(this is my article that ran in the May/June issue of Orlando Style Magazine – www.StyleToMe.com)

Nobody knows more than me how expensive a wedding is. Not that I’ve ever been married, but I do have three weddings to go to this year. In the months leading up to each one there is the engagement party, the showing-of-the-dress party, the planning party, the bridal shower, the shoe-picking luncheon, the just-because-I-can party and the bachelorette party. The brides are registered for every party. I can already tell it’s going to cost me more than a month-long trip through South America. Or a two-week cruise to Europe. Or a luxury vacation in Hawaii. Or a down payment on a much-needed new car.

But I digress. Europe and Hawaii will always be there but weddings only happen once, right? Right??? And as a friend I wouldn’t want the bride and groom to be the only ones tossing their 401k’s like a bouquet on their special day. If I were a bridesmaid I’d likely have to take out a loan as well, but I was spared this year. Good thing, too. The honor of being a bridesmaid comes with the biggest cost of all: your sanity.

Really a bridesmaid’s main responsibility is to not take things personally. This is very important. The bride-to-be will be under a lot of stress. She will be planning the entire wedding by herself because 1) everyone else is a moron, and 2) no one else wants to be around her when she‘s like this. A bridesmaid must also muster up enough enthusiasm to spend every Saturday afternoon shopping for dresses. This typically begins about two months before the bride is even engaged (she likely found out about the ring during one of those times she was going through her boyfriend‘s phone).

Brides LOVE to dress shop. They will spend hours thumbing through catalogs and browsing through stores like a squirrel in search of the perfect nut. They will gush about mermaid cuts and A-lines with all the angst of a love-sick teenager. “I almost DIED when I saw it! It cost as much as that home in Isleworth we were looking to buy but I knew when I put it on (dramatic sigh) it was meant for me.” And since she’s spending a lot of money on a dress she’ll keep for the rest of her life in an acid-free storage box somewhere in the garage… she’ll expect her bridesmaids to do the same.

Once a bridesmaid gets through the dress-picking process she can relax. Haha, just kidding! Among other things there’s cake to taste, napkins to pick, and songs to listen to (because the traditional “Here Comes The Bride” is too cliché for a wedding like this!) And in addition to all that, the bridesmaid must spend the next year growing out her hair so it can be twisted, pinned and glued into the same stylish bun as the other six bridesmaids because… All. Bridesmaids. Must. Look. Alike. Period. It doesn’t matter if pale pink doesn’t go with your skin tone, or if purple eye shadow gives you the Tammy Faye look, or if your body simply wasn’t meant to fit into a tube top dress. The wedding pictures will be ruined if someone so much as wears a different type of heel!

When the big day finally arrives there will be at least one or two bridesmaids who will finally get the chance to sit back and relax with a glass of wine as they watch a movie at home because the bride stopped talking to them three months ago after a disagreement over the color of the bobby pins.

If you look at the history of a bridesmaid I bet you’ll find that the concept started as a form of punishment during the Renaissance Era for women who committed heinous acts of violence.