A bridesmaid often has to go above and beyond the call of duty -- whether this means going into debt after buying multiple shower and wedding gifts, coping with a horrible hangover after a wild bachelorette party or politely agreeing with the bride that, yes, an orange taffeta gown could definitely be worn again. Standing up for the bride is an honorable job, but it's sometimes hard to handle all the other duties the position often entails.
To get in the wedding spirit, we recommend you watch a few movies to prepare for your role as a bridesmaid -- either alone or with the rest of the bridal party. It's a great way to get excited about the upcoming nuptials, and there's a movie for every situation, regardless if the upcoming ceremony is going to be low-key and traditional, over-the-top, drama-filled or downright silly. So here's a list of flicks that will get help get you in the mood for your bridesmaid duties, whatever they may turn out to be.
What can happen when a hopelessly broke woman agrees to be a maid of honor without knowing anything about what the role entails? In "Bridesmaids," this situation leads to a string of hilarious worst-case scenarios, including a dress fitting fiasco and a bachelorette party blunder. Annie, played by Saturday Night Live star Kristen Wiig, eventually gets bumped from maid of honor to bridesmaid when wedding planning proves too stressful, putting a serious strain on her relationship with the bride.
This movie is relatable to girls who are asked to be a bridesmaid when money is tight, whether they're clueless about the role's responsibilities or not. It's not uncommon for true friendships to be tested in the days leading up to the wedding, so if you start to feel overwhelmed by mounting expenses and duties, be honest with the bride. And if times are tough and you can't afford to be a bridesmaid, it's perfectly acceptable to decline the invitation from the beginning.
"My Big Fat Greek Wedding"
This 2002 comedy is about how to survive a big family wedding -- and a large wedding party. Nia Vardalos stars as the bride, Toula Portokalos. Shy, laid-back Portokalos not only has to deal with her overbearing family when she announces her engagement, but she also has to get them to accept the groom, and he's not Greek like the rest of her family.
Even the most seasoned bridesmaid may not know how to cope when thrown into a bridal party with several different overbearing personalities, especially when combined with all the extra duties large, over-the-top weddings often entail. Big weddings are more stressful than normal nuptials, so in times of chaos, try to help the bride by being the peacekeeper and a shoulder to cry on when necessary.
"Rachel Getting Married"
This drama stars Rosemarie DeWitt and Anne Hathaway as sisters with a strained relationship. Hathaway plays Kym, the younger, attention-seeking sister of the bride. Just out of rehab, Kym is snarky, rude and distant with family -- especially her sister, Rachel, who's days away from walking down the aisle. Not surprisingly, Kym isn't asked to be maid of honor, and the role is given to Rachel's best friend instead. Kym is hurt by this revelation, pushing the two sisters even further apart.
Whether you're a sister or close friend of the bride, try to understand if you're not selected to be her maid of honor. It's often difficult to choose someone for this role, so respect the bride's decision. And if the two of you have struggled in the past, a wedding might be the perfect time to mend your troubled relationship.
"The Wedding Singer"
Adam Sandler stars as the titular wedding singer in this romantic comedy, and Drew Barrymore plays a woman engaged to the wrong guy. The year is 1985, and the movie highlights the decade's outrageous hit-or-miss fads and fashions. Some of the best comedic scenes of the movie focus on botched wedding band performances and auditions. If the bride asks you to help her shop for the perfect wedding vendors, take comfort in knowing that most of them probably won't be as bad as the ones in this movie! Always take time to laugh with the bride -- especially if a wedding singer wears a red leather jacket and rhinestone glove to an audition.
"The Wedding Banquet"
What if you knew a secret that would cancel the wedding? This foreign-language film, directed by Ang Lee, centers around a closeted groom, Wai-Tung Gao, who's pressured to marry a woman by his traditional Chinese parents. Gao and his partner Simon struggle with planning the sham of a wedding. The bride, Wei-Wei, needs a green card, so she agrees to be Gao's bride, adding to the scandal. This comedy becomes more complex as tangled lies prove to be too much for the characters.
As a wedding party member, honesty is always the best policy. Even if speaking the truth is difficult, the bride or groom will likely thank you in the end.
Jane, played by Katherine Heigl, is the ultimate bridesmaid in this romantic comedy. She's loyal, popular and a great friend -- and she has 27 bridesmaid dresses bursting out of her closet to prove it. When Jane's crush suddenly proposes to her self-absorbed younger sister, her world is turned upside down, and she begins to feel resentful when too much is asked of her during the wedding planning.
Lots of girls would agree that while being asked to be a bridesmaid is a special job, it can be incredibly taxing, too. As part of the wedding party, you shouldn't take on more duties than the bride, and it's OK to say no to a particular task if you start to feel taken advantage of.
Julia Roberts stars in this romantic comedy as Maggie Carpenter, a woman who's infamous in her small town for leaving several fiancés at the altar. When reporter Ike, played by Richard Gere, is assigned to write a story about the runaway bride, the two begin to fall for each other, but neither are convinced that Carpenter will ever be able to tie the knot for good.
What if the bride confides in you that she can't stay in a white dress long enough to say "I do"? As a bridesmaid, it's your job to find out if the bride's reluctance is legitimate or just a case of pre-wedding jitters. If a bride is serious about calling her engagement off, a bridesmaid should be supportive and do anything she can to help -- even if this means standing up in front of a church and breaking the news to a congregation yourself.
"My Best Friend's Wedding"
Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney star in this romantic comedy as friends Julianne Potter and Michael O'Neal, former college sweethearts who agree to get married if they're still single at age 28. When O'Neal calls Potter to announce his engagement to another woman, Potter becomes determined to sabotage the wedding at any cost -- a task that becomes significantly more challenging when the bride asks her to be her maid of honor.
A wedding can be a harsh reminder of certain bridesmaids' "plus one" statuses, and even if you're not trying to steal the groom, jealousy might be a feeling that's all too familiar. While it's OK to distance yourself for a short time if you're feeling low, it's never OK to wreck someone's wedding, no matter how tough a situation may be to endure.
"Margot at the Wedding"
This emotionally charged film stars Nicole Kidman as Margot, the harsh, acid-tongued sister of the bride who disapproves of the groom and isn't afraid to say so. In the midst of many painful scenes exposing dysfunctional relationships, the movie serves as a reminder that while we can't choose our family members, we can try to accept them as the people they are. In the event that you have a legitimate objection to the bride marrying the groom, consider being honest, especially if their relationship is abusive. Otherwise, try to be happy for the couple, and if there isn't a serious reason to oppose the marriage, forever hold your peace.
"The Philadelphia Story"
This 1940 classic has arguably the greatest cast ever assembled for a wedding flick: James Stewart, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The movie begins as Tracy, a socialite played by Hepburn, is newly engaged after divorcing her ex-husband Dexter, played by Grant. Through a series of plot twists -- spoiler alert! -- the movie ends with Tracy calling off the wedding to her fiancé, along with a last-minute surprise: Dexter offers his former bride a second marriage proposal.
It might be rare, but some couples divorce and later get back together. Depending on the situation, friends may encourage or oppose these reconciliations. As a bridesmaid, your feelings are important, and you shouldn't feel pressured to stand up for anyone -- especially if you don't believe in the union.
Making over your mom for your wedding day is a fun activity for both mom and daughter. Learn about making over your mom for your wedding day.
- EmilyPost.com. "Getting Married (Again)." (Feb. 1, 2012) http://www.emilypost.com/weddings/remarriage/592-getting-married-again
- Emrich, Duncan. "Old, New, Borrowed, Blue -- But Why?" The New York Times. June 1, 1958. (Feb. 5, 2012) http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=FA0E1FFE3D5C1A7B93C3A9178DD85F4C8585F9