Happy anniversary, 27 Dresses! It's been ten years today since a rain-soaked Katherine Heigl and James Marsden went bar-stomping — botching "Benny and the Jets" lyrics and ballooning viewers' hearts when Kevin (Marsden) confesses, "I cried like a baby at the Keller wedding" and we realized the twenty-eighth dress of serial bridesmaid Jane (Heigl) may finally be a white one of her own choosing. But this shinier-than-expected gem of a rom-com taught us more than how to be really good at bad karaoke; the most beneficial case study is Jane's actual living out of the adage "always a bridesmaid, never a bride," and noting both her strides and her stumbles as she assists each of her besties, and younger sister Tess, down the aisle.
"The perfect bridesmaid always does what she's asked," Jane says — right before that disaster of a slideshow at the rehearsal dinner of Tess and Nice-Guy-Not-the-Right-Guy George, Jane's boss (and secret crush before she falls madly in love with Kevin and his dance moves). That's not true, but the perfect bridal attendant does read our following list of everything we learned about being a bridesmaid from 27 Dresses.
1. Be on Vigilant. Foot. Heart Patrol
At weddings, most folks are emotional train wrecks. One overly-sentimental thought or a booty-baring dress fiasco, and their wheels may completely derail and render them incapacitated. Here's your chance to step in — just like eight-year-old Jane does at her cousin Lisa's wedding. Their father's grief paralysis means Jane must take Tess to the restroom where they run into Lisa, and Jane's clever ribbon work saves the day. "That was the moment...that's when I fell in love with weddings," Jane tells us.
"I knew that I had helped someone on the most important day of their life." Make the rounds, and see who you can save from crashing and burning.
2. Improvise on the Fly
Need to travel back and forth between Manhattan and Brooklyn for two weddings in one night? Your bride demanding a wedding cake be delivered with almost-no notice? Did you just discover Malcolm Doyle, the romantic writer of your dreams, is a cynic named Kevin? No time to fret. You've got to be a nimble, negotiating, little ninja during your tenure as bridesmaid. Go with the flow and do whatever's necessarily to the keep the wedding on track — just don't abide any pervy cab drivers, please.
3. Avoid Getting Blindsided
Clear communication between you and the bride should be priority uno as a bridesmaid, and be honest with her. If Jane had shared her true feelings with Tess about protecting their mother's wedding dress, maybe her heart wouldn't have been cut up like lace when Tess sprung on her that a fragmented garment was all that was left of their mom's original gown. Oh, and we mean this in a literal sense too! Jane learned real quick that a bouquet toss can get downright nasty, so keep your eyes on your perfis at all times.
4. Find an Ally in the Altar Line-Up
Remember Casey? Jane's borderline-shitshow of a best friend who you hoped would show up in every scene because Judy Greer is a comedic fairy princess? Whether you're in need a gym buddy, a venting partner, or an emergency contact, it's nice to have someone else who's standing by the bride's side on your side as well. If you need a tactic for making friends, you could try Jane's bridesmaid gift kit — which included a shawl, Visine, Tylenol, a pair of earrings, and a promise to "fix" Casey's hair before the wedding photos.
5. Check the Room Before Dramatic Outbursts
Explosive F-bombs screamed at the top of your lungs really kill a romantic vibe. They did at that 50th anniversary party Jane epically interrupted, and they will during any sort of wedding-related event. If you need a cathartic release, find an empty space or maybe a new workout — perhaps one where you punch something...
6. Prepare for Overly Opinionated Guests
Sometimes you make new friends at a wedding — a considerate bridesmaid, a cute groomsman, a dancing toddler. Other times, you make enemies. As a bridesmaid, you're a wedding VIP and that means lots of people will want to talk to you, and lots of people will talk too much. Steer clear of controversial topics like politics or local gossip. And, have a line prepared to abruptly end any conversation. You may recall when Jane was told, "Oh, honey, it must be so hard to watch your younger sister get married before you," she had ready, "Yes.
Yes, it is. But then I remember that I still get to have hot hate sex with random strangers and I feel so much better."
7. Give Yourself Over to At Least One Song On the Dancefloor
Do this with all abandon. You deserve it. Again, here is the "Benny and the Jets" scene for inspiration.
8. Remember Words Aren't Always Necessary
The best of friends know when to shut up around each other. Sure, that may be when you're hoisting her dress high above toilet water, but can also apply when throwing in your two cents may only pile on to a burdened bride's stress. A wedding is usually not the best time to air out every grievance of your friendship, or in Jane's case, publicly unpack years of unacknowledged emotions regarding George, Tess, and her deceased mother with a humiliating and sabotaging slideshow. As Casey puts it, "What you did was unleash 20 years of repressed feelings in one night.
It was entertaining — don't get me wrong — but if it was the right thing to do, you'd feel better right now."
9. Know When to Say No
On the flip side, sometimes you absolutely must use your words. When a bride is asking too much of your time, effort, or money — kindly but firmly let her know. If you can find a hot guy like Kevin to practice your "no" with, snaps for you! And if your candor upsets the bride for a little while (we promise if she's a good friend, she'll get over it), try Jane's genius suggestion of a "Wine of the Month Club" subscription as an olive branch.
10. And Finally, When the Bride Says "You Can Shorten it and Wear it Again"...Just Go With It!
Hey, if it couldn't even happen in a fictional movie, it's more than likely not going to happen for you. Be a hero and don't mention that you're absolutely never going to wear this potentially unflattering, overpriced dress again. As Jane tells Kevin during that iconic fashion show scene, "I don't care if somebody wants me to wear a funny dress. It's their day, not mine. And if supporting them when they get married means snowshoeing to a mountaintop in the Alps or helping to caulk a fountain for some swans, then [...] someday it'll be my day, and then all those people will be there for me." (And when they are, be sure to send them this article!) Here's hoping that both your bride and bridesmaid experience is "everything and more."