Women today are successful. We have successful careers, relationships, homes. We are skilled mothers, travelers, friends, cooks, and—in a pinch—most of us could change a tire if we had to. And we do all of this looking beautifully put together.
Is it any wonder then that being a bridesmaid has become a bit more of an involved favor? We are very accomplished and capable at running our lives, and why on earth shouldn’t we give the bride our very best efforts when we’re asked to be her bridesmaid?
Case in point: two years ago, myself and two other bridesmaids were helping "our" bride choose our bridesmaid dresses. There were four websites we were considering dresses from, and at least forty options on the table. One busy afternoon at my desk I received an e-mail with an attachment. It was the dresses, organized in an Excel spreadsheet with columns for their website, style, color and yes, their average rating. There was room for each girl to place her vote on a scale of 0-3, with .5 increments allowed. It gets better. Shortly afterwards, I received another e-mail with an attachment. This one had a PowerPoint of the ten most popular dresses, each with their own page, showing a picture of the dress, its cut and color information, its good and bad points, and a hyperlink to its web page.
I felt a paradigm shift: no longer was I “bridesmaid: close friend of the bride”; now I was “bridesmaid: professional member of type A personality wedding team”. In fairness, I should mention that we had several restrictions of color and style given to us by The Mother Of The Bride, so the organization was needed at that point. But I’m glad that my sense of humor was still intact enough that I could get a good laugh out of the fact that what was once a fairly simple office to perform for a friend had turned into something requiring professional business skills to accomplish.
We did make our dress choice in the end, and looked lovely, if I do say so myself. Despite our best professional efforts to find something that could be worn again, mine did go the way of the charity bin, following in the floor-length teal footsteps of many bridesmaids dresses before it (dresses not chosen by PowerPoint, I might add).
My point: have we become so accomplished at running our lives that we are over thinking what in essence is a simple responsibility? Or have weddings become so over the top that being a bridesmaid is no longer a friendly favor, but a donation of professional skill?