Megin and I first met as mid-level slaves to the fashion industry eight years ago. I recognized a kindred spirit the minute I caught her screaming harsh obscenities at her computer. We’ve been through boyfriend breakups, apartment break-ins, and career changes. So when she asked me to be a bridesmaid, I jumped at the chance to stand by her side and watch her start a new life with the man she loved. Of course I wanted to support her in any way possible on her big day; I just didn’t realize how much it would cost me!The bachelorette party was my first indication of the financial obligation I agreed to. My plane ticket from New York to Miami: $400. Hotel on South Beach: $300. Dinner and drag show: $150. Drinks at the bar: $200. Bachelorette party in Miami: unfortunately, NOT priceless.
In addition to the bachelorette party, I spent a total of $1,500 on a dress I will never wear again, a gift for the bridal shower her future mother-in-law hosted, a gift and food for the naughty-themed bridal shower we, the bridesmaids, hosted (the maid of honor’s idea), my plane ticket to Tampa for the wedding, and my hotel room stay.
As the numbers continued to add up, and my credit card statements kept increasing, I tried to keep it together, but all I could feel was resentment. She never acknowledged the cost, just smiled and expected me to participate. To tackle my mounting debt, I cut back on dinners out and replaced them with Ramen noodles.
I had tried to get out of the bridal party spa treatments she booked, but the pregnant pause and the chilly “umm … okay,” she gave me over the phone made me feel like a bad friend. I gave in, of course, which not only made me mad at her, but mad at myself!
I did my best to stay supportive, but as my animosity rose, I saw the sweet, small town girl from Podunk, Florida as a flaming bridezilla. Every time she mentioned the wedding, I cringed. I began to avoid her phone calls and disregard her emails. I contemplated having a heart-to-heart with her, but I just didn’t see it going well.
The day before the wedding, Bridezilla treated the bridesmaids to manicures and pedicures, and as her colors were black and white, she “encouraged” all of us to choose red for our nails. After she inspected my “Leave It to Diva”-colored toes, I mentioned I was thinking of doing a nude color on my hands. Everything turned to slow motion as her breath caught, her eyes widened, and her mouth squared to protest. Before she could say anything, I grabbed the red polish and thrust it at the manicurist. Her open mouth spread into a smile … and she hugged me.
In that moment I realized this was her Holy Grail, and I didn’t want to ruin our friendship over money and nail polish. She asked me to share in her wedding; it was an ode to how important I am to her.
I sucked it up and saw everything from another point of view.
I got to party in Miami, chill by the pool in Tampa, and be V.I.P. at all the wedding events. I had to admit it was fun. I put on my new attitude the next day. The wedding was beautiful and I made sure to look stunning in my $300 dress with the stiff, lampshade-like flair at the bottom that I will never wear again. I also made sure to drink $1,000 worth of champagne.
And in the end I didn’t mind cutting back and plunking down a few more bucks a month on my credit card, because I got to hold on to my friend.