So, after careful consideration, she’s popped the question. Sorry, no, not that question, the will-you-be-my-bridesmaid question. And you’ve said yes! Joy! You feel all warm and happy inside until it dawns on you that this wedding lark will be no laughing matter. You won’t be able to tell your best friend and bride-to-be to just “chill” when she gets hysterical about wedding invites that both look the same shade of cream (to you only) because now, at least 60% of the wedding day’s success is on your shoulders: The Hen, looking good (but never great) in the bridesmaid dress, general Wedding Admin (it’s a real thing), budgets, the speech. Didn’t anyone tell you? Very real s**t will go down if you’re not overly-prepared to be like Cinderella’s Fairly Godmother and wave away anything that could spoil the day (or set off the bride).
Has the above made you feel panicky? Because even thinking about it has made me, an upcoming first-time bridesmaid, want to cut and run – and I’ve barely started to panic/ plan. Remember when Jennifer Lawrence said she had given up bridesmaiding? Yeah, she may have been onto something. Because even though the wedding itself will be a glorious, joy-filled day, just the thought of what I could mess up fills me with icy dread.
And on that happy note, I’m pleased to share my five stages of bridesmaiding panic:
Stage 1: (A false sense of) Happiness
The euphoria is unlike anything else: she chose ME you want to squeal giddily. There’ll be a dress; the glamour of hair and makeup, cake. But don’t get too used to that feeling; it will pass. That happiness is merely masquerading as panic, soon to rear its scary head. Remember the paragraph above?! You’re wasting time even reading this! That mile-long to-do list won’t write or do itself! There are only six months left, GO, GO!
Stage 2: The Denial/This Will Be A Piece of Cake Phase
Isn’t this grand? It’s going to be BRILLIANT, unlike any other wedding and I’m going to delight in every second of the planning! And it’s going to be so easy; planning a hen is just like planning a dinner, only with rude straws in the cocktails. That’s the voice in your head, in utter denial, trying to comfort you. Let’s get real here, unless you have an endless pile of money, it’s unlikely to be “grand.” It will be stressful because there is Expectation. And WTF is the matter with you, a “regular” dinner? Do you want to fail as a bridesmaid? There has to be games and (real) fun and incredible never-been-sipped before-cocktails with mood boards and special, personalised goodie bags. Stage two, as you’ll soon see, is brief and painful.
Stage 3: The “What if the bridesmaid dress is hideous and I still have to wear it?!” Panic Phase
Yeah, the fear is real: having to smile and glide down the aisle in a yellow, strapless maxi when you’d rather commit murder (it’s your most hated colour) and it’s strapless. Did she conveniently forget your shoulders are your least favourite body part? “WHAT WILL I DO?” you wail. Nothing, because this:
Stage 4: Hen Organising Anxiety
Why don’t more people talk about this?! Why aren’t there several Facebook groups dedicated to very real form of anxiety? There aren’t even that many articles about it (I’ve already Googled it to check). And I want to write more about all the things you have to get perfectly right on the hen or YOU’LL PROBABLY DIE but I can’t because I know f**king nothing about organising a hen and I’ve to plan one for my sister in a few months and now I have to curl up into a ball on the floor while the panic washes over me.
Stage 5: Pure Fear: I wonder can I do a runner before the wedding?
Unless you do a Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy, no. You can run, but you can’t hide. Because if you back out now at the eleventh hour, thanks to the internet, the bride will hunt you down, kill you and, should you survive, never let you forget it.