Bridesmaids 101: What we've learned from the movies
Made of honour
1. It's about the bride, not you
Surprise, surprise, it's not all about you. You're in the bridal party because you know the bride inside out — or at least, you think you do. Remember that the events leading up to the wedding — and the big day itself — are about the bride. Find out what exactly she wants, and plan around what makes her the happiest. Although Rose Byrne's character in Bridesmaids (2011) was insufferable to the maid of honour, she did execute something right: A Paris-themed shower based on the bride's dream destination. Don't be afraid to ask, and if the bride's a particularly uncertain sort, we suggest trawling through her Pinterest, Tumblr or Instagram to see what she's bookmarked. You can only do so much guesswork.
Tip: If the bride's a fan of fashion, flowers and hand-drawn illustrations, consult the services of local artist Grace Ciao.
2. Turn to social media for inspiration, not competition
If you know of other peers who are also getting hitched around the same time, don't torture yourself over which wedding looks better, and stop comparing plans with other parties' bridesmaids. This isn't Hollywood or a scene from Bride Wars (2009) where the bride's getting married at The Plaza hotel. Unfollow them from social media for the period to rid yourself of FOMO (that's 'Fear Of Missing Out' for you oldies).
Tip: You might avoid social media before the wedding, but once you're in the thick of it, hashtags are the way to go. Take it a step further and install a screen by Firelight.tv that posts Instagram images of those hashtags at the reception.
3. Help her craft a wedding toast that's succinct
The best speeches are short and succinct. Like good writing, it should be witty, timely and useful — does the crowd really care about that one time the bride got caught in the rain and realised who her one true love was? No. Audiences like to feel something that they can apply in their own lives, so words of wisdom will do just the trick. Borrow the ones Rachel McAdams said in Wedding Crashers (2005): "True love is the soul's recognizing of its counterpoint in another". Deep.
Tip: Make this the definitive toast of toasts with a sparkling bubbly of Wolf Blass Red Label Chardonnay Pinot Noir with its bouquet of citrus and strawberry notes, recently recommended by us.
3. Screen all your wedding vendors
You really don't want to hire that guy you sort of know — check the vendors' references and make sure there's no history with the couple. A wedding video with close-ups of just the bride à la Love Actually (2003) might seem endearing, but it's actually pretty creepy and a waste of good money in the long run... even if a wasted heart (that also comes with a delicious side of butt chin) continues to love.
Tip: Need a caterer? The guys at Luxe Catering know their stuff — their butlers are easy on the eyes too.
4. Study the guestlist to look for 'interesting' characters
Weddings bring together the black sheep of the bride's family and friends: It could be that uncle who over-shares, that cousin who over-boozes or that friend with danger as his middle name. Either way, it's your job to make sure these guys don't screw around, and place them strategically apart from one another — you can only handle one kind of crazy at a time. Avoid scenes similar to that of Dustin Hoffman's show of bravado in The Graduate (1967).
Tip: For some R&R right before the wedding, treat yourself and the bride to some self-pampering before the big day, and the big drama.
5. Learn when to say no
There are a lot of things that are wrong with 27 Dresses (2008), and one of them's the fact that Katherine Heigl's character simply could not say no. It's one thing to voluntarily dress yourself in hideous frocks and go underwater in one of them, but it's a whole other level when you agree to plan your sister's wedding to the love of your life. When you feel that your bridesmaid and maid of honour duties are inflicting more pain than pleasure, it's time to take one or two steps back.
Tip: Here's what you shouldn't say no to — heirloom-inspired homeware that your bride might gift to you if you drop enough hints.
1. Don't project your personal issues onto the event
So you've been heartbroken and don't believe in the institution of marriage anymore. So what? Take your pity parade elsewhere for the time being — your best friend trusted your ability to be there for her because she's certain there's still a little bit of heart left inside you. Don't disappoint. Don't be like Miranda from Sex and The City (2008) who expressed her negative sentiments the night of the rehearsal dinner to the groom, Mr. Big.
Tip: To keep calm and carry on, dedicate an evening to surrounding yourself with your favourite candles. Want your room to smell like lavender shortbread? Anthropologie makes it possible.
2. Don't eat Brazilian food before your bridal fittings.
Or you might just find the bride taking a dump in the middle of the road. That scene in Bridesmaids (2011) is one of the best in Hollywood's wedding flicks, and it left us with two valuable lessons. First, book an appointment with a bridal boutique. Second, don't eat a spicy or heaty meal before the fitting...or you wouldn't know which hole that smell or noise might come from.
Tip: If you have to dine on South American fare that week (are wedding cravings legit?), we recommend a classier option, boCHINche.
3. Don't get too carried away at the bachelorette party.
Once again, it's not about you. The bride has enough on her plate — future in-laws and family, the pressure of a life-long commitment and the fact that armpits will continue to perspire on her big day — so don't let yourself be another addition to that list. A lot of things can go wrong at a bachelorette party, which is something you should be on top of. The wild trio of Bachelorette (2012) certainly taught us this: Don't get too intoxicated, don't sleep with someone from the groom's side and definitely don't snort a little something extra.
4. Don't touch on her negative points in your toast.
Yes, you're responsible for helping the bride with her toast, but you're entirely responsible for yours too. In his role as the best man in I Give It A Year (2013), comedian Stephen Merchant went into a whole shebang involving underage sex jokes, unfaithfulness, ranking of attractiveness and managed to fit a string of unflattering words in under two minutes. At least he's succinct?
Tip: If you do however plan a night of comedy for the bridal party, check out the Singapore Comedy Fringe — a taste of their laugh-out-loud action is happening this weekend.
5. Don't fall in love with the groom
Or if you can't help it, don't leave it to the last minute to tell the poor fella. Nothing good will come out of this. Unless you plan to do a Julia Roberts in My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) by loaning the song you shared with the groom as the track of the couple's first dance. Or don't tell him at all. Suffer in silence. Self-help blogs work...so does a good bottle of Laphroaig.
Tip: There's no heartbreak a good book can't solve. A book will never leave you. Even better when we've chosen specific ones for your star sign.
To read other stories in Buro Bridal Week, click here.