An ongoing education in weddings

Wedding season has arrived with a vengeance. Last Saturday I went to one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to and tomorrow, I’ll go to another ceremony in exactly the same location. Two weddings in six days at the same church? That’s quite something. I’m a fairly well practised wedding goer now, but it seems that education in the landmark occasion never ceases…

For example, earlier this week I discovered that it’s traditional in American weddings for bridesmaids to pay for their dress and accessories – extraordinary! It was a post on The Hairpin that enlightened me and honestly, I was stunned. Being a bridesmaid is an honour and a privilege, but surely it’s not something you ought to go bust over? If their presence as beautiful attendants is an essential part of the wedding, surely it’s an essential part of the wedding budget too? [Not to mention the added travel and bridal shower costs of American nuptials…] I guess I’ve just discovered a whole new aspect of the plot of 27 Dresses.

Also, tea (as in the drink, not the meal) should be an essential element of all weddings. It has fantastic medicinal purposes – soaking up alcohol consumed prior, during and post the meal; comforting those who have been overcome by wedding emotions; and providing a caffeine boost to get you through the night. On Saturday evening, a beautiful half hour was spent in the company of some lovely girls, some yummy cake and several mugs of tea. We were apparently a strange sight, clad in pretty dresses, sat on the steps of a church in a central London piazza, clutching mugs – but who cares what we looked like, we were gossiping, restoring our sanity and generally bonding, which is far more important.

Oh, and I’ve discovered that it is possible to make me cry at weddings. Honestly (and I’m sure some of you will be surprised by this, as I’m generally on the soppy side of the spectrum) I’d never actually shed a tear at a wedding. I’ve come close to it and I’ve certainly cried in laughter, but never from the emotion of it all. However, it seems that the combination of: groom recording song about bride that bride hears for first time when walking down the aisle; groom delivering spectacularly lovely speech; and bride writing and performing song for groom in her speech was a little too much for me. (I could also blame the friend sat behind me who kept nudging me to see if I was crying yet – not helpful.)

One final lesson – it is ok to wear the same outfit at two weddings, six days apart, in the same location and with some of the same guests. I’m throwing pride to the wind and enjoying the fact that I like my new blue dress so much that I want to wear it twice in a week. The important thing to remember is to do something differently (hair would be the obvious one) so that you can tell which wedding the photos are from on Facebook (key 21st century issue). Well, I’m saying it’s ok – here’s hoping no one looks at me tomorrow and judges me…


  1. Don’t take anyone’s word on an “American tradition” for weddings. šŸ™‚ Everyone does it differently. It’s a huge country with so many different cultural backgrounds in the mix, things some people assume are traditions for everyone … aren’t! šŸ™‚ I’ve been a bridesmaid 3 times, and never paid for my dresses. One gal paid for her dress but it was because she wanted it made by a bespoke tailor, not one of us fellow bridesmaids (that was a do-it-yourself wedding on the cheap, which everyone had great fun with and we all still remember fondly!).

    Friend of mine had some European friends get married recently, they came to America to have “A Traditional American Wedding!” and all their European friends were all excited about all these insane rules and traditions and such. My pal, the sole American at the wedding, said she didn’t recognize a single “tradition” in the entire WEEK of wedding activities! Hee. Guests kept asking her “So now why do Americans do THIS?” and she’d shrug and say “I’ve never heard of this before, ever” and the guests were so disappointed. šŸ™‚ Things like “all guests must wear THIS color for rehearsal dinner, and THIS color for the wedding.” Wut?!?!

  2. Hi Liz

    I say wear the outfit again with pride! It’s hard enough finding something suitable feel good in, without having to worry about wearing it twice.

    If you pay for your bridesmaid’s dress yourself, does that mean you also get to pick it? One way of not ending up in a lime green meringue. Or getting revenge by turning up in a floor length white number (veil optional).

  3. @Camelama – You’re right and the same is true for English ‘traditions’, but the comments on the article suggested that bridesmaids buying their dresses was fairly common, certainly much more common than over here!

    @Emma – you’d really hope you’d get your own choice of dress, wouldn’t you?! I suspect that’s not the case…

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