48 Hours in the Life of a Bridesmaid

by Rachel W. Miller on

Last weekend, I headed to Chicago to be a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my best friends. Here's the behind-the-bouquet look at my weekend!
Thursday, 3 PM: Arrive in Chicago feeling so gross thanks to a day spent in airports and the heat wave that's currently hitting the city. I'm the last bridesmaid to arrive and I don't have time to shower before the rehearsal. I throw on a cute dress and some heels, and my fiance and I haul ass to the hotel where I'm spending the night with the bride to drop off my stuff and then head to the church. The priest is awesome -- helpful and hilarious -- but I'm worried about everything I have to remember for the ceremony. And I'm really concerned about making it up and down the stairs of the altar in the fabulous-but-dangerous shoes the bride chose. Also, I'm already tearing up...if I make it through the ceremony without falling or crying, it will be a miracle.
Thursday, 9:00 PM: After a great run through at the church, we board the boat for the rehearsal dinner. BBQ and cocktails on Lake Michigan? Don't mind if I do! Everyone is having such a great time on the boat, they decide to keep it out on the lake for another hour. Someone puts a Bob Seger album on and all the older guests start a major dance party. They play "Old Time Rock and Roll" three times in a row and then get in a circle and sway together, belting out the lyrics, during 'Turn the Page." Well...tomorrow should be interesting.
Thursday, 10:00 PM: We head up to the suite the bride rented for us for the night and get to work finishing the favors. Two of the other bridesmaids are drunk and are possibly eating more popcorn than they are putting in the bags. I don't mind though, because we're having a blast. As we work on the favors, we reminisce about funny times with the bride, and then the other girls hold a twerking tutorial before we call it a night.
Friday, 8:00 AM: I'm a morning person so I slip out and go to the hotel's gym for a moment alone before the craziness of the day starts. One yoga podcast later, I'm feeling refreshed and excited about the day's events.
Friday, 9:00 AM: I take everyone's orders and place a call to room service, which is the bride's treat. I love her for this. We have a long day ahead and none of us are shy about cleaning our plates. Meanwhile, the sun has come up and the view of the city from our suite is absolutely sick!
Friday, 10:00 AM: Makeup time! And thank goodness...I am looking pretty worn out from my long day of traveling.
Friday, 12:00 PM: The hairstylist arrives. She's adorable and does great work. and we have so much fun having girl talk while we all get done up. Later, we find out that after doing our hair, the stylist is going to an upscale club in town to do the dancers' hair. She says, "I'm in the girls' locker room all's just like this, except I get to wear sweatpants!" We all find  this fascinating. Also, my hair looks awesome.
Friday, 1:45 PM: With hair and makeup done, I practice walking in my heels. They look amazing and actually aren't that difficult to walk in. Our flowers arrive, we order in a pizza for a last-minute snack, and the other bridesmaids teach the mother of the bride to twerk. Then it's time to get dressed!
Friday, 2:15 PM: It's time for the bride to get ready! She looks absolutely amazing. Once we get her into her dress, we realize that the little ribbons that you use to hang it up are totally sticking out, so we find some scissors to cut them off. Unfortunately, the scissors aren't sharp enough, so now there are wispy stumps sticking out of the sides of her dress. A mad dash to find smaller, sharper scissors ensues. Finally, I call the hotel spa to see if they have any manicure scissors we can borrow. They do, so the entire entourage stops by on our way downstairs to get them clipped. Next time I'm a bridesmaid, I'll definitely pack scissors in my tote.
Friday, 3:30 PM: We head to the church with the bride and her dad behind us in the Rolls. Unfortunately, I told our driver that it was just the three of us in our SUV...nobody told me the mother of the bride and the photographer were supposed to ride with us too. Whoops! Luckily, they get a cab and aren't far behind. We don't have much time to kill before the ceremony begins...basically just enough time to check Facebook.
Friday, 7:15 PM: Well, we made it through the ceremony and I managed not to small feat considering how many times we went between kneeling and standing during the Mass. There's a bit of confusion regarding photos and the shuttles, but eventually we all end up in the right place. By the time we finish the pictures, though, I'm starting to lose steam. Then again, the bride is wearing heels, a huge gown, and just went and took photos outside in the Chicago heat wave, so who am I to complain? Mainly, I'm just excited because she promised there would be flip-flops waiting for us at the reception and I'm dying to get mine. But after we make it to cocktail hour and my fiance and I chase down some appetizers and wine, I feel much better.
Friday, 8;30 PM: I may have made it through the ceremony without crying, but I, like most guests, totally lose it during the father of the bride's speech. Also, God bless the sweetheart table...I'm so glad we got to sit with our dates! I'm also so grateful for the I put them on, I feel like my job as a bridesmaid is done. Dinner is delicious and then the party starts. Neither my fiance nor I are really dancers, but we do enjoy people-watching. There's a couple here that slow dances all romantic-like to every song. Wedding guests, take note: "Raspberry Beret" is not a slow song.
Saturday, 12:30 AM: I chug water while looking out over the city. I take off my makeup as I get ready for bed, but I can't bear to part with my false eyelashes just yet. I just feel so glam with them on!
Saturday, 8 AM: We wake up to a gorgeous day in the city! And my hair still looks great, which is a nice bonus. My fiance and I chat about the night before and look over the pics from the photo booth. The photo booth was awesome; it printed out one set of pictures for us to keep, and one that went into a guest book, which we then signed. Such a great keepsake!
Saturday, 10:30 AM: We meet up with the newlyweds, their families, and the bridal party for the post-wedding brunch. I order the breakfast nachos, which they deliver to one of the guys at the table, presumably because they are just so monstrous. Whatever....being a bridesmaid works up an appetite! We say good-bye to the bride and groom (who are leaving for Italy later in the day!) and head back to pack up and go to the airport. It's been a seriously glam and seriously exhausting 48 hours.
PS Check out some of these glam Chicago weddings!
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