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by Jamilah-Asali I. Lemieux

Weddings , which were once simply a special day in the life of a couple, have long since become the center of a multi-billion dollar industry catering to the whims of brides who want to feel like princesses, if only for a day.

As there has been an increased pop-culture fascination with wedding shows, magazines, Facebook shrines and websites, many brides are feeling the pressure to walk down the aisle ‘platinum’ style. Unfortunately, this often finds them passing the buck –sometimes literally- to their team of bridesmaids.

Being asked to serve as a bridesmaid should be a great honor; the bride wants you to play an integral role in what will be one of the most memorable days of her life. However, many friends and family members have found themselves managing the unreasonable demands of a soon-to-be wed woman who thinks that everyone should gladly give up a chunk of their time and money for her nuptials.

Sasha (last name has been withheld for anonymity), a digital producer from Texas, has been a bridesmaid four times; two brides were both reasonable and gracious with their requests, but the others weren’t so easy to work with. Her first bad experience came when her cousin’s fiancée cancelled the wedding two weeks prior to the nuptials and informed the bridal party via angry voicemails and texts.

Sasha had already invested almost $300 in a plane ticket, plus $150 for a “poorly made” bridesmaid dress. A few short days later, the wedding was back on (another announcement made via text). “I never received an explanation or acknowledgement of the previous cancellation or even a thank you note, after I dropped over $500 for her special day!” Sasha said. She has a bit of common sense advice for brides; make sure you acknowledge your bridal party for their efforts: “Thank you cards are a must! No exceptions.”

Destination weddings have become increasingly popular in recent years. However, couples must remain mindful of the great expense incurred by guests and wedding party members, who now have to include a plane ticket and possible lodging, in addition to the traditional expenses. Sasha recalls a cousin who stated that anyone who “cared” about her wedding would find a way to finance a trip to the Jamaican resort where she jumped the broom; “I guess only 15 people cared, because that’s all the folks who showed up!”

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