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8 Women Reveal The Truth About What It's Really Like To Be A Bridesmaid

Full disclosure: I do not get invited to a lot of weddings. Should I take this personally? Maybe. But I do know that when my best friend gets married, I'll definitely be asked to be a bridesmaid, if she does that kind of thing. And I have no clue what that entails. For those who have never experienced it (like me, a non-wedding goer), being a bridesmaid for the first time can be an intimidating experience, which is why one woman went to Reddit to find out what it's all about.

She started a thread to find out the complete truth regarding what being a bridesmaid is truly about. Do the bridesmaids fight with one another? Who plans the bachelorette party? Do you get to pick your own dress? Who pays for it? Do you do your own hair and makeup? How expensive does this all add up to be? Are you going to have to take out a loan for this?

Turns out the answer to everything for the most part is “maybe.”

So here are some women revealing the truth about what it's really like to be a bridesmaid: the good, the bad, the very, very ugly, and the expensive.

1. She Was Dying For A Sandwich By Cocktail Hour

An asian woman looking excited to eat a grilled cheese sandwich, which is in focus in the forefront of the photo, while her face in the background is blurred

Getty Images/Karen Ilagan

I've been a bridesmaid twice, and I loved it both times. Brides were both very chill, didn't ask us to do much other than show up for things. Got us really sweet thank you gifts. My one complaint about one bride was that she had us get to the venue at 9:30am for hair and makeup, and the ceremony started at 4:30. She got us mimosas, a crudite tray, and some chips, but we were all dying for something substantial like sandwiches or something. We were all famished by the time cocktail hour started. Please feed the bridesmaids!


TBH, I could always use a sandwich.

2. She Says It's Fun But Expensive (So Many Dresses!)

a bride takes a selfie with her bridesmaids on her wedding day

AS Photo Project/Fotolia

I've been a bridesmaid an even dozen times (number 13 is happening in a few weeks) and a groomswoman twice. All of my experiences were wonderful, despite the occasional hiccup or bastard family member trying to make life difficult.

I do, however, have an entire section of my closet dedicated to dresses I'll never wear again but can't quite bring myself to get rid of. If I added up the expense I'm sure it would feed a third world family for a year. Weddings, while beautiful and fabulous, are a racket.


3. She Is Never Doing It Again

kristen wiig in the movie bridesmaids giving a speech while holding a glass of champagne

Universal Pictures


I've been a bridesmaid 3 times, best woman once, and maid of honor once. Even when I enjoyed it, it cost a lot of time and money. I've made it clear to my unmarried friends that I'm done being part of wedding parties. I'll attend and bring a gift, but I'm not sacrificing months of my life for another wedding.


Damn, this woman is busy and popular.

4. She Lost Friends And $1,700

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Once and it was an absolute nightmare and EXPENSIVE. To top it off, after the whole wedding was done and over (and I had spent almost $1500 on shit for the bride, groom, and wedding party)(AND living paycheck to paycheck and taking out a credit card -DUMB- to pay for this) the bride decided to charge drinks she got at the bar after the wedding to my room, that amounted to over $200!

That's just a smidgen of the horror that was this wedding. We are no longer friends, as she is a disaster of a person, but at least she gets to see my face in her wedding photos every time she looks at them 😉


5. She Had To Take Pictures In The Rain

How To Re-Wear Your Bridesmaid Dress

Bridesmaid for my favorite cousin – amazing, chill experience. Even dealing with her 5 year old daughter. My cousin let us pick the dresses (and she paid), didn't demand any pre-wedding events (even rehearsal), and the wedding was awesome and fun.

Bridesmaid for sister in law – AWFUL unflattering dress (which we had to pay for). Many pre-wedding events. Forced to take pictures outside in the rain before the ceremony. So we all had to rush back inside and re-do our hair. It was just not fun. Not a single thing about it.


If you like piña coladas and taking wedding photos in the rain…

6. Her Makeup Made Her Look Like A “Cheap '80s Hooker”

I've been a bridesmaid three times – twice were for my older sister, and once was for my dad.

The first time wasn't awful. The makeup they did on me was pretty atrocious, and I had to wear one of those stick-on backless strapess bras because sister haaad to have these backless halter dresses for everyone. Halfway through the reception, the sticky on the bra kept peeling away from my sweat, and I spent the rest of the evening trying to discretely keep my boobs in place.

The second time at my big sister's wedding was better than the first. She got someone better to do makeup, the dresses were more comfortable, cheaper, and could be worn with normal underwear.

My dad's wedding, however, was a disaster. His wife didn't decide on a color until the week before the wedding, so none of the bridesmaids got the same dress or the same color – we all ended up in varying (and clashing) shades of blue, green, teal, etc. She had a friend do makeup and hair, and we all ended up looking like cheap 80's hookers. Then halfway through the ceremony, two of her friends got up from the audience and stood up at the front with the bridesmaids, acting like they were one of them. And to top it all off, when I left the church, I went out to the parking lot, and someone had slashed all four of my tires. Hooray.


7. She Took The Bachelorette Party To Trapeze Class

three girls have a spa day for a bachelorette party


I've only been one once,the and I loved it. I was MOH for my sister's wedding, and she was surprisingly pretty chill about anything to do with bridesmaids. I say surprisingly, because normally my sister is very high strung and she definitely stressed about the wedding, but never took any of it out on us.

I was working two jobs at the time and was basically broke, so she basically catered all the bridesmaids things to my budget. The dresses were $90 on sale at Le Chateau. I think we only had to pay for our own shoes and jewelry, and that was a "wear what you're comfortable in, as long as the shoes are silver" instruction.

I had so much fun planning her bachelorette. We took a long weekend up at the family cabin with eight girls, did some trapeze classes, stained glass classes, hot yoga, and some beach time. It was so perfect, and split between the eight of us who went on the trip, I think it came to $130 for the whole weekend, which is very cheap for a three-day bachelorette party, I hear.


8. She Says Organizing The “Hen Do” Was Stressful

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I loved it. My best friend asked me to be her chief bridesmaid and I was so honoured. Ok I had the stress of organising the Hen Do but it went well and everyone enjoyed it.


So when it comes to weddings, being a bridesmaid can be a real honor, but an expensive one at that. Remember, if you say yes, the day is about the bride, not you. So suck it up, wear that ugly dress, and say yes to whatever hair and makeup look your BFF has in mind for you. Because even if you think you look like an '80s hooker who's been caught in the rain, at least the bride will be happy on her special day.

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Alison Segel

Staff Writer

Ali is a writer with bylines at Vice, Refinery 29, XO Jane, Hello Giggles, and Fashion Canada. Follow her on Twitter @OnlineAlison or Instagram @alibaby90.
Ali is a writer with bylines at Vice, Refinery 29, XO Jane, Hello Giggles, and Fashion Canada. Follow her on Twitter @OnlineAlison or Instagram @alibaby90.

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