Always a bridesmaid, never a bride… it’s an age-old (and annoying) saying, but in Anne Wagener’s new book, BORROW-A-BRIDESMAID, it’s the crazy, tilt-a-whirl reality for one down-on-her-luck college graduate who turns to Craigslist and farms herself out as a bridesmaid for hire. Complications, hilarity, and a surprise love interest ensue. Read Anne’s take on ‘bridesmaiding’ below, and download a copy of the book, on sale now from Pocket Star!
I’m in a dark parking lot in Philadelphia. It’s past midnight. I’m struggling to restrain a highly intoxicated woman in a bridal gown who’s attempting to run into traffic.
Am I a cop? A security guard?
Nope. I’m a bridesmaid.
That was probably the most dramatic moment in my 10-year bridesmaid career, but it’s definitely been an action-packed decade. I’ve been honored to be in 10 weddings, from a Las Vegas elopement to an elegant English castle wedding.
There were gown sales. Spreadsheets. Hurricanes of stress. Mass reply-all e-mails. Showers. Penis balloons. MORE PENIS BALLOONS. And above all, moments that made up for the rest of the craziness, moments like watching a close friend walk down the aisle on her day. No matter what happened behind the scenes, I got teary every time!
But, at least for me, it’s hard not to feel a certain way about yourself at weddings. Other people may ask why you’re not married/spawning children/saving the world yet. If you’re single, you may be expected to compete with other women to catch a bouquet. Or you may have a stranger put a garter on you in front of hundreds of people (a low point in my bridesmaid career). Or maybe you just run into high school/college classmates who seem like they have it all figured out (the jerks!).
In the midst of cheering for my friends as they got married, had kids, and found career success, I had to fight against that little voice in my head that said, “You’re not good enough.”
To try and figure out what that voice was all about, I wrote Borrow-A-Bridesmaid. The writing process was fun and redemptive, and I began to formulate my own definition of success, which is figuring out what makes me happy—and doing it! Easier said than done, but it’s a start.
My bridesmaid adventures were great writing inspiration, too. Borrow-A-Bridesmaid has its fair share of wedding scenes, but it’s also about love and the quarterlife crisis. At the beginning of the story, my main character, Piper, is heartbroken and stuck in a dead-end job as an airport bookseller—a job I worked right after college. Piper decides to rent herself out as a bridesmaid to make ends meet. While on the sidelines of other people’s weddings, she begins to pursue her own dreams. Along the way, she falls in love with a guy who supports those dreams (and has a luscious bum).
I hope this book will be therapy for anyone who’s been involved in a wedding in any capacity, and also cheer up anyone who feels like they don’t have much—or anything—figured out. I still don’t! But I had a blast writing this book, and I’m so excited to be able to share it with other women.