Case #6: The Pesky Parasite
Alicia's dream was to be married in a redwood forest. Her bridesmaids agreed that this would be an enchanted wedding—until the mosquitoes descended upon them as the couple exchanged vows. Knowing they were being videotaped, the young ladies valiantly smiled while suffering a thousand stings. Then they spied a mosquito the size of a small sparrow alight on Alicia's bare back. The maid of honor bravely stepped forward and swatted the offending insect, realizing that to preserve the bride's unblemished back was of higher priority than affecting a seamless, agonizing performance for a tape that could be edited.
Moral: Know your territory and be prepared. In this case, it would have been sensible for the bridal party to share a can of bug repellent before donning their wedding outfits. At a beach, sunscreen is essential. For a wedding in New York, bring Mace, in Los Angeles, an oxygen inhaler.
Case #7: The Pregnant Maid of Honor
When Allison agreed to be Cynthia's maid of honor, she never anticipated that Cynthia's wedding would be postponed and rescheduled so that Cynthia could book her reception at the darling inn she and her fiance had discovered only three weeks before their original wedding date. A year after the original date, Allison had married her longtime beau and was enceinte. In her fifth month, she was starting to show. At a second shower for the still-bride-to-be Cynthia, Allison mentioned that she was having her dress for Cynthia's wedding altered to accommodate her new shape. Cynthia cleared her throat and studied her reflection in the bread knife. "Allie," Cynthia began, "you'll be eight months pregnant on my big day... it wouldn't look right next to the other-bridesmaids. I thought we might have Richard's sister stand in for you." Cynthia had never been more than cordial to Richard's seventeen-year-old sister, Trini, who incidentally was very photogenic and very thin.
What could Allison do? When Cynthia asked her to be her maid of honor, Allison was still a single, svelte woman, and Cynthia. was certainly entitled to include her future sister-in-law in her. wedding party. Allison let Cynthia's rude comment hang in the. air and endured the rest of the shower. The next day she phoned Cynthia and told her that she was mailing her the dress along with the original bill so Trini could reimburse her. She wished' Cynthia well and said that she hoped Cynthia would understand if she wasn't feeling up to being at the ceremony. The day of the wedding, Allison and her husband sent Cynthia and Richard a lovely letter of congratulations.
Moral: Know the friends you pledge your assistance to, and be sure they are worthy of your love and patience. Don't let a fretful bride lead you down a path of increasing financial burdens and inconveniences. Strive for graciousness even when the bride behaves in a selfish or just plain undignified manner.
Case #8: Bad Hair
The prospect of sharing a hairstylist with nine other women didn't appeal to Tawny, so she begged her regular hairdresser, the tal ented Josef, to fit her in for a last-minute appointment. She needed undivided attention for her long, temperamental tresses. In her bridesmaid dress, Tawny sped to the salon, where Josef coiffed her mane to perfection. Slightly late, she raced her fire-engine BMW convertible to get to the outdoor ceremony on time One glance in the rear view mirror confirmed that the salon's hair sprays was no match for 75-mph winds. While trying to fold a scarf over ) her elaborate 'do, Tawny smeared red nail lacquer on her nose. Undeterred, tires squealing, she parked in front of the Audubon club and made it to the rose garden as the music began. Two minutes later, before a single photograph had been taken, a blue bird flew overhead and left a slimy calling card atop Tawny's head.
Moral: Don't leave all your grooming preparations until the last minute. Unless you want to risk life, limb and bouffant, leave yourself plenty of time to get to the altar. The bridesmaids hair and nails should be done by a professional on site, or at a salon with prearranged transportation waiting. If you think hair is more important than being available for the bride before the ceremony, you should be a hairdresser, not a bridesmaid.
Case #9: The Felonious Limousine Driver
The bride's family had arranged for a fleet of limousines to transport guests from the church to the reception. Four bridesmaids in one limo were alarmed when their driver took a left turn instead of following the other cars. They were furious when he joked that he was going to sell them into white slavery. One bridesmaid peeled off her pantyhose and blindfolded him while another grabbed the wheel. A third bridesmaid was able to call the police with the cellular phone hidden in her bouquet. Unflustered, they . arrived in time for the wedding photographs.
Moral: Don't let a nutcase or a hijacking stop you from getting the job done. Your outfit is replete with weapons. Use a stiletto heel to bring the enemy to his knees; garrote him with an under-wire brassiere; pierce his eardrum with a bobby pin. (See "Wedding Survival Kit")
Case #10: The Waltz That Wasn't
At a country-club wedding in Maine, a flamenco band showed up to substitute for the orchestra the bride had hired. There were many older folks at the wedding, and the bride and groom had felt that everyone would enjoy some big-band music. The bride was in tears and refused to enter the ballroom until she heard shouts of merriment accompanying the exotic music. Her bridesmaids were teaching her uncles, all in their seventies, how to flamenco! She decided to follow in their footsteps and the dancing lasted until past midnight.
Moral: Always set an example for the less spontaneous with your flexibility and enthusiasm.
Case #11: The Lecherous Photographer
After an hour of posing for wedding photographs, the bridesmaids realized that the photographer had positioned them so the afternoon sun was shining through their linen dresses, outlining their bare legs. Annoyed, one of the bridesmaids told him he'd have to reshoot the two rolls of film he had already taken. When he refused, she found a beefy usher who was only too happy to be of service. The photographer handed over the erotic film and performed his job as instructed for the rest of the session.
Moral: Take advantage of the one thing that ushers have to offer—brawn. Other than that, they primarily serve as decoration!
Case #13: The Missing Crabs
A seafood-loving bride hired a caterer that was famous for his Cajun flavored soft-shell crabs. Her entire wedding carried out a Cajun theme. Unfortunately, the caterer's truck overheated en route to the reception. His assistant saved everything but the crabs. The New Orleans bride was devastated. Her maid of honor, a chef from New York, grabbed a local usher and ordered him to drive her to the area's largest fish store. She bought a mess of clams and rescued the reception with a Long Island-style clambake.
Moral: Share your hidden talents to save the day. Always find a safe man or woman to be your chauffeur in unfamiliar cities.
Case #13: The Tidal Wave
At a wedding held on a Caribbean island during hurricane season, a ceremony was taking place aboard a yacht. Suddenly, a tidal wave broke over the side, leaving the entire wedding party drenched but unharmed. When the best man reached into his pocket for the wedding ring, he realized it had washed away. The next day, a plucky bridesmaid rented a metal detector and walked the entire perimeter of the island until she found the antique platinum ring.
Moral: You can never place enough importance on the ring.
Remember those folks who told you that no more is required of a bridesmaid than to look beautiful while walking up the aisle? These are the same clowns who, when giving directions to a local church in a countryside of rolling hills and winding roads, say to an out-of-towner in a rented car, "You can't miss it." You know better.
Every wedding represents an adventure from which dozens of anecdotes can be collected. The exemplary attendant stores away the most outrageous war stories for her granddaughter, imparting to her when she comes of age the wisdom of the guerrilla bridesmaid.