- Holding up the 18 layers of your dress so that you can pee with ease on your wedding day
- Catching the bouquet and then following that moment up with my best Miss America-like "Omg, I can't believe this" speech.
- Doing the electric and the cha cha slide.
- Responding in a timely manner to pre-wedding email chains created by other bridesmaids and the Maid of Honor
If you think this Craisglist ad is off the wall, let me remind you of the bride who emailed her bridesmaids a list of 10 ground rules, one of which included financial responsibility. Bridezilla wrote: “If money is tight and you can’t afford to contribute to the bachelorette party or won’t be able to afford a dress … I don't have time to deal with that, I'm sorry.” Or this bride who wrote to her bridesmaids, “No-one can be skinner than the bride. That means Kelly and Lizzie will be on a protein weight gainer diet exclusively until May. I will have the nutritionist call you to discuss diet plans.” And I, with two weddings under my belt, have some personal experience on this front, so take it from me: For-hire bridesmaids are a great idea.
I was eight weeks pregnant at my wedding.
Well, that’s not completely the truth. It was my wedding party. Three months earlier, we had gotten married officially in our house under a chuppah I fashioned with birch tree trunks and a tablecloth. We sang karaoke all night. I wore a cream halter dress from J.Crew. It was my second marriage. My 4-year-old son snuggled between me and my husband. The night was beautifully easy.
But because it was my husband’s first wedding, family members nudged us to have a bigger, bolder celebration with speeches and dancing and sushi sliders. So we hired a caterer who overcharged us. Bought a zillion candles. Rented a place. And then two days before the wedding party, I was admitted to the hospital for hyperemesis, a debilitating form of morning sickness. Determined not to cancel the party (“We are not canceling,” I declared in a drugged up, hormonal craze), my doctor hooked me up intravenously to an anti-nausea drug, Zofran, that steadily pumped meds into my bloodstream. The Zofran pump was concealed in a small black bag and I carried it over my shoulder. “We’ll tell people it’s a purse,” one friend said.
My unofficial bridesmaids collected me and my Zofran purse the night of the party, and soon we were crammed into the bathroom at Bobbi Brown where we stopped for a pre-party makeover. They lifted my dress, held my hand while one friend injected the needle into my belly because I was too scared to inject it myself. “Don’t cry. You’ll ruin your makeup,” she said.
Some brides demand their bridesmaids flash their butts for a group shot. Some get stuck paying for the bridal shower. Some are asked to buy a hideously ugly and expensive dress. Or they’re instructed to go vegan. Or fly to Vegas. And if you’re my bridesmaid, you have to inject me with a B-class drug meant for cancer patients.
At my first wedding, the only requirement was to sweep sopping wet steps during the 100-year storm that assaulted my day. (Yes, I’m aware. It was a sign.)
I think a hired bridesmaid is a fantastic idea for harried brides. Being too self-involved to treat your bridesmaids well is nothing to be ashamed of! (Well, sometimes you should be ashamed.) Weddings breed temporary narcissism. They require it. “It’s all about you.” “It’s your day.” You are the queen.” The wedding industry and the culture at large brainwashes you with these statements.
So hear me out. If a pregnant woman can hire a doula to help in the emotional support of delivering a baby -- because we’re all in agreement delivering a baby is by far the most intimate day of your life -- then why couldn’t a manic bride hire someone to manage her irrational needs? I know your next question is: “Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a bridesmaid, to hire a stranger?” Not at all. A doula , according to the American Pregnancy Association, offers “emotional, physical and informational support.” Isn’t that the job of an exceptional bridesmaid?
Look, I’m with the theory that nothing can replace the intimacy of a best friend, particularly in my case where medical intervention was needed. My best friends are my Ativan. They’re my Xanax. They’re my meditation gurus. They’re my therapists. In both weddings, my bridesmaids, my best friends, were my emotional crutches.
But not every woman needs group therapy — or a staff of nurses — on her wedding day. Some women just need a body to show up on time and efficiently execute tasks. So for the brides looking for organization or looking for someone who won’t turn an email chain into a reply-all shit storm, maybe this Professional Bridesmaid is for you.