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Bridesmaid or Bridesmad?

Some bridesmaids are so loony one can only conclude they are really Bridesmads…

Last December, my younger sister (S) got married in a very quick, sweet ceremony and had myself and her close friend (N) as her only attendants. S and her fiancee were very young but were determined that they needed to be married as they were in the midst of true love and kept moving the date up. That being said, my mother and the rest of the family cobbled together a lovely ceremony and reception on a shoestring budget and S wasn’t even that much of a bridezilla.

The one deserving of EHell is N. My sister and I are very close and I was honored to accept the role of MOH and all the duties with it. N, apparently, didn’t like that. She spent the entire time leading up to the wedding attempting to focus all attention on her by talking non-stop about one of her boyfriends that was in the military. S, who knows and loves N regardless, would only laugh her off even when the sedate hen party (I was the only one legally old enough for alcohol and so held the get together in my house) brought hard liqueur to my home, drinking it in her car when she went to “get her keys” and texting the whole night to a different boyfriend.

Fast forward to the wedding itself. S is a basket of nerves as she’s starting to realize that just perhaps she’s a little too young/immature for the step she’s getting ready to take – both bride and groom are not yet 20 and neither have prospects for after the “big day”. She’s assured that, while embarrassing, this can still be postponed (the ceremony was very, very small) and people would understand and help in any way they can. N, who arrived late to the various hair appointments and showed up just in time to miss helping S into her dress but still needing S to do her makeup, shames S into believing that she must go through with this even though she’s experiencing strong reservations.

The wedding goes on without a hitch if you can overlook the bride sobbing through the ceremony and N wailing during the ring exchange. At the reception, formal pictures were taken where N demanded that she have formal portraits done with her date (a 3rd guy) and insists on giving a toast to the new couple where she admits that she used to “totally want to do” the mortified groom and that she was like family to S and felt closer to her than sisters. This toast went so long that by the time I was able to take the microphone to offer my own well wishes and hopes for the couple, I was unable to do more than smile weakly at them. N then preceded to cap of this lovely exchange by having two of the 3 guys she was currently seeing meet each other – they were surprised – and demand doggie bags for food that she wanted to take to her own family that were not in attendance.

S received a honeymoon present and is due in October. I’m afraid of what this “honorary sister” will get up to then! Have I mentioned that S won’t even be 21 until the baby is a few months old? 0524-10

{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Sarah May 25, 2010, 8:14 am

    I’m not entirely sure why it is necessary to keep mentioning how young your sister is. Is this a post about a nasty bridesmaid or a girl who is too young to get married?

  • TheBardess May 25, 2010, 10:05 am

    “Have I mentioned that S won’t even be 21 until the baby is a few months old? ”

    And this is relevant to the story how?

    While I agree that N was poorly behaved, as someone who herself married young (I got engaged at 20, got married less than a year later at 21, and received a LOT of flack for it, even from friends) and found herself pregnant three months after the big day, I found the OP’s obsessive commenting on her sister’s youth to be irksome and uncalled for. Her sister needs support right now, not criticism.

  • Casey May 25, 2010, 10:18 am

    I really fail to see why it would matter that your sister is only going to be 20 when her baby is born.

    I understand that it was your sister’s day and she’s big enough to make decisions for herself and all that but considering her age and her cold feet you or mom should’ve really jumped in and taken control back from N.

  • Liz May 25, 2010, 11:27 am

    I just feel bad for the bride…

  • Shayna May 25, 2010, 12:20 pm

    What’s the deal with people who think a *certain* age is not the right age for getting married? I just don’t get it. I got married at 23, and received A LOT of flack about that, not from family, but from coworkers! I’m still married almost 7 years later, and it just gets better. I have an aunt who married at 18 and was a mother by the time she was 19. In fact, she was pregnant with her first child when my grandmother (her mother!) was pregnant with her last. This aunt is still married 40+ years later with five children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, with one on the way. And no, my aunt and uncle aren’t one of those couples who are together just because they *think* it’s what they have to do; they’re very happy and still very much in love.

  • Calliope May 25, 2010, 12:26 pm

    What kind of photographer gives in to a bridesmaid’s demands for her own photo shoot? Why didn’t you or a member of your family say something? Who packs up doggie bags for a guest who demands them? People need to learn to say no.

    This wedding sounds stressful and N. sounds like a piece of work, but the undercurrent through this story seems to be that you’re not pleased with your sister for getting married so young. From the repeated mentions of her age to your intended “sedate hen party”–no need to do tequila shots and hang from the rafters or anything, but a “sedate” party doesn’t sound very celebratory–it sounds like you have a problem with your sister’s choices. I have a sister, too, so I know how little things can drive you crazy. But it does sound like your sister needs your support, not your judgment.

  • Xtina May 25, 2010, 12:37 pm

    N is very, very tacky….among other things, how jaw-droppingly appalling that she made a comment about wanting to have sex with the groom, and at the reception! Awful all the way around!

    Agree with other posters that S’s age was over-mentioned by the OP. I do see red flags that S was sobbing through her own ceremony and went through with it if she had such nagging doubts about being married….sure hope all turned out well, and with the baby as well.

    Yes, N has a lot to learn. Tres, tres tacky, that one.

  • phoenix May 25, 2010, 1:23 pm

    Sounds like the sister is far, far more mature than her friend N. All the best to her- and to finding better friends.

  • Mechtilde May 25, 2010, 2:08 pm

    The fact that S sobbed all the way through the wedding ceremony does not mean that she as making a mistake. Plenty of brides- and grooms- can get very emotional during the ceremony- and having been in a church choir believe me I’ve seen quite a few.

    I was shaking like a leaf walking down the aisle, and I’m a fairly confident assertive person- I just went to bits when my chief bridesmaid put my veil over my face for some reason. You can even hear the leaves in my bouquet rustling over the sound of the organ on the recording of the wedding.

  • Ashlee May 25, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I think the writer mentions the bride’s age because of the fact that the bride herself was increasingly unsure about marrying so young (to the point of sobbing through the ceremony!), and rather than offer reassurance that the bride could still change her mind and postpone the wedding without judgement, the crazy bridesmaid “shamed” her into believing she had to go through with it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with marrying young, but there’s also nothing inherently wrong in postponing a wedding if you are doubting your decision, and there IS something wrong with vowing a lifetime of commitment to another person when you’re so unsure that you can’t do it without crying, and there are a whole lot of things wrong with encouraging a friend you call a sister to go against her own judgement by making her feel ashamed of her fears. It sounds like the only person who would have held a postponement against the bride was the bratty bridesmaid!

  • Claddagh Lass May 25, 2010, 3:03 pm

    N was being tacky in her demands.

    Though I fail to see what S’s age has to do with the story. Many people have had children young.

  • DGS May 25, 2010, 3:54 pm

    There is certainly no research to suggest (I’m a psychologist, so I look at a lot of this kind of research for a living) that there is a particular age that is the right age to get married, however, divorce rates are higher in couples who get married younger or couples who get married when they are older and have co-habitated extensively (the moderator variable here seems to be someone’s expectations about marriage and their orientation towards commitment). However, the bottom line is, does the couple itself feel ready to be married? While there are many people who have had successful marriages having gotten married young, it sounds like in this case, the bride was quite apprehensive about her wedding, so perhaps offering her and her fiance support and guidance rather than rushing into giving them a wedding might have been the best strategy. That being said, OP could certainly have stood to be less snarky and more supportive of her sister; despite her young age and her ambivalence about her upcoming wedding, the bride could have used a loving big sister on her wedding day and now that she is pregnant, probably could stand to have more support as she approaches a major milestone in her life.

    N also sounds like a nightmare of a bridesmaid – I feel very sad for S; she sounds like a very confused and unhappy young woman, but hopefully, she and her new husband will make a successful marriage and co-parent their child successfully.

  • mommaknowsbest May 25, 2010, 3:59 pm

    I am constantly amazed at how some of you posters pick apart the OP’s post. Why do you concentrate on only one aspect and fail to see the true story that is written here? Everyone of you continues to show a real lack of decorum for not seeing the intended story and correctly critiqueing what is meant for you to critique. Instead you all continue to do your own faux pas for repeating the same mundane thing over and over .

  • Simone May 25, 2010, 4:18 pm

    I had a totally different take on the age thing. My impression was that the OP is worried about her sister, not critical. The fact that she is not judging her and is supporting her is shown by the way she stepped up to the MOH role without complaints but then also reassured her that she could back out if she needed to.

    Age aside, the fact that she was seriously considering backing out (sounds like more than cold feet to me) is cause enough for concern over a loved sister and I would seriously resent a friend who put their need ot be a star ahead of caring for my sister. And I have to say that I would be unhappy about someone of ANY age who almost didn’t get married due to cold feet but then immediately got pregnant. It’s complicating an already complicated situation.

    Anyway, that was just my reading of it.

  • PrincessSimmi May 25, 2010, 7:19 pm

    When you’ve got friends like these, who needs enemies?

    Mind you, I also thought that the references to S’s age were odd. I have many friends who married young who are very happy. Don’t judge, and don’t make assumptions, they’re normally wrong.

  • TheBardess May 25, 2010, 8:56 pm

    mommaknowsbest- there is no one correct thing we are “supposed” to critique. The topics we discuss here at Ehell are polite behavior and rude behavior, no matter who is the perpetrator. While N was undoubtedly rude, the submitter’s continued, and wholly unnecessary comments about her sister’s age (in particular the especially irrelevant and critical remark at the end about how her sister won’t even be 21 when her baby is born) were rude as well. There is nothing wrong with us pointing that out. When a story is submitted to this site ANY faux pas it contains is eligible for discussion- even if it is a faux pas on the part of the submitter.

  • Snewt May 25, 2010, 10:40 pm

    It seems like almost every wedding party has THAT bridesmaid who has to be a diva! In this story, N seems to be more excited about being a BM than supporting her friend.

  • Anonymous May 26, 2010, 12:28 am

    I agree that the constant mentions of the bride’s age are strange, and wonder if the OP was projecting a desire to postpone the wedding on a bride who was just expressing normal cold feet.

  • Calliope May 26, 2010, 1:07 am


    The “intended story” doesn’t always come out as intended. In this story, it’s easy to see that the LW has a problem with her sister getting married young. Sure, there are some issues with a rude bridesmaid, but anyone who reads this carefully will see that N. was just the tip of the iceberg. I don’t believe it’s a faux pas to point it out; the story is posted here with comments enabled, so commenters can either commiserate with the LW or point out that the LW isn’t quite correct. In this case, I’m inclined to do both.

  • jenna May 26, 2010, 1:14 am

    mommaknowsbest – if you post a story on the Internet, you can’t exactly say “criticize this, but not that” – if you don’t want it to be thrown out there for public consumption and comment, then don’t say it, or put it on a blog with moderated comments and reject the comments you don’t like. Those are your only two choices: you don’t get to say “here’s my story, Internet – you can comment on this aspect but not that”.

    I felt that until the very last sentence – “not even 21 and having a baby” – the comments on her sister’s age were more worry for her young sis with cold feet, not a criticism. The last sentence was an unnecessary jibe and I think was uncalled-for, but really. It’s just one sentence. Sometimes tone does not come across the way we want it to, despite our best intentions, and I am inclined to let it go. BTW there is nothing wrong with young spouses and young parenthood, if it’s what you know you want. If you have deep reservations, the you owe it to yourself to explore those.

  • Jess May 26, 2010, 11:42 am

    I see nothing wrong with S’s age. It’s her life, not yours. If she’s being a responsible mother, then what’s the problem? It’s not like she’s in middle school. You need to be more supportive of your sister. Do I detect a little jealousy here?

  • Caroline June 1, 2010, 5:51 pm

    Funny how not too many people seem to have a problem with young kids having sex (and often children) with multiple partners but God forbid those same “youngsters” should marry! “Why, they’re just too young! It will never work to get married young! It won’t last!”
    As someone who married at 19, and is still married 27 years and 6 kids later, I can tell you that young marriages CAN work, especially if the couple has the support of their families. I’m not saying it’s always easy, or a breeze, but with work, as in any good marriage, it can succeed.
    Best of luck to the young couple:-)

  • juanita June 8, 2010, 7:59 am

    While i think N probably does not have refined breeding, or is probably quite immature herself, its not entirely her fault that S is now married and pregnant. How do you know they didnt move the wedding up because of the pregnancy? Don’t blame N for giving your sister advice to go through with the wedding, if you knew she had reservations, why didn’t you step in and give your own advice, especially if you are as close as you say?

  • retreadbride June 8, 2010, 9:32 am

    Brides need to get rid of the “duty” list for their bridesmaids. Their “duty” is to get the attire and show up for the wedding. That’s IT. Anything else is optional on their part.

    Bridesmaid does not mean bride’s MAID.

  • Jellie June 9, 2010, 4:15 pm

    I think the whole point of adding the fact that she was young and only 19 when this happened was because she was WANTING to postpone the wedding, but that dumb “N” practly forced her to get married anyways. She wanted to wait until she was older to get married, and possibly to have children with her man, but was thwarted by N. You should have probably should of steped in and said something like, “if you have such reservations, then don’t do it.” Wedding jitters are normal, but if it was really bad, then you should have intervined when N was trying to make her get married.

  • Chelsey July 14, 2010, 1:19 pm

    It doesn’t really matter how old you are when you’re married, it matters how mature you are. It’s true, younger girls tend to romanticize marriage and act like it’s a game. But some of the happiest couples I know married at a young age. I sort of got the feeling that you mentioned her age a lot because you’re the older sister. You never mentioned a husband, so maybe younger sister got married first and you’re a bit resentful? As the oldest of my siblings, I can see where that would bother you. Of course, I might be completely off the mark here. Just theorizing based on an observation. Still, I think you should stop focusing on her age. She’s an adult and capable of making sound decisions. As her sister, it’s you’re job to support her, not criticize her.

  • essie August 23, 2010, 10:46 am

    Regarding younger brides: in one year, my grandmother married in January, celebrated her 17th birthday in June, and gave birth to my mother at Thanksgiving (US, not Canada). She and Granddaddy had been happily married for 58 years when he passed away.

    When they married, she told her new husband 2 things that many, older, brides should (but I’ve never heard of one who did): (1) If he ever hit her, she would leave and (2) if he ever came home drunk, she would leave (alcloholism was a close presence in her childhood).

    He was 22 when theymarried and 2 of his sisters often said that meeting and marrying her was what turned him around and made a man out of him.

    Some people would say my parents marrried young; Daddy was almost 21. Mom was 18. THEY were still passionate about each other (trust me!) when he died a week before his 60th birthday.

    It’s not a question of AGE; it’s a question of MATURITY. From some of the stories I’ve read here about post-baccalaureate antics, my parents and grandparents were more “adult” when they married than some people twice their age.

  • CuAllaidh November 10, 2010, 11:42 am

    retreadbride: Actually bridesmaid does indeed mean Bride’s MAID, it is generally considered an honorary title bearing little to no real responsibilities but that’s not what the role was initially intended for. If they had no other obligation than to show up in a nice dress then they would just be a guest not a bridesmaid. As part of the bridal party it is a bridesmaid’s responsibility to ensure that the wedding goes off with as few roadbumps as possible, just the same as it is the groomsmans’ responsibilities. That being said I am not sure what your comment has to do with this post as the BM in question here would still be considered rude even if she was just a guest.

    That being said I agree with others that posted that the OP is way to obsessed with her sisters age in this scenario. She is not so much supporting her sister as watching in morbid fascination for the train wreck she believes her sisters relationship will be. Of course there may be other reasons the sister thinks the wedding is a bad idea beyond the youth of the bride, but nothing other than age is mentioned.

  • Jennifer August 7, 2011, 8:31 pm

    Like a lot of people here I am appalled by N’s lack of etiquette. She should have been taken aside by someone and explained how she needed to behave. I am more annoyed with the OP’s obsession with her sister’s age. My mom married my dad when she was two days past her 18th birthday. 36+ years later and they are more in love than I have ever seen them. I got married to my husband when I was 22 and 6+ years later we are still very happy. Age is just a number and I have always believed it is more about the maturity of the couple than their age. I also have a friend who a year after their graduation from high school got married and it’s been almost ten years for them and they are still married with two children. People need to stop looking at a person’s age and using that as a reason someone can/can’t or should/shouldn’t do.

  • Amanda December 4, 2012, 3:35 pm

    A very late comment, but I need to throw it in here. I think the LW’s obsession over her sister’s age is due to the fact that N. insisted on drinking during the hen party even though she was not old enough to drink. Peer pressure is a problem at any age and as S.’s older sister she may just be throwing in over-protective bits. The main reason I think that way is because I will probably feel the same way when my sister, 16 years younger than I, starts thinking about weddings and children and such.

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