I finally got to see Bridesmaids last night with my lovely friends Katy and Greg. And, dude it was really, really good. I had high expectations (90% on rotten tomatoes) and they were thoroughly exceeded. The basic plot is this: Annie’s life is a total mess when she’s asked to be the maid of
dishonour at her best friend Lillian’s wedding. In this film men are at the periphery, Annie’s friendship with Lillian and how she feels supplanted by the younger, thinner, richer Helen is the focus. It’s hilarious from the speech-off at the engagement party to the posh bridal shop where all the bridesmaids get food poisoning. And Wilson Philips even turned up at the end! In short it was one of the funniest films I’d seen in years.
But it did make me think about how politically fraught the issue of choosing your bridesmaids is.
When I was three years old, my elder sister Sarah was a bridesmaid at my aunt’s wedding. She got to wear the most beautiful polka dot net dress with a pink sash and a floral wreath on her head. We where sat in the church and as she passed sprinkling flowers, my little heart almost broke from the injustice. She got to wear the perfect dress and the floral crown while I had to sit in the uncomfortable wooden pew. Lame! (Or whatever the three-year old equivalent is.) I decided to get up and join her. When my dad restrained me I threw a temper tantrum of epic proportions and had to be escorted from the church in disgrace. Looking back I think my dad, a heavy smoker then, may have encouraged me as he got to have a sneaky fag instead of sit through the service!
For years afterwards I would try on Sarah’s dress, the epitome of early 80’s style, and dream. Who cared about getting married when you could wear a pretty party dress and got to sprinkle flowers behind the bride. I knew my life would not be complete until I was a bridesmaid. My uncle got married but neither me nor my younger sister were asked to be a bridesmaid. Which was a bit of a relief as there would be nothing worse than if my younger sister was a bridesmaid and I wasn’t! Another uncle got married and had no bridesmaids. I was older by then, entering the turbulent waters of adolescence, and over the whole bridesmaid thing. Friends got married and none of them asked me to be their bridesmaids… bitches. (Joke)
When I got engaged, remembering my three-year old self I knew I had to approach the bridesmaid’s issue with sensitivity. Young fragile hearts might get broken, if they didn’t get to carry my train 🙂 After we got engaged I asked my two sisters straight away if they would be my bridesmaids. Lauren my younger sister had shared my never- a-bridesmaid pain and was delighted. (I am slightly worried by her promise of dirty strippers at my high-class hen night. But she has been warned. She’s younger than me and whatever she metes out will be returned threefold when she is wed. (Our sisterly bond is held together by a potent mixture of bribery and blackmail. (I heart parentheses!))) When I asked Sarah she said, and I quote:
‘But, I’ve already been a bridesmaid, I suppose I could do it again for you.’
Salt meet wound. I almost rescinded the invitation there and then!
All kidding aside, I am so excited to have my sisters, my womb mates, my best girls by my side. Who else would be there with cake and sympathy when the going gets tough and have the balls to tell me when I need to STFU about the stupid wedding 🙂
I must admit watching the movie last did give me a little pang, as Lillian had loads of bridesmaids. Originally I wanted my sisters plus my best friends but I just couldn’t make it work. With my friends back home, we come as a package deal. Unfortunately my best friends is fighting a serious illness and I didn’t want to put any additional pressure on her. Another would have to be excluded on account of him having a penis (sorry Greggers). So I chose to just have my sisters.
What I’ve learnt that my three-year old self did not know is that whether you’re picked to be a bridesmaid (or not) is not an indication of how much you are loved. If I had everybody I loved as my bridesmaid there would be nobody to witness our wedding! On the day whether at my side, or in the crowd, whether drinking a toast or a two to our happiness or dancing their arses off to Hold On, my girls (and guys) have my back. Whether they are wearing fugly taffetta dresses in matching fuchsia or not.