This year is going to be a busy one with an impending walk (or two) down the aisle. Now, before your imagination runs away with you, I am still patiently waiting for my knight in shining armour to come knocking on my door, so the bridal march I am talking about is in the role of bridesmaid. These two take my tally up to five times down the aisle, and if we add my flower girl duties to this number the number goes up to seven. Though not quite the 27 in the Katherine Heigl movie, I feel like it is getting up there!
No, I am not a bridesmaid for hire, and all five brides are very dear friends – but I must say that I find myself in a very interesting situation… Though there is no Mr Right on the horizon, being involved in numerous wedding related events means that weddings are on the brain and have me contemplating (and discussing with others) things like: If I were to get married who would I ask? When you have been asked numerous times it is not a matter of asking ‘whoever has asked you’ (though in the movie ’27 Dresses’ Katherine Heigl’s character did just that – which is an interesting idea but somewhat impractical). Of course, asking those who have asked you does not even take into account cultural expectations. For instance, I once had an aunt talk to me about how her daughter was of course going to be my bridesmaid by virtue of being my cousin. So, five plus three (cousins) takes me to eight. Then there is my sister (nine) and my BFF (ten)… as you can see it is clearly getting out of hand… I also wouldn’t want to offend anyone… My dear readers, what do you think? Luckily, it’s not something I need to worry about right now :)
Let’s get back to the role of bridesmaid for a moment. At my third offer, my mother did (lovingly) suggest I turn down the role, quoting ‘three times a bridesmaid, never a bride’. But I put to you, how many people would say no? Would you? At the end of the day, it is truly an honour to be asked, and I am very appreciative of having so many wonderful friends who place such great value our friendship. [As an aside, it does make me think of Samantha Brick's controversial article that includes the comment 'most poignantly of all, not one girlfriend has ever asked me to be her bridesmaid' to be an indicator that women hate her because she is beautiful... hmm what does that say about me if I am continually being asked to be one?] Anyhow, though I am not particularly superstitious I am now hoping this 3-times rule works in multiples (i.e. I need to avoid six, nine, twelve etc.).
Agreeing to be a bridesmaid comes with many obligations and it’s has been quite interesting to straddle the cultural differences in wedding traditions. My mother’s side of the family is very close, and most of the weddings I went to/ was involved in as a child were organised in line with Asian traditions where as my friends either align with Australian traditions or make their own. One main point of difference that affects me is the bridesmaid attire. In the Asian culture (well at least in my family), the bride pays for the dresses whereas in the Australian culture it is common for the bridesmaids to pay for their own clothes. Paying for your own attire is full of potential issues. A recent exploration into this area indicates that one might pay up to $700 for a dress, so if you are paying for your own clothes how much say should you have is what it looks like? Sure, if the bride pays for the ‘costume’ I figure you just wear what you are told, on the other hand, if you are forking out around $1000 for the entire ensemble (including shoes etc), surely you have voting rights? My friends have been fairly reasonable about this, as I’m sure most brides are, but let’s not kid ourselves, you probably will not ‘wear the dress again’ so the dress you are buying is only for one event. I certainly have not worn any of my previous bridesmaid dresses a second time – I will, however, admit that they are still hanging in my closet many, many years after the event. Though lovely dresses, my theory is that these dresses have been chosen, like a uniform, to suit the lowest common denominator and so are not what I would necessarily have picked for myself. I guess the bottom line is that it is wise to embark on the bridesmaid process knowing that it will be costly and the choices may not be yours. I hope I’m not sounding super-negative here, that is certainly not my intent, and I know that this is part-and-parcel of acceptance of the role.
In the two weddings of 2013 Ms TT is the other bridesmaid! So as you can imagine, with both of us investing a lot of time and having many a discussion we have formed A LOT of opinions about what weddings should (or not) have – regardless of tradition! More on that later. Today though, I will leave you with a few bridesmaid specific hints and tips:
- Be prepared for everything to cost more than you think and take more time than you would expect.
- Weddings can be a big deal for the bride – so your role is to be supportive and validating not opinionated and disagreeable.
- Bridesmaids, have a ‘care kit’ on hand for the big day – tissues (for tears or sweat), tailors chalk (to cover any marks that may appear on the dress), sewing kit, safety pins, band aids, aspirin, fashion tape…
- Have a spare pair of shoes with a different heel height (it makes a difference!) – for one wedding we (the bridesmaids) had matching Havaianas (flip flops) to change into when our feet hurt.
- Learn to let go (for both bridesmaids and brides alike)- seriously, at the end of the day enjoy the experience do not let it drive you up the wall.
Anyway, as promised – Igglepiggle cake pops below. For instructions for basic cake pops go to http://faodt.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/reindeer-cakepop/
In terms of decorating supplies you will need:
Candy melts or white chocolate with blue colouring powder – I have been warned NOT to use liquid colouring as it can make the chocolate seize
Flavourless oil to dilute if necessary
White confetti candy (for eyes)
Edible black pen
Black and red fondant