The Bridesmaids: True Tales of Love, Envy, Loyalty... and Terrible Dresses

As the subtitle promises, there are heaps of awful dresses featured in Eimear Lynch's anthology of wild stories from anonymous ex-bridesmaids. The variations on these shiny, frilly atrocities are as diverse as the bridesmaids and weddings; while there are showers of stories featuring raging Bridezillas demanding their maids-in-waiting lose weight or throw them three bachelorette parties, there are also some touching accounts of when being a bridesmaid really matters. A gay couple tying the knot asks some female friends to act as "muses" during their nuptials, giving each woman a chance to be creative and special. A male bridesmaid shares his joy at being the man of honor for his sister, flying her gown across country and calling her a wimp when necessary. A laid-back bride asks her maids to visit thrift shops to buy wedding apparel the day before the ceremony, and another chill bride trusts her maids to sew a piece of satin fabric on her in lieu of an actual dress. It would be marvelous if more brides-to-be made their maids feel so honored.

Sadder tales involve friendships torn apart by the financial and emotional demands put on bridesmaids; more touching still are the poignant tales of terminally ill brides and the loved ones who really did stand up for the couple. As long as there are brides, there will be bridesmaids. This insider's look at the bridesmaid experience compiled by Lynch is fun to read, as well as a cautionary tale for both bridesmaids and brides. --Natalie Papailiou, author of blog MILF: Mother I'd Like to Friend

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