The Delightful Despair of Bridesmaid Dresses

Let’s be honest, world. At this point, I’m only on Facebook to look at your wedding albums. Ex-boyfriend, I don’t care about your band’s latest gig. Eleventh grade English teacher, your newest grandchild is cute and all, but…I’m in it for the cakes and dresses.

You may call it wedding lust, if you like, but I know what it truly is: schadenfreude. Y’all, I love a pretty dress more than anyone and beautiful flowers never fail to make me smile, but – seriously – horrid weddings are my jam. I want to see the camouflage cakes and 76ers dresses. I want awkward family toasts and ill-fated bridal party dance routines. Even more, I want to see your poor, beleaguered bridesmaids. Nothing shows a bride’s true colors like the frock she forces upon her nearest and dearest. We think everyone will choose a pretty and universally flattering dress, but it is not so. And that, my dears, is where the fun begins.

Bridal Species (as classified by bridesmaid dresses):

The Trendy Bridedefining characteristics: extravagant ruffles, asymmetrical hemlines, and Tangerine Tango – Oh, darling, we know you’re into fashion. You have the latest it-bag and truly believe it, when Cosmo tells you that leopard print is a neutral. Unfortunately, your bridesmaid dresses reflect the dark side of your passion. You fell in love with that Spring 2012 dress from the Hot New Designer. You picked the color based on Pantone forecasts. As a result, your poor best friends are now decked out in orange ruffled, racer-backed monstrosities. When you look back in six months, not to mention sixty years, you will blush. Nobody outside of Madrid looks good in “Flamenco chic,” even if it is so in right now.

The Delusional Bridedefining characteristic: refusal to acknowledge that bridesmaids are not runway models – You have a dream, dearest, and you go for it. Sure, your maid of honor is eight months pregnant and your sister is a gorgeously curvy siren, but your plans for metallic sheath dresses will not be daunted! As a result, most of your wedding party looks like dreadfully uncomfortable Oscar statues. Don’t you want people to be happy and dance and eat cake? No? Oh, well good, because girlfriend can’t break out her best moves, when she’s wearing three pairs of Spanx and a strapless bra.

The Bride de Sadedefining characteristics: colors normally sported by fungi, four-inch “bridesmaid gift” heels, and an alarming glint in her eyes – This is your day. Yours, no one else’s! But what if someone’s eye strays to your bridesmaids for just one second? Luckily, you have a solution: brown. Not some nice chocolate brown, either. You, you lovely scalawag, have chosen Ace Bandage Brown. Sure, the tag may say “Caramel Latte,” but no one is going to look like a foam-topped Starbucks confection. Be they blonde or redhead, your bridesmaids resemble terminal disease patients, while you glow like a radiant butterfly. Well played, Machiaveilli.

The Seasonally Inappropriate Bridedefining characteristics: pink chiffon dresses and blue-nosed bridal party – Ever since you were a wee little bride-hopeful, you dreamed of your perfect June wedding. Bees would buzz lazily, flowers would drip from your outdoor alter, and your maids would line up in short, flirty little sundresses. Unfortunately, scheduling has demanded you marry in January. In Minnesota. Never fear! It’s still your day, so when you insist on short, chiffon halter dresses and fun wedges, your friends must comply! They can just throw on a wrap, right? The rest of us, however, will be taking bets on which one loses the most external bits from hypothermia. (My vote: always the little one. Her lack of body mass will be your cab fare home!)

The Theme Bridedefining characteristics: cowboy hats, fairy wings, and/or clothing usually seen in 14th century tapestries – You are a unique bride, a snowflake special among special snowflakes. Naturally, you want to show that in your wedding. I get it! Weddings should definitely be personal to the bride and groom. It’s just, when I said personal, I didn’t mean you should deck your girls out in Star Trek uniforms. But, run with it, if you must. Of course, your friends want to dress as their favorite Care Bear. (Dibs on Funshine Bear!) Oh – or better yet! – in period-appropriate Victorian costumes. Nothing says “Bridesmaid to Flirt With” like a whale-bone corset.

Be warned, prospective brides. That old saying is true – karma is not only a bitch, but also a vengeful bridesmaid. If you torture your friends too much, you may end up in a pale yellow, tea-length bandage dress. That’s not a look you want posted to Facebook, however much I may enjoy cackling at the pictures.

– Grace

14 thoughts on “The Delightful Despair of Bridesmaid Dresses

  1. The seasonally innappropriate bride is the best. I have never understood why some women choose burgundy crushed velvet bridesmaids dresses for their July weddings at Sandals resorts.

    • Agreed! I feel like rule number one of weddings should be: Thou Shalt Be Seasonally Appropriate. If you want a winter wedding…wait until wintertime!

  2. I was lucky enough to be part of a seasonally innappropriate wedding this past weekend – while March might have been beautiful here in Toronto, this past Saturday was not. As I stood in my knee length strapless dress in the 8 degree ( 46ish F) weather, huddling with the other bridesmaids to share body heat – I wondered what the hell she was thinking.

    Best part, there was a perfectly viable indoor option.

    • Oh, no! Nancy, that’s horrible! Spring weddings are tricky, wherever you are…you can *never* count on the weather. I can’t believe she wouldn’t go for the indoor option! I would always opt for a roof over teeth-chattering bridesmaids.

  3. It’s all so true. (Particularly the bit about facebook stalking people for the sole purpose of finding bridal blunders). Perfectly decent people get “bridezilla tunnel-vision” when the realize the complete and total domination they have over the whole wedding situation.But I really loved reading this! I was really laughing out loud. Excellent post!

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Hailey! Thanks!

      Also, I’m thrilled to know somebody else uses Facebook as wedding schadenfreude. We really seem to go over the top with weddings nowadays…which makes for horrible, stressful days, but plenty of ridiculous pictures. 😉

  4. Oh my word. Girls. I feel you so completely on this one. I was a bridesmaid and our dresses were a hot mess mixture of a Seasonally Inappropriate Bride de Sade. They were the most glorious shade of glossy sand. Full length (shawl included) heavy satin dress outdoors in the middle of a heat wave in July. With a corset. Too bad it wasn’t whale bone or I’d have hit the cringeworthy jackpot.

    • Noooo! Sarah, you poor, poor thing. What on earth was she thinking? That is the *worst* bridal combination. She put you in a horrid color (Glossy sand…seriously? Just put everyone in paper sacks, why don’t you?) and made you suffer in the heat. Tell me you bought her a Mickey Mouse toaster or something equally awful, as a vengeful wedding gift.

  5. Hahaha! In a most unladylike manner, I almost snorted my turkey sandwich up my nose while reading this! Grace, you never fail to make me laugh hysterically with your clever turns of phrase. Many of us have horrific bridesmaid stories, but your descriptions of it makes it that much better.

    • Thanks so much, C&C! And sorry about the turkey sandwich. I might have to start putting Do Not Read While Lunching warnings at post beginnings. 😉

  6. Awesome post, and even better use of the word jam. ” You, you lovely scalawag, have chosen Ace Bandage Brown.” No better way to stand out than being the only one who doesn’t look like a sprained ankle.

    • So true, Simon! Normally, I would think just being the bride at a wedding would be enough, but I’m obviously naive. Dressing others up as minor injuries is the way to go! 😉

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