Thursday, November 25, 2010

The bridesmaid’s diaries — Part I

This is the first of what will probably end up as a series. If I get ambitious, I might even take out an Indian version of “The Bridesmaid’s Hand-book”. Well, how this started was when I realized that I was (and continue to be) on my third bride in less than a year, with two to go next year, and my memory refuses to come to my help any time I have to go on countless shopping trips or spa bookings, or discussions on venues, themes, cards and guest lists.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I love doing all that, but I’ve always wondered it would be easier if someone had chronicled this, so that I’d have some pointers to start off with. There are several resources for the Western bride, but what of my beautiful Indian ones? So, after Bride No. 3 refused to do this on her blog, I figured I’ll give it a go instead.

First up, it’s important to remember that there might be several kinds of brides, but some things will never-ever change!

There’s the one that’s done so much research herself that one would wonder why anyone would have to go looking anywhere. But then, she wouldn’t be a bride if life were that simple right? Nope! Even if she had a 10kg scrapbook with all the information, you’d still have to go all around town looking at 15 versions of everything before a decision is made.

YOUR JOB: You should have the numbers and names of almost all kinds of shops on speed dial, or at least the places where you guys liked something. Why? you ask. So that every time you need to check back on things, you can just call and don’t have to keep going back to the stores! Another thing with this kind of a bride, more often than not the final decision is a split second one, so

when she’s found “the one” of any item or clothing and 5 minutes later she wants to check back on her “list”, just insist on going with her gut feeling, right then and there. Otherwise, you’ll never reach any decision till you’re running way behind schedule.

The second kind of bride will say that she doesn’t really care about what’s going on. The main thing is that she’s getting married to the one she loves and that’s all she needs. HAH!! Get this one on the first shopping spree for her bridal wear and you won’t find a more “exacting” bride. And the trouble with this one is… because she hasn’t actually researched the latest trends, most of her answers would be on the lines of: “Erm, I don’t know, but something’s missing (Einstein, where art thou?). Just show me all the styles and then I’ll decide (Oh good lord!). Why can’t I wear even a little black? It looks so classy! (Just what one needs…a tradition-vs-modernity fight) This is just not it!!!! (And here I thought you didn’t really care.) etc., etc., etc.”

YOUR JOB: Patience! If this is what your friend is like, then you anticipated this, right? Plus, I hope you’re reading this before your friend gets married, because then you’d know that as soon as the wedding bells were being hung (as yes, they ain’t ringing yet), YOU will have to start doing your homework.

Get on top of what all that your bride will need, wayyyyyyyy before she comes to the realization herself. Alternatively, you can just take her on the first shopping spree really soon, and hammer some sense/paranoia into her.

I now come to bride type No.3. The one that will “technically” be everyone’s dream come true. She is supposed to be the p

erfect balance between what she wants, what her parents/family wants and what her in-laws want. Now this is where the job of the bridesmaid gets super tricky.

YOUR JOB: YOU are supposed to play the perfect go-between. Yes, yes, I can just feel many of slooooowwwlllyyyy nodding your head in agreement. For those who’re going “huh?”, well, face it… you’re the one who knows your friend right? And would she really be okay with

whatever her family and in-laws picked out? NO! Would she say anything to them because saying no or even subtly resisting their selection would mean hurting their feelings? NO! So, what is one to do? Go against all odds, and play the devil, as your friend secretly (and I mean VERY secretly…so much so that she doesn’t-know-it-then-herself secretly) counts her blessings for having you there. You take over the shopping sprees… start butting into conversations

with your “own” (read the bride-to-be’s) inputs and suggestions. Brave the disapproving stares of the elders. This is possibly the most exhausting kind of bridesmaid to be. All the best!

And then there’s bride 4. This is possibly the best kind of bride. She takes things as they come. She makes quick decisions. She knows that she has to buy whatever her mom-in-law wants to buy for her, but goes back to the same shops with her mom, you or just by herself to buy the things she really wanted. She’s used to shopping by herself and will make a pact with you not to go to browse around more than four stores for the same item. AND she multitasks.

YOUR JOB: The only thing that you need to do with such a bride is to make your notes, and be there for references and second opinions. That leaves you all the time to concentrate on all the fun stuff and surprises that you’ve always been planning for your best friend and just be there for her. She will have her phases of frustration, paranoia, confusion, doubt, and loads and loads of excitement… just be there, and you’ll both do good.

I suppose these are the only kinds of brides that I can think of, have encountered or heard about. If there are more, I’d be glad to hear about them. :-)


  1. I'm not very sure how this post has turned out... so feedback would be much appreciated. Honest! Thanks :-)

  2. very interesting! i'd add subheads for each bride though, else your repeating firstword ('your job') is dangling around a bit. also, advice on how person acquires all these resources (vendors on speed dial!)? but that's another post...

    re bride types, I have one more: the fiercely independent and opinionated one who resents every piece of advice or every 'frivolous'/'stupid'/'demeaning' demand on her time and taste, because it's all her way or the highway; and you end up playing she-devil's advocate for her with friends and family, play interpreter for the less emancipated maybe (salesman: 'madam, this is heritage saree...'; you: 'yeah, and without being all traditional and old-fashioned, na, because it isn't red but white/black/grey/blue?'), and generally suppress the sigh and do what she wants you to (mostly running errands and making her excuses)! She just wants you as shield, occasional mouthpiece and an extra pair of hands anyway, not to think for her --- or so she thinks; you'll actually have to think pretty fast on your jootis with this one!)

  3. Which one am i? and u BETTER tell me the truth!

    -- lots of love

  4. Kinda makes me wish my friends were getting married in the vicinity.. I can't GO to friends' weddings, and you making me more jealous. I hate you.

    NOTE: I'm commenting because I'm scared I'll be killed if I don't :D

  5. Interesting blog and now I know how I should be, if we ever shop together!

    Also liked the fact that you spelt out what exactly a bridesmaid has to do. In the south, however, even if you assign a cousin or a friend as your bridesmaid, there's hardly anything that she or they can do. Though the parents and family manage most Indian weddings, a bridesmaid in the south doesn't have a job spelt out for her.
    For example selecting jewellery. Keeping Kerala in mind, the bride along with her parents and at times to be in-laws make the selection for GOLD. Yes, its gold, gold and only gold that is on the list. In fact, even if you suggest platinum or diamond jewellery, its not well received unless there is a tinge of gold somewhere on the ornament.
    During this period, the bridesmaid is nowhere in sight. The bride's parents keep the jewellery-selection process in tight wraps and involve only immediate family members. I guess, to avoid gossip among family members! ;-)
    Even the wedding sari selections are done by the parents or to be in-laws. So again, a bridesmaid is left with nothing to contribute or rather kept away.

    The wedding day is when the bridesmaid finally emerges. She spends the whole day (usually Mallu Christian wedding ceremony and celebrations are held in the morning) assisting the beautician and catering to the bridezilla's needs. The needs could be so inane that the poor bridesmaid is sweating her make-up out. Well, actually you could blame it on Kerala's humidity!!! :-D

    The bridesmaid's job during the wedding is to make sure the bride looks her best and sees that all her needs are met. She's literally at the bride's beck and call (exaggerating, here). She holds the bride's bouquet, dabs her sweat off, lifts her veil, keeps a tab on the time and shoos the camera guys away when they get engrossed in their work! If at all there is a panic situation such as sudden thunder showers (expected in Kerala and people interpret it as 'showers of blessing') or there's a power cut when the bride is getting her hair straightened or the bride's blouse hook just broke, among other unexpected disasters, the bridesmaid keeps the situation under control and the bride calm and cheerful.
    Meanwhile, the parents and other family members are busy managing the whole chaos and the mad rush of hungry mallus craving for the big feast.

    Finally, after the tearful farewell from the bride's family and before the bride leaves for her husband's house, she turns around and hands over her bridal bouquet to her lovely bridesmaid and kisses her good bye.

    Well, that ending was sort of how my wedding day concluded.

    But, again, well done on the piece.

  6. i think considering you have sucha grt sense of humour may be it could have been made more crisp...and lets say someone froam british culture is readign tht...would find ita little get it...i dotn know how to put it was nice..though

  7. btw, who's the punjabi kudi?

  8. @Harjeet ma'am: Donno... took pic off the net (there were no usage restrictions, I checked! :-P)