Confessions of a Nairobi bridesmaid

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I love my friends. I do. And every time one of my besties asks if I can stand beside her on her big day, I’m always happy to say yes because that’s what friends do. However, as an experienced bridesmaid, I can tell you it’s not without its pitfalls. There’s the dress, for starters. Sometimes you wonder if the bride is afraid to be out-shined because some bridesmaid dresses are hideous. Unflattering color and design, and then all of you have to be matchy-matchy. Yuck! But are you about to tell the bride no? Nope! So you grin and bear it. Even when that dress which you will only wear once costs you half your salary, you keep smiling. Then there is the enslavement. Being part of the bridal party is signing off all your weekends, and as you get closer to the wedding, forget getting any sleep. Running around making sure every last detail of the Big Day (a date you sometimes come to dread, then pray for it every day to pass and end your misery) is absolutely perfect. Sometimes you cannot stand the rest of the bridal party (old high school enemies, overbearing sisters) and the endless dress fittings can drive you absolutely mad.

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Not every bride is a bridezilla, but if you’ve watched Whose Wedding Is It Anway, then you can admit there are a few psycho ones. So, future and soon to be brides, here are a few things you can do to make life easier for the bridal party-and make sure your day is as perfect and as seamless as possible. Because the only thing worse than a grumpy and unhappy bridesmaid is someone actually standing up when the priest asks, “Is there anyone who has a reason as to why this man and this woman should not be married?”

Allow each bridesmaid to choose their own dress style

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Don’t force the flatter chested bridesmaid into an unflattering strapless design, or make the fuller figured bridesmaid squeeze into a halter neck design. It’s uncomfortable. And unfair. Let every bridesmaid pick the style that flatters her the most-you want a bridal party that looks amazing, not self conscious throughout the ceremony. If you’re worried about uniformity, choose the same colour pallete for all the bridesmaids.

Understand the cost implications

It would be great if we could all get the dresses from the same tailor or shop, but some of those are ridiculously expensive. Give your bridesmaid the option of getting something similar elsewhere. You would be surprised what you can get at flea markets at amazing prices. Let me be part of the wedding without breaking my bank!

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Have realistic expectations

Your wedding isn’t the only thing happening in the world. For you it may certainly feel like it, but the rest of us have jobs, spouses,kids-maybe even nothing else- but everyone needs their space. I’m happy to help however I can, just don’t expect me to drop everything at the drop of a hat to go cake tasting or venue hunting.

Not everyone wants to be a bridesmaid

It is an honour, yes. But not everyone wants to be a bridesmaid. Maybe we’re jealous we’re not the ones with a ring and a wedding to plan. Or we’re always the bridesmaid (yep, we hear the snide comments) or maybe we just don’t want the hassle! So, don’t blackmail, don’t be mad and make our friendship awkward-understand that maybe our way of being there for you is showing up on the day, looking pretty, eating cake and making drunken passes at the groomsmen.The end.

As I write this-I have three weddings coming up. All as the bridesmaid. So I’ll grit my teeth and hope my beloveds read this article 😉

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Wangui Gitei

Lover of life and music.

  • kenyanna

    Nice article Wangui and all true. As a future bridesmaid and bride, this article helps a lot…..

  • Caroline

    I think in all fairness particularly to the bride and yourself, if you do not want to be a bridesmaid you could always say no…instead of begrudgingly going ahead with it. Its never that serious.

  • fridz

    waaaaaa..as i read through the article i was thinking to self”Is it such a sad affair?’ been on several line ups and honestly speaking never had a bad experience(enjoyed the process..I agree with you,different body types,different dress designs..that should always always be considered,but there’s a MIGHTY big difference when the bridesmaids all show up with dresses from different tailors/sources and i assure you it will look off..what you can do is advice the bride,she aint no monster,if you know of a good/fair tailor..go with the cheaper option.(cheap but good work..i can volunteer contacs)I could go on n on n on..let me leave it at that..

  • WAAAHHHH am glad i had only my friend my best maid and my ring girl – simply simple sweet

  • Ladyluck

    you have 3 bridesmaid occasions coming up and you said yes? Clearly, you enjoy this, so stop pretending to complain. Write another article about why you love doing this.

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