If there is any month that strikes more terror into the hearts of women of a certain age than the month of June, I am not aware of it. Twenty-six is looming, menacingly, on the horizon for me, and the old saying keeps running through my head as if a parrot were cawing it at me: “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride, braaack!” Not because I’m particularly depressed at the thought of my singleness (well, not any more than usual), but because being a bridesmaid is an honor that, in most cases, I would just as soon forgo. And I know I am not alone.
Because of the Lord’s infinite mercy, I have no bridesmaid dress to purchase this summer. This spring I was in my brother’s wedding, but it was in a cool, peaceful month (and I wore a dress I already owned), not the dreaded “wedding season” that makes otherwise lovely, Christian girls turn evil.
I have heard stories of bridesmaids conscripted into bizarre duties, forced to buy dresses more expensive than their last car, enduring terrifying wedding hair and clownishly overdone makeup for the sake of the photographs, driving halfway across the country to be greeted by a long list of responsibilities and a shared air mattress, and investing half a month’s salary for the “honor” of being a friend’s attendant.
Emily Yoffe tells more mortifying tales of June-mad women, giddy with the rush of flower arrangements and table settings and audacious, paypal-enabled “honeymoon registries.”
Whatever happened to weddings where everyone agreed to turn up at the church on a morning a week or so hence for a quiet, liturgically-prescribed ceremony in which the bride and groom each had one witness stand at the front? Or the home wedding, in the parents’ living room with the furniture moved out and space for only a dozen or so people to stand?
Ostentatiousness has no place in the life of a Christian. Simplicity and a focus on Christ, not greed, keeping up with the Joneses, fantasy, or selfishness, should characterize the Christian wedding. I look forward, one day, to planning a wedding entirely without the aid of bridal magazines or Martha Stewart — a wedding memorable for the presence of the Holy Spirit, not the complexity of the centerpieces, the elegance of the decor, or the intricacy of the bead work on the gowns.
If more brides thought of Christ’s fame instead of their own demands, June would not be nearly so horrifying.