 PM, or the one where the maid of honor got so drunk that she fell of the podium during her speech, but not before telling everyone about the time that she and the groom hooked up when they were in college. With the bride in the room hooking up with someone else.

Tina said...

My SIL made all her Bridesmaids go the same spa as she did on the same day so the same attendent could give us coordinating spray on tans. So I had my boobs and ass painted (she decreed no tan lines other than the thong) with my brothers wife supervising.

dara said...

I guess I'm lucky. The worst bridesmaid indignity that I've been subjected to was being forced to go fake tanning because, while everyone else had gotten to go somewhere sunny on their summer vacation, I had spent mine working and was even more ghastly pale than usual.

If any of my friends or relatives came at me with that contract, I'd laugh and then, if they were serious, tell them to eff-off.

Shannon said...

Goodness, I go to a client meeting and the comments blow up. Note to self: no more clients.

La Evil Twin, why didn't the bride just bring the TV into the reception? I do seem to recall my sister-outlaw scheduling her wedding so it wouldn't conflict with Crimson Tide football...some parts of the country, you have to really think that one through.

Nutmeg, maybe her eyes itched. And her blood sugar crashed and she collapsed on teh bar while begging for some maraschino cherries. Nah, probably not.

Jamie, I love a good trainwreck, too! It sort of bums me out I've never seen a truly disastrous wedding (present company excluded, heh).

Tina, did they at least let you have pretty designs on your boobs?

Dara, you were forced to get a spray tan? As a virtually see-through pasty chick (a cameraman once used my leg for white balance), I see no reason to tan.

dara said...

I am equally pasty, and it was not spray tan: It was the better part of a week of fake n' bake, which is what we called it back in Florida. But I've decided that when I get skin cancer, I will send the bride the bill.

Shannon said...

Dara, on the bright side, my mom got a skin cancer lesion hacked off her chest a few years back. She claimed it made her perkier, on one side, at least.

Anonymous said...

I was maid of honour in 3 weddings in 2 months, one of which was in Dominican republic...I am broke and tired of weddings...I have told my friends that none of them are allowed to get engaged for a long time.
If any of them asked me to sign a contract I wouldnt have done it because that is just mean and shows you do not trust the person, therefore why would you choose them.

Christmas Jenkins said...

I am Catholic, and I have been in about 7 other Catholic weddings, and I never heard of the money dance until my friend married a Filipino man. It was customary and all of the rest of us were confused! It was so weird, but the bride said his family expected it so they did it. I have also been to Indian weddings where the guests shower the bride and groom with money.

So far none of my friends have been real bridezillas, thankfully!!

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