Here’s a fun experiment for you: go and talk to a bride – pretty much any bride – and ask her what it really means to be her bridesmaid. Many will tell you that it’s a Very Big Deal: not just an enormous honour and privilege, but a way for her to pay tribute to the amazing women in her life on her ‘special day’.
Once you’ve done that, go and talk to the bridesmaids themselves, and ask them the same question. We imagine their answer will be a little more complex, with tales of questionable dresses, expensive hen parties, detailed wedding planning, Pinterest boards, dress shopping, DIY projects and the like.
Of course, there are those on both sides who simply see it as a great opportunity for loads of fun with good friends. But whatever kind of bride or bridesmaids, generally the answer is pretty much the same: it’s all about being there with – and being there for – your best friend as she walks down the aisle.
However, for one “self-obsessed” bride-to-be, selecting her bridesmaids wasn’t so much about shining a light on the important women in her life. It was more about, well, more about making a quick buck and paying off those extortionate wedding bills apparently.
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In fact, according to one wedding party member, she held an auction for her potential bridesmaids so that they could compete for a place in her wedding.
Sharing the nightmarish story on Reddit, the bride’s sister explains that her sibling had been “very spoiled” growing up. And, while the bride (let’s call her Olivia, for ease) can be sweet and caring on occasion, according to her sibling, she’s primarily a “very immature, high maintenance person”.
“She still hasn't chosen her bridesmaids,” explains Olivia’s weary sis. “Instead, she has sent out dozens of… invitations, to various girls. It's an invite to attend and participate in a bidding auction on the six spots in her bridal party.
“Whichever six of all these chicks bid the most will be the bridesmaids.”
Olivia’s sister (she needs a name as well, right? Let’s call her… Amy) went on to reveal that whoever splurges the most money will be crowned maid of honour, and, no, apparently this is not a charity drive – Amy says the bride will be using the proceeds to fund her wedding and honeymoon.
“My sister is kind of shallow (bet you'd never have guessed, right?) and mainly only associates with rich people, or more accurately people with rich families since none of these young 20s girls have ever held a job in their life unless it's at their parents' investment firm,” she continues.
“So most of the people she sent these to have the money for this kind of thing. But I know she also sent a few to older friends of hers, like from high school or earlier, who she's not only lost touch with as they got older but also were from lower income backgrounds.
“She has no awareness about how inappropriate it is in many ways.”
Unimpressed with the scheme, Amy has has refused to bid in the auction herself – or even RSVP to the “awkward and tacky” wedding. But, annoyingly, her own mother has swooped in to criticise her for being unsupportive and “selfish” about everything.
Yes, because obviously it’s Amy who’s being the selfish one in this tale.
The post has amassed 500 comments from shocked Reddit users – all of whom have reassured Amy that she’s not the one who’s being unreasonable here.
“In my opinion her sister is highly manipulative,” shared one. “The nutters are those willing to actually pay to be in her wedding party. Why would anyone do this? I can't wrap my brain around it.”
Another dubbed the affair as “absurd and trashy” – and others asked if there was an option to pay to avoid being involved in the wedding at all.
Obviously, we only have Amy’s version of events (though we’d very much like to read Olivia’s if that were possible) and hence it could be exaggerated, but it nevertheless brings up an interesting point: the finances involved in the privilege of bridesmaid duty, even auction aside, can be a real issue.
Asking your bridesmaids to pay to be in your wedding is seriously not cool – especially as a recent study has proven that being a bridesmaid really is a full-time job (minus, y’know, the salary).
According to a survey of 1,087 UK women by fashion retailer Simply Be, the average bridesmaid now spends a whopping 43 hours on wedding duties – which, it’s worth pointing out, is more than a full-time working week.
If this was an official job, dedicated bridesmaids could earn up to £326.90 a week based on the national average earnings of a wedding planner.
And that’s before you factor in extras, such as travel, accommodation, hen nights and the like.
So maybe it’s time that brides acknowledge that their bridesmaids are putting a lot of effort, and often, money, into these duties – and maybe, y’know, acknowledge that, rather than ask them to pay through the nose for the privilege, eh?
Images: I Love You, Man / Montecito Pictures / iStock