What They Don’t Tell You About Being a Bridesmaid

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Honestly, it’s flattering when someone asks you to be their bridesmaid.

Wait, you’re choosing me? Not your best friend from high school but me?

So when I was asked to be one, I said yes. Since I’m also a sucker for wedding vows, I’ve never turned down a front row seat to any wedding.

After all the years of ugly bridesmaid dresses and painful heels, I realised something. Being a bridesmaid isn’t all that great.

Sometimes, you’ll meet a bridezilla who scolds her florist for providing the wrong flowers. Other times, you’ll shop for something stupid like penis squirt guns (don’t ask).

Blame the magazines. They never tell you of the downsides of being a bridesmaid. How come nobody told us about this one?

1. Prepare to be flat broke

Sorry to burst your bubble, but most brides don’t give a damn about how much you spend on their wedding. To be fair, they have other expenses to worry about. You know, wedding halls, the honeymoon and designer dresses.

When I became a bridesmaid for the first time, no one told me that I would spend a lot of money. When I say a lot, I mean by the thousands. Just to give you a glimpse of my bridesmaid expenses, here’s a simple budget breakdown.

Budget breakdown
Bridesmaid’s dress – RM200
Evening dress – RM150
Dress alterations – RM80
Bachelorette party – RM200
Bridal shower – RM100
Accessories – RM40
Shoes – RM50
Hair and makeup – RM400 (both wedding day and dinner)
Wedding angpao – RM200

We’re looking at RM1,420 and that’s just a ballpark figure. We haven’t touched the other factors that affect our budget.

If the bride is throwing her bachelorette party in Bangkok, we have to think about flights and accommodation. If her wedding will be held in a swanky hotel, we have to double up our angpao money. If she prefers the bridesmaid dress with a higher price tag, that means it’s roti telur for the entire week.

Being a bridesmaid is going to cost you and my purse learned it the hard way.

And you know what else?

2. Planning a bachelorette party is a must

It’s no longer an unwritten rule. It’s now expected for the bridesmaids to throw a bachelorette party for the bride. Celebrating their last hurrah as a single woman is a must.

Back then, I never thought about how the bride’s choice of a bachelorette party could affect me.

Different brides have different ways of celebrating their farewell from singlehood. I know a bride who requested a relaxing spa weekend. I also know another bride who wanted a three-hour pole dancing class (I called in sick).

So when the bride requests for something that pushes us outside of our comfort zone, that’s when we reconsider our life choices.

My second bride was a party animal. Check out her Insta Stories, and you’ll see her drinking mindlessly while dancing to Migos. And I’m the complete opposite. Don’t even bother checking my Instagram. I’ll be in the playground, power-walking behind an uncle with a Standard Chartered marathon t-shirt. I don’t have the energy to keep up with anything.

So you can imagine my face when she wants to go to Zouk for her bachelorette party.

Regardless of how much I hate rubbing shoulders with sweaty college kids and shouting at my friends when the music is too loud, the bridesmaid has to be there for the bride.

No one cares if the bridesmaid prefers knitting sweaters than pole dancing. The bachelorette party is about celebrating the bride. And it’s the bridesmaid’s job to make sure that she has a hella good time.

So suck it up, show up and prepare to have your heels ruined by someone else’s vomit (don’t remind me).

And that’s not the worst of it.

3. Dealing with drama

A bride doesn’t use a Myers-Briggs test or Buzzfeed quiz to analyse the compatibility of her bridesmaids. It’s all decided by her selfish diligence.

In the end, what you’re getting is a salad bowl of personalities who had stood by the bride through her worst dates. It could be a classmate, college friend or colleague. Most importantly, you’re in it.

We all know that every bridesmaid has their own quirks and personality. So whatever drama they bring to the table, you have to snap out of it. Stop whining and just be friends with them for the next seven months.

When I was a bridesmaid for my cousin’s wedding, she chose her schoolmate Wei Li as her maid of honour. At first, Wei Li seemed likeable and friendly, so everyone thought that we could get along.

A few months later, we realised she was nowhere close to being likeable. She disappears often and doesn’t help much. She also pointed out that it’s not the maid of honour’s job to plan menial things like party planning and dress shopping. Her only task is to help the bride and no one else.

Yeah, whatever.

Eventually, everyone was stressed out. Dealing with wedding preparations is not easy. We need all the help we can get. When I asked the bride if Wei Li is busy helping her out, she said, “I thought she was helping you girls with the preparation?

That bitch.

Sooner or later, we started excluding Wei Li from everything. She didn’t respond to our texts or attend any meetings, so we figured that she doesn’t want to be a part of the planning team.

While all this is happening, the bride had no clue about what was going on. We didn’t want to upset her with our meaningless drama. That didn’t last, of course.

Things turned sour when Wei Li found out about our secret meetings without her. She was so upset that she called us fucking bitches and complained to the bride.

It made matters worse when Wei Li doesn’t want to speak to anyone. So you can imagine how tensed and awkward our bachelorette party was. And the drama lasted until the wedding day.

So whether you like it or not, drama will happen at some point.

But enough talking about us. Here’s something about the bride.

4. Whatever the bride wants, the bride gets

Sometimes, brides can come up with the most ridiculous and difficult requests. When that happens, you have to deliver. As a bridesmaid, you want her wedding day to be as perfect as she imagined.

I have dealt with requests like customised champagne bottles or penis cupcakes for hen’s night. But this story takes the cake.

For my third bride, she had specific bridesmaid shoes in mind. So she messaged this to all of her bridesmaids, including me.

Girls, I want everyone to wear maroon suede heels with a bit of floral. Preferably, without straps. The heels must be at least three inches high. And no wedges, please.

Where the hell are we supposed to find it? That’s up to the bridesmaids to figure out.

One weekend, the bridesmaids and I split up and shopped in every mall in KL. All afternoon, our group chat pinged with shoe options. “These high heels, can ah?” or “I found it, but they don’t have size eight already.”

We even browsed every e-commerce site to find the closest match to our bride’s request.

Two months later, we found the perfect heels that our bride was happy about, and we had it shipped all the way from Shenzhen.

Some requests are borderline ridiculous, but you know what they say, whatever the bride wants, the bride gets.

Guess what else your bride wants you to do?

5. Say goodbye to your free time

The dreadful thing about being a bridesmaid is the free time you had to sacrifice. As working adults, it’s difficult to balance between sleeping in and running errands for the bride.

Back then, my weekends were mostly spent on buying party supplies, shopping for dresses and attending wedding rehearsals. It was exhausting. Eventually, the bridesmaids will end up having no time for themselves.

One time, I was ready to enjoy a relaxing weekend when my bride asked for a favour. Her maid of honour (yup, the same Wei Li) can’t join her for dress shopping. And she needed a second opinion before she purchased any gowns.

Since it was important to her, I ditched my free weekend in favour of watching the bride sort through dresses for five hours before leaving with none.

All in all, it’s the sacrifice that a bridesmaid has to make.

Rants aside, being a bridesmaid has its upsides. You get to be a part of someone’s dream wedding. Also, you can check out many handsome groomsmen at the rehearsal dinner. Nevertheless, I wish someone would be honest about the reality of it all – from the amount of money we’re going to spend to the drama we’re about to face.

Also, there’s another thing no one tells us about being a bridesmaid.

There will be tears.

Seeing someone close walking down the aisle always pull at my heartstrings. These are the same women who had their hearts broken and messages ghosted. Yet, they pulled through and finally found the right man who is worth all the heartaches.

Most bridesmaids are hopeless romantics. So let’s not get to the teary part about wedding vows and first dance. When all is said and done, the ugly dresses and ridiculous shopping demands will become a distant memory.

Ask me again what they don’t tell us about being a bridesmaid, and I will say, “It’ll all be worth it.”

For more articles like these, read The Day I Decided to Get Married (Beautifully) Under RM9,000, and My High School Boyfriend Invited Me to His Wedding. Here’s What I Wish I Could Say to Him.

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After being raised on a steady diet of chic flicks and Mum's spaghetti, I've decided to do the things I love most. So I bade farewell to my desk job, moved back in with my parents, and started my freelancing career. You can either wish me luck or read how I'm coping with taxes and annoying aunties on In Real Life.
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