Writer and former-bridesmaid Janelle Harris has a story to tell...

Happy Monday! Today’s post is a certified treat from writer, Janelle Harris. The Washington, D.C. based scribe always manages to get a chuckle from me with the dry humor she inserts into her Facebook status updates. When she expressed her frustration about being a bridesmaid on the social media site a few weeks ago I knew she had to pen something for Triple B. (By the way, are you a Black Bridal Bliss Facebook friend and are you following us on Twitter yet?)

This single mom contributes to many outlets including Clutch.com, Heart & Soul and Sister 2 Sister where she’s responsible for the “Office with a View” column. Be sure to let my fellow wedding show addict know what you think of her hilarious op-ed in the comments section.

Once upon a time, I dreamed of floating down the aisle toward the man of my dreams, wrapped in a halo of white chiffon with a smile bigger than my overstretched budget plastered across my face. Until that point, everything I’d heard about weddings—in magazines, in person, on television (before the advent of Bridezilla-like reality TV, of course)— portrayed the experience as a lovefest between not only the couple jumping the broom, but their loved ones and well-wishers, too. Then I became a satin, strapless, $225 dress wearin’ bridesmaid.  And the beautiful glow of weddings dimmed like the sky right before the ships landed in Independence Day.

At first blush, being asked to be a member of a loved one’s bridal party is an honor. It’s like being a chosen one, an “it” girl, an exclusive VIP who means something more than those suckas who’ll be watching the nuptials from the sidelines. But no one ever explains the hazing that a bridesmaid goes through during the year-and-some-change wedding planning period. Once, a bride called me at 8:00 on a Thursday night, in full panic mode because favors for her 325 guests hadn’t been assembled two days (yeah, you read that right—two days) before she was scheduled to stroll into holy matrimony. Bridesmaid duty called and I was enlisted to not only drag myself over to bridal boot camp but sit through a very hands-on instructional session of how to put some personalized candies in a box and wrap it with a bow.

In another wedding, after I had purchased the glitzy shoes and accessories, been stuffed, pinned and prodded to get sized for an unflattering dress and scheduled a hair appointment at the uppity salon that the bride insisted we all go to, she demoted me to—wait for it—scripture reader in the ceremony. Scripture reader? Thank God for all of my years of both growing up in church and mastering American English because I read the mess outta that verse. Love is patient, love is kind, love does not boast or curse friends out who put you through all kinds of drama….something like that.

It goes without saying (but I will anyway) that the experiences in these weddings taught me 1) the magazines I read, people I overheard and television shows I watched as a wedding novice were lying like the back of a rug and 2) if you pray hard and hold your tongue tight, you can make it through the gauntlet of responsibilities saddled on a bridesmaid with friendships (and, as an added bonus, your sanity) still in tact. If nothing else, the experience of being in someone else’s wedding is an opportunity to reflect on what you will and won’t do in your own. Chances are, you’ll end up being the subject of many a heated vent session between your bridesmaids, too.

It sure makes shotgun weddings look a lot less backwoods country and a lot more sensible, no?