There is a lot men don’t know about women. And I’m not just talking about how you manage to leave the bathroom smelling like a tropical rainforest after you shower or how you’re able to walk in shoes that rely on nothing more than the support of two five-inch toothpicks. The secret life of women is to men what the universe is to NASA—unimaginably infinite and completely undiscoverable. But from time to time we’re let in on a few of those secrets‚ like what it means to be a bridesmaid, for example.
Had a large number of my girlfriends not expressed their frustration in a very public way, I, like most men, would still have no idea what a bridesmaid does other than walk down the aisle in an over
priced lilac dress. But the details I was made privy to left me befuddled.
First of all, I had no idea how much being a bridesmaid costs these days. Not to mention what’s required of your time, energy and patience. After talking to women of different ages and economic backgrounds, I was shocked to discover that the average price tag for being in a wedding is $1,000‚ minimum! A few of my friends were in several different bridal parties last year and told me they had to work overtime just to pay off their expenses.
And to think that historically the role of the bridesmaid was solely to help the bride on the day of her wedding. How things have changed. Only in recent years have the responsibilities somehow inflated to include organizing and hosting showers and trips and teas and parties and spending hundreds of dollars on gifts and a dress you’ll never wear again. (Be honest.) Truth be told, according to etiquette experts‚ and despite what some may think, the bridesmaid is not obligated to shower the bride with parties and gifts, nor wear dresses she doesn’t like and can’t afford. And yet you do. Because girls are kind and generous. Guys buy the groom a lap dance and call it a day.
I understand that we live in an age where our love and appreciation is expressed by gift-giving, but considering how sacred the bond between the couple should actually be and how, to many, marriage is still considered a privilege, it’s amazing how public the spectacle has become. We’re now giving gifts just to celebrate an engagement!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a sucker for weddings. I’ll get misty-eyed watching the union of two perfect strangers. But in some cases, and I need to stress some cases, I feel like we’re getting blindsided by the spectacle of it all. Recently, I had a friend tell me that one couple she knew threw so many parties that their registry got bought up before the actual wedding. And instead of being content with the fact that they’d been given everything they had asked for, they then proceeded to add more to the registry!
The most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to have had nothing to do with how much money was spent on the actual event‚ even though in some cases it was a lot. Instead, what I’ve found most affecting is simply how absorbing and radiant a couple’s love for one another can be on the day they’ve chosen to publicly declare their undying commitment to one another.
And despite what damage Kim Kardashian may have wrought, I’m not implying that there’s anything wrong with mega-weddings; heck, fly in Wilson Phillips, go big, have six showers! But that’s a choice that shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of your wedding party‚ who are there first and foremost to lend support and encouragement on the big day. And if you just so happen to have some friends who want to shower you with gifts and good times, consider it the buttercream floret on an already delicious cake.