Lessons Learned From ‘Bridesmaids’

BridesmaidsYou don’t have to be straight to appreciate the comic foils of “Bridesmaids.” Nor, for that matter, do you have to be women.

The gay wedding party is an odd breed, usually made up of friends and relatives who are often meeting for the first time. Sometimes they don’t even like one another. Sometimes, a bride or a groom isn’t nuts about all of them either, but is being diplomatic by including a close relative.

In the film, a harried bride gets together a mixed group of nuts, making her best friend feel left out, and puts another friend in charge of going way overboard. Fireworks and puppy favors, anyone? It’s cinematic silliness, but there’s a point in there. For your big gay wedding, don’t end up with a disaster flick; choose your wedding party carefully and remember how much time, energy, and money they are putting into your affair.

Here, five rules, borrowed from the film’s blunders, to make sure everyone has a Happy Ending.

One: The Buck Stops Here. Before you allow your peeps to start planning parties, keep in mind the incomes of each person. While a trip to Vegas might seem like a great pre-party (as in the film), your friend who’s unemployed can’t afford it. Talk to your maid of honor or best man and make sure he or she understands the situation. Drinks at the local gay bar is going to be much more fun than a lavish dinner if all involved aren’t worried about paying the tab.

Two: Make Sure They’re Prepared. Never ask or expect someone to be in charge of your wedding planning if they’re too busy, too stressed, or just not up to the task. For many gay people, a wedding was never part of your life plans until recently. As such, you might be so excited about the prospect you’ve forgotten that your best friend has a full-time job, three kids, is a volunteer substance-abuse counselor on the weekends, and runs the Rihanna fan club. Take him aside and see if he’s up to the challenge. If there’s any resistance, pick someone else. You’ll both respect each other in the morning.

Three: They Go Together. Make sure your wedding party gets to know one another. While there’s a good chance you’ve known this group all of your life, they might be meeting for the first time. Arrange time for them to get acquainted. Take them to lunch or drinks, or have them all over for coffee. If they don’t all become BFFs at first sight, give it time. Also, if there are petty jealousies, they’re going to do their best to keep it from you. Pay close attention to your group, and always be there for the pep talks and the reminders of just how much you love them.

Four: Clothes Tabs. A lot has changed in the world of weddings (um, like a gay column devoted to the subject), and one positive development has been the advent of non-uniform uniforms. You all know the cliché of the ugly bridesmaids’ gowns, and even the stupid penguin suits, so think twice. Remember, as a gay man or woman, you’re already re-writing the rules. Why not start by letting them go their own way, provided the style and formality fits into your theme.

Five: And Bad Mistakes, They’ll Make a Few. Finally, remember that they’re not going to do everything correctly. They might screw up the party invites; they might forget you’re allergic to nuts; they might even get into a bitch-slap fight at your engagement party.

Like your wedding itself, nothing they do will go exactly as planned, but everything will be exactly wonderful.

Photo credit: IMDb


David Toussaint is the author of the Gay Couple's Guide to Wedding Planning, Gay and Lesbian Weddings: Planning the Perfect Same-Sex Ceremony, and TOUSSAINT!.