Friday, July 02, 2010

In which Moonrat is always (always, always) a bridesmaid

So I'm having a fun summer, during which EVERYONE I KNOW IN THE WORLD is getting married. The reason you haven't been hearing from me much is because most weekends between June and August have been devoted to either showers or engagement parties or bachlorette parties or the weddings themselves.

Thanks, guys. Way to stagger the schedule.

What all these brides need, I feel, is a managing editor. Managing editors control project schedules, make sure deadlines don't bottleneck, and check that there are either personnel or freelancers to cover all the work needed. I feel like no one is coordinating my various brides with one another at all!

But anyway, I love weddings. These should be interesting, too. One bride has selected a barn as her venue, and she and her groom will roll in as man and wife on a tractor. Another bride, who is an outdoorsy sort, is having her reception in a field, and guests are encouraged to bring sleeping bags. (YT, who is perhaps less outdoorsy, will be trundled very comfortably in a nearby hotel, don't worry. I'm not sleeping with any spiders, thank you very much.) But there will be much dancing and speechifying (and thank God, breaking announcement, an open bar! one of the weddings was looking hairy there for a while) and, if all goes well, the RM won't offend too many of my friends' parents with his, erm, off-color sense of humor. Actually I'm still debating leaving him at home. The last time I took him to a wedding... Never mind.

So I'm actually really excited about all this. Well, to be totally honest, there are one or two facets of being a bridesmaid I'm rather less excited about. But generally the pros way outweigh the cons.

Speaking of weighing. Being a bridesmaid is a physically hazardous prospect, for those of you who haven't tried it before. For example, say one is in a wedding overseas, and the international bride of yours has sweetly bought you a bridesmaid dress in a mystical British size.

"What British size are you?" asked the bride. Because I was going to know the answer to that question. Because I can even tell you what American size I am. (I can't. Really. The only reason I go to work clothed in the morning is because periodically people like the Rally Monkey or my mother go out and by me load of items from consignment shops. So my British size? Your guess is as good as mine. And you don't even know what I look like.)

The bride was not chagrined. "I'll just buy you a dress in my size," she said. It almost sounded rational.

So the short story is, I won't know until the week of the wedding itself whether the dress will even fit or not! To prepare, I went on a diet (I figured it's better to be too skinny for the dress than too fat, right?). However, for me, dieting amounts to starving sadly all day, then going home and eating trays and trays of cookies baked by the evil Rally Monkey. And sometimes also cheating and having dinner in Chinatown when no one is looking. And sometimes having milkshakes or giant cupcakes at Crumbs. But only sometimes. In the end, I am probably only one or two pounds heavier than I was at the beginning of my wedding diet, which, all told, is pretty good.

Will the dress fit? I will let you know how that all plays out anon. I have fairly long hair, so if the dress won't zip up the back maybe I can just let it hang and cover. It's good to have back-up plans!

Elsewhere in the "physical hazards of being a bridesmaid" column, we have "gangrene" and "limb amputation." Another bride of mine gave her maids delightfully flexible rules for shoe-buying; this means we can wear whatever we want, as long as the color is right, the heel size is low enough, and they are not made of plastic. Which actually turns out is pretty specific. I found two pairs at DSW that matched the description, and being a cheapo, went for the pair that only cost $25.

I chose to break these shoes in the weekend I was going to one of the engagement parties. Perfect! I thought. And fortunately I don't have to do too much walking, so in case they're uncomfortable, minimum damage will be incurred.

I wore the shoes for 7 hours on a Sunday. Let's just say... not as comfortable as one imagined. On Monday, I hobbled around on the outsides of my feet, feeling glad blisters heal so quickly. On Tuesday, I woke up in the middle of the night to wash the puss out. On Wednesday, I took pictures, but the RM forbade me from posting them here because he said it would drive away all my readership. On Thursday, patches of dead green skin started sliding off my feet, and the entire inner sides were inflamed. I called my father, as one does, and explained the situation, and he encouraged me to secure an antibiotic. Woops, I needed antibiotics to treat my bridesmaidfeet. It is now almost two weeks later and I still have thumb-sized scabs on either foot.

However, I am NOT paying ANOTHER $25 for a DIFFERENT pair of shoes of this description. After all, they might do the same thing. So I will just wear these again. After all, I'm only walking down the aisle. Right?

The RM says it's not worth losing my feet over this wedding. No friendship is worth that much, he says. I think he's a quitter, that's what I think.

Anyway, now you know about my adventures. Former (or current) bridesmaids, I invite you to share your stories of wonder and horror. In fact, don't do it in the comments--send me via email. In fact, let's make it into a contest.


Tell me your bridesmaid story! And so the fellas don't feel left out, you can tell groomsmen story, or the story of a loved one who was forced to bridesmaid. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay, letter, whatever you like. Feel free to include pictures if you think they will enhance. Entries will be judged on a rubric of stylish execution and outrageousness.

The prize will be... hmm. Any suggestions? I mean, I'll definitely post my favorites here. But what else would people like to be awarded with? I'm very open to suggestions.

Email me your story at moonratty AT gmail DOT com. There are no length stipulations, but remember I have a very short attention--what? A cupcake? Where?

The deadline: Thursday, July 8, 11:59 pm EST

For inspiration, you might read the essay "You on a Stick" from Sloan Crosley's I WAS TOLD THERE'S BE CAKE.

Ok. Off I go. Wish me luck!


Wendy Qualls said...

Not posting a story, but since you're in the wedding spirit, check out - that site has some AMAZING stories about Bridezillas and all sorts of wedding horror to get you all set to never want to go through it ever again!

JEM said...

Good luck! I've only been a bridesmaid once, when I was 12, for my cousin, and I don't remember the majority of that, so I have no story to share. What I will say, though, is that you now have the best line for a bridesmaid speech ever: "And your shoes gave me gangrene. Happy Marriage!"

Anonymous said...

Is that your actual bridesmaid dress? Um. I'm sure you'll look fabulous in it! And the gangrene will complement the dress nicely. ;)

Amanda said...

So, um, I only have one bridesmaid story and it's not really email worthy, so I'll just leave it here. It was my cousin's wedding in 2000 and I was still in college. I couldn't get back home in time for the rehearsal due to class, so I was just coming in time for the wedding. When I got there, my cousin informed me that they forced her to choose one of us bridesmaids as a maid of honor (she hadn't wanted one), so for some inexplicable reason she chose me. Not only did I have to figure out on the spot what I was supposed to do as a bridesmaid, but I had to deal with a bunch of extra duties that she passed off to me in quick whispers right before we went through the door...

It turned out all right, though.

bridebook said...

Just came across your blog and your style of writing really made me laugh. I also work for a publisher, but in the UK, and in marketing. So, not quite the same but there you go.

I'm getting married in the UK but have an American fiancee, so have the same size problemos but the other way around. I was most put out when buying a pattern with my American mother-in-law-to-be and she was adamant I should get a 'large' - 14-16-18 - in my reckoning that was fairly big (uk sizes are approx 2 higher, I'm a UK 10 which is about a US 6). So, feeling somewhat frumpy & sceptical I bought said pattern. As it turned out, when I got back to the UK, the sizings were identical and of old skool dimensions - ie a UK size 10 was a 24 inch waist or something. So, actually, M-I-L wasn't too far off after all!

Good luck with your dress - it'll work out fine ;)

Pamala Knight said...

OMG, I'm so excited to write my bridesmaid story for you! If only you wanted to hear the story of my own wedding from hell (there was a bride hurling bread at her new brother-in-law and also a tale of a dress that wouldn't zip too) , I could die happy. My husband's lucky that I love him so much or else I might have demanded a recount, I swear ;-).

I'll work on getting the tale told and emailed off to you by the deadline. Not like I don't have a manuscript that I need to finish revising or one that I just need to plain ol' finish (ooh look, something SHINY!) but this is too good to pass up.


bridebook said...

Oh, right, whoops, I missed the point which was to write a bridesmaid story. Well, last summer I was a bridesmaid for a friend, along with her stunning indie-chick-model-like sister and waif-like-hot-shot-businesswoman sister-in-law to be. It was, uncharacteristically, a scorcher of a day in England, and we were in fully-lined floor-length silk dresses. The three of us were melting in the old-fashioned car, until sister-in-law had the sudden inspiration to dig up some kitchen roll, which we tore up and stuck under each of our armpits like white bat wings. The driver looked bemused, as did the photographer when we pulled up next to him, hoping to get a glamorous snap of the bridesmaids, but instead finding us sniggering and looking somewhat ridiculous. In true classy style, we re-used them on the way to the venue too.

Emily said...

Oh, don't wear those shoes!! Or at the very least, go get inserts that you can put over the spots that rub. (Like so: but Duane Reade has cheaper no-name versions)

as for me, I have zero wedding stories, except for those I attended as a child, and I don't think those count!

Anonymous said...

I do have a diet tip, just one: Cut out anything with high fructose corn syrup. You will lose weight so fast your pants will fall down.

If you already don't consume HFCS, I got nothing.

Bernita said...

Mine's not worth an email either.
The bride, a young seamstress, made my dress. Very pretty. Very mini. Very.
We had to kneel on the altar steps.
To this day I wonder if I mooned the congregation.

WendyCinNYC said...

Well, it's not really a story, so I'll post it here: My bridesmaids all got rip-roaring drunk, scarfed up sushi faster then the poor guys could make it, and chased Kiefer Sutherland all over the L.A. hotel, squealing loudly. Toward the end of the night, passing out was involved. Super classy!

I, however, am an awesome bridesmaid.

Although once, as a 5-year-old flower girl, I hiked up the back of my beautiful, lilac-colored dress in front of the congregation to scratch my ass. Several times. Guess it was itchy.

Anonymous said...

wait, WendyCinNYC- is that poor bridesmaid behavior? I am taking notes....

LOVE the dress. Is it a beach wedding? Are you tall blonde and Scandinavian? Somehow I picture it looking fantastic on someone with those dimensions.

LindaBudz said...

Shell patches. Huh.

morphine-moniza said...

You just need to wear those shoes everyday till your feet are as good as dead. I have't felt my feet in years and I can actually go shopping in stilletos. It's like feet-binding for the modern woman.

Charles Gramlich said...

Always a groomsman, never a bridesmaid. :)

jjdebenedictis said...

Mine is also not email-worthy.

The Star, But Not the Hero: The Groomsman, who had been up all night partying with cute bridesmaids.

The Setting: Wedding-day weather is hot hot hot; wedding-day venue is a tiny, airless church full of damp people.

The Scene: The Groomsman stands alongside his buddies, looking dashing in his good wool tux.

The Hero: But not half as dashing as The Minister--who has to dive for The Groomsman when he faints mid-ceremony.

It was really quite dramatic, although not the way the bride had intended.

Jeannie said...

If your dress is long enough, and full-skirted (which most of them aren't, anymore) you can always kick off your shoes when you get to the front of the church, and keep them under your skirt until it's time to walk back. And if you're smart, dye a pair of tennis shoes the right color for the reception! ;)

Lindsey Carmichael said...

I was the flower girl at my aunt's wedding when I was four. I don't remember it, but I'm told I ran down the aisle, threw my arms around the groom's legs, and begged him to marry me instead. Four is probably the oldest age at which such behaviour is considered funny and cute!

l'oiseau said...

You're very clever. Keep writing!

Anonymous said...

I was the bride, not the bridesmaid but I have a great story. My sister-in-law was one of my bridesmaids. She seemed ok with the wedding. Although I never really thought she liked me. I picked out the dresses and shoes and they were all going to get them. I was trying so hard to be supportive to sizes and shapes. The shoes were pretty inexpensive and cute. Well she went and tried them on. She called my cell later and said they wouldn't work for her and if she had to wear them then she wouldn't be in the wedding. WHAT?!? Bailing on your brother's wedding because of shoes! Her mother (my mother-in-law) supported her. They made the entire day about them and completely discounted my feelings at all. Everyone told me to stick with the first shoes, I wanted to, but I didn’t want to start a marriage like that. I was the bigger person and went shopping with my sister-in-law, picked out new shoes and had the other girls get the same.

THEN – she showed up to the rehearsal in prison gray, two sizes to big, sweats. Seriously sweat pants and sweat shirt topped off with tennis shoes. My mother-in-law pulled my fiancĂ© aside at the church and said “you can still get out of this, we will still love you” OMG he didn’t tell me that night, afraid I might have a complete meltdown.

You ask “why would marry into this bag of crazy”? My husband is the most amazing person I’ve ever known. He must have been adopted.


pretenses18 said...

Poor Moonie! Well at least with open bar so you can drink until your feet don't hurt, or pour alcohol over the forming blisters. Or perhaps some fellow bridesmaids will take pity on you and take you out shopping for shoes that will not make you want to gnaw your feet off. It can be a early/late/right-on-time birthday present. Besides, there are many unpleasant things in barns and fields - you don't want to be barefoot, and you don't want open wounds.

writtenwyrdd said...

I made my mother her dress for my brother's wedding. Somehow, I didn't get the stitching right for the (very slippery) charmeuse fabric...and the side seam split during the reception! Poor embarrassed mother, but fortunately she forgave me. Considering I was an exceptional seamstress at that time, I still don't know why that occurred; but I have never, ever used that sort of fabric for a project again!

Kimberly said...

At the very least, the dress was going to be black. I mean, maybe one out of a hundred bridesmaids dresses are something you might be able to use again with the right tailoring, right? Black satin, even better. On top of that I had just shed the last 5 lbs of unnecessary fat leftover from my second pregnancy. I was going to rock this bridesmaid gig.

It wasn't long after that that the little stick turned blue. You know the ones I'm talking about. Child number three was on the way and I was going to be just about 6 months pregnant. In a black satin dress. In the middle of June.

Not ideal, but not the end of the world right?

Then I had to order the dress. The dresses were all going to be fitted to each of us to get the *best* fit ever.

Lets face it, with each of my previous pregnancies I had gone to great lengths to avoid confronting my ever expanding waistline. I had no idea what my "size" was going to be in another 6 months and the lady taking the order pretty much looked at me like I was on drugs when I explained the situation.

"You're just going to have to guess. But better make it big, we can take it in if its too big, it its to small there's nothing we can do"

So I made an educated guess. I hadn't needed to get a new brazziere with either pregnancy, so no problem there. And at some point with my first pregnancy, I had tried on a pair of my husbands shorts because nothing else fit. They didn't fit either. That was the last time I wore anything but a mumu during *that* trip down reproduction lane.

So when the dress arrived, I was feeling pretty good. I was feeling like, hey, this will be a snap, a tuck here, a seam there and we are good to go.

The Chinese seamstress looked at me with one all-knowing eye and said, "Did you lose some weight?"


The dress was gigantic. Not just, hey you missed a size here or there. It was enormous. You could have fit an entire schoolbus full of children and the class pet into this dress. Even at 6 months gone it was big. I stepped into it, pulled it up and let go. It didn't even touch my baby-bump as it slipped to the floor.

There was crying. You know, the hysterical kind you get when someting is just so far off the rails and *still* so messed up funny you brain just gives up and starts spurting out noises?

The Chinese seamstress was laughing too. Not on the outside, but she was laughing. She couldn't have been human and *not* laughed.

She had to gut the dress and rebuild it practically from scratch, but she got it done in time. And I tipped well, because she saved my unexpectedly svelte yet pregnant ass in time for the wedding in two days. I was the last time, however, I agreed to be a bridesmaid for amybody.


Posey said...

I had so much fun reading this post and the comments!