At some point or another, you may be asked to be a bridesmaid in your friend’s wedding — or perhaps you’ve already been one, and maybe more than once. As a bridesmaid, you’ve probably been asked to help the bride with various wedding-related tasks, from organizing bachelorette party duties to planning dress fittings and everything in between. However, some women have had such weird bridesmaid duties that it’s hard to even believe they were true.
Of course, aside from the tasks you’re asked to do, being a bridesmaid often costs a lot of money. In fact, The Tylt, the largest and fastest growing social polling and opinion platform amongst millennials, polled more than 2,200 of them and found that nearly half would choose a free month of rent versus being in their BFF’s wedding. The Tylt also found that 79.3 percent of Millennials revealed that low-cost, small weddings rule over larger ones. If you’ve stood up in a friend’s wedding, you may be able to relate.
Lauren Goldberg, wedding planner and founder of the event planning company, Electric Celebrations, has seen bridesmaids receive a lot of unique requests from brides-to-be. “I once had a client who forced all her bridesmaids to get the same haircut,” she tells Bustle. “She wanted everyone to have the same blunt chin-length bob, so she had a hair stylist come in and cut each bridesmaid’s hair EXACTLY the same way the day before the wedding. One of the bridesmaids was so upset, she basically cried her way through the rehearsal dinner!”
Of course, bridesmaid requests vary from bride-to-bride, and Goldberg thinks it all boils down to communication. “Bridesmaids should remember the bride is under a considerable amount of stress,” she says. “However, that said, all brides and bridesmaids should treat each other with respect.” She says that for most reasonable requests, such as asking for help placing bows on programs or for her favorite color to be worn on the day, bridesmaids should absolutely go along with their friend’s vision to help her achieve her ideal day. “But, I’d say asking for major changes to anyone’s appearance or lifestyle should be off-limits,” Goldberg says.
Below, former bridesmaids share the weirdest thing they were asked to do as part of their “bridesmaid” duties, so get ready to laugh, cringe, or be grateful that your bridesmaid task wasn’t as bad.
“I was recently in a wedding where I got some strange requests. Firstly, the bride assumed everyone could pay over $8,000 when all was said and done! Our dresses cost $2,000, we were each expected to pay $2,000 for the bachelorette party, we had to chip in for the shower, get Brazilian blowouts, and she actually asked me to dye my hair so it wouldn’t match hers (it’s my natural color!). Keep in mind that we’re not really close and I’m pretty sure she only asked me to be in the wedding party because she needed one more person. Hair-wise, luckily, I figured out how to do an at-home glaze for $15 that darkened my hair by a few shades. In the end, I want to say we ended up paying around $4,000 each (including the bachelorette party, and this was with a lot of battles along the way!), and I’m definitely not close with the bride today!”
Elyse, Early 30s
“As a matron of honor, I was asked to go and buy the makeup the bride would use as touchup makeup throughout her day/night. She gave me a list of the brands and colors and I agreed, assuming she’d pay me back. It’s been nearly three years and she’s never offered to pay for the makeup that cost me nearly $200!”
“I was asked to be a bridesmaid and we had to do weekly weigh-ins to make sure our dresses would fit on her wedding day. By the way, I’m not friends with the bride anymore.”
“My story happened at a destination wedding in Hawaii, which cost a lot of money in the first place — getting there, etc. Another bridesmaid and I wanted to make the most of being there, but instead, we spent one afternoon of our vacation making the place cards for the reception — cutting them just right, writing out names just right, etc. We thought we’d done a pretty good job, but the groom did not agree. He ended up having his mom and sisters redo them! He never said a word to us! And he wasn’t just a groom-zilla about that, but lots of other stuff, too! I’m still friends with him and his wife (I knew her first) and she told me she thought it was funny he was such a groom-zilla, but I’m not sure ‘funny’ is the word!”
“For a wedding I was in, each couple in the bridal party had to make up a dance for when they entered the reception, but the bride and groom did not tell us until the last minute, after I’d gotten my hair done and curled and was all ready for the wedding. So we made up our dance — but then my hair was a mess. I wanted to fix it, but the bride said I had no time, but I insisted; I couldn’t walk down the aisle like that! I quickly fixed it right in time before the wedding ceremony.”
“The other bridesmaids and I had to make these thank-you gifts; we figured they were for the groomsmen or for the bride’s family. The bride had gone to a dollar store to buy these candle holders, candles, and paints, and it was our job to paint the candle holders. We could paint whatever we wanted: a sunset, the beach, hearts, whatever. The girls and I knew it was a last-minute wedding, but also felt bad for whoever was getting these tacky gifts (none of us were artists!). When the wedding weekend was over, guess who got the tacky gifts?! Yep — us! Each bridesmaid got a candle and candle holder that another one of us had painted!! At least I learned a valuable lesson: Give your bridesmaids, aka your best friends, something way more personalized — and don’t make them make it themselves!!”
“A friend of mine from high school, Christy, married not long after we graduated, and her mother wanted her to have a ‘proper’ bachelorette party. As not only a bridesmaid but the maid of honor, her mother told me to make sure nothing ‘bad’ happened. Christy and her five other bridesmaids got ridiculously drunk, and her mother had rented a limo for us. On the way back home at about 2 a.m., Christy pushed the button on the door to open the window and started throwing up. The sound of it made the other girls sick, and they all followed her lead. The driver started screaming for them to stop, and I was unsure what to do — let them continue to vomit all over the sides of the limo, or pull them in and let them do it on the inside?
The driver was understandably and overwhelmingly furious, and pulled off the highway into the parking lot of a 24-hour restaurant. As the girls stumbled from the car and began throwing up on the pavement, I ran inside and asked for as many napkins as they would give me. When I came out, the driver was yelling at all of us and said that we weren’t going anywhere until the car was clean. I spent a good 20 minutes wiping vomit from the car doors! The driver finally let us back in and took us back to Christy’s parent’s house, where I scrambled to get money from the girls for a big tip for the driver.”
“As a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding, I helped organize the bachelorette party, and the other girls and I were all responsible for various parts of it, from buying pre-partying alcohol to making cookies. I was in charge of cookies and everything was a penis theme — the balloons, a hat the bride-to-be wore, etc. — so I had to go find penis-shaped cookie cutters (thank you, Amazon!), then make them, then bake them, then decorate them… Yep, definitely the weirdest bridesmaid task I’ve been asked to do! I’m just glad I wasn’t living with my parents at the time! My dad probably would have grounded me for life!”
“The weirdest (but coolest) bridesmaid duty I ever had was being asked to create custom boob-sweat protectors for the bride’s and all the bridesmaids’ corset dresses. It was super hot and humid, and we’d be dancing, so I got a bunch of super absorbent maxi-pads and sewed them together to fit inside each of the different girls’ bustier cups and underwires. It was a pain in the butt, but a smash hit! Now, I’ve launched Swoobie (for sweaty boobies), with a Kickstarter coming in October to finance it."
As you can see, bridesmaid duties can vary a lot — though may turn into #jobinspo, too, like Swoobie. When it comes to how to handle bridesmaid requests from the bride, Goldberg believes that bridesmaids should not be expected to spend money or time above their means. “Instead of the bridesmaid having to purchase a one-thousand dollar dress she’ll never wear again, perhaps she can wear a coordinating color instead,” Goldberg says. “Similarly, your bridesmaid may not be able to afford a week-long Vegas bachelorette party, and she shouldn’t feel forced to go into debt just to go.”
Goldberg also says to keep in mind that your friend’s wedding day is one that she’s likely dreamed about for a long time, and it comes with a considerable amount of work, planning, and stress. That said, before being a bridesmaid, it’s probably best to ask about the tasks in advance in order to avoid any surprises down the line.