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May 7, 2010

Attack of the Bridesmaidzillas

Grinding with the father of the bride, ruining toasts, even ditching the wedding: You've never seen attendants like these.

the marie claire wedding survival guide

Photo Credit: Roxanne Lowit

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Let's face it — being a bridesmaid can be a bitch. The awful dresses, the endless showers, the obligation to write the perfect, funny but teary-eyed toast — not to mention the cost. Until recently, though, a girlfriend just bucked up and did it, because that's what bridesmaids — and friends — do.

Unless they don't. A new generation of bridesmaids — let's call them bridesmaidzillas — is in revolt. One such girl grabbed a terrified father of the bride on the dance floor at an outdoor wedding on the North Shore of Massachusetts and started grinding with him. Another bridesmaid gone bad, in the middle of toasts at a barbecue-themed rehearsal dinner in Austin, Texas, called her cable company and got into a shouting match over the bill. One attention-seeking bridesmaid had a tummy tuck and boob job just before a wedding in Pasadena, California, and showed up with bandages and scars, and another clingy BFF used her toast to dis the groom. There was the artistic attendant at a California wine-country wedding who scribbled on the couple's engagement portraits with a Sharpie, and three more at a swanky Boston hotel who got so trashed at the reception, they cut off the bottom third of their $300 gowns. One girl, a pissed-off sister of the groom at a seaside Rhode Island wedding, screamed at her brother to back out of the marriage — 10 minutes before the ceremony and in front of the bride-to-be.

But nothing beats the coup Kim's bridesmaids pulled over Labor Day 2009 at a posh Virginia resort. Her attendants were her best friends from law school: They'd lived together, studied for the bar together, and one of them even helped Kim's fiancé choose her round-cut diamond. But when Kim, 28, asked them to be her bridesmaids, the relationship started to sour. After she booked the resort, the two girls — East Coast lawyers in their late 20s — panned the spot as remote and inconvenient. They pushed the planning of the bachelorette party onto Kim's younger sister, the maid of honor, then complained about the cost. When the group chose Palm Beach for the party, the girls bailed, saying they couldn't afford it, even though they had high-paying jobs. They skipped the bridal shower and criticized the green, floor-length Lela Rose gowns Kim loved, lobbying so hard for dresses by a different designer that Kim chipped in for the Lela Rose ones herself.

By the time the wedding rolled around, Kim wasn't speaking much to either one. Still, what happened next was shocking. As the girls checked in to the hotel, she rushed to meet them. They barely acknowledged her, hugging her sister instead. Kim rushed out of the lobby in tears. Her mom came to the rescue — she tracked down the girls in their hotel room, and after a good talking-to, told them they could leave if they liked. Amazingly, they did. The next morning, the day before the wedding, they checked out, leaving their unopened, unaltered dresses on the floor. They charged their room balance, including room service and pay-per-view movies, to the wedding account. When Kim got back from her Bora-Bora honeymoon, she got an e-mail invoice from one of them for $500 for the dress and travel expenses. The final insult? She'd been unfriended on Facebook.

The bridesmaidzilla, a lethal mix of frenemy and Mean Girl wrapped in a sash, is popping up at weddings across the country, leaving a trail of bulldozed brides and apoplectic planners. It used to be crazy-eyed brides, caricatured in movies, sitcoms, and on reality TV, who scared everyone silly. Now bridesmaids, the faithful friends who've been paying, planning, and keeping their mouths shut since the dawn of taffeta, are digging in their dyed-to-match heels and making a fuss.


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